“Sales” is an integral fragment and mainstay of any industry / organization which largely contributes to its success (or failure). Excellence in Sales is however, a prerequisite with ever increasing need for process & efficiency enhancement, which is non-static & an ongoing progression. While it’s a mammoth task to identify the need gaps, conceive, research, develop, produce & package a product for customers / end consumers by multiple functions within the organization, the ultimate onus of its success rests on Sales function thru the right mix of Go To Market Strategy, adequate penetration levels, stock weights, delivery, etc., since it is the primary external interface of any organization.
The very mention of Sales as a function however, often raises aspersions, doubts & subterfuges on the execution excellence & finally, on the custodians thereof. With strong fundamentals, non-negotiable
ethical approach, strict disciplines, no shortcuts and firm SOPs in place, every organization can deplete chances of mismanagement, true for every compartmentalized section of an organization, not to mention Sales alone. The Critical Success Factors for Execution Excellence in Sales if practiced religiously, can extend the best of results, even in the worst circumstances.
With a great product, competitive pricing & right marketing mix at hand, diligently deployed Critical Success Factors play a crucial role in attaining excellence by the Sales Function.
Proven Critical Success Factors for “Execution Excellence in Sales”:
- Hire the Right Fit: It is critical to have the right talent on board. Better to have low number of high-caliber headcounts than more low cost me-too recruitment’s. Any compromise on competence backfires. With regards to fresh recruitment’s thru campus placements, youngsters with the desired attitude, extroverts with a flair for sales are most suited, while aptitude is built-up subsequently.
- Training and Development: Competitive Sales Force coupled with consistent upgradation of the desired Functional & Soft skills development amongst each team member is essential for an impactful delivery (particularly front-line managers), since they are the ones mostly interacting with clients & are the face of the organization.
- ABP (Annual Business Plan): To be meticulously, aggressively, yet logically planned. There needs to be reasoning to an aggressive business plan. Achieving the end result is not thru downloading the same to team, but creating conviction amongst them on the methodology, logic, gap-analysis, reasoning & guidance to deliver time-bound objectives. Once the team is convinced, there’s no looking back.
- Go-To-Market(GTM) Strategy: One of the most critical aspects of a great execution is clearly laid out GTM Strategy, depicting fundamentals & approach, desired reach, penetration, stock weight & efficiency levels. Once defined, the same needs to be clearly specified & buy-in sought from each stake-holder (read managers, who then need to download the same to the team, with the same conviction). Constant subsequent monitoring & review of each parameter of the GTM Strategy, gap analysis, identifying deviations and immediate corrective measures play a key role in ensuring the desired level of performance.
- Customer Profiling: One of the key takeaways from GTM is the right Customer Profiling, as approaching the wrong target customer / consumer would be averse to the entire planning & an exercise in futility.
- Marketing Support: Considerable planning, execution, funds & efforts go in to provide apt Above-The-Line / Below-The-Line (ATL/BTL) support by marketing and hence, it is imperative for Sales organization to leverage it to the fullest & ensure appropriate positioning of the product in the customer / consumer’s mind. Placements at the right stock-points in the right quantity need to be ensured well before spends commence on ATL, while activations & promotions need to be focused at high-traffic touch-points.
- Data Analysis: How you get there is Tactics while how you measure performance is Metrics. Data analysis & review is the next most critical measure of excellence. Analyze – Correct –Recover. This point is being reiterated at the cost of repetition. Many companies have loads of data, but very few effectively analyze the same and act on the real pain-points. Most of the missed opportunities emerge thru data analysis and most effective corrective measures devised therefrom, if done earnestly.
- Leadership: Constant analysis & review of data provides insights, but leadership is all about compassion towards the team, guidance to the weak links, prioritizing the priorities, hitting the right cord with the teammates who need it the most. Often experienced are the bottom-ranked performers who if counselled compassionately, prove to be the most motivated workforce & eventually, asset to the organization.
- Discipline: There’s no substitute to discipline & there’s no short cut to success. Maintaining strict discipline even during good times inculcates the good and lessens chances of failure even during turbulent times.
Here’s hence, wishing you all great success thru “Execution Excellence”, in all times to come.