sales & Marketing
When people think of revenue growth, they often think of sales and marketing. This is fine, as it’s a core competency of expertise for CEVOH, and we are proud of our track record here. We’ve helped many companies in trouble to turn things around and they are now enjoying substantial long-term growth rates. We have also helped start-ups get things going with their products or services and establish a revenue channel or two. We’ve also worked with companies that are having current revenue growth success, but are looking for improvements. Our secret here is that we are really good at strategy, we make sure we know the markets and we sweat the details. You’ve probably read the book about not sweating the small stuff. We’re not like that. We believe the little things matter. We are like coaches in this regard. How many coaches have you heard say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t be annoyed by those little things – none of them matter’. Probably zero. CEVOH is like your coach here. We push and strive to cover all the important details so you can achieve these. We also have the experience to know that most organizations only implement plans at 80%. Some of the smaller bits don’t get reached, or may get reached at a later time. But, most do. And because our plans are so good, if you can implement them at 80%, you will have fantastic results. We guarantee it.
From our perspective, sales and marketing includes many different types of specialty tasks. As many as 75 things that are so important and potentially unique that you will find people specialize in these – and have devoted their entire career to. For maximum market affect, these tasks should be cared for and integrated. This is difficult and almost impossible to do in-house. One reason you should consider hiring a revenue consulting firm. We have experience with virtually every specialty task involving sales and marketing. Test us. If this sounds good – give us a call, or text us. Without becoming boring on 75 pieces of specialty tasks within a revenue plan, here is a high-level summary of our major focus areas:
Major sales and marketing focus areas:
Integrated Revenue plans
Revenue performance & Growth initiatives
Product Portfolio optimization
New product development
Pricing strategy and tactics
Sales & Business Development force multipliers
Digital and traditional promotions
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 1 - The Power of a Plan
Working thru the broad strokes and finer points of an integrated revenue plan with a company like CEVOH has tremendous power to accelerate your revenue growth. These plans require significant work and energy - but by going thru the process of developing an integrated plan, every important aspect gets covered, accountability is established and critical organizational alignment is created. We are very proud of our revenue plans – because they work. All of the pieces and parts come together and the alignment expedites progress during implementation of the plan. Should you choose to go it alone, we’ve included a mild template of our plan below.
Major attributes of a Successful Revenue Plan, sometimes called a marketing plan:
Marketing Plan Summary
Top 10 Action Steps
Signatures of Approval
Long Term Goals (1-3 Years)
Business Name, Owner(s) & Experience
Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Values
The Market Overview
Our Customers, Segmentation Attributes
SWOT Activity Sheet
Value Creation Plan
Our Product (or Service) and Development Process
The Pricing of Our Product
Our Position (Channels) in the Marketplace
The PROMOTION of our product or service
The PEOPLE in our business
The PROCESS represents the buying experience
The PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT where the good/services are presented
PRODUCTIVITY is an essential part of meeting a customer’s needs
Organizational Implications and Contingencies
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 2 - Revenue performance & Growth initiatives
Why would you need revenue growth initiatives? Many times, it’s due to a CAGR gap that has been identified during a financial strategic plan activity. This becomes the primary forcing function. But most companies need a continuous effort to add incremental value – and convert this to incremental revenue. CEVOH does both. As the revenue run rate for core mature product lines begins to taper, the gaps become more obvious. Our recommendation is to identify these trends early so you have maximum ramp-up time for both adjacent and transformational new products. We find that almost all companies benefit from both gap closing and on-going efforts using revenue growth initiatives.
Here are examples of some of the more meaningful revenue growth initiatives we have successfully completed.
The telecom global No. 2 hired CEVOH to assess its primary face-to-face direct channel and recommend actions to improve Cost of Sales and sales effectiveness. A big job for CEVOH but mission accomplished. Side benefits included improved first line manager coaching tools, and better customer facing sales positioning.
CEVOH works with a market leading international defense avionics firm to optimize new product launches and counter the competition. The approach has included leveraging the firm’s reputation as a market leader, and establishing new ground as an innovator. The new launches were done with a mix of traditional methods and economical digital splashes. The result has been a reversal of competitor gain in market share.
An international advertising/media sector leader hired CEVOH to develop a transformational change management plan. Facing significant market changes and competitive threats, our partners worked to complete and implement a plan that included executive evaluations, succession planning, quality improvement teams, governance committees and market innovation strategies.
