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Assessing the Sales Strategy of a Large Organization Step 2 & Step 3: Closing the Gap

You’ve already identified step 1 of how to assess the sales strategy of a large organization, so know it’s time to close the gap and bring the sales management of your large organization full circle. Here’s what you need to focus on next:

STEP 2: Identify Behaviors

Capabilities help you quickly determine and prioritize the gap; behaviors shed more light on the specific sales strategy training that’s needed. Once capabilities are defined, we must identify the relevant behaviors that drive the desired outcome next.

For example, what should a golfer do to effectively drive a golf ball 275 yards? They should pick the right club, stance, swing, etc. Likewise, to effectively discover the customer’s needs, a seller must know what questions to ask, develop questioning skills, listen, acknowledge, etc.

As you develop your list of sales strategy behaviors for each capability, it’s helpful to distinguish between knowledge and skill. Is the gap in discovery due to a lack of information needed to offer the best solution or is it due to how the seller framed their questions? The answer leads to different training solutions. For sellers who need more information, digital learning may be the best solution. However, if skill development is necessary, the best training will involve interaction. Whether with a coach or in a workshop, developing skills requires time and practice.

STEP 3: Pick A Relevant Sample

Once the assessment has been created, it’s time to answer the hard question: How do you assess a large sales force in its entirety? The answer is simple. You don’t.

Instead of focusing on the entire sales force, you should begin by choosing five representative sellers in three categories: high performers, average performers, and low performers. Once chosen, watch them “play golf” and score their level of capabilities and corresponding behaviors. Typically, only two or three customer/prospect meetings are needed to accurately score their sales ability.

To get started, sales management leaders should clearly communicate the situation they want to observe. Without clear direction, the sellers will choose “friendly” accounts where the toughest challenges can be avoided. To assess their ability to prospect, have the sellers choose a cold prospect. If you want to assess discovery capabilities, ask to observe first-time meetings. If the goal is to assess presentation skills, focus on highly-competitive opportunities.

Over decades of conducting hundreds of assessments, we’ve learned that working with a small number of reps reveals the needs of the entire salesforce. Not only is this approach manageable, but it’s also accurate.

This concept also reveals the developmental needs of your sales organization and provides an in-depth view of the attitudes of your sellers. By having a deeper level of interactions, you gain a greater understanding of their beliefs about selling, change, and the organization as a whole.

Additionally, understanding and articulating the point of view of those you serve is where all effective training starts. Whether you’re developing your PR campaign for an upcoming event, kicking off a workshop, or at the beginning of a module, the most effective way to enhance receptivity to change is by communicating the participant’s point of view.

As you build or refine your assessment, here’s a sales strategy checklist to keep you on track:

  • Have you identified a handful of distinct, measurable capabilities that are required for success or are you looking at the dozens of vague behaviors?
  • Could someone from accounting complete the assessment accurately?
  • Are behaviors organized by the need for more information (i.e., a knowledge gap) or skill development?
  • Have you chosen three to five reps for each performance level: low, average, high?
  • If you have multiple divisions and/or multiple sales roles, are they distinct enough to deserve their own assessment?
  • If you don’t offer a unique assessment for certain divisions, will you risk losing the support of key stakeholders?
  • Have the sales scenarios you want to observe been clearly communicated in writing to the participants (i.e., first meeting with a qualified prospect)?

If you need some additional guidance in building a more effective assessment, let us know. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned over the last few decades. Just click here, tell us about the type of sales organization you have, and we will send you the most relevant assessment.

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