Tl;dr - When revenue numbers disappoint or aggravate it's important to separate emotion from fact. What is the cause? Too often sales teams escape scrutiny because there's no good way to measure them empirically. We're changing that with a collaboration to bring data and science-based sales force testing and sales candidate assessments to the market. Better sales people deliver better results - especially when empowered with contact level™ intent data.
Intent Data Blocking & Tackling - Basic Sales Realities
Here's a dirty secret of the world of intent data for sales. The data is only as good as your sales team's ability to sell. (Read more in this article INTENT DATA IS NOT A SOLUTION FOR SALES MEDIOCRITY.)
Sounds pretty commonsensical, I know, but it's amazing how often it's overlooked.
We've established that intent data is not a silver bullet - there's a lot to properly activating and orchestrating the data. But let's assume that you've done that. And further, let's stipulate that you have a robust marketing data stack and that your tech stack includes some CDP capability. Finally, we'll assume that you've put appropriate focus on sales enablement so that the data is effectively presented to the sales team.
After all that....it's still up to the sales team to use all the tools you're providing, connect with prospects, and sell them.
And too often that's a weak link.
Product Market Fit? Data? Copywriting? Pricing? ...... or Sales?
How often have you heard a salesperson stand up and say "We lost that deal because I blew it. Specifically, I screwed up A, B & C."? About as often as they say "We didn't win that deal because of my sales capability. We only won it because we had a shorter lead time. Customer Service could have won that deal."
Instead, you hear a range of excuses.
Pricing is too high. Key features haven't been rolled out yet. The market is down. You don't have the right messaging, etc.
There is a broad lack of accountability and responsibility among salespeople generally.
So that makes it hard to pinpoint where problems really are. Could it be that your product-market fit is genuinely clumsy? Or that your copywriting speaks to the wrong persona about incidental challenges? Or are deals not closing because sales lacks the skills to build trust, prospect, create and nurture opportunities, quantify the value gap, sell consultatively, present appropriately (WHOEVER decided that demos is a worthwhile metric!!??), and close?
The point is that you can't know.
So how can we begin to solve for it? To sequentially eliminate factors and isolate those that will have the biggest impact on revenue results? And to do so in a way that's empirical and founded in data, rather than gut feeling?
Salesforce assessments and evaluations are a big step.
Data vs. Personality
First, let's talk about what kind of tool would be helpful.
Many companies, particularly those that are focused on culture, use various personality assessments to gauge how team members can work together and how a new employee might fit into a current team.
Those tools can be helpful for assessing cultural fit and aggregate/individual project team skills and behavioral patterns.
They don't speak to sales ability.
More importantly, they can't quantify between someone's ability to sell and the likelihood that they actually WILL sell.
Further, they can't provide a data anchored roadmap of prioritized skills for focused training to improve individual performance, or tips on how to coach and manage the person.
To confidently use a sales assessment tool to measure the performance and predict potential improvement of your sales team, you need a tool that's based on data from millions of prior individual assessments and documented predictive accuracy.
Current Sales Teams and Future Sales Candidates
It's also important to think about who you should evaluate.
Your current sales team for sure. But also candidates that you're considering asking to join the team.
Let's start with the current team. This includes your traditional salespeople (AEs and field sales), and your channel sales managers. But (really important but) it also includes your BDRs, SDRs, sales engineers, marketers with sales angles, sales managers, and sales leaders. And don't forget about your CS team that's responsible for up & cross-sell as well as churn reduction.
To get a complete understanding of your team - each individual in their specific role, and the team in aggregate in your market - you need to understand who's actually selling in function even if not in title. And you need that aggregate understanding to incorporate sales skills and aptitudes vs. simply personality or behavioral insights.
Every strong sales organization recruits constantly. Especially post COVID with talent markets so fluid, companies with a consistent flow of qualified sales candidates are thriving, while others are struggling. It's time-consuming and requires processes to ensure that candidates are advanced based on merit. Proper assessments and a consistent recruiting, interviewing and onboarding process improve efficiency and ensure that precious interview time and attention is focused on candidates who will sell. That means candidates who will sell based on your culture (supervision and coaching), your product (price and sell cycle) and your market (competition and need vs. just have.)
An Integrated Sales Evaluation and Assessment Program
We're pleased to announce a collaboration with Consilium Global Business Advisors, a digital marketing and sales consulting firm, to provide Objective Management Group sales force evaluations and candidate assessments.
OMG's tools are based on data (nearly 3,000,000 sales people evaluated) and science, and are 3rd party certified to be 91% accurate.
They'll help you understand the current state of your sales team and develop customized coaching and improvement plans for each person in their specific role. Candidate assessments help to quickly filter candidates to identify those who merit your time, based on their likelihood of success in your specific environment, and provide a great guide for onboarding training and coaching to help them quickly achieve their potential.
Intent data, like many other marketing and sales tools, can be incredibly powerful and effective when orchestrated properly and provided with proper enablement to a capable sales team. Conversely, it can be a waste of resources if the sales team isn't up to the task.
Sales is a critical function and one that's too often left to gut feel.
You're thinking about intent data because you naturally bring a higher degree of rigor to your revenue generation effort than others. Proper sales force evaluation and candidate assessments are important, objective adjuncts to your efforts.
Your company isn't average....your sales team shouldn't be either.