Each year, New Zealand businesses, particularly those who sell B2B, miss out on significant revenue because they have not formulated their sales and revenue operations. Kiwi companies have a global reputation for innovation, but compared to US or European businesses, their approach to sales and sales operations is woefully lacking and holds them back.
Having robust sales operations and confidence in your selling ability is particularly important in the current challenging market. Many businesses are struggling with a lack of predictability in their revenue, longer sales cycles, lower conversion and a reduction in quality leads. The typical Kiwi approach of relying on personal networks will not be enough to protect revenues or achieve scalable revenue growth in 2021.
Chnnl is an exciting technology start-up focused on improving employee mental health and wellbeing through its digital platform. By the end of 2019, it had an initial pilot customer in New Zealand, but was relying primarily on personal networks to try to unlock new business opportunities. As a result, it was struggling to consistently win the business of the mostly large enterprises it was targeting. Dr Elizabeth Berryman, Chnnl’s founder, engaged Sales Leaders to help the company rapidly build a scalable and repeatable way to achieve its ambitious global growth goals.
By focusing on three key areas within its business, Chnnl was able to scale up quickly, on track for over $500,000 in annual recurring revenue, win customers in five countries, cut its average sales cycle from 12-plus months to four months, and build its team in Australia – all in a covid-19 year when large-enterprise sales were very hard and slow. Here are the three things Sales Leaders focused on with Chnnl that every business wanting to close more business in 2021 should be doing:
Build a repeatable sales process and sales ‘playbook’ that everyone in the team can follow
Make sure that everyone in the team is selling in the same way (even if this is just you today). Document your entire customer journey, keeping a detailed record of the actions you take to move your customers consistently through the sale process. Also document the way your organisation sells, starting with how you identify a prospect through to how you negotiate. This should include shared resources such as frameworks, scripts and email templates. Not only is this a fantastic resource for existing staff, but it also becomes an ‘onboarding’ tool to reduce the ramp-up time of new employees. Build a repeatable revenue generating machine that you can plug any new hires into successfully.
Stop relying purely on your personal networks or waiting for customers to find you
Although there is a perception that cold outreach is dead, out of the 70-plus companies Sales Leaders has worked with in the past 18 months, the ones really smashing their revenue goals – like Chnnl – are focused on generating business through a mixture of inbound AND outbound activity. Start hunting for your customers using multiple sources rather than just hoping your phone will ring. LinkedIn, email and cold-calling can be effectively combined, for example, to open up new business opportunities when used systematically.
Invest time and resources into developing the selling capabilities of you and your team
How confident are you, and how much confidence do you have in your team, to consistently close business? Focus on upskilling yourself and your team so you don’t leave deals on the table. Start with simple things, like breaking down deals you have won as a group or brainstorming the common objections you face from prospects in order to learn from each other’s sales experiences. Then start to look at how you can structure a more formal, ongoing training plan for your business to drive win rates up and sales cycles down.