Miller Heiman Blog

What is "World-Class" Sales Performance?

If you work in sales – in any capacity – you’ve probably come across the term “World Class.” People describe organizations as having “World-Class Results” or “World-Class Performance.” But what does this mean, really, and who sets the standard? There isn’t a Guinness Book of World Records that companies can benchmark against, or even a governing body, so when sales leaders attempt to gauge their performance and compare themselves to the “World-Class” model, who holds the measuring stick?
 
At the MHI Research Institute (formerly the Miller Heiman Research Institute), we felt there needed to be a gold standard for the leading practices in sales. “World-Class” is a critical designation that should be defined so that sales organizations across the globe will have a way to measure their performance.
 
To set a global standard, we developed the Sales Best Practices Study more than twelve years ago. The research methodology we use—studying a global response base and measuring demographics, behaviors and performance, then translating these findings into a multipart view that designates World Class—connects sales behaviors to outcomes.

Examples of findings from past Sales Best Practices Studies

To illustrate the types of insights the MHI Sales Best Practices Study has unearthed, I’d like to share with you a few key findings from previous years: 
  • In 2013, results showed three dominate attributes that characterized World-Class sales organizations: customer core, collaboration, and calibration of success. Our research found that the companies that were centered on those three key principles were able to outperform other organizations by 22 percent across key sales performance metrics.
  • The 2014 study revealed defining characteristics of World-Class sales professionals: conscious collaboration and performance accountability. We connected these qualities to the World-Class organizational attributes identified in 2013 and, based on these findings, created a framework for a performance-driven sales culture. This afforded companies the ability to connect to customers, work together well, have a measurement system in place, and recognize and reward those sales professionals who are able to achieve World-Class status. Achieving all of these attributes, however, is a complex formula.
 
As a result of conducting the MHI Sales Best Practices Study, we’ve learned that World Class is a synthesis of behaviors and activities, which occurs across all organizations, verticals, and geographies. Taken together as a whole, this becomes a composite vision of World Class for the entire sales profession.
 
All of us in sales are on a journey to World Class—and it’s unique to the context of our own organizations and roles. It is not just a status: World Class is a vision for the best that your organization can achieve.
 
In 2015, our mission is continued expansion. We wish to analyze and explore the attributes, behaviors, and performance of global sales professionals and organizations. We have eleven years of data and 30,000+ responses to guide our proven methodology. We host the unique research that connects sales behaviors to outcomes, leading to our composite vision of World Class.
 
We hope you’ll join us for the 2015 MHI Sales Best Practices Study. It is open until November 30th. The study has the distinction of being the only behavioral assessment and benchmarking database connecting sales and performance. We believe it’s important to know where others are relative to your sales organization but, ultimately, only you can decide what it means in your world and your unique pursuit of performance.

Take the 2015 Sales Best Practices Study

Posted by: Joe Galvin | Chief Research Officer
Posted: 9/17/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


What's Your Plan for Winning

In my many conversations with fellow sales leaders all over the world, I like to ask them a simple question: What is your plan for winning?

As expected, the responses are as varied as the people who give them. It’s very interesting how their answers give me a glimpse into the kind of sales leaders they are and the organizations they operate in. But what I find truly fascinating is the fact that sales leaders from the better-performing B2B companies seem to have a plan in common for winning - to focus on the customer. This is also what emerged from the results of the 2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study. For four consecutive years in the study, we’ve asked respondents to rate themselves on the following statement: We clearly understand our customer’s issues before we propose a solution. Our running average the last four years is 92 percent for World Class Sales Performers against 45 percent of all respondents.

What this tells me is that the winningest organizations have unlocked the secret of putting the customer at the core. At MHI Global, we take this a notch higher. We call it perspective selling. It’s really a basic practice that’s often overlooked: Provide perspective that’s relevant to the customer. It’s the same advice we give our clients who are serious about winning.

You’ve probably heard me say time and again that the sales profession is more than just about taking the orders and that a true commitment to the customer means going beyond the sales and focusing on the results the client is trying to achieve. After getting a clear understanding of the customers’ concepts of what they’re trying to fix, accomplish or avoid, the best sales professionals take that base information, analyze the challenges, and share important perspectives and information before offering solutions that are aligned to the customer’s desired outcomes and concepts. True customer-focused sales professionals apply the lessons and experiences they have learned from other successful engagements. In the same manner, they’re not afraid to speak with candor when the customer’s solution idea may not be the best option based on the failures the sales professional has seen in other organizations in similar situations.

