Priority #1 Rethink Sales Model; It Probably Needs a Tune-up, Overhaul, or Rebuild: Resolution for New Year…

Most business ‘sales models’ are probably– outdated, ineffective… and most likely needs an– overhaul, or at least a tune-up. Hence, Priority #1 for New Year Resolution must be to rethink the basic concept of your sales model… In fact, your entire  business selling process probably needs rethinking, and possibly a complete restructure.

According to Kal Pelham; to be successful in modern global business environments, sales organizations must have a deeper plan, different points of view, more ambitious vision… Hence, a basic business strategy must have a sales model that– delivers value;  learns what motivates customers to buy;  discovers better ways to measure and manage sales performance; match sales strategies to the way customers buy; create value mapping strategies to improve market penetration;  empower revenue generation at all points of customer contact…

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By contrast, companies that do little to rethink the sales model are often saddled with a larger, cumbersome… and ineffective sales organization that not only erodes margins, but worse miss sales opportunities with high-value customers… Without a doubt it’s time for business to rethink– why they do, what they do… rather than just to continue to accept the status quo with little question, which may undercut their ability to achieve business objectives…

Business has become addicted to predictable and follow the crowd mediocrity… Figuring out how to design the perfect sales model for a business can be a challenging task, and even more daunting is identifying how to get a sales team to adopt a new methodology is an entirely different conversation… Hence, for the New Year, it’s time for business to stopped using failed or damaged sales models… and give it all a second thought…

In the article Does Your Sales Model Need Overhaul or Tune-up? by Christopher Ryan writes: When designing a new, or optimizing an existing, sales model, you are faced with some tough but extremely important decisions. The lifeblood of your business is not only in creating valued products and services, but also the ability to acquire new customers at a low-cost relative to the average transaction amount… And even if you are convinced you have the best sales model (no overhaul required), it can probably be streamlined (tuned up)…

Hence, it’s better to address the sales model issue now, instead of waiting until you are under pressure to produce better results next quarter or next year… One important factor to keep in mind; unless you are in a rare monopoly situation, customers have the control, not you. In fact, their ‘buying funnel’ may look very different from your ‘selling funnel’…

Hence, when you are overly rigid in your approach to sales, it creates conflict between seller and buyer… The trick is to accept the realities of the customers’ buying habits, know and understand your organizational strengths, and then align business strengths with the way customers want to do business. There are three steps in the alignment process:

  • Survey how your customers buy today and how they want to buy in the future…
  • Align key buying criteria with ability of sales model to fulfill specific criteria…
  • Offer flexibility as customers change/evolve their needs and wants…

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In the article Give Your Sales Strategy Overhaul by Meredith Elliott Powell writes: The economy and customer behavior are changing rapidly, and while the political leaders and economists are busy trying to decide if the economy is up or down, the truth is, it just does not matter… We live in a constantly shifting economy, where customer loyalty is at all-time low, competition is at all-time high and technology has made– more people, more accessible than ever before… And while change has always been part of the business landscape, changes in the next few years pack more punch and have far greater impact on the people you do business with and how you do business, than ever before… and that can create many opportunities for business growth and expanded customer relationships…

Hence, rethink your sales model and rethink your attitude on how you conduct business, e.g.; three changes to make now:

Educate yourself; you need to have the knowledge, information and resources to help your customers make better decisions and navigate the constantly shifting economy…

Proactively advise; many customers are unprepared for modern-day global business, which should motivate you to be more proactive in your engagements…

Expand sales team; today’s customers are no longer listen to you, or what you say about your business, or your products, services… Instead, they are turning to friends, families, social media, reviews… Hence, you must know customers intimately, create an engaging sales model, deliver an amazing experience that generates significant buzz in social media and elsewhere…

In the article Is Complexity Killing Your Sales Model? by Dianne Ledingham, Mark Kovac, Michael Heric and François Montaville write: The sales models for many large companies have become more complex and less efficient.. and a few key factors that account for this reversal, starts with how the shape of customer demand have changed in many industries, e.g.; customer are more sophisticatedcustomers expect providers to help solve their business problems… customers are more experienced with competition… customers are less loyal…

Hence, restructuring a sales model for the new business realities does require substantial effort and time– but it’s no longer optional… Leading sales organizations must figure out exactly which products and solutions they should sell to which core customers, and how to adapt these offerings efficiently for other customer segments…

Sales organizations must also devise a repeatable sales model that can be applied to existing customers with new products, or for selling existing products to new adjacent segments… Hence, the sales model must be able to identify and engage a market’s ‘sweet spots’ by using two basic criteria: segments with the most attractive life-time economics, and segments where a company’s distinctive offerings win consistently…

An effective way to identify sweet spots for target segments is to map the potential choices along a spectrum of solution types, each of which can influence the go-to-market model. The exercise involves defining the nature of the solution, the target decision makers, the sales cycle, and the implementation team required… Another way to glean or refine your ‘sweet spot’ is to listen closely to customer feedback… get the right people and channel in front of the customer at the right time…

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In the article Dismantling the Sales Machine by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman write: Sales leaders have long fixated on sales process discipline. They created opportunity scorecards, qualification criteria, and activity metrics– all part of a formal sales process designed to help their sales team members replicate the approaches of star performers. This is the world of the ‘sales machine’– built to outsell less focused and less disciplined competitors through brute efficiency, world-class tools and training…

For years, tuning this machine has been the primary means of boosting sales productivity. But recently sales effectiveness has been caught off guard by a dramatic shift in customers’ buying behavior. Even as leadership has tightened compliance with a sales process that have served them well, sales performance has grown increasingly erratic. Companies are reporting longer sales cycle times, lower conversion rates, less reliable forecasts, and compressed margins… In essence, the sales machine is stalling…

In the modern digital world, process-driven sales machine approaches are falling short, because they give a sales person no room to exercise judgment and creativity in dealing with highly knowledgeable customers, and they leave sales people with little to do but compete on price… It’s a new business environment that favors creative and adaptable sellers who challenge customers with disruptive insights into their business– and offer unexpected (and some times unorthodox) solutions…

Delivering the right insight in the right way requires determining, knowing– what the customer has already concluded about its needs and available solutions, who the decision makers are (often not the usual suspects), and what it will take to change their minds… The most effective approach to selling can vary radically from deal-to-deal… as a result, in recent years, sales has seen a dramatic uncoupling of specific sales activities with specific outcomes; the sequential tactics that once led to predictable progress in a sale, in many cases no longer do…

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According to Ann Lambert; it’s the age of the customer and sales models must be aligned with customer behaviors, market dynamics, industry trends… also, digitally empowered buyers expect sales people to have the skills and knowledge to deliver ‘real’ value and solve complex problems— not just pitch product…

According to Forrester Research; developing relevant, competent, and a productive sales model is a far more difficult challenge in this digital age than it was just five or 10 years ago… Hence, to successfully overhaul a sales model and organization to meet needs of– customers, markets, sales and business as whole– Business must understand, acknowledge,   and deliver on the modern global business realities…