Beat target by $4M, grew backlog by $500k and funnel to $15M after 3 years of decline

Challenge:  The tiny sales team with huge geographic territories was lacking clear direction, and was demotivated. They were being asked to get tactical, drop their pursuits, and “pull in favors” near every month-end, and were being measured by the number of face-to-face sales calls they made.  Management drove them to enter what they believed was way too much useless data into their CRM. There were a few demonstrating poisonous behavior and affecting the rest of the team. While management had introduced and attempted to train them to use a business analytics tool, there was little adoption.  The team was being asked to chase different targets every few days… existing customers, declining customers, aging quotations, new leads, certain size customers, etc. They hadn’t hit their annual goals and hadn’t seen a bonus in several years.  The sales opportunity funnel was bloated with unrealistic opportunities and wasn’t an accurate barometer. Team turnover was significant, with most of the team in place less than 2 years.

Solution: After careful analysis, interviews with all, and double-checking of facts, we shared and reinforced clear, simple, and consistent priorities and tangible actions that aligned with the group’s business objectives. We eliminated those with poisonous behavior, suppressed the management requests to make short-term deals, and hired experienced, flexible sales management to coach and direct. We identified specific skill gaps, and designed & delivered custom training and new sales aids to enable the relatively new sales force. We streamlined processes for CRM, identified specific, valuable uses for the business analytics tools and provided training and reinforcement for using each.

Results: The team exceeded the annual sales goals by ~$4M and grew the business by 7% above market in the first year. They began the following year with a great backlog and continued to overdrive sales in the 2nd year. Sales earned its first bonus in years. They now have great targets in great industries, and use the business analytics tools wisely to improve their success. New business intelligence tools are being introduced and are being readily adopted. Today, they are a great team, ready to do great things. Yes, this happened in the real world.