6 Solution Selling Levers to Improve Performance
If you are in charge of improving the performance of your solution selling team, in which direction do you move for the greatest impact? You recognize that your sales organization has huge untapped potential for growth but what levers should you pull to get the results you seek?
First you need to know where you are now. Second you need to know where you want to be. Then you can focus on how best to get there. Know that there is typically not one thing that will drive your sales success. Rather, there will most likely be a mix of factors that will drive your performance results to the next level…factors that fit your team, your sales culture and your sales strategy.
You need to evaluate the levers from two points of view: organizational levers and people levers.
What are the levers you can influence at the organizational level?
- Sales strategy
We know that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams. Take a close look at the organization’s overall strategy and how your sales plans align with it. Have you identified your ideal target clients where you should win the majority of the time? Do you know what differentiates you from the competition in the eyes of your target clients in a way that drives premium pricing, increases qualified lead generation and improves customer retention? Are sales success metrics clear, consistent, aligned, fair, accurate and achievable? Are the critical few sales processes that matter most in terms of meeting your sales targets and executing your sales strategy in place and followed? Have you collectively committed to an action plan to execute your sales strategy and overcome any key barriers?
- Sales operations
Once your strategy is clear enough, it is time to evaluate your compensation plan to make sure it incentivizes the behaviors and practices to best execute your strategy. This includes reviewing how you assign territories and accounts so that you put the right people where they will provide the most value and achieve the greatest success.
- Sales tools
Do your solution sellers have the resources and tools they need to succeed? This is more than an efficient CRM that helps them maintain customer contact info and forecast more accurately. This lever includes the kind of sales process, sales management and sales coaching that can maximize performance for any sales team. Be sure you have a proven methodology in place, that your sales managers are skilled in performance management and that they know how to coach toward the behaviors that succeed in your sales environment and marketplace.
What are the levers you can influence at the sales employee level?
- Sales talent
Sales talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams. You need to ensure that you have the sales talent to execute your strategy and the means to fully engage and retain them. A careful review of the competencies of your top sales producers will give you a profile of success that you should use to select and hire as well as to encourage the behaviors you know work.
- Solution selling skills
If there are gaps in the sales competencies of your current team, you need to plan a way to fill them. Assess which “money making” sales skills are lacking and train for them. Without the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your marketplace, your efforts to improve sales performance are doomed. Then design and deliver proven solution selling training to close the skill gaps that matter most.
- Sales culture
Sales culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams. If your team feels supported and encouraged by the sales culture, and if that culture is aligned with the sales strategy in terms of customer intimacy, focus, decision making, information sharing, atmosphere, market approach, loyalty, and results, their motivation and commitment to the overall effort will be high.
Neglect any one of these levers and your sales performance improvement initiative will be at risk. Your challenge is to find the right mix for your specific team and company. Now go for it!
To learn more about creating a high performance sales team, download How Much Pressure Should a Sales Leader Apply to Get Higher Performance