Any business expense should represent a tangible return on investment. The sales arena is no exception. If your business is paying for a sales resource it’s natural to want to measure its effectiveness and value.
How people do this varies but, when the wider benefits of what a really effective sales function can bring aren’t considered, measurement usually comes down to the cold, hard numbers. Working like this however risks overlooking factors that not only prove success, but indicate a journey along the right kind of growth path.
In our experience, applying a financial-return-only logic often leads to failure, or at the very least, a false narrative of success. One that nurtures a culture preoccupied with whatever it takes to meet those numerical KPIs.
Ultimately, this can mean poorly matched sales leads that don’t meet wider criteria (such as cultural fit), cause stressful relationships and cost everyone more time and money to process.
Shifting the perception of value.
A truly effective sales function is not just a cash generator. It’s a front-line source of market insight, a channel through which to constantly measure your relevancy, a brand building tool and even an employee engagement opportunity.
As sales & marketing tools and practices pull closer together this becomes increasingly the case. The lines are now blurred, one cannot exist without the other or succeed in the other one’s place.
Integrated and deployed correctly, sales can be the area of business used to ensure sustainability, influencing everything from your positioning, people development, operations and product & service language. And, like any other high-value business function, a size of return like that inevitably comes at a price.
Masuring sales performance with these factors in mind enables you to shift the perception of value. Viewing a well-managed sales departments as an investment in the right kind of sustainable growth, means viewing this price as just that, an investment not a cost.
And once that’s done, the entire process becomes a more profitable and rewarding one – and also a lot more fun.
Establishing a variety of key growth objectives and measurement criteria at the start of the sales process - not further down the line - focuses effort, saving time and money.
A solid process for the development of new opportunities creates operational efficiencies. If your sales function is proven to free up precious resources when developing proposals for example, then that's a business improvement.
Listening to prospects about their main challenges and objectives offers invaluable market insight. By setting a goal for the regular collation of this information enables you to evolve your own service offer in response.
Using insights gathered by the sales function means being able to develop the clearest and most effective sales & marketing messages. This reinforces your position in the market.
Good sales campaigns are vital in terms of building brand awareness with the right people, and unlike some traditional marketing channels, can be accurately and consistently measured.
Communicating sales activity back into the business raises awareness of the bigger picture and how everyone plays a role. Shared understanding promotes contribution which can mean even more sales leads.
Having a proactive and busy sales drive builds your reputation and profile as an employer. The more you get seen by competitors and customers, the more the word gets out, which in turn attracts better talent.