A division of the world’s largest defense/aerospace company hired CEVOH to help develop a direct sales organization. We collaborated to create a best practice sales organization with integrated marketing programs, sales training, customer engagement approaches and effective compensation programs. The result has been a consistent increase in market share and achievement of the international market leadership position.
A global top 70 telecom and media company hired CEVOH to optimize and simplify their product portfolio and pricing/promotions offerings. The partners at CEVOH assessed the current product portfolio against metrics of customer value and margin contribution – then greatly reduced the number of products & services in the product offering. A go-to-market strategy was implemented to reduce revenue risk and help 900 direct sales reps increase the ARPU.
CEVOH worked with several sector leaders within the media industry to develop an analytical model to predict consumer usage trends. The model is now in use by several companies to measure, benchmark and predict consumer traffic yield analytics. This approach creates significant transformational change for media companies – shifting the focus to end users.
A division of the world’s largest defense, security and aerospace company hired CEVOH to help develop a direct sales organization. We collaborated to create a best practice sales organization with integrated marketing programs, sales training, customer engagement approaches and effective compensation programs. The result has been a consistent increase in market share and achievement of an international market leadership position.
CEVOH works with the world’s largest industrial electric hybrid propulsion company to implement effective go-to-market product launches. The CEVOH team collaborates with the sales, marketing and operations departments to create maximum market effect with limited budgets.
CEVOH has worked with several companies to identify the unique differences between ‘end-user’ and ‘customer’. These differences often involve needs attributes and can easily be overlooked. Once these are clarified, our clients can quickly pivot to adjust their actions and meet these needs. The result has been transformational change within the organizations in which we collaborate.
CEVOH is working with several companies to introduce insight selling initiatives. The adoption of these initiatives has had a material impact on improving the customer experience. We have helped develop industry and segment specific insight as well as efficient multi-touch methodology that strengthen the relationship with the customer.
CEVOH works with a large industrial manufacturing firm to introduce net promoter score benchmarking and trended data. The result was clarity on quality reputation issues and clear actions to quickly improve product quality. This has also lead to adoption of NPS as a unifying cross-functional metric – and initiatives to proactively improve customer experience.
CEVOH has worked with several traditional media companies on the effects of disruptive technologies and the impacts of evolving business models.
The telecom global no 3 hired CEVOH to evaluate telephone and reseller channels and recommend improvements. The result was a streamlined front-end system interface that could be quickly deployed. This resulted in hiring additional third-party sales channels that could more easily adapt to the order processing / sales input process.
A large media provider hired CEVOH to assess their marketing and sales operations departments. Gaps against best practices were identified and constructively communicated to senior management along with specific recommendations for improvement.
CEVOH is working with a large services company to bring innovative products to their SMB segment. We use a proven approach to introduce new ideas, and shorten time to market.
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 3 - Customer Segmentation
One of the most powerful strategies you can implement in your organization is to ‘segment the market’. You may already know this – because the average company will develop three customer segmentation methodologies before their first segmentation implementation. CEVOH can help you tier customers based on their future value and turn this into actions.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and multi-variant to work. We’ll help you identify differences in how customers use your offerings, and create a simple approach that helps you predict customer behavior and adapt to future market conditions.
The key is to turn the segmentation approaches into actions. This is where alignment around the customer value chain really pays off. CEVOH will work with your team to develop simple hand-offs between sales, marketing and operations that exploit the segmentation findings. For example, cross functional alignment on segmentation approaches within your key account segment will pay huge dividends. We’ll show you how.
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 4 - Product Portfolio Optimization
A fundamental to sustaining long-term revenue growth is with product portfolio optimization. So often a company will continue to add products and service variations until an overload situation occurs. Systems and sales teams can struggle to keep it all sorted – and when this happens, imagine how the customer feels. There are a few simple steps to optimizing the portfolio - we can help you:
Step one is to establish a value and margin metric for every item offered in the portfolio
Step two is to set a benchmark for each of these two metrics. For example, a minimum of 68 as the Customer Value Index and a minimum of 15% contribution margin.
Mark for elimination any items below these thresholds. You may want to have a few exceptions for complimentary low margin products or strategic products where you are establishing a beachhead.
Proactively migrate customers to a higher value (and higher margin) substitute.
