Sales Organizations Can Follow Repeatable Paths to Their Goals

topo logoSales organizations at high-growth companies need more than just top sales people to reach their goals. It may be easy to say that they need things like processes and operational support, but building or improving an organization requires a consistent approach that can be applied across all of the sales reps and the related functions.

The TOPO Sales Framework is a standard methodology practiced by the world’s fastest-growing companies and supported by research into sales practices. This is a series of repeatable activities that are organized into the following elements: strategy, people, process, technology, tactics, and metrics and can be used to build, or iteratively improve, a sales organization.

Sales Success Starts with Strategy

Defining the strategy of the sales organization starts by understanding the market for a company’s products or solutions and the foundations of the go-to-market.

Market: Target market is often used to describe the companies that might buy a product or solution, however, that is too broad of an approach to maximize sales results. The creation of the Ideal Customer Profile–which identifies the attributes of an organization’s best customers, and therefore helps determine the accounts that are most likely to buy–is a critical step to building the target account list. Organizations must also identify the key individuals at those accounts involved in the buying decision.

Go-To-Market: Defining how to go to market can be broken down into four components. These are the revenue model: the defined targets for leads, meetings, opportunities, wins, and ACV by account tier or segmentation: the dividing of the market based on factors like company size or industry; territory coverage model: sales reps assignments to cover geographic regions, industries, or accounts; and data strategy.

Hire and Retain the Best People

The sales reps and their support staff are required for a world-class organization to thrive, but that can only happen with documented processes to attract and retain the best people. The sales organization needs a plan that defines the elements of team structure and alignment of resources, plus detailed plans for recruiting, hiring, compensation, and culture.

Design a Sales Process with Reps and Buyers in Mind

The sales process is a step-by-step roadmap for managing a buyer’s evaluation of a product or solution. The process includes every stage from initial interest to final purchasing decision. It is foundational to any sales organization for designing, building, and optimizing the sales team’s execution of the go-to-market strategy. Yet nearly half of sales leaders list the lack of a formulized sales process among their greatest challenges, according to the TOPO Sales Benchmark Report 2017.

Drive Scale and Automation with Technology

A technology stack can make sales reps more efficient during each phase of the sales cycle and enables sales leadership to plan and execute go-to-market and operational initiatives. The ability to drive scale and automation with technology includes: identifying, purchasing, configuring, and maintaining tools. As well as building templates, creating the training curriculum, and developing certifications to onboard and train sales reps.

Tactical Excellence Wins

The day-to-day operations of a sales team owes its success to the development of repeatable and consistent activities. Flawless execution, especially at high-growth companies, is all about support of the team with operations, messaging, plays, and enablement.

Operations: Organizations need an end-to-end operational plan that focuses on rep productivity, efficiency, and execution. Supporting reps require accurate quota planning and forecasting. As for the enterprise sales teams, the deal desk is critical, which provides support with complex pricing, contracts, RFP responses, and nonstandard deal requests.

Messaging: Sales reps must understand how to create customized and relevant messages that demonstrate how the company’s products and solutions solve a buyer’s challenges. This starts with a messaging framework, which is built upon personas, insights, value props, use cases, and objection handling.

Plays: There is nothing more core to sales rep activity than the definition of the plays they run from initial outreach to the close of every sales cycle. These include prospecting, discovery, presentation, demo, trial, proposal, close, an account plan, an opportunity plan, and a stakeholder map.

Enablement: Onboarding, training, and coaching of sales reps can be easily overlooked, but this function ensures that even the best sales reps can do their best selling and meet their goals. Playbooks and certifications are also part of the enablement process.

Track the Metrics that Matter

Sales Leaders must have easy access to dashboards and reports to assess ongoing sales performance. With all the data that is available today, it is too easy to get inundated with too much of the wrong data. Leaders and teams need to focus on the most relevant metrics that indicate that sales reps are meeting expectations, including: forecast, pipeline, conversion, activity, and process/SLA.

Every sales organization, whether high-growth or low-growth, can follow these recommendations to meet their sales numbers. A company may achieve short-term success without a systematic approach to their sales organization, but with repeatable, scalable processes in place, companies can achieve long-term, sustainable growth. .