When it comes to sales strategy, cultivating a successful team is key. But, how? Well, the simple answer is good old fashion discipline. The best B2B sales teams understand that delivering sustainable revenue growth requires thoughtful sales execution, and PGi’s sales team is no exception. PGi demonstrates a systematic approach to sales that draws from SBI’s eight-pronged model for disciplined sales execution.
SBI, a management consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing, developed an eight-part strategy to help sales teams make their number and deliver sustainable revenue growth year over year. Our own sales execution strategy is a great real-world model of how to execute successful B2B sales alignment. Let’s take a look at how SBI’s eight-step sales execution process plays out in implementation through PGi:
Step 1: The Hierarchy of Objectives
Setting large-scale goals and objectives for your sales team is simple enough. However, the process of aligning those objectives and ensuring that the goals trickle down through your organization on the path towards implementation isn’t easy. And the process of taking goals from the macro to the micro is also difficult, but not impossible. With the proper approach, organizations can cascade high level corporate objectives into field level objectives that can be realized by sales reps.
At PGi, the goals of our CEO and board are connected to individual sales reps in the field in two different ways. First, we are constantly communicating (using our own collaboration tools) to make sure sales reps are in the know about relevant happenings and goals in our company. For example, my team and I lead a bi-weekly global webcast to broadcast updates to our sales and marketing team so everyone is looped in to the current goals and points of focus of the company. Secondly, to help us execute on our key goals, we incentivize our sales reps to meet their goals, and they are handsomely compensated when those goals are met.
Step 2: Detailed Reporting
To achieve your sales goals, it’s crucial to measure progress against objectives. Setting goals and measuring progress is not an uncommon practice. However, measuring objectives against progress at the individual level is a far more difficult practice that, with discipline, can be implemented at great benefit to the company.
As SBI notes, “execution is about focus and attention daily, not just quarterly or annually.” At PGi, measuring progress against objective on the daily level is of utmost importance. Because we exist in the SaaS space, our platforms are always on and providing us with real-time stats and KPIs, from uptime indicators to daily cash flow balances and reports on our top customers, allowing us to visualize on a micro level how we are progressing towards our sales goals.
Step 3: The Daily Huddle
Continuing the focus on daily operations, the next level of sales execution is exemplified by SBI’s notion of a ‘daily huddle.’ The daily huddle operates under the idea that every sales rep should commit to a course of action every single day that moves them closer to achieving the objectives that have been laid out and cascaded down to them by the company.
Though 15-20 minute daily meetings between managers and direct reports might sound great in theory, in practice, implementing daily huddles on your team might be difficult to accomplish. However, that doesn’t mean your sales reps can’t have a daily action plan focused on the proper goals. At PGi, our sales line managers coach, motivate and communicate with our sales reps on a daily basis. We also have a weekly cadence for our sales team so sales reps know what they should be focusing on each day of the week.
Step 4: Weekly Meetings
The obvious next step up from the daily level is managing your goals on a weekly timeline. According to SBI, the weekly meeting is crucial to troubleshooting problems that arise on a daily basis, giving sales managers an opportunity to eliminate obstacles that arise as a detriment to progress.
For example, our sales leadership team has a weekly call focused on discussing customer successes, win/loss deals from the previous week, successful plays we ran and challenges that arose that need to be tackled heading into a new week. Week-to-week strategizing ensures that sales managers are guiding their reps properly down the right path towards our company goals.
Step 5: Monthly Alignment Sessions
SBI believes that each month sales teams should have a half-day session with executive leadership to review and take action on the results of critical KPIs. PGi’s monthly sales meeting includes members from our global sales teams and provides an opportunity for executive leadership to discuss standard cadences, cover financials, get read outs from each of the functional leaders on their goal progress for that year and review reports and scorecards for each of our product levels.
With these monthly meetings, we are able to broadcast to the group what we’ve accomplished, how to improve, and how to continue driving execution strategies.
Step 6: Quarterly Business Reviews
Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) generally consist of two to three days offsite to assess, at a high level, how your company is executing against its strategy. At PGi, QBRs provide a way for our corporation to rapidly iterate our company strategy based on the market feedback we’ve received in the last 90 days from customers, prospects, employees and competitors.
More importantly, though, PGi’s QBRs provide an opportunity to make sure we are constantly getting closer to our customers. In looking at our strategic discussions and product roadmaps, we are driven by the feedback from our customers. Our goal is to ensure that the ideas that drive our organization’s product enhancements are coming directly from our customers.
Step 7: The Annual Planning Process
From quarterly check-ins, the next step is the annual planning process. Annual operating plans are necessary for leading organizations to re-asses their corporate strategies guided by market research. After you understand the changing dynamics of your market, industry and buyers, you are well-equipped to return to the drawing board and map out how to incorporate emerging trends and best practices in the marketplace into your corporate strategy and objectives.
At PGi, our annual planning process kicks off in March and begins with key executives thinking about what we need to do to grow our business. From determining quotas and changing sales methodologies in response to changing buyers and markets, the annual planning process is instrumental in touching base and thinking about the key themes, topics and goals that drive our business as we look towards the coming year.
Step 8: The Multi-Year Strategic Planning Process
In a perfect world, your company should build a rolling three-year plan in which the company assesses, at an incredibly high level, what markets to compete in (and why), what products to invest in (and why), what their competitive position in the market is and larger questions of how they want to grow their brand and give back to their customers.
At PGi, our multi-year strategic planning process is still in its beginning stages, but we are broadening our scope to look towards the future and set long-term goals for how we want our company to grow. During our time as a public company, we were more focused on the short term. With our recent privatization, we are now able to focus on making more tangible long-term plans with senior management as we look to formally document where we currently are in our strategy, where we are in a three-year plan and what our future goals will be.
When it comes to attaining strategic alignment and hitting your revenue objectives, the order in which you apply the eight disciplines of sales execution is critical. Streamlining your sales strategy is a process, one which progresses from the micro to the macro level to guarantee that your company is making rapid, daily progress towards their larger objectives. PGi is an exemplary model of how a disciplined approach to sales execution can reap positive results. With a strategy that focuses on the right objectives, and a tactic that emphasizes the right way to pursue those objectives, your sales team can be an unstoppable force that demonstrates sustainable growth year over year.