As revenue leaders, you must be busy preparing for your Sales Kick Off (SKO) for 2022. With so many challenges being carried forward from the last two years, are you wondering what a modern SKO might look like for the coming year?
The approach you take must communicate your go-to-market strategy for the year ahead, and set up your sales reps for success. To make this happen, you will have to address some of the most pressing challenges that your sales reps face.
In this article, we have compiled top tips from 15 revenue leaders on what they plan to do differently for their SKO 2022. These are the top use cases these leaders plan to focus on.
We believe it will be helpful in making your next SKO a game-changing event and will help you drive your revenue acceleration plans.
1. Understand who your reps are speaking to and at what stage
Your sales reps probably speak to multiple prospects on a daily basis. However, the most initial prospects might not always be the most valuable when it comes to closing deals.
As the sales cycle proceeds, it’s not uncommon for different personas or buyers to enter the conversations. The more information your reps have on these new entrants, the easier it will be for them to close deals faster.
In short, your sales reps must be adequately equipped to handle dynamism with respect to buyer queries at different stages of the sales cycle.
For instance, a deal might be at a later stage in the sales process, and a new persona might enter into the conversations through your email threads. This should not go unnoticed, and your system should alert on the role that this new stakeholder might play in the deal journey.
Instead of being lost on new buyer personas entering the sales conversations, the right tool can help you figure out some of the following questions:
- Is the new persona valuable in accelerating my deal cycle?
- Does the new persona have a say in the decision-making process?
- Does the new persona affect my deal size?
Depending on the answers you get, your sales managers can coach reps about the persona(s) that are now a part of the buying committee. They can also educate reps on how to handle the probable objections that might come with them.
This way, your sales reps will be alerted and prepared to mould the forthcoming conversations with the new persona in mind.
2. Use activity data to understand if the deal is real
Sales pipeline management continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of managing a sales team. While there are automation tools that have made it simpler for sales managers to create detailed sales pipeline reports, the quality of these reports might not always be of value.
The key reason is sales pipeline bloating.
Over a period of time, your sales pipeline might get bloated with many opportunities that are no longer viable. This happens because your sales reps might not want to eliminate any deal opportunity, even if no conversations have taken place in a long time.
Your sales reps might also believe that the bigger the pipeline is, the more value it holds or creates a positive image of their selling skills for their managers.
However, the truth is that these opportunities end up wasting time and resources when conversations are missing. They need to be eliminated from the pipeline so that reps can focus on deals that are actually valuable.
If your sales managers have a clear picture of where the pipeline looks bloated, they can decide on how to drive predictable quarters for themselves.
The activity data of the reps can be used as a leading indicator to determine which deals are real and whether the deal has a potential to be closed or not.
This significantly improves the sales cycle and helps focus on deals that actually yield positive returns for your organization.
3. Monetize the value of your CRM
Sales technology, such as CRM tools have become an integral part of the sales process for top-performing organisations. While CRMs solve a lot of challenges sales teams face, they also have certain limitations.
Sales people spend 17 percent of their day entering data into their CRMs. This struggle to find clients, research and keep CRMs up-to-date can suck out the energy of your sales reps, leaving less time for them to spend on more strategic and revenue-generating activities.
CRMs also run the risk of carrying incomplete data as manual entry is prone to error. Overtime, CRM data can also become stale and not really add any value to closing deals.
Your sales reps are busy. You need to give them automation solutions that make their lives easier. According to Hubspot’s Global Sales Enablement Report 2021, leaders and managers who use automation as a part of their sales process are exceeding revenues.
Automation is helping reps improve their productivity and close more deals by eliminating manual tasks from their everyday life. By automating parts of their sales process, sales leaders free up rep time to focus on selling.
A system that logs all activities of your sales reps, creates contacts and updates business objects such as accounts and opportunities in your CRM without any human intervention can potentially free up five to six hours of their time per week.
Nektar maintains CRM hygiene by automating the data entry process and provides timely and accurate insights on revenue activities, delivering 3 key values -100% CRM hygiene, higher win rates, and increased deal velocity.
4. Improve playbook compliance for consistent selling
Poor internal processes can be the major reason causing deals to slip through the cracks. When reps from your teams communicate differently with customers, it might harm your brand’s reputation.
A playbook freezes the sales process to be followed, and helps create a strong foundation for your teams. An HBR study found that 50 percent of high performing sales organisations had sales processes that were closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated.
Sales playbooks can be that go-to resource for salespeople that outlines their roles and responsibilities, along with mention of successful methods, case studies and tricks to win deals faster and better.
A well-researched and developed playbook can empower your sales teams to engage customers at every step of the buying journey. It can help identify best buying behaviours that lead to more deals, which can then be replicated by everyone else in the team.
When everyone follows the specific guidelines outlined in your playbook, any kind of deviation from the principles stated will potentially be highlighted as a red flag.
Playbooks ensure that there is consistency in communication and selling. As you scale your sales teams, having a common set of processes to follow can help avoid confusion and help you scale faster.
Build a playbook for your organization that can act as a solid foundation for your sales force to win more deals. You can use a deal intelligence platform that brings together all the engagement data across your emails and other contact points in a single place.
Nektar’s playbook engine can help you configure your winning playbooks to drive more revenue and adopt best practices across the team.
5. Coach reps using leading indicators
Sales coaching is a cost-effective way to ensure you are not missing out on deals. Companies that provide quality coaching can reach 7 percent greater annual revenue growth.
The way sales coaching takes place has transitioned from a primarily face-to-face interaction to virtual coaching in the post-pandemic era. Sales managers can give real-time coaching to their reps by analysing their sales cycles.
Your sales managers should be able to define the areas to coach their reps on by identifying leading indicators that might be blocking the sales pipeline.
For example, lack of following up continues to be one of the top reasons for losing out on deals. As high as 44 percent of salespeople give up after just one attempt when only 2 percent of sales are made during the first point of contact.
If sales managers can have an overview of the follow-up score of their reps, they can immediately highlight it to the concerned person and understand why the lag exists.
Depending on the responses, sales managers can offer one-on-one coaching to their reps and encourage them to adhere to the playbook guidelines. Make coaching a key part of your SKO plans.
As you plan for your SKO 2022, make sure your teams have real-time visibility into all deal related activities. Create a single source of truth for everyone in the company, rather than getting your reps confused with disparate data sources.
When you enable your teams with a centralised view of operations across all customer-facing functions, you can ensure that your revenue does not slip through the cracks.
If you’d like to explore how Nektar can help you with any of the above use cases, drop us a word at [email protected]