When new and better produces come on-line, the older less desired products may lose value. When this occurs, customers face a choice called “over or out”. In this scenario they chose on their own between two paths: Path one is “over”, or to seek out a change. The customer will have to expend effort to ask you if there is something that works better. Path two is “out”. The customer decides the effort is just not worth it and they leave – going to a substitute provider. Customers are smart. They don’t like to make this choice on their own. They would much prefer you proactively migrate them to the better product that came on-line. Not very many companies will do this. We strongly suggest you do – you will be happy with the long term trust you build with customers using this technique. Product portfolio optimization. Work to understand customer needs, desires, your discriminators, those of the competition, utility, user experience, and improve these.
We also recommend that a unique selling proposition be established for every product and service in your portfolio. This is one of those details or little things we think are important. You want to be able to articulate what differentiates your products/ services from those of our competitors and communicate these in your marketing efforts. If your product managers struggle to do this, you sales force will
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 5 - New Product Development
The facts indicate a larger and growing percentage of revenue comes from new products. There are likely many reasons for this:
Agile product development and rapid product prototyping methods make creating new products less expensive and easier
Customer demand more elegant solutions with a better user experience and solid utility
Companies realize that a primary reason to contact customers is to generate buying interest in the latest model or a completely new idea
For some industries, the percentage of annual revenue coming from new products will approach 55%. Depending on the specific industry, the percentage is shared between adjacent new products and transformational new products. Adjacent variants include extensions, expansions, new but similar models and so forth. Adjacent examples are like the newest iPhone. In contrast, Transformational new products are about really new ideas. transformational examples are like the ring doorbell. Most companies need both to meet their financial strategic plan. CEVOH is well skilled in creating innovative processes resulting in successful new product development. See our innovative approaches here.
We will help you ideate and innovate to meet changing customer needs. We will incorporate customer needs in the filters to decide which new ideas you should develop. To make the best choices on which ideas to products launch first, our NPD process is inclusive to include customers and all departments. These are the proven, integrated steps in our new product development approach:
INSIGHT GATHERING: Identify customer needs; evaluate competitors; Identify disruptive technologies.
OUTLINE STRATEGIC APPROACHES AND GOVERNANCE TO INCREASE INNOVATION: Facilitation of best practice approaches that result in increased innovation, new product development and incremental revenue growth that is sustained over several years.
IDEATION: Structured ideation sessions and virtual processes to result in a large number of relevant new products/services in both the adjacent and transformational areas.
IDEAS into PRODUCT CONCEPTS: Development of tempered product concepts from mild ideas to include features/benefits, visuals, elevator pitches and unique selling propositions.
GRADING/FILTERING: Ongoing prioritization of product concepts to utilize limited resources.
BUILD/BUY ANALYSIS: Identification of potential M&A targets that accelerate the adjacent and transformational incremental revenue within the portfolio.
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 6 - Pricing Strategy and Tactics
To understand good pricing strategy is to understand value. If you know the value of every product and service item in your portfolio, it’s not super difficult to develop the pricing plan. Unfortunately, most companies just don’t have the value well mapped. Value in this sense isn’t about low price (but it could include this). Rather, value is a metric from an equation that typically includes the following components: product utility, combined with achieving customer needs and desires come together to form a metric called the Customer Value Index. This is added to the Future Brand Promise and then these two are divided by Price. The end result is a metric for value. Certainly, establishing baselines for value within your industry for key competitor and comparing this to your products and services is a valiant effort. But with this insight, you can craft a powerful pricing strategy that give you a competitive advantage. Pricing work should not be underestimated in its power to impact (quickly) the bottom line.
The role of Price is that it extracts the value you create in the form of revenue. As said, changes to pricing strategy and tactics can have tremendous impacts to the company bottom line. So dramatic in fact that no other single specialty area within sales and marketing is as powerful. As an example, if you found out you had achieved additional value and could raise prices by 3%, the general impact to the company would be almost 3% in incremental revenue. If you did this in products that have the best margin in your portfolio, there were be a subsequently dramatic improvement in margin, likely twice this number of 3%. A place to start is with mapping the contribution margin of every product and service item in your portfolio – this is without a doubt a very doable goal.
