Go ahead and get excited about this.
When we talk about the Revenue Roadmap, people get excited. There’s a physical change in the room. People lean in, sit on the edges of their chairs, and put down phones.
I’m not kidding.
Whenever we discuss the Revenue Roadmap, sales leaders instantly recognize a plan – a map – a well organized set of ideas that are crucial to effective sales. The ideas below are in top-to-bottom order, too. You need to have Insight on your customers and your business before you can move on to your Sales Strategy, and so on. We find that when sales organizations try to tackle one of the lower levels – Enablement, for example, which includes training and sales compensation – without carefully reviewing the upper disciplines, the solution won’t be as effective. It sounds obvious – you can’t have a great sales comp plan unless you understand the sales strategy, and you can’t have a great sales strategy unless you understand your customers’ needs – but you’d be surprised how many sales organizations operate without going through each of these disciplines.
So here they are. Let us know what you think.
The first layer of the Revenue Roadmap, insight, pertains to understanding the market and competitors and how the business is performing. Insight is the highest level competency: understanding the voice of the customer, the macro market, competitor moves, and the performance of the business. That insight will drive certain decisions to the next downstream level, which is sales strategy.
Listening to the voice of the customer is a critical starting point. Sales leaders must understand the needs and expectations of their customers and their performance relative to those expectations. That insight allows leaders to see any gaps and determine where they can improve value proposition, sales coverage, and sales process.
Sales leaders also need to consider what’s going on in the macro market environment, especially as it relates to their industry. Certain shifts in the economic environment can – over the long term – drive decisions about the sales strategy and how they might plan for where the market is going, as opposed to where they are right now.
It’s essential to know how competitors are performing from a growth and financial perspective. Sales leaders also have to understand their competitors’ offers to the market and how they are positioning their products and services.
Finally, sales leaders should look at the company’s historic and projected revenue and profit performance. This evaluation should consider whether growth has come through the retention of current customer revenue, the penetration of customers through increased usage or additional products, or the acquisition of new customers. By understanding the business performance they can see where they’ve been strong and where they’ve been weak, and they can adjust their sales strategy accordingly.
The second layer, sales strategy, defines the sales organization’s action plan to achieve its goal. The sales strategy will drive decisions concerning product and service focus, concentration on certain markets, value propositions, and the resulting approach to market.
First and foremost to the strategy, it’s critical to define the core and strategic products and services the business provides. In many companies these are developed based on the needs of certain customer segments. Too often however, products or services are internally driven and may not align naturally with customer needs, requiring a significant change in the offer or value proposition.
The organization determines how it will organize and prioritize customers and prospects through its segmentation and targeting. The most effective segmentation and targeting considers characteristics such as customer industry, sales potential, profitability, common needs, and overall fit with the sales organization’s business.
It’s important that segmentation and targeting flow into a plan that’s actionable by the sales organization. Simply defining the segment at a high level is not going to answer the sales rep’s question “Who do I go see on Monday morning?”
The value proposition goes beyond what the sales organization communicates to customers and articulates the organization’s understanding of the customer’s business and issues, what the organization can accomplish for the customer, and how the organization differentiates itself from the competition. The highest level value proposition is usually communicated at a company level. To be effective for sales however, the organization must convert its value proposition to sales messages that can be communicated at the segment level, customer level, and deal level to adapt to changing situations and customer needs.
When developing the approach to market, sales leaders should incorporate decisions about product, service, target segments, value propositions, and potential sales resources into a plan that can be executed by the sales organization. The customer coverage layer converts that plan into action..
Customer coverage, the third layer, defines how the organization will use its channels, roles, processes, and resources to go to market.
Sales channels outline the overall routes to market, whether they’re third party companies such as resellers, referral partners, retailers, or whether they’re part of the company sales force which could include a range of sales jobs. Sales leaders need to base the selection of their sales channel mix on factors like how the customer prefers to buy, how channel partners might improve the overall product offer, their ability to reach customers in different markets, and the financial efficiency of using lower cost channels to reach certain customers or conduct certain types of sales or service transactions.
Within sales roles and structure sales leaders must consider the types of sales and support jobs they’re going to use and how the organization is structured around those jobs. Sales jobs typically will align to customer segments and can range from global account management to field sales to inside sales. The structure may be developed around key segments – for example, the telecommunications industry or major accounts. It may also be defined around certain geographies, functional roles, or some combination.
Sales channels and sales roles integrate with the processes for working with customers. In fact, the best customer coverage models are built from the customer’s buying process with a sales process and roles that reflect how the customer prefers to work. Sales processes lay out the common approaches for how the sales team identifies prospects, qualifies opportunities, develops solutions, manages the momentum, closes the sale, and implements the product or service for the customer. While sales processes vary widely even within a single sales organization it’s important to define the optimal or preferred sales process as a foundational point for the organization to manage and optimize performance.
Sales deployment maps the feet on the street and the level of sales resources needed for each of the sales roles by geographies, segments, or other forms of account assignment. Deployment is typically guided by a combination of sales capacity (available sales time and workload) to manage current accounts or sell to new accounts, sales role and customer alignments, and logistical factors like geography and travel patterns.
Enablement, the final layer of the Revenue Roadmap, supports all of the upstream disciplines within Customer Coverage, Sales Strategy, and Insight. Enablement includes areas such as incentive compensation and quotas, which aligns sellers to the sales strategy. It includes recruiting and retention, which define the current inventory of talent and determine how the organization is going to attract and retain the right talent for the long term. Training and development builds the capabilities of the organization for people currently in their jobs and in junior roles that will progress into key sales roles. Tools and technology provide leverage by enhancing the effectiveness of gaining insight and implementing the organization’s decisions around sales strategy, customer coverage, and enablement.
Please review our new book, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation, and let us know what you think! To learn more, visit us at SalesGlobe.