Assessing the Sales Strategy of a Large Organization: Step 1: Redefine Capabilities
Step 1: Redefine Capabilities
When you’re ready to assess the sales strategy of a large organization, here’s the first step: Simplify and quantify what you want to measure. An easy way to start? Think about how you would assess a golfer.
- Driving the ball off the tee
- Hitting irons
And all are measured by one, very simple outcome: where the ball lands. Someone who’s never played the game could accurately assess those four capabilities.
When you begin assessing a large sales organization, you should use a similar method. Like golf, develop a list of capabilities that can all be measured by a result. For example, consider these four basic sales strategy capabilities related to mastering the one-to-one conversation with a customer:
- ENGAGE: Customer agrees to the meeting agenda
- DISCOVERY: Customer reveals needs, decision drivers, and key stakeholders
- BUILD VALUE: Customer embraces recommendation or demonstrates a willingness to consider a new idea about how to solve their problem
- ADVANCE: Customer commits to the next, best step
As you can see, each of the one-to-one capabilities is based on what the customer is asked to do. This tactic not only guarantees accuracy, but it simplifies the assessment from 50+ behaviors (i.e., listening, questioning skills, offering benefits) to four essential criteria. This gives you an accurate and actionable snapshot of the seller’s ability to effectively lead a one-to-one meeting.
Here’s the beauty of this approach: No one can argue with the outcome. People love to debate if an insight was communicated, if the right questions were asked, or if a benefit was truly a benefit. But not even a resistant sales management leader who struggles to invest in training —or an arrogant seller — can argue with the key question: Did the customer agree to the next best step in the process?
While the sales management goal is to define capabilities clearly, you still want to leave room for varying degrees of performance when scoring. For example, the seller may have captured the required level of information during discovery, but you see they could have uncovered more. To account for this, we use the following scoring system:
- 1: Needs development
- 2: Performing
- 3: Perfect
- N/A: No opportunity to demonstrate capability
One indicates the outcome was not achieved while two and three communicate that the outcome was achieved but distinguish between good and great. It’s also necessary to have a designation if no opportunity to demonstrate capability was presented, so a lack of opportunity isn’t construed as an inability to perform.
Now that we’ve broken up sales into definable capabilities (the what) it’s time to focus on “the how.”
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