5 Critical Points of a Contemporary Selling System and How Thought Leaders Manage Them


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At SAVO’s Sales Enablement Summit last month, our CEO, Mark O’Connell, shared a clip from MSNBC in which Safra Catz, president and chief financial officer at Oracle, blamed a fourth quarter miss on their sales force. Their whole sales force. Not just Kyle, the new account executive in the southeast who just couldn’t quite grasp the product or sales process, but the entire sales force. (See, Kyle, you aren’t alone.) Oracle’s sales had slipped two percent because the sales force, “lacked urgency.”

It seems to me that Ms. Catz is appealing to the popular interpretation of Ockham’s razor – the simplest answer is the right one. (That isn’t really what Ockham meant, but that discussion is for another blog.)

Sales slipped, the sales force must be lazy. They aren’t trying hard enough. We’ve given them great products to sell, they just don’t want to. But, I’ve yet to meet a seller who lacked urgency. If anything, the sales men and women I’ve interacted with are abundantly urgent.

The sales force had lost its leader in June and was moving into a new product space and selling method. Simply put, Oracle had the vision and the products it wanted to sell but none of the tools or education in place that their sales team needed to be successful.

Because this is all too common, SAVO identified five critical points of the contemporary selling system that are prone to breaking down, and what’s necessary to prevent situations similar to the one experienced by Oracle.

The Five Failure Points

The Lead – 80% of marketing leads do not advance. And with 57% of purchase decisions completed before your seller even speaks to a prospect, “Kyle” better have access to more than contact information for that first conversation. SAVO seamlessly integrates marketing automation, CRM and sales education, providing the sales force with relevant data and details such as what educational webinars their prospect attended or which marketing materials were requested and industry facts pertaining to the buyer’s industry.

The Process – A mere 19% of companies are effective in following a consistent sales process. Sales quickly retreats to familiar terrain when faced with changes to their environment. Too many sales forces are inundated with information but lack instruction on how it’s relevant to the buyer. SAVO helps build effective sales forces by giving them the right materials and resources generated in response to the specific needs of the buyer at each stage of a sales cycle.

The Meeting – Only 7% of reps are getting a second meeting. You’ve invested in your message, but lose oversight when it comes to the reps leveraging it. What’s happening during these conversations? SAVO smart technology delivers social selling and intelligence, giving your team an edge. Add SAVO mobile, and they have access to necessary information, anytime and anywhere.

The Proposal – 78% of companies prepare proposals manually, and almost 50% start from scratch each time. Think of the time drain and opportunity for inconsistency or compliance failures. SAVO configures custom proposals with your data and intelligence, integrating all stakeholders. As the deal solidifies, you’ll watch your dashboards and forecasts update in real time. Plus, you’ll be assured all proposals are compliant.

The Analysis – 8% of organizations analyze pipeline as a way to uncover the root cause of opportunity attrition. This is like diagnosing a heart condition without investigating the arteries and veins pumping blood through the organ. SAVO’s sophisticated tracking and state-of-the-art analytics give you real and relevant data. Marketing executives can learn what materials are being used in the field and know what’s working, what’s not and what’s needed. Sales managers, can turn “B” and “C” account executives into star performers by replicating the behaviors and patterns of your “A” execs.

As the complexity of sales cycles, products and businesses evolve, so must our understanding of the tools needed to shape a successful sales force. The Five Failure Points outlined above give us a starting point from which to begin some base level changes in the way our sales organizations execute and succeed.

Diane Gillespie
Diane Gillespie is the Vice President, Marketing Communications at SAVO, the industry's pioneer, innovator and leading provider of Sales Enablement solutions. Diane brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm and thoughtful practice to SAVO's marketing and communications efforts. A seasoned marketing veteran, Diane has led brand development efforts and executed communications campaigns for many of the leading Fortune 50 companies as well as emerging start-ups across a wide range of industries.


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