Now you’re thinking, “OK, Sam, I get the concept behind perspective selling, but how do I get my team to do it?”

Two words for you: Empower and collaborate.

Empower every individual on your team to become problem solvers. Encourage them to challenge current mindsets and to think outside the little box called “closing the sale.” Inspire them to think bolder—that maybe there is a better solution that’s better than what is obvious right now. Most of all, train them to speak their mind in a way that is tactful so that they can have rich and stimulating conversations with their customers and prospects that help build their credibility as advisors.

Next, collaborate within the organization and among different units. Many minds are better than one. When multiple ideas and information are exchanged, every individual in that conversation is better informed than before they came to the meeting. New salespeople learn from the veterans and vice versa. Sales teams discover new knowledge from the support team that fields customer complaints and provides after-sales service. All that knowledge adds to the experience and expertise of every member, who in turn shares that with their customers as value-added perspective.

Posted By: Sam Reese | Chief Executive Officer
Posted: 9/15/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


Sun Tzu and the Art of the Fourth Quarter

It’s that time of year again. The trees are on the turn, and there’s a chill in the air. The brisk autumn wind carries the certainty of one thing. No, not winter. The fourth quarter.
 
For those of you whose fiscal year follows the calendar year, this can be a stressful time. The race to the close of the year can be just as slippery, treacherous and unforgiving as the journey to and from the office. Now is the time to check the tyres on the car, the batteries in your flashlight, and the integrity of your sales funnel.
 
I can hear some of you now. “Yeah, right. If I could get my team to use our CRM system, maybe we might have a fighting chance at funnel integrity. But I barely have any visibility past the end of this month, let alone to the end of the year.”
 
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
 
OK, so as Sun Tzu advises, let’s pick our battles. I’m not saying CRM adoption isn’t worth fighting for. After all, it costs enough! I’m saying that in the fourth quarter your troops need to clean out the rubbish from the sales funnel and focus on the opportunities they can win.
 
Hopefully, you already have a well-defined sales funnel with a common vision of how an opportunity advances from stage to stage. Remember, I’m not talking about what actions your salespeople take to advance an opportunity, but rather, what actions your customers take as they advance through their buying process. It’s not the commitment of your salespeople to the process that defines the worth of an opportunity. It’s the commitment of your customer.
 
If you haven’t defined the stages of your sales funnel and the actions your customers take to progress through it, do it now. Inherently, you know that some of the opportunities have gone mouldy or exist only in the mind of the salesperson. Only by defining the stages and the customer commitments required to advance an opportunity will you be able to qualify which deals are still live and worth investing in.
  
How do you assess the opportunity and the customer’s commitment? By asking for tangible commitments from the customer to advance the opportunity to the next stage in their buying process. When should you do this? Ideally, every time you meet with the customer, but at no time is this more important than when heading into the fourth quarter.
 
If a customer won’t make the necessary commitment, it may be time to walk away so you have the reserves to focus on those opportunities you can win.
 
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Dan Donovan | Sales Consultant
Posted: 9/10/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


How to Build a Performance-Driven Sales Culture

The professional athletic team is probably the best example of a performance-driven culture. How you play the game matters, but not nearly as much as the wins and losses. Professional statisticians track the team and the athlete’s performance down to the minutest detail, linking them to the final results of the game, tournament, or season. The professional athlete constantly hones his or her skills, on-season and off. Even at the top of their game, they are always looking for ways to improve.
 
It’s no wonder that sales leaders use so many sports analogies when they “coach” their salespeople in the field. They try to instill the same kind of focus on performance that the professional athlete has. They try to build a performance-driven culture.
 
The 2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study examined the activities and behaviors that drive World-Class Sales Performance. Among these, performance accountability rose to the top as a key driver.
 
3 Elements of Performance Accountability
We all know what accountability is. However, in sales, performance accountability has a very specific meaning and is made up of three core elements: excellence in connecting with customers, collaborating with others, and managing to performance goals. Let’s examine these three elements in more depth:
 
Connecting with customers. Excellence in connecting with customers means that the sales professional takes the time to understand the customer’s concepts and context and connects these to the solution they are proposing.
 
Collaborating with others. Sales professionals understand that they perform better when they work as a team. They collaborate to elevate their own performance as well as the performance of others.
 
