In SBI engagements across the board, a sample list of Commercial Go-to-Market challenges we’ve heard include:
GTM model changes (i.e., on-prem to SaaS)
ELT misalignment and lack of support for the frontline
Sales org model shifts
Lack of fundamentals
Coaching Culture - non-existent or inconsistent
When these issues arise, often, commercial leaders are asked to get into the weeds and get tactical in providing solutions. If you find you have missed your growth targets for this quarter or multiple quarters, we suggest two focus areas for immediate impact:
- Provide foundational tools to enable your commercial team, and
- Establish a consistent coaching culture of excellence.
These tools will help your commercial team get a fast start in 2023.
Standardize commercial excellence with a comprehensive sales playbook.
A consistent approach to opportunity management allows repetition to turn into revenue. You should codify your entire sales process into a sales playbook. This playbook contains clearly defined sales stages with exit criteria corresponding to objectively measurable buyer behavior. Sales playbooks should address everything from lead discipline to the use of tools and the importance of why consistency matters.
Your sales playbook provides a framework for understanding customer needs and moving deals through the sales process with techniques to advance deals quickly. Each sales stage should include responsibilities for all internal roles supporting the selling process and a detailed list of job aids that standardize and support sales motions.
Recommended sections of your Sales Playbook:
- Sales Approach - Your company’s sales approach is a framework for customer communication and selling. It clearly defines how to respond to client needs, analyze them, and present solutions. This approach unifies all of the teams involved in the sales process.
- Sales Process - This section includes an overview of sales stages, activities conducted at each stage, and exit criteria for each before advancing and closing a deal. This process should outline how it maps back to the buyer's journey. It should also describe data entry and reporting.
- Buyer's Journey - Include your buyer's journey framework for how customers operate within the sales process, including their thoughts, drivers, expectations, and touchpoints at each stage. Outline sales techniques to be used at each stage - ideally, by persona.
- Buying Personas - Understand the priorities and key benefits for personas on the buying decision team and how your product/service appeals to each.
Establish a sales management cadence that supports coaching excellence.
Are your frontline sales managers coaches or "super sellers"? Without a prescribed methodology and regular meetings for sales coaching, many frontline managers will coach to the opportunity at hand. Instead of developing sales competencies in their teams, these managers try to execute on their behalf. And because they can’t effectively manage every opportunity in their territories, they feel overworked and unable to devote time to coaching.
The primary role of the sales coach is to inspire and lead the team to become inherently motivated to learn. The most effective sales managers scale their experience and expertise across their teams with a regularly scheduled cadence of meetings designed to reinforce processes and upskill talent. A coaching playbook enables sales leaders to establish a disciplined framework to manage teams, build on the success that can be repeated, and drive accountability.
Recommended sections of your Sales Coaching Playbook:
- Coaching Methodology - Define and illustrate each stage of the coaching journey from the coach's perspective and those being coached. This outline will share how to handle common scenarios, mistakes, impacts, and principles to be an effective coach.
- Coaching Cadence Expectations - Outline what coaches should cover monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, daily, and ad-hoc. Clearly communicate when individuals should expect to review their pipeline, forecasting, outstanding deals, or skill building, as examples.
- Cadence Event Templates - Provide templates to save time and create consistency in how to prepare for a coaching meeting. Give them sample call agendas, coaching questions, and what good looks like for your team. Sellers and coaches will feel supported and enabled.
- Skill Development Resources - Document guidance to coaches on behaviors to assess competency and where to identify necessary skill development. Provide context for each skill, how coaches can initiate conversations, and action plans.
By coaching reps to become more effective sellers, win rates will increase, the sales cycle time and attrition will decrease, and ramp-up for new or upskilled reps will be faster. Sales enablement to your managers with a coaching playbook provides a unified approach to the reps and eliminates surprises.
An illustrative coaching methodology - an essential part of a Sales Coaching Playbook and a key building block for a successful sales management cadence.
Without a foundation and documented processes, sellers flounder, and sales managers haphazardly coach sales performance. Sales and sales coaching playbooks will standardize motions across your team, ultimately accelerate pipeline velocity, and define a coaching methodology for front-line managers. While the upfront work may seem daunting, establishing the foundation for your growth journey will typically provide an immediate impact cascading to future quarters.