As the CM by item is being established, we recommend looking outside to see what the competitors are doing. CEVOH is in a unique third-party position here to help you do what is necessary to uncover the facts. We secret shop, we hire tangential experts, we extrapolate and uncover with good detective work. The goal here is not to do anything unethical, but to establish the pricing strategy of the others in the market and better benchmarks for you. These benchmarks also provide insight on the expectations of customers with regard to value. Some areas to watch for are:
Has a key competitor switched recently from cost-based to market pricing strategies? (in market pricing, the price is set to match the value; cost-base or sometimes called cost-plus is exactly what it seems)
Is anyone using an every-day-fair-pricing approach? (this approach started in box stores as ‘every-day-low-price’ until margins were compressed to an unhealthy level. Then it moderated to EDFP)
Yield management pricing – often used by industries where limited inventory is the norm; for example an airline will use a yield management pricing approach coupled with a market based approach to set variable seat pricing. The goal here is to match supply and demand closely.
So many companies are discounting their way to bankruptcy.
If you know the value of the products and services, and you are priced above this – you should be using discounts to normalize the gap. But discounts can easily be overused. Discounts should be awarded for trial, increase/volume and retention, loyalty. Rule of thumb, offer discounts to encourage the customer behavior you want, not everyday buying cadences. If you are overpriced and heavily using discounts, CEVOH can show you how to reverse this without putting revenue at risk.
Bottom line on Pricing Strategy and Tactics.
Even with seasoned pricing professionals in-house, consider hiring a firm like CEVOH to do an assessment. We can often see things you know are there, but need some help to correct. Or we may find something important and hidden in plain sight. And, we have proven transitions and migrations that help you make pricing changes without putting too much ‘run-rate’ revenue at risk. At the end of a pricing engagement with CEVOH, you will be able to say “We price such that we know we are achieving the maximum customer value while extracting that value into revenue. We only reward discounts for specific customer behavior such as trial, growth and volume.”
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 7 - Sales & Business Development force multipliers
Starting with the people, we are sometimes amazed with how creative the sales folks are. Many selected this type of job to have some freedoms and to develop infinite people skills. All good, except when an organization become frustrated with sales performance and cranks down. Many times, this will mean introducing activity tools like salesforce or mandatory trainings, first start coaching meetings and endless structured canvasses, excessive campaigns and sprints. We believe all these techniques can be enablers to performance but we typically recommend a moderate approach. For example, the first three structured sprints that are implemented will likely produce incremental results, but they may only be bringing sales forward to fill the order book. Then booked orders may lag in future months because there was no backlog or pipeline. And motivationally, the endless grind of repetitive tasks within a sales team can negate any productivity gains seen in the beginning. One approach we recommend is to ‘ride with’ or audit the sales teams in a very partnering manner. Of course, being good sales reps – they will want to influence us and show us what they want us to see. But, we sat in those seats and have objective wisdom. The point here is that we strongly advocate involving sales reps and managers in any transformational approaches. Buy-in and adoption will be much higher.
The CEVOH 10 Sales & Business Development Multipliers
Multiplier No. 1 – Sell the Sellers First
How dedicated is your sales team? It’s a positive and quick answer for most in leadership roles. We did a survey once with three separate companies (different industries) and found that 60% of reps were actively working a plan B. This could mean a future career change, additional moonlight gigs, and even a second job. We found reps that owned businesses, had a franchise, on-call ministers, insurance sales positions, etc. The CEOs and leadership of these three firms were shocked. Without passing any judgement, we simply reminded all that sales people are generally hired because of their extraordinary ‘enterprising’ nature. They are driven, curious, creative and have exceptional people skills. For this reason, the sales growth initiatives we suggest are always mindful of this. And, we approach things with a “sell the sellers” first point of view. If you and we can win the hearts of the reps, you will likely win the hearts of the customers too.
Multiplier No. 2 – Find Storytellers and Demonstrators That Put the Customer First
As you consider the consistent attributes of a good sales person, please consider these recruiting tips.
Only hire candidates who can demonstrate, or who are capable of. (they are the story tellers, and the ones showcasing your products and services).
Attract people in these positions that can be led to helping their customers be successful first. (sales success and compensation will always follow).
And try to screen for those candidates that can add value at point of sale. (advice, and reinforcements of the technical nuances of your offering – even if it means ‘challenging’ the customer at times).
Finding people that will do all three will certainly increase your changes of having happy, motivated sales teams that can align to your growth goals.
