Profitable Behaviours for Successful Sales

Venkat Malladi, Co-Founder & CTO, Vymo | Wednesday, 06 February 2019, 12:32 IST

Profitable Behaviours for Successful SalesSales leaders are always wondering how they can one up last year’s success. It’s not uncommon. Most successful sales teams have two things in common - a hunger for more and a forward fac­ing outlook. There is a third, less common at­tribute of super-successful sales teams, which I want to talk about.

Sales teams that are able to consistently beat their quo­tas focus on profitable behaviours and not just goals or out­comes. Successful sales organizations know that assigning a quota to a salesperson is only the beginning of the jour­ney - it’s akin to painting a bulls eye some distance away. They also know that discussing hits and misses is too late in the game to change anything. They focus on what hap­pens in between.

If you have been selling for a while, and your product-market fit is reasonably mature, then you already know the input parameters of an ideal sale. These are your products, your salespeople and your prospects and customers. But, do you really have this data to use?

The surest way of understanding this is by asking sales­people and their managers, separately, about the num­ber (and types) of activities salespeople engage in on a daily basis.

What we found was that there is a significant gap in terms of expectations and reality for the most basic data points. A good starting point to understanding why this is the case is to look at what are the primary systems used to capture sales data.

Organizations have been using CRM (Customer Rela­tionship Management) systems for over two decades now. CRMs acted as a source of records and enabled sales teams to store and retrieve sales data at will.

But, unfortunately, CRMs haven’t evolved beyond pas­sive databases to proactively enable salespeople to sell more. Instead, they have only increased in complexity to accom­modate all varieties of processes and stakeholders beyond Sales, ranging from Marketing and Service to Finance and Operations. It seems like salespeople exist to serve their CRMs and not the other way around.

Worse, salespeople think that CRMs distract from their top priority - engaging prospects and customers. Typically, salespeople report data onto CRMs when they find time away from their core activities at the end of the day/week. The data entered is neither accurate nor comprehensive, but there is no way of verifying this other than hearsay.

So, what can organizations do to collect and analyze clean, contextual data? One thing is certain - replacing ex­isting CRMs is not the answer. We see this so many times across prospects and customers - organizations moving from Salesforce to Dynamics or vice versa, often driven by the comfort levels or past experience of people cham­pioning the CRM initiative, rather than any real data that proves one is significantly better suited to solve their exist­ing problems. The result is an endless cycle of implementa­tion, training, onboarding, and success (or failure).

Perhaps, it’s time we calibrate our expectations. In order for CRM’s to proactively drive conversions, organizations must adopt a different breed of applications, which are mo­bile-first and intelligent. Think Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, and the likes, that can collect contextual data seamlessly and provide necessary intelligence that results in highly engaged users.

Sales is possibly one of the hardest vocations. This year, instead of incentivising your salespeople endlessly and re­lying on miracles to see you through, invest in profitable behaviours to predictable revenue.

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