What’s in Your Way – Part 2

By Mike Philie
In August 10, 2015

The print communications landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, but with change comes opportunity. The potential now lies in the ability and desire of the leadership team to refocus the direction of the sales team to better align with how clients buy, their company goals, and the expectations of the marketplace.

Top-down leadership steps to kick off the transition start with discussion, analysis, brainstorming, and defining. What follows is a series of evaluation topics and techniques that help you explore key areas that define your sales transition followed by process building, and implementation. Tackling these issues is one of the biggest challenges facing companies that are heavily dependent on legacy sales teams and legacy accounts. It can also be an energizing, team-building experience.

Three phases that are used include: evaluation and analysis, process building, and implementation. A detailed evaluation and analysis of your sales efforts should include:

  • Current clients – Understand what markets they are in, how do they make money with the material and services you provide them, and why do they buy from you. While they may be an important client of yours, how important of a supplier are you to them? If they are a new client, determine why they selected you to work with – the more you know about this the more likely it will be that you can repeat that success. And finally, what else should they be buying from you and how do they view you in light of their best alternatives?
  • Prospects – Start with, are you focused on the right prospects and can you leverage your current success with clients to win business from them. You need to know their business/industry, the key issues they are struggling with, and be able to articulate how you can make a positive impact on what they do.
  • Sales team – Begins with a thorough review of the strengths, opportunities, and performance gaps of your team and its leadership. Define your expectations of account retention, project management, and business development. Also make sure that your sales compensation plan is aligned with company objectives and provides the right incentives to help reach your goals.
  • Value proposition – Determine whether it’s current and more importantly relevant to the markets you’re going after.
  • Marketing resources – Make sure that your marketing resources are deployed to support your brand, create awareness, and provide lead generation support to the sales team.

Process Building begins by defining how you build a scalable, repeatable sales process. This should include what selling methodologies you’ll use and how you’ll support the selling effort and provide account and project management through your sales and customer service team. Finally, define your process for new business development. What does it look like, who’s responsible for what steps, how will you measure its’ effectiveness, and how will you self-correct if needed.

Implementation is the key to any success and the sales effort is no different. You’ve built your go-to-market plan, you’ve assembled the sales team that you want, and you have the right leadership in place to lead, manage, and coach the team. Now it’s time to press go!

Many owners and CEO’s are tackling these issues so that their success during this transition is not left to chance.

There is a lot involved in making these changes and this blog post is just a start. If you’re working on improving the sales trajectory of your business, let’s discuss what’s in your way of making the changes your business needs – mphilie@epicomm.org or 201-523-6302. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

Leave A Comment