In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to describe how their solution can change a sales organization in a significant way. We call it Sales Tech Game Changers.

This week I interview Garry Mansfield, Founder of Outside In Sales & Marketing.

How to Increase Operational Productivity of your Sales Team

Nancy: What are the top 3 ways your solution changes the game for a sales organization?

Garry: Selling tools from Outside In help B2B sales teams to increase competitive advantage. They do so by increasing the operational productivity of the sales team. Sales managers use the output from the tools to shift the emphasis of their interventions towards coaching, and business leaders have detailed data at their fingertips to inform decision making.

  1. We help B2B companies to significantly lift sales team productivity by focusing their efforts on the activities that advance an account relationship or opportunity position.
  2. For many companies the lack of forecast accuracy is hampered by low predictability and consistency in their pipeline decisions. Using DealSheet in Salesforce or Microsoft CRM salespeople can assess their position on an opportunity and make more informed choices on when to commit, nurture, or walk away.
  3. Finally we help sales leaders to coach more effectively. By capturing insights on every account and opportunity, leaders spend less time capturing basic data and more time coaching for improved performance.

Nancy: What are the top 5 things your solution allows salespeople to do better, or faster than they can today?

Garry: Outside In’s solutions will help salespeople to improve productivity, identify risks, lift win rates, shorten sales cycles, and improve transparency.

  1. Salespeople can be over 50% more productive when building and refreshing account plans. By building them natively in Salesforce, and not using off-line documents, the need for double-keying is reduced. Adding to data already captured and structuring this in a useful planning approach for accounts and opportunities will make things simple for sales people.
  2. Assessments are too frequently done through ‘rose tinted glasses’ and teams fail to see what’s right in front of them. Our tools help salespeople to objectively assess their position on a deal or account and in the process spot the risks and gaps that could lead to loss.
  3. In our last research we found that average B2B win rates were 41%, with many under 20%. Sales teams are wasting effort chasing down deals that are ‘unwinnable’. DealSheet helps salespeople to quickly qualify and score opportunities, highlighting risks and supporting better pursuit choices. Building the right strategy for each opportunity focused on winnable deals will improve win rates, reduce pipeline slippage, and help to raise the accuracy of the forecast.
  4. Only 18% of B2B companies we asked recently were happy with the quality of their account strategies for their most important customers. AccountPlan helps salespeople to accelerate their engagement strategy and DealSheet creates a focused deal strategy that can help to shorten sales cycles. Both tools use a focused assessment approach, clear goals, and tracked activities to focus team efforts.
  5. Salespeople and their managers do not always see where to focus their activity, but using simple reports and dashboards they can measure, monitor, and compare the performance of a portfolio of accounts and opportunities.

Nancy: Describe the first 30 days after a company purchases your solution.

Garry: Let me start by saying tools alone are not silver bullet answers to all ailments in a sales team. They can help a lot but there are other things needed for success. It is usually a failure in leading change where these initiatives fail and it is important to have a holistic approach.

Take the implementation of AccountPlan as a good example. Typically, in the first few days we would help with the set up and configuration and with sales operations to identify where the application fits into their process. Capturing the key performance indicators for the process will help to track success.

In the first week, launch communications are sent outlining why this is important, expectations for usage, and the key steps to onboarding users is the first step. In the following weeks, schedule web orientation and training sessions to prepare users for the new way of working.

Sales managers are THE most important community and they should be bought-in early. Fail to engage them, and you risk the whole initiative sliding away through apathy. We engage them to ensure that they understand how to use the application, and it’s outcome measures, to support performance coaching interventions.

Then it’s about getting on with it, using reports to track adoption and using feedback to fine tune the enablement activity.

Nancy: How have companies determined the ROI of your solution?

Garry: This depends. The most common measures for opportunity management include % win rate, pipeline velocity, average deal value, and target achievement. In addition, forecast accuracy is a good indicator of a successful process.

AccountPlan benefit is typically measured in wallet share, retention levels, pipeline growth, and customer experience measures. In addition, key indicators of progress come in the form of contact health, account health, and goal momentum measures. Doing this transparently and consistently is a huge benefit for many companies that have previously been in the dark.

Every company is different, and I have seen win rates increase from 3% to over 35%, velocity improve by weeks or month,s and some significant improvements in account lead indicators as the team focuses engagement.

Nancy: What should companies do to ensure success of your solution?

Garry: First is to focus on sales leadership. Setting the change agenda and showing why this new approach is so important to the success of individuals and the company will engage the team. This must carry through into the ongoing behaviours of the leadership team, adapting their approach to embrace the new information, reviews, and measures.

Also, update the business process to remove duplication and use the new tools to increase selling time. Build reports to provide insights to support reviews and decision making.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, and purchase considerations?

Garry: We have a number of guides in the resources section of our website. From guides for account reviews through to deal strategy. You can find them here.