Multiplier No. 3 – Embrace Technology to Improve Sales Skills
A popular sales growth initiative is to improve on-boarding skills, introduce sales skill certification and require on-going sales training participation. These can be powerful concepts that produce results. But the methods are changing quickly. We believe in experiential learning. We train, grade and coach sales role play presentations. These can be scary – but they can also be fun. Either way, they produce very memorable learnings for both the participants and the observers. In one company we worked with, trained actors were routinely brought in to be customers during role plays. In these scenarios, brand new sales reps were subjected to various customer personalities, ‘angles’ and rejections. The role plays were conducted in an elegant movie set environment (real props, offices, field type simulations) and these were live broadcast to all other reps. Along with a formal assessment that included grading and coaching for each rep – their peers also participated in voting for the best. Prizes and recognition was plentiful. Role plays don’t have to be this elaborate, but on-going role plays is highly recommended. Especially when new products are launched, sales objections are troublesome, or big deals can be nerve racking. Best to iron out and polish up during a role play rather than learning hard knocks in the customers location. Remote training can be more difficult but new technologies are helping to get everyone to participate, stay focused and be engaged during skill training. See our point of view on compensation below as a predeterminant on how willing sales reps are to share their best practice techniques with other reps.
Multiplier No. 4 – Sales + Telephone Shouldn’t Mean Less of Anything
Tele and down channel sales teams are playing an increasing role. More and more, the customer doesn’t want anything of a pressure sales visit – they push back in many ways. In one way, a recent CEVOH study found that customers were ‘presold’ before these visits. 60% had already made up their mind on what they would buy, from whom and the details – in some cases showing remarkable knowledge about the product line, the options and the best values. Digital makes this all possible. We see telephone sales, inbound call centers, live chat agents and other methods in high growth mode. A few pieces of essential advice here; Treat these reps as you would any other. In fact, many ‘appointment setting’ telephone reps have higher performance results than their field sales counterpart. This is especially the case with B2B sales. One reason for this is that reps on the telephone do not have the luxury of using non-verbal skills. In place of these, they have honed and polished their verbal skills – often using tone and voice inflection to perfection to make a remote connection with customers. A proven technique here to help tele sales, t-center reps, call centers and even remote telephone associates is to place a large mirror in their office/cube. We find that this helps their voice tone and inflection tremendously. A rep can occasionally watch themselves in the mirror to see their own nonverbal cues – for example, studies confirm that smiling and other facial expressions sound more authentic when there is someone watching. Even yourself.
Multiplier No. 5 – Not Many Things More Important than Sales Coaching
Have you ever had a great coach? One that made you better? Bet they did this thru a combination of techniques and approaches. They pushed you, they nurtured you at times (well mine didn’t) and they added techniques and skills to your bag. So often a good coach can make all the difference. It’s no different in a sales function. Study after study confirm that the first line sales managers are the most important part of increasing sales performance levels. These heroes can play a dual role as well – as they are getting their sales unit the improvement skills needed, they can also provide important feedback to other parts of the organization about what is working, and what will never work. Better to embrace that hard truth that can sometimes only come from the best coaches. From our perspective, good sales coaching is more of a mentoring situation at times. It’s much better when a mutual agreement. It can’t be forced, done in a big group or perfectly scheduled. Sure, ride-along Mondays’ are a classic, but we typically recommend timing those ride-alongs to better fit a specific customer type, larger deal that needs some help closing or just when both parties think it’s a good fit. Same advice here as in other multiplier sections (about sales comp), if you comp is not set up right – you may not get good coaching results. As an example, your better reps will resist the ride-along or phone camping, as they will be afraid you will transfer their best practices to others – thus reducing their ranking on the rack and stack reports.
Multiplier No. 6 – How to Treat Your Best Sales Performers
You want to reward, recognize and get out of the way of your best performers. There are exceptions, but we typically find that the top tier of sales performers are truly gifted, can sell almost anything and would be in the top tier of any company. For these reasons, you want to retain them, and keep them cranking. There are times when they need some additional motivation as their skills are so good, they can get lazy. Well lazy is not the right word, sorry, but imagine if you were so good at sales that you could blow out your performance goals by only working 23 hours a week. Would you want to devote the other 17 hours each week to the same company and get paid 110% to goal? Or would you spend those hours on Plan B? Back to the compensation plan again. Without the same multipliers or enhancements here to motivate the best performers, you will likely see your gifted enterprising top reps – well, pursuing enterprising things. Hopefully we can help you to meaningfully differentiate high performers, ensuring a broader demonstration of such behaviors. We want to help you build a rewards structure that takes special care of these reps.
