Tag Archives: Coordinate

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.

How Do You Coordinate Sales and Marketing Plans? Four Points

Situation: A small company uses a sales plan, but not a marketing plan. The CEO wants to know about marketing plans, and how they are different from sales plans. Most importantly, if a company has both, how do you coordinate sales and marketing plans?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Sales and Marketing Plans are two aspects of the annual planning and revenue forecasting process. The difference between the two is focus – strategy versus implementation.
  • The Marketing Plan is strategic. It defines and quantifies the market that the company addresses, and also what markets the company does not address. It identifies the key attributes of the company’s market and products or services, and sets the broad direction as well as the high level objectives for the planning period – usually one year. It also covers both current products and product additions or extensions. The focus of the Marketing Plan is one-to-many.
  • In contrast, the Sales Plan is focuses on execution of the Marketing Plan. Ideally, the sales team takes the Marketing Plan and sets individual and team sales objectives that will meet the revenue objectives set in the Marketing Plan. The focus of the Sales Plan one-to-one – what each sales representative, and each division of the sales team (unit, district, region, country, and so forth) commits to sell during the coming year.
  • To coordinate the Marketing and Sales Plans, it is best to draft the Marketing Plan before asking the sales team to draft their Sales Plan. It helps the two teams to coordinate their projections for the coming year and allows the sales team to project sales based on changes to the product mix included in the Marketing Plan.

How Do You Shift From Regional to National Operations? Three Foci

Situation: A company has a network of regional offices, operating under loose oversight from the home office. Increasingly, large customers are asking for national service agreements, but the company struggles to coordinate uniform national service delivery. How do you shift from independent regional to coordinated national operations?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • If you want to act like a national company, then organize like a national company. Create a national account office which will take the lead in negotiating national contracts. That office will then coordinate with the regional offices to assure that service delivery occurs according to contract.
    • As the national office is built, it will be important for them to understand how service delivery may vary between states because of differences in state regulations. This will require a manager who is experienced and knowledgeable in your field. This may be a promising current regional manager or an outside individual from your industry.
    • You will also want to define customer categories which will enable you to classify current and prospective customers as regional or national accounts. You may want to consider three customer categories, for example Regional, Emerging National and National Accounts.
  • The key to success will lie in your incentive and professional development structures.
    • If region managers receive their incentives and promotions primarily for developing regional business, then this is where they will focus.
    • If you want the region managers to shift their activity and priorities to creating and servicing national contracts, then bias both your incentives and professional development programs accordingly.
    • For region managers, continuity of business will be a top priority, as this enables them to maintain region performance. To come on-board with the new program, they must perceive a value for both themselves and their customers.
  • Once you have determined your structure, look for high profile wins that drive the structure. Reward and promote those who produce these wins.
    • These producers will become your champions for change.
    • The message will spread quickly across the organization.

What Are Best Practices For Managing a Due Diligence Process? Six Suggestions

Situation: A family-owned business received an unsolicited letter of intent to purchase the company. The Board is split on sale of the company, but has agreed to allow due diligence. Only a few key employees are aware of the LOI. What are best practices for managing a due diligence process?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • A due diligence process can be a major distraction. Put as short a fuse as you can on the due diligence process; insist that the information requested be limited in scope to essential materials to minimize distraction; and that the process not interfere with scheduled company commitments.
  • It is exceedingly difficult to hide reality from the troops. Good due diligence is incompatible with secrecy. Absent communication about the situation, if rumors develop at least a segment of employees will assume the worst leading to possible employee loss and erosion of leadership credibility.
  • It is better to explain the situation and put it in the best light. Here’s an example:
    • The company is not for sale but has received an unsolicited inquiry.
    • This is happening because the company is successful, is producing consistent value, and others appreciate our success.
    • Whatever happens, the company will continue as a going concern and if the company is sold, all efforts will be made to assure the retention and security of the employees.
  • Ideally, communicate this through a company-wide announcement, with video link to remote sites, and with the opportunity for employees to ask questions.
    • Brief all key managers in advance, with Q&A scripts to deliver a consistent message and address individual questions.
  • Strictly control the due diligence process.
    • Restrict direct contact with employees and, to the extent possible, with key customers.
    • Maintain your focus on the business – there is no guarantee of a sale.
    • Put retention packages in place for all key employees.
  • If the deal does not go through, assume that it will negatively impact company results for at least one quarter. Adjust your forecasts and incentive programs accordingly.

Key Words: Due Diligence, Purchase, Time Line, Distraction, Communication, Message, Coordinate, Q&A, Limit, Incentive, Retention Package