The Blueprint for a Successful Sales Organization
Did you know the average win rate for an Inside Sales Team is only 22%?
But elite teams win 50% of their deals.
That’s a BIIIG difference. Achieve this as a sales leader and you:
- Double sales without hiring a single rep.
- Earn more money with less stress.
- Impress your boss or CEO.
- Get Promoted.
But, getting there isn’t easy. In fact, I struggled with low win rates for years.
I was hired at 23 to run sales for a startup. Predictably, my responsibilities grew with the company: soon I was hiring and managing a large team.
The problem was I had no idea what I was doing. And I wasn’t alone: many SaaS sales leaders have little formal management or sales training. They learn by trial and (lot’s of) error.
No surprise the average inside sales team closes at just north of 20%.
So how can you join the elite and close 50% of your deals?
The answer is simple. World-class sales leaders are world-class at two things:
- Identifying the next, MOST important thing to work on
- Taking massive action to complete it
Sound easy? The good news is it is relatively easy with the right approach. Just design your organization the way the experts do.
The Blueprint for a Successful Sales Organization
Though each company demands a tailored approach, there is a universal framework for building a successful sales organization.
I call this “The Blueprint”. There are 5 building blocks:
- The Menu
- The Thematic Structure
- The Plan
- The Tools
- Focused Execution
1. The Menu
Attempting to increase win rates before knowing every option is like ordering food before reading the menu.
But, that’s exactly what most sales organizations (and their leaders) do.
Instead, FIRST take time to identify the possibilities, THEN prioritize.
Action: Meet with key members of your team. Ask: “what discrete initiatives could we greenlight to improve our win rates”?
Brainstorm and consult resources until you have identified at least 100 initiatives.
2. The Thematic Structure
Sales leaders who work on 10 completely unrelated items tread organizational water.
Avoid this by creating a Thematic Structure of possible initiatives. This is your blueprint for success: an organized vision of what your sales organization looks like once it’s a well-oiled deal-closing machine.
This Blueprint will help you focus your efforts, prioritize, and create an effective long-term plan to improve your organization.
Action: Organize your menu of initiatives by theme
Each case is unique, but the most common high-level themes for a SaaS company are:
Start with a few major themes like these, and group your initiatives (and sub-initiatives) accordingly.
Goal: Create a clear visual structure that indicates how each initiative fits into the bigger picture.
3. The Plan
Here’s how most sales leaders plan their quarters:
- Pick a couple “flavor-of-the-month problems” reps are complaining about experiencing
- Cobble-together ideas for solutions
- Work like hell to implement them
Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Don’t keep making poor Henry roll in his grave: use your new Menu and Thematic Structure to improve proactively instead of reactively.
Action: Make a strategic plan for the next Year:
- Review your Thematic Structure
- Identify the broad swaths that are most important to complete this year
- Prioritize and create a plan by Quarter/Month
To drive lasting improvement, focus on comprehensively attacking the broad set of initiatives for specific themes each Quarter.
4. The Tools
Top sales leaders consult world-class resources. Thematic execution gives you the time to prioritize depth over breadth in your sales education. Seize this opportunity to level-up your research.
Focused on improving your People this quarter? Don’t just read blog posts: buy, read, and review “The Sales Acceleration Formula” by Mark Roberge. It’s comprehensive and, when aligned with your core focus, well worth the reading time.
Spend less time reading listicles and blog posts, and more time sucking the marrow out of world-class resources.
Action: Consult comprehensive, world-class resources when executing each quarter’s thematic initiatives.
- Proactively identify the 2-3 best resources for each theme
- Consume them and keep a detailed list of takeaways
- Incorporate these takeaways into your Quarter’s tactical plan
5. Focused Execution
Without Focused Execution, none of the rest matters. There are two rules you must follow:
- Do work on the initiatives you’ve prioritized
- Don’t get distracted along the way
Boy is that easier said than done…
Action: Incorporate these three tips for achieving focused execution.
Goals are tricky little devils. They require willpower to accomplish, and you can’t control the outcome.
You can control habits. And, when properly selected and implemented, habits nearly guarantee you achieve your goals.
- Goal: Hire 6 rockstar AEs by January
- Habit: Reach out to 10 qualified candidates every morning
See the difference? A goal’s success is determined by the outcome. A successful habit determines the outcome.
- Practice “The ONE Thing”
According to the fantastic book The ONE Thing¨ there is always ONE thing you can do to achieve your goals that “makes all the rest either easier or unnecessary.”
The key is to make this happen before you work on the flotsam and jetsam of the day.
Is hiring your priority? Schedule two hours at the beginning of each day to identify and contact candidates.
Stephen Covey put it best: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
- Protect your time.
Practice extreme minimalism outside your Blueprint Roadmap (much easier once you have a Blueprint).
Respond to irrelevant ideas/requests with “I love the idea, but our priority is to build our Blueprint for a World Class Sales Organization – let’s complete xyz first, and then decide whether to tackle this.”
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”
If you craft a quality blueprint and diligently complete it, you’ll see real, lasting improvement every quarter. Soon, you’ll have all the tools in place to be a top sales organization.
Want to save time building your blueprint for success? I’ve organized 114 ways a SaaS company can increase win rates into a single, thematically organized diagram here.
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