If you‘ve read many of my posts you know that I like to do a lot of primary research and look beyond opinion to real data to get insight into the reasons why certain companies perform better than others.
- Why is it that some companies experience win rates higher than average?
- How sales forecast accuracy is elusive to all but the elite few?
- Are there certain behaviors that lead to better customer retention rates?
- Is there a secret to reducing the time-to-productivity for new sales people?
There are many compounding factors that combine to answer these questions, but one factor is common to each one.
Deploying a customer first sales process is possibly the single most impactful practice to deploy to improve the performance of the sales organization.
When a sales team executes a sales process aligned with the customer’s buying process:
- Sales forecast accuracy improves 2X (hitting the number you forecast, with the deals you forecasted).
- Customer retention is up 23%. In this subscription economy retention is the oxygen that allows a company to survive and thrive.
- Seller’s ramp time is reduced by 11%. Seller time to productivity goes down from an average of 9.46 months to 8.41 months. Consider for yourself the impact on your revenue numbers if every seller started making quota one month earlier.
- Average deal size increases by 16%, Win Rate improves by 9% and Sales Cycle is reduced by 23%. Together these combine to deliver an increase in Sales Velocity (the revenue you can achieve in a specific time period) by 65% – with the same resources.
Effectively deploying a sales process is one of the most impactful sales effectiveness initiatives. Because it can be configured to different business motions it can equally be deployed for long complex sales cycles and shorter more transactional engagements. The design of the process(es) is critical and must map to how the customer buys.
Corresponding behaviors and leading indicators of success in sales organizations who effectively deploy a customer first sales process include:
- Qualification: Sales organizations use a process to qualify more effectively reducing the cost of lost deal pursuit. The effectiveness of qualification is improved 100%.
- Call Planning: With a guided sales process, sellers are 90% more likely to use call plans.
- Discovery: The customer first nature of the process enables sellers to be 56% more effective in uncovering the customer’s business problem
- Key player access: The process guides the seller to identify the people who matter, resulting in 53% greater key player access.
I write more extensively about a customer first sales process and other aspects of sales transformation methodologies in my latest book: Digital Sales Transformation in a Customer First World. If you want to know the detailed approach that’s a good place to start.
(The data referenced above is from the 2018 Business Performance Benchmark Study)