Creating a Roadmap for Sales Growth

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Today’s cutthroat market is putting increased pressure on sales and marketing teams to energize sales and achieve sales growth. Being successful requires more than just will, and organizations need to have a clear roadmap that helps them get the desired results.

Our Growth Services division believes in the following five-step approach to optimize sales growth:

1. Develop a clearly focused and executable strategy: This might sound obvious, but unfortunately, several organizations are encountering problems developing sales programs and strategies that are aimed at the right customer segments. Therefore, business leaders first need to leverage data to understand customers’ needs and determine which segments should be treated with which products or services.

USAA has excelled in this regard. The company’s mission is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates, and their families by providing a full range of highly competitive financial products and services. By doing this, USAA seeks to be the provider of choice for the military community. Everything the company does is based on this mission, which is highlighted during every meeting and influences every decision, big or small. Even their product range reflects their members’ needs and rather than specializing solely in insurance, the company also sells diamonds and facilitates vehicle purchases, among other things. True to its mission, the company has considered and is there for its members when they might need assistance during a major life event. This is an important reason why USAA has one of the highest Net Promoter Score™ (NPS®) in the world.

2. Develop feasible processes: In order to attract and engage customers, organizations need to have executable processes. We often meet executives who complain that their organization’s sales processes are outdated or difficult to conform to the changing demands of customers and the market. Rather than tackling the entire process problem in one go, we recommend that organizations focus on improving a single process related to a particular geography or customer segment or product.

3. Select the right tools: Business leaders need to take a look at the technologies used to support the sales process, and determine which ones are working well, which are no longer needed, and which are underutilized. This insight will help organizations identify gaps within the sales process and existing tool functionality, allowing them to determine what other technologies are needed to support the organization’s needs.

Amazon, for example, has put the right processes and tools in place that allow the company to establish a great relationship with customers who have never spoken to a representative from Amazon. In fact, according to Forrester’s North American Technologies Retail Online Benchmark Recontact Study Q3, 2011, more customers started their online purchasing journey with Amazon than with any other search engine in the third quarter of 2011.

4. Ensure the right execution: Having the right tools is just the start. You need to know how to use them to be successful in helping the sales organization reach its objectives. We recommend evaluating the organization’s objectives, assessing the readiness of the tools and processes to achieve these goals, and then acting on gaps to ensure you have the right execution.

AT&T, for example, recognized that it needed to reach out to customers with relevant information very soon after they signed a contract. The telecom provider recognized this window of opportunity as a way to make sure that new customers had what they needed. The company found that many times churn was related to customers being undersold, and therefore the service wasn’t meeting their needs. AT&T resolved this issue by reaching out to customers with the aim of understand their needs and make sure the services they were getting were meeting their needs. Doing this helped the company reduce annual churn by 40 percent and increase monthly revenue by 20 percent.

5. Encourage an adaptable culture: The right business culture is essential for organizations. To quote management expert Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Business leaders who think they can be successful simply by having a robust strategy are wrong. In fact, less than 30 percent of sales and marketing leaders who attended a Revana webinar on igniting sales growth last year said they were satisfied with their organization’s culture.

The right culture will showcase willingness to adapt and execute. For example, at Nissan the culture is not about the manufacturer but the dealerships. Unlike many other auto companies, Nissan understands that it depends on dealers to build advocacy and trust. The company wanted to drive satisfaction and decided to embark on combined marketing campaigns with dealers, leading to an outstanding ROI of 2,200 percent, increased NPS by 90 points, and increased the JD Power ranking by nine points.

Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld. NPS is a registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.



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