Strategies that World-Class Sales Teams are Discussing at Sales Kickoffs

Opportunity Planning

Set the Stage for 2018 with Sales Methodologies, Predictable Forecasting, and more

As we move into the new year, most sales teams are likely setting the stage for 2018 with sales kickoff (SKO) meetings. Here are some of the topics that top sales organizations will be covering this year.

Sales Execution Tools to Operationalize New Sales Methodologies

During SKO sessions, many companies roll out new methodologies and processes. Companies pay boatloads of money to provide their teams with proven sales methods and techniques, however, they are often left with a 300-page binder or set of static templates that are quickly forgotten and go unused. How can companies get reps to adopt and operationalize sales methodologies in their day-to-day workflows?

It’s difficult to translate these theoretical strategies from paper to practice in today’s complex B2B sales landscape. Sales teams are straying further away from what they’re trained on in favor of spending time on more meaningful activities that directly impact their ability to manage and close deals.

Advanced sales execution tools (such as playbooks, score cards, opportunity plans, etc.) help guide reps through the sales process, and reinforce training and best practice behaviors rather than expecting them to retain information from a consultant’s training materials. As a result, these tools help companies qualify out of deals sooner, focus more on verifiable outcomes and critical thinking, and can drastically reduce sales cycles by keeping reps focused on the activities that matter.

Gain Forecast Accuracy and Revenue Predictability

CSO Insights’ 2017 World Class Sales Practices Study found that only 40% of respondents said their ability to close deals as originally forecasted met or exceeded expectations. With the constantly evolving landscape in B2B sales, relying on methodologies, training programs and SFA systems to drive sales effectiveness often falls short in reinforcing value selling behaviors.

With the number of decision makers increasing and sales cycles getting more involved, enterprise sales organizations are struggling with how to empower reps not only to win deals but to focus their time on the opportunities most likely to close.

Enterprise sales teams that invest time in opportunity planning – gathering the necessary intelligence to align products and services to their prospect’s goals and objectives – are far better equipped to uncover highly qualified sales opportunities that close faster and contribute to predictable, long-term revenue visibility. Opportunity planning will help sales teams find larger more strategic deals that close faster to meet their revenue goals.

Sales teams can use tools, like Revegy’s opportunity planning platform, to unlock data formerly sequestered in traditional manual sales processes to deliver actionable insights that provide a clear and single view of the buyer landscape that is absolute and complete.Revegy’s visual strategic selling platform delivers a complete view of the stakeholders, influencers, buying centers, and business priorities so reps can strategically align sales activities with prospects’ business goals.

By placing the increasingly complex buyer’s journey in a visual context, sales teams gain the clarity they need to identify critical knowledge gaps, potential risks, and common delay indicators so they can take the best next step to increase win ratios and reduce deal slippage.

The process of mapping out the most common factors in winning and losing a deal – relationships, buyer priorities, corporate goals, competitive threats and more – enables reps to think critically about how to approach each deal and how to focus their activities and energy to gain the highest return on effort.

Dynamic Sales Coaching for More Wins

Faced with ever-increasing revenue goals, more global competition, and higher customer expectations—just to name a few things keeping sales leaders awake at night—companies are looking for ways to increase sales efficiency and effectiveness. It’s important to not only focus on what sales people are going to do differently, but also what sales managers, the leaders of the sales reps, should do differently.

In 2018, sales coaching will start coming into the picture more and more.  A recent CSO Insights Survey found that managers who use a dynamic coaching process have a higher win rate of forecasted deals, versus those using a formal or informal coaching process. These sales teams without a defined process are not achieving their full potential because they’re not going a step further and involving technology to enable the coaching process.

Managers who use tools such as Revegy can deliver visibility into the most critical areas impacting deal outcomes: stakeholders/influencers, understanding what matters to the prospect and how to pitch solutions that align with their goals, and identifying risks or potential barriers to close or stall. Managers can then use these plans to coach reps on filling in the gaps that could cause them to waste time, delay sales cycles and lose.

As we approach 2018, it is time for a solid commitment by sales management to formalize coaching strategies —and leveraging technology to make it happen.

KAM Enablement for Long-Term Growth

As a B2B company, a significant part of your revenue comes from key accounts. Focusing on key accounts can deliver the highest growth in the least amount of time, at the lowest cost. Not just over the long term – but NOW. The long-term growth potential of key accounts can be virtually unlimited.

Companies are realizing that if they engage in effective and ongoing KAM, they will have win rates DOUBLE that of companies without a formal process in 2018. You could be missing out on huge growth opportunities because your current approach to managing key accounts is missing a critical element.

Using manual systems or basic automation for KAM will lead to poor stakeholder alignment, clouded visibility, inaccurate relationship assessment, and low levels of growth. Key accounts are highly complex, so it is crucial to use specialized and scalable technology to optimize the revenue potential of key accounts.

In our upcoming blog series, we will take a closer look into each of these trends.

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