Bending the Sales Productivity Curve in the Right Direction – Examples in our “cross selling” Track at our Forum (March 4-5)


Share on LinkedIn

During my keynote presentation, I will talk about new ways to bend the sales productivity curve and take a more strategic view of sales enablement – as always, the goal is to focus on bridging the gap between strategy and execution.

One of those “new ways” involves thinking about “different patterns of perceived value” that your customers have about your organization and the role it plays in solving their problems. Based on those patterns, you can create segments of “revenue streams.”

Why break it down like that? Well – not all of your clients want you to be their strategic partner – some even just want you to supply them with the same old products and services that you have been selling them for years. You bend the productivity curve by matching the right sales model to these patterns of buyers and then optimizing the value chain behind sales to meet that value exchange requirement.

Here’s what tends to happen – it’s one thing to realize this kind of segmenting is necessary, to move past the fantasy world that they are the strategic, trusted advisor for a majority of their customers, and realize they are stuck in different pockets (for example – in reality, they struggle to move outside of procurement, are stuck inside groups of IT buyers, or sales teams are told they don’t have permission to speak with executives).

It’s also important to recognize that a growth strategy of “why don’t we just sell more to our existing customers” is actually very, very hard to execute. As I said above, most firms are realizing they need to identify a handful of different patterns that require new approaches to break out of the growth obstacles created by existing dynamics and conventional wisdom. I’m not going to lie to you – this is hard work. That’s why when we put together this track, we thought it best to highlight actual clients in their journeys. I will participate in each session to help tie the key points of each story back to the main themes we share on the main stage.

Here is what we’ve got lined up in terms of topics:

From selling products to lower level buyers…to driving business outcomes to executive decision-makers (Software AG)

Dave Barber is in the process of transforming his State and Local sales team from “technical advisors to manager and director people within IT organizations” to “drivers of business outcomes for the senior most executives” within a few targeted agencies. Learn how Dave has developed a framework to help organize a variety of different perspectives and conversations into a clearly focused business outcome. What’s been the impact so far? In opportunities where they follow an outcome-selling framework, they are seeing deal sizes 500% larger than their average contract value and in some cases these opportunities are closing 2 to 3 months faster than other deals. While the outcome-based conversations are a lot easier to have with clients – the barrier they still have to overcome is the literally decades of internal muscle memory to want to talk about their products and services. You can learn some valuable lessons from Dave, specifically – what does success look like, but also what organizational drag and comfort zone challenges you might expect inside your organization.

From random acts of sales support around product sales…to role specific content aligned to drive more strategic conversations (Cisco)

Cisco’s executive committee has recently created a global, strategic sales enablement function with the remit to reduce the “random acts of sales support” while at the same time improving the productivity of its various sales forces. One of the key issues they had to address along this journey was the sheer amount of content generated across the organization. Product marketers, field marketers, solution leaders, architecture teams, various training groups, demand generation teams…they were all creating content without a common purpose or leveraged a set of standards. The result: Tens of millions of dollars invested in resources whose value was not only difficult to gauge (since they lacked purpose), but in many cases worked against their well-intended goal of helping sales people. Far from “helping,” they actually overwhelmed the sales force with information overload. In this session learn how Cisco has already cut out millions that went directly to the bottom line of their firm’s income statement by illuminating the problem for the executive committee, getting a mandate to address, and creating a governance process to enlist the buy-in and support of the organization. Thierry van Herwijnen will share the real-world journey he and Cisco went through, the importance of creating a strong governance model, and the architecture he is implementing to make sure all content is focused on driving sales results.

From “how do we make order entry easier?”… to “man, this is changing our business!” (J. Hilburn)

Do you want to hear a story about how are custom tailored suit manufacturer focused on the customer experience and increased their average deal size by 50%? That’s not sexy enough for you? Ok, what if I told you what they did was create a business application that originally started out as some boring order entry system – but evolved into a client facing mobile experience for their stylists (their sales people) that is so compelling, their independent network of agents are rushing out and buying iPads, just to be able to use this application! Interested now? Alright – then how about this… our session won’t be a presentation. Nope –what you will see is a live, unrehearsed sales call between a stylist, a buyer, the founder of the company and his head of merchandising. They’re going to walk through what is happening and how much work they had to put in to make something so simple. That’s what we’ve got in store for our last track – you don’t want to miss this one. In this session (we certainly cannot call this one a presentation), you’ll meet J. Hilburn’s founder, Veeral Rathod and his team, who will give us a real-life experience of what a sales meeting in the 21st century looks like.

For those of you in large organizations, most of your CEOs are looking for their sales and marketing systems to boost organic growth in the 5% range while squeezing out more margins from existing customers. For example, In December – MetLife announced one of its major strategic thrusts is to drive $250M of additional operating margin from its corporate benefit clients by 2016, and in January Symantec outlined its target for 5% organic growth by 2015. If you work from a company that has 1) lots of products, and 2) still requires a sales force, chances are you sales and marketing organizations have been given similar business objectives. Do you think the same things you’ve been doing in the past are going to get you to where you need to be?

Join us in this track session to learn about how companies are rethinking their old ways of doing things that are resulting in some very interesting results (as noted above). Remember….

· 500% larger deals that are closing more quickly

· Needle moving cost take out on redundant marketing, while improving quality and usefulness

· 50% increase in average deal size and creating of new business strategies

I’m look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale on March 4th – 5th.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Santucci
As a principal analyst at Forrester Research, Scott Santucci has deep knowledge and hands-on experience working cross-functionally with product, marketing, and sales teams to develop innovative and effective integrated programs designed to improve the entire revenue cycle.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here