Multiplier No. 7 – Goals, Reporting, and Recognition Create Cadence
Boy we’ve seen all types here – from companies that require excessive goals and reporting each week to companies that have hardly any. The good news is that with some trial and error and hiring CEVOH to guide you – you can easily optimize this. Watch out for disconnects. For example, one company was 100% all in on salesforce adoption – making it punitive when a rep didn’t complete tasks, forecast on time, or update critical information. But all the sales forecasts were being redone by the finance staff. And finance was ‘smoothing’ out the outliers. Turns out they were wedded to excel and there was a disconnect between the salesforce feed and their financial goal and forecasting system. For one company we advised, they had really structured approaches on sales goals and reporting, but no sales team recognition was in place. This was easily changed. Establishing habits of proper goal setting, reporting and recognition is a good step forward in obtaining an optimal sales cadence. We recommend that a cadence is necessary and even wanted by most sales teams. Seems these folks like to be measured. But they also want freedom and the ability to be creative. Balance is best. Some transactional sales companies do Friday read-outs where reps show their appointments for the next week, but for others this is excessive. If you have a Business Development team with longer sales cycles, a quarterly business development review QBDR is a common approach – with monthly meetings to work together and strategize how to meet/exceed the goals. The worst case is when goals are being missed, and they get rolled into the next sales period – cumulatively. This breaks everyone’s back and doesn’t address root causes. Essential advice, keep those responsible for voice of the customer handy during the sales read-outs. If goals are being missed, and the voice of the customer feedback is generally positive, this signals a channel issue. If goals are missed and VOC is also poor – better call us. If VOC is negative, but sales goals are being met, there may be storms coming in the future.
Multiplier No. 8 – Integration of Sales with Other Value Drivers
The sales reps are value drivers. We want good storytellers that can demonstrate and care for the customer – adding value during the sales process. But we also want to integrate all this with the other value drives of the business. Quickly said, sales compensation, rewards and recognition should align with the company’s key goal areas and the rewards structure for customers as well. As an example, if sales are paid on top-line revenue, but all the non-sales managers are paid mostly on margin – there is a disconnect. In turn, if the customer is awarded discounts for spending behavior and this doesn’t exactly match how the sales team is rewarded - there is a disconnect. Finally, if there is agreement to focus the company on incremental value creation for customers, but sales are rewarded more heavily for certain higher margin products, there may be a disconnect if you haven’t optimized the portfolio offering? Let’s have a discussion about this.
Multiplier No. 9 – Focus on the Middle
This is similar to Multiplier No. 6 in addressing the unique attributes of the sales tiers. As with 6, the top tier of reps needs special attention to keep them performing – but not too much managing. The other two tiers (picture a bell curve with the top tier representing 25%, the bottom tier representing 25% and the middle is 50%) require special thought and approaches as well. Take the bottom first. All studies point to this tier as being habitually problematic. No amount of reasonable effort is going to change things here. The real opportunity is with the middle performers. This is the biggest group in any sales organization and has the best opportunity for improvement. If you could improve the performance of this group by 5%, you would really have something. Studies show these are among your most coachable group, generally engaged with less Plan B distractions, glad to be part of the company and able to (on occasion) see themselves in the top performing, highly recognized sales tier. This is a tremendous motivator. Sharing best practice techniques, improving their transferable sales skill, and making sure the comp plan is working properly for this middle group will certainly pay off.
Multiplier No. 10 – Sales Compensation (if done correctly) is Powerful
Perhaps one of the most obvious and clear methods of motivating, retaining, rewarding and recognizing sales personnel is by use of a variable compensation plan. A lot of philosophy is written about the perfect comp plan and to no one’s surprise, CEVOH has some thoughts here. In general, you want your sales people rewards to be based on simple, easily communicated, relatively unchanging criteria. These rewards align to your strategic objectives such as customer value metrics, company financial goals, company values, etc. The best comp plans are often the simplest and don’t require extensive computer tracking to figure out. A primary goal is to follow these proven rules:
Benchmarked third-party comparibles to similar industries; a strategic ratio of base + variable
Recognition of ‘booked sales’ for compensation purposes follows the GAAP reporting standards for your industry
Rep opportunity or ‘territory’ is clearly defined and fair
The variable comp plan has no more than 3 or 4 moving parts. A computer system is not required to calculate the reward for each sale.
The essence of the comp plan aligns with building customer value, discounting rewards and company goals
Sales policy clearly outlines the company stance on compensation approaches including: are rep payments confidential or open sourced, compensation gaming violations and repercussions, decorum during disputes, etc.
