Tag Archive for: revenue growth

How to Scale Your Sales Function

If you are responsible for establishing and growing your sales function, then I encourage you to buck convention. Do it differently and reap the rewards.

Conventional wisdom is to hire a salesperson, give them a laptop and a cell phone and have them go forth and sell. I recommend going against this conventional wisdom. When your sales function is in growth mode, simply adding salespeople won’t give you the revenue growth you desire. You need to fill each of your different player positions first before adding depth to your roster.

Start by hiring a business development professional. Have them take their first month and research the right CRM for you. If you’ve got one already, have them confirm or deny it’s the right one for you. There are many, many choices out there so have them do their homework. 

Next, give them four weeks to build out your lead outreach process so they can work systematically to fill both your marketing and sales funnel with viable leads and prospects. Only then should you hire on a sales professional to work through the sales process and close deals. 

Here’s why; the business development function is very different from the sales function. The person who gets joy from the business development function often does not get joy from the sales function and vice versa. In my role as a fractional VP of Sales, I often speak to business owners who have sales rep turnover issues. The root cause of this turnover is that sellers were brought on without a viable sales funnel. They had 90 days of business development work to do and then became frustrated and believed they had no path to sales success…so they left.

With your sales professional onboard, capture the process they will follow to turn prospective buyers into paying customers. Document this in your CRM in the form of your sales funnel.

With your business development and sales function now up and running as separate roles, take another eight weeks and refine both your business development and sales processes. The goal is to increase the deal size and the sales velocity. This is accomplished by looking for ways to be more effective and efficient in researching and activating leads and then running the resulting prospects through your sales process.

With this work done you can now determine where you should add depth to your roster. Is your sale/market/industry such that you need more business development resources and fewer sellers or is it the other way around? Is it that you need to add key account salespeople rather than local or regional salespeople?

There is of course a great deal of nuance to all the suggestions above [which is often why I play a fractional sales management role to support business leaders]. If you’d like to chat, I’d be happy to share my insights with you.

Top Reasons Why B2B Sales Prospecting Should be Outsourced

If increasing your close rate is not the path to revenue-generating success, then what is?

In my work as a sales consultant one of the least common problems I encounter is companies that have a hard time closing business. Generally, when an opportunity that is a good fit presents itself whoever is at the wheel of that sale manages to bring it home. The bigger challenge and root cause of not meeting revenue growth goals is when there is no “next deal” behind the one at hand. Regardless of whether or not a seller closes the deal in front of them the end result is the same – there is now a gap in their sales funnel.

Reaching of revenue growth goals is accomplished by managing the cycles of the sales funnel. As deals come in, they are worked and move through to their ultimate dispatch. Classically, salespeople love the act of closing business but are not so keen on the acts of lead development and business generation. Thus, your best closer may be left with nothing to work on after they close a deal. Maintaining a steady inbound flow to the top of your organization’s sales funnel will lead to both short and long-term revenue growth.

It used to be that salespeople would do their own prospecting and business development. That’s not best practice today.  There currently exists a wealth of service providers who make it illogical for you to put a highly paid sales resource toward top of funnel work. This work is typically noncomplex and can be readily done by an outsourced service. Further, it might in fact be better done by them. Your best closers might not be your best researchers. Your best relationship builders might not be your best data miners.

As recently as five years ago this tier of service providers did not exist. Today you can find lead research experts who will mine and create lead lists. You have firms that will take those lists, further refine, and vet them and begin email and social media outreach sequences.  Other firms will then take the results from those outreaches and set appointments for you. Some will even do all of the above. All of this for a monthly fee that is often 25% less than the cost of a full-time employee.

Using these services help you achieve revenue growth in many ways.  They…

  • Free up time in the day of your best salespeople to allow them to do what they do best, build relationships with customers and close business.
  • Eliminate peaks and valleys in your sales results. As your sellers sell, their funnel is constantly being backfilled for them, rather than the sales process halting as they do the filling themselves.
  • Increase sales velocity by having appointment set with the right decision makers upfront, rather than your salespeople having to go through trial and error to get there on their own.
  • Keep morale high within your sales team as each team member gets to focus on the thing they love doing more of the time and have more success doing it.

I have had direct working relationships with many such providers. Too many to mention here. If you would like to learn more about where to start looking, please let me know. Always happy to help.