B2B Sales Consulting:
Taking A B2B Sales Team From Good to Great By Focusing on Sales Behavioral Psychology (SBP)
Before making the decision to bring in a B2B sales consulting firm for the purpose of improving sales force effectiveness, you probably should ask yourself four questions:
1. What exactly is the intellectual property that we are buying from the sales consulting firm?
2. How is it unique from the resources we already have in-house?
3. What is the net financial gain that we expect from this alliance?
4. Is the timeline for achieving our top line sales growth objectives realistic?
Aside from our approach at Sage Warfield (discussed in detail below), there are very few secrets or truly groundbreaking innovations when it comes down to building and growing a B2B direct sales organization. In the most simplistic form, we must:
• Hire them
• Pay them
• Train them
• Lead them
• Motivate them
• Retain them
When you assess it from this simplified perspective, it is easy to comprehend why there are few magic beans (untapped resources) for B2B sales consultants to bring to your table in sales operations and sales management. Fundamentally, the game is the same as it has always been. Yes, there are new tools & technology available and customers are more sophisticated. But, at the end of the day, building a growing, thriving, and prosperous B2B sales team still rests upon the same basic foundational elements of sales ops and management.
The point is that you need to decide if your B2B sales consulting firm is going to bring anything to the table that your management team is not already capable of providing. However, even if the answer to that question is “No”, there are still many good reasons to bring in an outside sales consultant, including:
• Your team has no additional bandwidth to develop and lead the initiative.
• You want to avoid the potential of corporate politics and hidden agendas from inadvertently sabotaging the sales improvement efforts.
• You need a fresh set of eyes on your sales organization to uncover low-hanging-fruit, recommend a course of action, and drive the process.
• You prefer to have one point of contact that is fully accountable for the results.
Let’s assume that you decide to hire a B2B sales consulting firm to lead your efforts, and that they bring no new intellectual capital to your team. They are going to bring standard sales methodologies, structure, and disciplines only….typical by the book stuff. So what can you expect in terms of top-line results?
The few immortal sales organizations in the world (mature, not startup) grow 20% per year and they are far from conventional and by the book. Therefore, you should realistically expect somewhere between 3-8% growth reflected over the course of the next twelve months, if all goes well. This is a good solid result.
But to borrow a phrase from Jim Clark, how do we go from good to great?
At Sage Warfield Sales Consulting, we take B2B sales organizations from good to great by bringing a new dimension to your team. Our approach to growing and accelerating sales results has been developed into a sales science over the last twenty years and is proprietary to Sage Warfield: Sales Behavioral Psychology or SBP.
We integrate traditional sales ops and sales management strategies with SBP to drive sales results into rarified air seldom seen in mature sales organizations. Have you ever seen a company increase divisional sales results in a mature direct sales organization (without adding headcount) by 100% in ninety days? We have accomplished this and more, and have clients that are willing to document it for you on our behalf.
The delta between the results Sage Warfield produces and those stemming from traditional methods can be attributed directly to SBP.
The problem with only using traditional B2B sales organizational framework to improve results is that none of them truly tap into the core of the real challenges impacting sales related performance. They are all surface fixes and, if they are successful, lead to small incremental growth. Will re-structuring compensation, territory management, sales processes, lead flow, etc. improve sales results? Yes, but only incrementally. However, when combined with SBP, incremental sales improvement becomes exponential sales growth.
Why is this true?
Simply because sales behavioral psychology allows us to uncover the true root of the problem and this leads to a change in the behaviors that created the current performance deficiencies.
Let’s consider a real-world sales example:
When you look at your KPI’s, are you looking at the problem or a symptom of the problem? The KPI is merely a number used to alert us that we are not meeting a certain benchmark, but it is certainly not the problem. The problem can only be found when we identify the catalyst that created the number….this will lead us to the problem.
If we identify this as a systemic issue, a traditional approach to sales problem resolution might lead to a change in the process directly involved in the activities correlated with producing that bad metric. The number might change a little, or it might not change at all. Why? Because we failed to address the people and the role that their psychological makeup had in them performing the process that created the number in the first place.
For the sake of an illustration, let’s step outside of the sales arena for a minute and take ourselves into a manufacturing plant. If the KPI benchmark for metal plate stamping is 100 per hour, but an employee only hits 60, does the supervisor check the machine first or monitor the employee? Well, they watch the employee because they are the ones that determine the pace for the machine.
In B2B sales management, we traditionally approach the problem differently because the sales person typically doesn’t push “the button” with their finger; instead they push the button with their mind. Unfortunately, since we cannot see inside their mind (without SBP), sales manager’s immediately gravitate toward a focus on the button. “The numbers are down across the country. What’s wrong with the button? Someone check the button!”
Why do we do this? Because the button is tangible, and the mind is not. Therefore, we march onward to fix that which we can touch; meanwhile, ignoring the elements which we cannot touch.
At Sage Warfield, we do not dismiss the traditional elements of a sales organization. In fact, we are fanatical about them as well. But at the end of the day, we know that in order to go from good to great we have to excel in both the traditional and psychological aspects of B2B sales.
That is how great sales teams are made, and that’s the Sage Warfield way!
"The Sage approach states that each location is worked with individually. Does this mean that our company will have multiple sales processes?"
No. The sales process will be customized for the entire sales organization. However, the sales process itself is a relatively small part of sales improvement. Implementation and utilization of the process is much more important than the process alone. Our implementation addresses psychological and behavioral issues that effect user adoption and internal belief systems. These factors ultimately determine the success of the process.
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