Top 5 Must Haves for Sales Strategy Development

August 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Sales Strategy Development

Here it comes, the 2013 budgeting process. On top of finishing out 2012, you need to determine which Sales Strategy initiatives to prioritize in order to make the 2013 number. Avoid the conventional lip service you pay sales strategy development; that’s old school, develop a sales strategy that the sales team understands and can really rally behind.

Harvard Business Review research suggests that companies on average deliver only 63% of the financial performance their strategies promise.

Can you live on or keep your job meeting only 63% of your goals? Compare this with world class performance of exceeding your Sales Strategy goals.

Old school approach would be: you spread your quota and investment dollars across all programs evenly. You continue funding the programs you started last year with little consideration for time-to-return, resource requirements or revalidating the market demand for your sales initiatives.

Get a copy of my 5 Step Sales Strategy Decision Tool here to give you the answers you’re looking for in the shortest amount of time. This tool provides you with the ability to rate each of your key initiatives across the 5 variables that are critical to hitting the 2013 number.

Before you attempt to complete the Sales Strategy Decision matrix, you need the 4 core data points below. If you don’t have this data, stop and get it. Developing a sales strategy without these data points is a waste of you and your team’s time.

  1. Win/loss/no decisions analysis (detailed third party analysis, not the rep; “we lost on price” type)
  2. Gaps analysis from the sales team: What’s preventing them from exceeding the number
  3. 4 lens review for completeness:
    • Customer – you validated the gaps with your customers
    • Executives  – you understand the corporate position on the gaps
    • Competitors – the gaps are putting you at a specific disadvantage verse your competitors
    • Sales reps – the gaps are the ones sales reps feel are preventing them from exceeding the goals
  4. 2013 Potential analysis for each initiative

The questions you need to answer regarding each initiative in order to complete your sales strategy development and hit your 2013 number are:

  1. Can I do this myself or do I need outside help?
  2. What will it cost me to execute?
  3. How long will it take to get the result?
  4. Do I have enough resources to execute?
  5. Can I measure the result?

Can I do this myself or do I need outside help?

This is always a difficult question but two of primary reasons to seek outside support are:

  1. Speed to deliver results
  2. Leveraging best practices / lessons learned to do it right the first time

Do you have the expertise inside the company to execute the Strategic Sales objectives quickly? If not, seek outside support to help you deliver the best result in the shortest amount of time.

What will it cost me to execute?

The answer to this question is based on the size of the gap you’re dealing with. As an example, is it a sales rep talent gap with selling the new product or a product portfolio gap?  Jump starting a sales training program typically has a lower cost point than plugging a product portfolio gap.

How long will it take to get the result?

We’re focused on the 2013 sales strategy and hitting the quota next year. If the initiative takes 6 months to develop and 6 months to see a result, you’re not seeing much in the way of a 2013 impact.

Do I have enough resources to execute?

The issue of having enough resources is often over looked. The realization of a gap comes when you try and assign the initiative to a set of resources. These resources are typically your “A” players, and you find out that they’re buried already. The need for outside support becomes even more critical.

Can I measure the result?

If you lack the ability to measure the return on the sales strategy investment, getting funding will be nearly impossible. It also makes keeping your job next year even more difficult. The two gentlemen below do a nice job explaining the importance of measuring results.

"In God we trust, all others bring data."
- W. Edwards Deming

"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can't measure something, you can't understand it. If you can't understand it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it."
- H. James Harrington

Next steps:

  1. If you don’t have the 4 core data points above or lack details, get them.  You still have time
  2. Download the tool and work through the steps to determine which initiatives to focus on for 2013

Offer: If you want to walk through the Sales Strategy Tool, email me (john.staples@salesbenchmarkindex.com) and I’ll set up 30 minutes to walk you through it and answer any questions you may have.

The Sales Strategy Decision tool is just one of the many tools to consider. Let me know if you feel I’ve missed a major consideration when determining which projects to allocate people, time, and money to in 2013. Please provide your comments below so your peers will benefit from your insight.

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Topics: sales strategy, Director of Sales Resources

Posted by John Staples

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