Sales excellence on the road to ‘effortless experience’
What’s the secret of highly successful sales organizations? Is it the charismatic sales professional capable of selling a fridge to a penguin? A genius business strategy that puts customer experience center stage? A cutting-edge CRM tool that facilitates a personalized client approach? “Actually, the secret to sales excellence is all of these, and then some,” says Michiel Debie, senior consultant at delaware.
With over a decade experience as head of sales at various companies before joining delaware at the end of 2019, Michiel knows a thing or two about setting up a successful sales organization. “When the numbers start to go down, many businesses reflexively look for ways to cut costs as fast as possible and raise the pressure on the sales team. The most successful organizations, however, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.” We sat down with Michiel to discuss what that entails, exactly.
How would you define ‘sales excellence’, then?
Michiel: “It’s the idea that you continuously look for optimization opportunities in your sales processes in a very broad way, for example, by asking: ‘how can I align people, processes, and tech in a way that makes the whole more efficient?’ So, instead of only focusing on cutting costs and selling more in the short term – by distributing vouchers, for example – you look at all the possible factors that can impact your performance.”
But where is the customer in all of this? After all, they’re the ones who need convincing.
Michiel: “Indeed. What’s key here is that you see the customer’s perspective as your guiding light. Don’t ask: ‘How can I get those numbers up?’, but ‘How can I improve the customer experience?’ At delaware, we maintain an overarching ‘effortless experience’ methodology, which looks at how operational excellence and customer experience impact one another.
“Of course, sales excellence is only part of that story, but it’s obviously an important part. It’s obviously not possible to provide a great customer experience without a streamlined sales approach. Every touchpoint along the customer journey, from inquiry to invoice, depends on people, processes and technologies, and can potentially be optimized.”
A ‘big picture’ approach also risks remaining very conceptual. How can companies identify improvement opportunities quickly?
Michiel: “Every company is different when it comes to their sales approach, of course. Some have a very solid sales team in place, but are experiencing severe bottlenecks in terms of technology. Others have a highly optimized CRM, but their sales team doesn’t have the right skills to take full advantage of its possibilities. Still others have both the people and the technology, but are hampered by inefficient sales processes that frustrate both the customer and the sales professional.
“Sometimes, the most impactful improvements are the smallest, such as reducing the number of fields a sales professional has to fill in or finetuning the sales training approach. A ‘sales process quick scan’ can definitively identify what’s working at your organization and what’s not, and demonstrates how you stack up against sector peers. It also gives you a clear roadmap toward implementing a ‘sales excellence’ mindset for the long term.”
Our sales process quick scan provides clarity and guidance in achieving sales excellence. Drop Michiel and his team a line to discuss your situation.