Managing to performance goals. Finally, sales professionals keep their eye on the goal. They know what the final objectives are as well as which activities and behaviors will get them the results they need. Like the professional athlete, they are always honing their skills and seeking to improve their performance.
 
Do You Have Sales Reps or Sales Professionals in Your Organization?
In sports, performance accountability is the difference between the professional and the amateur. In sales, being accountable for your performance is the difference between being a sales professional or just another sales rep. Organizations do not build performance-driven cultures with a team filled with sales reps. They need sales professionals.
 
To learn more about how fundamental performance accountability is to an organization, watch this short, on-demand webinar presented by Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer of the MHI Research Institute. In the webinar, Joe delves into performance accountability and highlights the key differences between the sales professional and the sales rep.
 
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Jodi Beuder | Director of Product Marketing
Posted: 9/8/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


Sales Enablement and Technology – The Execution Gap

Watching a film we are often impressed – apart from a great story - by the technique or style with which the artistic work was produced. We are impressed when a film is entirely professional in its execution.

Execution - the act of doing or performing something, of carrying out a plan, a course of actions to achieve a certain goal. The execution gap is the third part of my little series on sales enablement and technology. The change gap and the collaboration gap were the topics of the first two posts.

Technology is not to blame
Executing a technology implementation can only be done successfully if a few cornerstones are in place that also serve as a foundation to master the change and collaboration gaps. How often do you see technology decisions made, but major stakeholders from the lines of business were not involved accordingly, and the preparation work was only done in parts, if at all? Then, the change and collaboration gaps popped up, one after the other. Execution is in short supply. Blaming begins. But – given a functioning system - technology is not to blame. It does what people allow the system to do. Root causes are how well the decision was made; how well vision, mission, purpose, goals and roadmap were defined; how well the implementation was prepared from a business perspective; how well change and collaboration gaps were mastered; and how well the program was executed.

Vision, mission, purpose, goals and strategy have to be defined from a business perspective
Very often, these essentials are missing. Phrases like “improving collaboration” and “improving productivity” are often used, but they are not even a goal. They don’t tell a story, they are not measurable, and the question “from what to what?” is not answered. Even more important is the often missing trilogy of vision, mission and purpose. Why is that so important? A vision statement is focused on the future—it answers the question “Where do we aim to be?” A mission statement talks about the present leading to its future; it answers the questions “What do we do and how do we do it? What makes us different?” Purpose answers the questions “Why are we doing this? Why does this program exist?” It also covers the guiding principles that lead all actions to achieve the goals. Then, a strategy can be derived, which is a roadmap to get from here to there.

Methods, process and frameworks have to operationalize the implementation
A successful implementation requires conceptual homework. It requires holistic and system thinking, led by a business perspective. To leverage sales technology successfully, to justify the investment, a robust framework of methodology, embedded in a flexible process, guided by principles rather than by rules, has to be in place. It’s the heart of the system you are going to implement. It’s the same for sales enablement or CRM technology.  The focus for a CRM system is more on the sales methodology and the sales process itself. For sales enablement, the conceptual framework defines enablement services along the sales process/customer’s journey based on sales methodology and engagement principles. The operational framework defines how enablement services are created, published and provided as well as localized. If that’s in place, collaboration is already operationalized, and change and adoption programs have a much stronger foundation.

Nothing beats leadership
Implementing technology is not only a huge investment, it also entails a lot of change and a different way of working collaboratively, which I addressed in the two previous posts. The combined challenges of change gap, collaboration and execution gap make for a complex environment, which requires leadership, leadership and leadership to succeed. Leadership cannot be delegated. Business power is necessary. The larger the program, the more leadership is required - from the sales leader – continuously.

Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.


Posted by: Tamara Schenk | Research Director
Posted: 9/3/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


Making Customers More Predictable

I thought for sure that deal would close last month!
 
How many times have you heard one of your salespeople say that? Customers can be some of the most unpredictable people you’ll ever meet. Just when you think they’re ready to make a decision, you discover they’re three steps behind you in the sales process.
 
Just last week, I was with a Miller Heiman client looking to use a disciplined approach to funnel management to improve the predictability of their forecasts. They understood the basics: Assess each sales opportunity to determine what stage it is at and then use the funnel to forecast quarterly revenue.
 
