<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/4z2e82sWyhmveGlCzuJa" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">

How do you manage to predictable sales results in the middle of a turnaround?

Authored by Clinton McDaniel on February 21, 2017

 

Clinton McDaniel, Enterprise Business Development and Channel Sales Leader at GENBAND, posted this article on LinkedIn on January 28th, and graciously gave us permission to post it on our blog.

I have recently joined a new company as a part of an effort to transform flat sales into a growth posture. A lot of our strategy involves going to market with our portfolio and solutions, and after about six months, we are seeing strong success with YoY growth in the 200% range, and a pipeline that will support strong growth for the foreseeable future.

Thats a great story in and of itself, but in the middle of this transformation (and as a part of shaking off some of the rust) we encountered two problems: 1) the flat sales trend had produced a lot of slow moving opportunities in the pipeline that were now being intermingled with faster paced growth initiatives and 2) the visibility into the sales process and pipeline from a management perspective was a "manual effort" that gated our ability to scale. We needed to fix this in order to drive growth, and we needed to increase our velocity while improving our visibility. So here is what we did....

Step one involved a tremendous amount of data collection - mostly around mapping the buyers journey and the sales journey for our pipeline. This effort was accomplished through the use of account reviews and pipeline analysis.

Step two involved defining a detailed sales journey for our opportunities - with milestones, critical success factors, and an overall set of data points that would better enable us to assess the progress and health of an opportunity

Step three was the fun one - we had to figure out a way to implement this sales journey tracking within our Sales Force Automation. We use Salesforce.com at my company, and our team is a small group focused on a market that is adjacent to the main focus of the firm - so we couldn't walk in and change SFDC dramatically - we needed to do things in such a way that we accommodated the needs of the broader sales community. We also wanted to ensure that we maximized the time spent selling with our team, and not dilute our sales investments with a bunch of administrative work. So we ended up looking at three options: 1) figuring out a low impact way to use SFDC to collect data from reps and implement some reporting and analytics, 2) using a some of the collection templates that we used for account reviews as a permanent process that was parallel to SFDC, and 3) third party tools. We found that the SFDC option wasn't going to work for us, and that the parallel process was too labor intensive to use - so we turned to option 3 and started talking to a firm with which I have had some previous experience - TopOpps.

TopOpps is a SaaS pipeline tool that is basically middleware for SFDC. We were able to build a sales workflow with all of the milestones and critical success factors that TopOpps would then score and present to us as health metrics for deals, coupled with a smooth interface that makes it easy for reps to manage pipeline. TopOpps has an alert engine that makes it easy to flag deals that need attention, and then best of all, the solution has an analytics engine that makes forecasting easy and capturing trends and insights to bring to our attention with a minimum of effort.

Step four involved integrating TopOpps with SFDC and setting it up. Basically, some of the existing fields were brought into TopOpps, and then we created hidden custom fields for the rest. We then set up some scoring algorithms and some alerts. Once this was completed, we were able to arrange our sales journey in the TopOpps interface and give reps easy to use GUI elements - thumb buttons, thumbs up, drop downs, etc to mark the progression of a deal through the pipeline from their desktops or from a mobile app.

We are now operating in a state where we get hygiene, visibility, analytics, and predictability. the best thing about the tool - and this is a benefit for managers AND reps - is that things requiring actions are now brought to our attention and we don't have to spend a lot of time surfing and digging to find them - so these benefits have come with an even bigger one - we are spending less time administratively on the team across all roles.

When you are trying to grow - you have two choices: you can add sales people, or you can make the ones you have more efficient. This process that we have implemented is giving us the ability to increase our efficiency - as measured by Operating Income per Headcount. This stuff really works, and we are quite happy with what we have done.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Lists by Topic

Leverage these best practices with automation and AI driven by TopOPPS

Learn how our customers are winning with artificial intelligence in their CRM:

  • Predictive Sales Forecasting
  • Automated Pipeline Management
  • Significantly More Updates from Reps

Watch Videos

More Recent Posts:

August 11, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Always Know the Next Step

The most important step in any sales process is the NEXT step.   It is a hurdle that must be cleared to give you the right to move to the “NEXT, NEXT” step.  The next step is not granted, but earned by successful completion of the current step.  The next step has to be set up with the buyer as you finish out the current step.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility, sales opportunity management

August 4, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Guided Selling

Guided selling is the process of prescribing optimal sales execution steps to the sales reps to enforce a consistent and efficient sales process. The tasks and process are based on sales patterns of past close-won, and close-lost opportunities. Dynamic guided selling is the automated collection of prospect interactions and seller activities with the application of artificial intelligence and pattern matching to prescribe optimal buyer role based sales execution steps  and coaching ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, sales milestones

July 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Account Management

This blog may be a little controversial.  Many blogs and white papers talk about account management as a sales function.  Sales reps target accounts to sell to.  They then flush out sales opportunities within the account and work on closing those opportunities.  At TopOPPS we take a broader approach to account management.  We believe account management starts with marketing.  It includes both marketing and sales. ...

Sales Funnel, Marketing Funnel, sales best practices, sales opportunity management, sales account management

July 13, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Opportunity Management

This next couple of blog posts will focus on Sales Opportunity Management.  This is the third category of blog series Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management based on the original blog post for this best practice series started on January 21st. ...

Sales Pipelines, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, best practices, sales best practices, sales opportunity management

June 29, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales-Pipeline Monitoring & Closing Deals

This blog provides more details into the final two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Monitor the sales pipeline from different perspectives depending on the users role (sales rep, sales management, sales opperations, sales leadership) Focus on closing the best leads, nurturing the new leads and “close loss” opportunities as soon as possible Monitor the pipeline from different perspectives  The sales pipeline is the beating heart of the sales process and the revenue engine. ...

Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

June 17, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Proactive Follow Up & Content Delivery

This blog provides more details into the next two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Proactive follow up on opportunities in the sales pipeline Proactive delivery of the right sales content and insights to members of the buying team and guidance to the sales team It may feel like these two best practices could be consolidated into one called proactive selling. Both could be handled via alerting and prompting solutions or optimized with a process we call “Alerts Requiring Action”.    However, there are subtle differences between the two that make a big impact on sales.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

May 15, 2020

Best Practices For B2B Sales-Sales Pipeline Data & Process Improvement

This blog reviews best practices related to two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the previous blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: The ability to easily update the sales pipeline on a regular basis Sales process review and improvement An accurate sales forecast requires an accurate, timely and always up-to-data sales pipeline.  This data includes up-to-date: sales activity and buyer/seller interactions; buying team members and roles; opportunity descriptors and attributes; and company descriptors and attributes, in the CRM.  It also includes integrated reporting from the CRM to produce the sales pipeline, porting CRM information to Excel is not an option. ...

Pipeline Optimization, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices

April 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline

In my original blog in this series “Best Practices for B-2-B Sales,  I outlined five categories of best practices: The previous five blogs in this series, reviewed the best practices related to data.  The next three categories, Sales Process, Opportunity Management and Pipeline Analytics all are driven off of the sales pipeline. This blog introduces 6 different best practices related to the sales pipeline.  These best practices cut across all  three areas. ...

Sales Pipelines, Sales Process, Sales Tools, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility