How Do You Optimize Your Sales Organization? Seven Points

Situation: A company currently has inside and outside sales teams, and coordinates efforts with SalesForce.com software. Their strategic initiatives are to double inbound leads, create a triage approach to new leads and to lower the cost of sales. How do you optimize your sales organization?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • When outside sales claims that they have limited band width, it is necessary to find how they are spending their time.
    • If they are not spending most of their time developing and closing sales, adjust the system so that they are concentrating their efforts in these two areas.
  • Decide what the sales teams are selling – set up the organization so that it complements the sales goals and objectives. Below are alternatives used by others.
  • One company has evolved “product managers” who are like sales engineers but more experienced. They are highly paid and highly skilled. They are business oriented, with good communication skills, well rounded, and have successfully closed sales.
    • In contrast, the role of this company’s “salespeople” is to follow up. Lower level salespeople are tasked with generating leads for the product managers
  • Another CEO observed that what the company has done up until now all has worked well. The question now is how to mature their system?
    • This company’s solution has been to use outsourced Inside Sales Support (ISS) based abroad to find prospects.
    • ISS personnel are teamed with and managed by the company’s salespeople. Salespeople develop their own system. The ratio is  1/1, but outside personnel are ½ time for each salesperson.
    • This allows the company to reduce services quickly if they become overwhelmed.
  • A third company uses a 3-tier system:
    • Prospect development.
    • Inside sales for lead evaluation.
    • Outside sales – get hot leads from inside sales, develop, close.
  • Consider this alternative: instead of a shotgun approach, target three accounts – Elephants. One company did this with an intense 6-month focus. The President and CEO drive these sales. The result: they have closed one, one is pending, and a third is likely to close.
  • Another CEO observed that the essential issue appears to be an efficiency problem.
    • Too much of the outside sales time adds limited value to marketing or the company.
    • Redirect their efforts to hunting.
    • Once an account is closed, sales is out of the picture. The customer transitions to the customer service organization for additional sales and service.

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