I went to the white board and wrote a question that caught them off guard. I knew it would, because it’s one of the most common mistakes otherwise disciplined sales organizations make. Here’s what I wrote:
 
What steps do your customers need to take to progress the opportunity through the funnel?
 
Predictably, there were a few blank looks, so I elaborated. Every buying situation is somewhat unique to the customer, right? Heads nodded. And the customer is the sole judge of when they move from, say, the awareness phase to the solution identification phase, right? More heads nodded. And your selling phases are mapped to the customer’s buying cycle, right? There were murmurs of phrases like “of course it is.” So I asked:
 
Then what does the customer need to do to move the opportunity from one phase of the buying cycle to the next?
 
As I mentioned, the meeting last week was a common one. I usually get answers that range from “the salesperson makes that determination” to “it’s a judgment call” to “I don’t know. We just sell.” This client was no different.
 
We spent the next 45 minutes discussing the importance of understanding the customer’s decision dynamic – how they will make this decision this time across all Buying Influences – and how to take this into account when progressing opportunities through the funnel.
 
I love this discussion because although the first part of it can be uncomfortable – nobody likes to be put on the spot – the second part is a lot of fun. Executive faces light up like kids at Christmas when they realize there really is an approach to forecasting that doesn’t rely on the gut instincts and political machinations of their sales team.
 
Once the excitement dies down a bit, I usually get asked what to do about strategic accounts. The solution is no different. The funnel works the same way whether selling a new solution to a new customer or cross-selling or upselling into existing accounts. An opportunity tied to a strategic account is still an opportunity needing a solid strategy and a realistic close date. Sales professionals who work with key accounts must still track and manage the opportunities that result from their ongoing relationship building within the account.
 
 
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Tim Call | Executive Vice President of Sales
Posted: 9/1/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


More On Performance Accountability – The Sales Manager’s View

Let us take a look at the phrase “performance accountability.”

According to Business Dictionary, performance is defined as “the accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed.” It is a result to be measured. Accountability, on the other hand, is a virtue. It’s the willingness to accept responsibility. Accountability is a key ingredient for achieving the expected performance goals. Accountability across the sales force ensures that the sales force’s energy is focused on executing the strategy successfully; that the right actions are in place to become world class.

Performance Accountability—a behavior of world-class sales managers
The 2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study identified three individual behaviors that drive World-Class Sales Performance. One of them is performance accountability. In my earlier post, we discussed performance accountability for a sales professional. Today, we discuss what performance accountability means for sales managers. One example is that in an average month, frontline sales managers (FSMs) spend adequate time coaching each individual on their sales team. The data shows a significant difference between world class and all respondents, a consistent trend over the last four years. Now, what does performance accountability look like for a frontline sales manager?

Accountability for leveraging salespeople’s full potential
Due to their span of control, FSMs have the biggest leverage effect in any sales organization. This is where sales execution happens – or not. How they lead their teams and how they coach each individual account for the big performance difference between world-class and all respondents. Their coaching capabilities separate the wheat from the chaff. Furthermore, performance accountability for coaching begins at the early stages of an account or territory plan and at the early stages of an opportunity. This is where the FSM’s coaching capabilities have the biggest impact on the salesperson’s performance, because that’s where the course is set for success.

Accountability for team performance
As FSMs are accountable for the performance of their team members, they are also accountable for their contribution to the sales organization. By insisting on the regular and natural use of the customer-management strategies, FSMs are the filter that ensures forecast accuracy and funnel confidence. That requires the FSMs to work solely with the implemented CRM/SFA systems and stay away from shadow systems that can compromise data quality. If an organization wants to improve their CRM data quality, the FSMs and the sales leaders have to walk their talk first. This is where leadership is required, and it makes all the difference between top performance and mediocrity.  

FSM Professionalism
World-class FSMs are professionals to the core. They practice hard to become better leaders, better coaches and better business managers. They ask their team members and their own managers to provide feedback on their leadership and coaching style to leverage their own potential. They have the courage to take risks – always with the goal of enabling their team members to deliver their best performance. Performance accountability also means collaboration: Pros share their own best practices. They engage team members to share their best practices and they take every opportunity to learn from others. Last but not least, they are well respected among the sales management and leadership teams.
Looking for more interesting data on World-Class Sales Performance?
  
