Navigate your sales tech stack with a sales technology roadmap
The best way to manage incoming sales tech is with a detailed sales technology roadmap to help your team plan for the future.
Little in the world of sales is static. Customer requirements are ever-evolving and, in response, most sales organizations are in the midst of change, whether it’s a new CRM, methodology, product launch, coverage model or the like. Too often, however, these major changes result in minor impact because they fall down at the point of individual execution and behavior change.
It’s not surprising, then, that talent is on the minds of most sales executives. According to recent Korn Ferry research, the vast majority (69.1%) of organizations agree that they lack the sales talent they need to succeed in the future. Yet, while broadly acknowledged as a challenge, less than 1/3 of sales organizations that participated agreed that they have a talent strategy that would close such a talent gap and support achieving business goals.
If asked, most sales executives could describe the key tenets of their go-to-market strategy without batting an eye. But there’s often little definition regarding a talent strategy needed to underpin the approach. This results in key inefficiencies and ineffectiveness:
However, 85% of world-class sales organizations have a formal talent strategy. Such a strategy is owned by sales, is data-driven and aligns major talent processes in the context of an integrated seller lifecycle.
Those looking to take a more strategic approach to talent should start by closing the three common gaps noted below.
Talent strategies start with the coverage model and a sales operations exercise for determining the volume of sellers needed and within which roles. From there, hiring, onboarding, coaching, ongoing enablement, engagement, succession planning and transition all need to align. Defining a talent strategy starts with understanding what each of those processes looks like today and how well each one is working.
Assign roles and responsibilities for each of the major processes that you identify within the scope of the talent strategy. For example, you may need sales operations to define the exact staffing required, sales enablement to guide hiring profile creation and HR to manage applicant tracking and legal defensibility of hiring decisions. In addition to assigning responsibilities, ensure formal collaboration. Sales management may see a change in the field that is an early indicator that hiring profiles need to change, but this information may not get shared without a formal avenue for doing so. Given the nature of collaboration required across the enterprise, the CSO will have to play a large role in driving the strategy and making the case for sales ownership.
Sales organizations have tons of data, yet they rarely measure talent with anything beyond quota achievement. Instead, organizations can mine behavioral indicators (e.g., competency demonstration), productivity measures (e.g., conversion rates, win rates and time to productivity) and lagging indicators outside of revenues (e.g., customer satisfaction) as well as data on attributes and traits collected during the hiring process.
By nature, some of these will change over time, and some will not (your tendencies and traits vary little over time). Therefore, you need a range of data to use for a range of purposes, including refining hiring profiles, designing onboarding approaches, coaching individuals and determining training needs. To learn more about sales performance tracking, read sales performance is more than a number: 4 different ways to measure sales goals.
This is just the beginning. Setting up a sales talent strategy isn’t a project. It’s like any other part of the annual (or semiannual) planning process. It needs to be constantly refined and evolved. As noted in recent Korn Ferry research, organizations that do this well report much higher revenue plan attainment, higher quota attainment, higher win rates and lower attrition than their peers.
For more information about developing a sales talent strategy, contact us here.