THE SALES LADDER
White Rock Associates work with B2B companies all over the World to uncomplicate how these manage and track their sales activities. In our experience, to create the necessary sales push against distributors and industrial customers, key-account sales need to be divided into distinct stages and KPI’d for each stage.
As a tool for achieving this, we developed a Sales-ladder model that can be implemented directly in an existing CRM or be the starting point for building a new one. This is a brief description of this model.
THE TWO PHASES IN THE SALES LADDER
There are two distinct phases that need to be performed in this sales ladder: lead stage and opportunity stage.
By relating leads to opportunities, and opportunities to transactions, in a structured way, business management can clearly see how the company should work with different members of buying groups (i.e., initiators, influencers, decision makers, purchasers, users and gatekeepers), and what sales activities truly drive sales.
LEADS, OPPORTUNITIES AND CONTACT PERSONS
YOU NEED TO HANDLE FOUR TYPES OF SALES
When targeting B2B accounts, there are four basic types of sales that you need to handle:
- New products to new customers
- New products to current customers
- Renewal of current products to current customers
- Automated/Order-driven sales to current customers
The last category consists of customers that are too small to validate an active sales effort and customers that want you to send invoices more or less automatically (sometimes even without written contracts).
ALL SALES ARE NEW SALES!
To create a real sales-drive, you should include the three first categories in your opportunity work, i.e., you should also include renewal of current contracts to current customers. There are two reasons for this:
- You need to initiate a sales effort before the contract expires to ensure continued sales.
- Each of these customers represent an opportunity to find new sales.
Handling these customers in a passive way, i.e., to reduce our sales efforts to order-taking will not lead to the sales increase that you want.
WORKING WITH KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
To be efficient, your sales operations need to be managed and tracked using a set of concrete measures. These are the ones we usually recommend our clients to use for new customers:
And these are the ones we recommend when targeting existing customers:
USING KPI’s ON EVERY LEVEL
To become granular in your approach to sales without losing the big picture, we recommend that you build a hierarchy of KPI’s from individual sales rep to country or group level.
This approach will not only allow you to identify bottle necks in your sales process on an overall level, but to pinpoint the strength and weaknesses of each sales rep and to find ways of supporting them in an optimal way. For example: there may be sales reps who excel in the early parts of the ladder, but who have difficulties in pushing opportunities into the closing zone. Teaming up such a person with a proficient closer will enable you to get rid of unnecessary constraints and use your sales team to each person’s best ability.
WORKING WITH SALES LADDER IN YOUR SALES SETUP
White Rock Associates has a long experience of structuring and uncomplicating clients’ revenue generation using our Sales Ladder. If you are interested in how this approach can be used to help YOU: contact us and we’ll come by and tell you more about what we have achieved for other clients and what we can do for your company!