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Tamara Schenk | Research Director
Posted: 8/27/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


The Power of Now

Recall the times you traveled with your parents in the back seat of their car somewhere in the mountains. It is vacation time and you brought your favorite book. You could not wait to find out how the story ends and you eagerly continued reading while your parents kept driving over narrow and bending roads. After a short while you felt sick. If you were lucky, you gave up reading quickly enough or your parents went for a halt. And that was it with reading in a moving car.

Now, think about today. You are deeply immersed working on an important customer proposal on your digital tool—for example, your tablet. In the background you hear a beep every other minute, indicating that you got an email, SMS, voicemail, market alert or a message from your social network. For me, the feeling of riding in the back seat of my parents’ car comes back, except I am driving on the data highway and there is nobody stopping the high-speed data ride for me. Today’s data highway keeps growing every day, with a staggering 2.5 quintillion bytes. This is 2.5 times 10 with ten zeroes, resulting in a doubling of data every two years. I call this the terror of now.

How can I make this a meaningful ride? Disconnect from all the external sources while doing creative work? Read emails only at certain times during the day? I believe we need to take one step back and recalibrate our value system. We need to assign the quality of our human interaction significantly more importance over a potential timely response. This means we must give ourselves permission to not sign-up for all newsfeeds, delete social media messages, and leave emails unanswered for a day. Instead, invest time in a phone call and talk about a valuable topic with a colleague or plan a mutually beneficial client visit. This way, you will find time during a workday for creative and rewarding work. Work life becomes fulfilling. Use weekends for nonwork-related fun and family activities, thereby recharging your energy levels. Let’s reclaim the power of now.

Our customers ride the data highway, too. They avail themselves of the freely and widely available data by searching the Web and gathering relevant information that helps them to move beyond the 50 percent mark in their buying process. This means vendors have been evaluated and preselected, specifications defined, and expectations formulated. We as business-to-business sales professionals get contacted and are typically asked via email to provide our information in a predefined evaluation form. This leaves little room for creativity and with me feeling that my offering has been reduced to a commodity, similar to performing a hotel room search through Booking.com.

Today, we are too busy compressing the past and the future into instant action. Where is the wisdom we learned in elementary school? Learn from the past. Live in the present. Plan for the future. What will you discover if you asked your customers to share their past thinking that led them to the evaluation form? Asking for anecdotal background will help you to emotionally align with your clients’ thinking process and allows you to contribute your own experiences that will lead to a mutual understanding while generating some bonding along the process. Finally, brainstorming about the state of the future makes the whole interaction highly rewarding and satisfying for all involved.

We need to increase the amount of direct human interaction and, by doing so, increase the level of quality and the amount of value added. Let’s get the fun back at work. Let’s put the power back into the now!
 
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Klaus Leutbecher | Sales Vice President
Posted: 8/25/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


Defining Sales Functions And Programs – How to Define Your Charter

Now, since we have defined vision mission and purpose (check out my recent post, “Defining Sales Functions and Programs - Why You Need Vision, Mission, Purpose First,” here), we have to be more specific. Based on your target audience (sales roles, sales manager roles, channel partners, etc.), motto, objectives, strategies and tactics, your specific services and your metrics have to be defined. As a sales leader, you must make sure your sales functions complete these charters. Also, make sure they connect the dots between the different charters to set a foundation for effective collaboration. Let’s look at your five steps to complete your charter. These steps build on the first three steps discussed in my earlier post.

Create an inspiring tag line to address your target audience
A tag line should capture your vision. Especially in times of transformation, change and adoption programs, those tag lines shouldn’t be underestimated. They influence how people will feel about your function, initiative or program. An example for sales enablement and/or sales training could be, Let’s change from “I have to sell a product” to “I love to solve my customer’s problems.” Then integrate vision, mission and purpose as discussed in my previous post.

Define goal and objectives
The goal is closely related to the vision. It captures what has to be achieved, e.g., “We implement sales enablement and collaboration platforms for the sales force” or “We want to provide a state-of-the-art CRM system that drives collaboration and effectiveness.” Goals do not have to be strictly measurable or tangible. Instead, objectives have to be tangible and measurable. Several objectives can lead to your goal. An example could be, “The CRM collaboration platform will go live August 1 for selected users; migration will be completed by October 30.” Another objective could be to “Implement interactive playbooks until September; decrease salespeople’s search time by 20 percent.”