Recognition benefits are as precise as the variable comp so that no one feels demotivated by missing the trip incentive, etc.
If rep ranking is published and rewarded for, expect minimal best practice sharing inside the sales or Business Development team
Uncollectable revenue is included as a shared reward metric (fulfilment and sales)
Dispute process in territory, booked or closed revenue, compensation and rewards are clearly defined in published sales policies
There are consequences for missing performance standards – these are fair and clear.
Building on over 30 years of experience with sales effectiveness projects, CEVOH has developed an innovative Sales Opportunity Self-Assessment tool for senior executives and sales managers. Taking only a few minutes to complete, the sales survey provides immediate, actionable results tailored to your industry and market along with a best-in-class benchmarking analysis across three sales categories: sales strategy, sales organization and deployment as well as sales enabling factors.
Major Sales & Marketing Focus No. 8 - Traditional and Digital Promotions
It’s a social planet.
How we touch customers, friends, family, co-workers and the future is becoming more efficient – and much more complicated. While the opportunities are huge, the amount of time and attention all this takes can be overwhelming. CEVOH can help your organization take advantage of traditional, digital and new media methods. In a short area here, we think these are the three primary areas you can make improvement:
High impact Messaging – we tend to follow a more traditional approach here and showcase the reasons to pick your company. Tell the story, show the products and services in a ‘real setting’ – meaning happy, interesting people using your stuff. Show your products ‘fielded’ vs on a bench or in a photography studio. Outline the value you deliver. Make sure this matches perfectly to the customer needs and desires. Remember that the segmentation of customers to future value is also going to require unique messaging and delivery approaches to match. Think about your starting point, and always be moving your messaging forward. We have a powerful messaging brief we recommend. show the head graphic or link to it Include the part about the discriminators
Best practice Media mix recommendations. There are so many choices that it can be overwhelming even to the media buying professional. Trying to solve for the softer benefits of a media buy such as the ‘awareness’ is fast becoming less important. Instead, many companies are realizing that much of the buying decision is made before the sales rep makes contact. Customers are willing to do tremendous research and evaluations to compare features, benefits, discriminators, reviews and third-party advice to help them prepare for the sales experience. If budgets are limited, we advise going toward leads and a clear advertising ROI to help your revenue line. To this point, CEVOH has a huge and powerful repository of actual lead count data. As of today, we have almost 2 million actual lead results records. The records have been cleaned, scrubbed and verified authentic. And from here we have added additional variables that enhance this data with key ad lead drivers. We have built a powerful model that includes 1100 U.S. markets, 200 industries, 80 different types of advertising and 10 key lead drivers. This means there are over 175 million unique ad combinations. We even built an easy user interface and mobile app for this. The app will predict how many leads you will get and what the benchmark pricing is for the most common ad engines including Google AdWords. The end result is better clarity on advertising value so you can make better advertising decisions.
Ad reviews and look back analysis - digital media makes it easier to use A B testing to determine which ad program works best. Similar approaches can also be achieved with traditional media. This concept is pretty simple, and technologies have made this easier to do. CEVOH follows proven scoring criteria to grade ads at the beginning and also capture results from the ads along the way. This methodology can be applied to all types of ads, promotions, and digital campaigns. CEVOH has benchmark data that allows us to compare your results to others in your industry – providing clarity for you on how much to pay for leads.
Here are some simple tips we recommend to follow when developing and implementing advertising, promotions and communications:
Be authentic. We recommend you follow this simple axiom: deliver what is promised and promise what you deliver.
Clarify messaging to match your unique differentiators.
Tell others why they should choose you over others.
Test, predict, grade and assess advertising, promotions and communications against industry benchmarks and your historical trends.
Allocate your media spending based on the clear ROI they provide.
Leads are the best and there are different qualities of leads. Your advertising, promotions and communications should provide leads for your sellers. Leads are phone calls, walk-ins / store traffic and web form fills.
Limit focus on the softer benefits of advertising including presence, impressions, views, gross rating points, clicks and lead referrals.
When building brand, review the value equation and combine Customer Value Index with future brand promises.
Sales and Marketing is a core competency of expertise for CEVOH, and we are proud of our track record here. We’ve helped many companies in trouble to turn things around and they are now enjoying substantial long-term growth rates. We’ve helped start-ups get things going and we’ve also worked with companies that are having current revenue growth success, but are looking for improvements. Our secret here is that we are really good at strategy, we make sure we know the markets and we sweat the details.