Define strategies and create a phased approach
This section is about how to bring the vision alive. A strategy refers to a plan of action that is designed to achieve the defined objectives. Detailing the strategies, the activities have to be derived from, and connected to, the expected outcomes that have to be achieved. Capture all activities necessary to achieve the objectives. If you are going to implement sales technology or new enablement services, make sure there is an adoption activity included. Think about the salespeople you provide services for. Finally, organize the activities on a timeline and create a roadmap.

Define your services and offerings
Your services and offerings are what’s visible to your defined target audience, the different roles within the sales force and channels. Your services are what people use and how they will perceive your function. Those services may include sales enablement content, interactive playbooks, different training services, a collaboration platform, a performance-management framework, or a coaching guideline for sales managers. Define what is provided for which target audience.

Define how to measure success
Last but not least, define how to measure success. Those metrics depend on what’s included in your charter. If there are services to be implemented for the first time, milestones will be very important for you. If services are already in place, their effectiveness and their impact on sales performance are what matters. Finally, how efficiently are these services produced? Make sure to cover all dimensions adequately.


Now, put it all together. Begin with your target audience; inflate vision, mission and purpose from the previous post, add the topics that we discussed here – and create a compelling charter. It will become your go-to resource for any kind of internal selling, communication, change and adoption situation.

Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.


Posted by: Tamara Schenk | Research Director

Posted: 8/19/2014 4:14:58 PM by | with 0 comments


Defining Sales Functions And Programs - Why You Need Vision, Mission, Purpose First

Fitness, according to Oxford Dictionaries, is defined as “the quality or state of being fit.” That’s a general guideline, but what does it mean to you? It depends on your context. Are you a professional decathlete or a weekend trail runner?

Defining functions and programs the right way is key to success for both you as the sales leader and your sales functions as leader. Definitions create value only if they are adjusted to your organization’s specific context and challenges. Developing a big picture on vision, mission, purpose and core values is the first step in creating a meaningful charter for each of your sales functions. The purpose of such a charter is to support you in various internal selling and adoption situations with consistent messages that tell a compelling story.

And that’s the part in which you have to be deeply involved, because it’s about bridging the gap between business strategy and sales execution. Today we cover part 1 - vision, mission, purpose. A follow-up post will cover goals and objectives, strategies, and the function’s services and metrics.

Step 1: The vision describes the desired future state
It describes WHERE you want to be, and what you want to achieve on a high level. To develop, for instance, a sales enablement vision, the organization’s vision has to be mapped to both sales and sales enablement. Visions for sales forces often have to do with transformation from product selling to outcome selling. If so, your vision can describe, for example, being the leading internal function that drives the transformation toward outcome selling as well as productivity to create more customer value in complex buying environments. It’s of course different if sales’ vision is to build partner channels. Key to creating a meaningful vision is to work precisely from the top down. You cannot put the cart before the horse.

Step 2: The mission is about the current state leading to the future state
A mission defines HOW you will get to where you want to be. An example for sales ops could be defining and executing a sales operations framework to provide a compelling and integrated value-creation process from prospect to contract, easy to use and powered by technology. An example for a sales enablement mission could be defining and executing a cross-functional enablement framework to provide integrated services that are tailored to an outcome-oriented sales approach, powered by an enablement platform.

Step 3: Purpose and core values
The purpose answers the question WHY a certain sales function exists. A purpose can be that sales enablement orchestrates the various sources of knowledge to create integrated enablement services, tailored to each stage and each level of the customer’s journey. A purpose for sales ops could be to build the skeleton of the sales organization.

Core values show how you and your teams will behave along the journey to achieve the vision. This area depends on your organization’s culture. There are three core values you will always need in a world-class sales organization – collaboration, accountability and leadership.

Don’t underestimate these three steps. If these fundamentals are not defined properly, you and your functional leaders will need much more time to sell every single initiative internally. Be ready to provide answers to questions that are related to vision, mission, purpose and values. Invest your time wisely, and develop vision, mission and purpose for your core sales functions!
Watch for the next post, where we’ll talk about the second part of your sales functions’ charters – goals and objectives, strategies and tactics, and services and metrics.
 
Make sure you watch the latest webinar from the MHI Research Institute. Learn the key differentiator between a “sales rep” and a “sales professional.” Use the insights to change how your sales force works.

Posted by: Tamara Schenk | Research Director
Posted: 8/18/2014 6:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments


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