IBA, as the premier business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, is firmly established as a respected professional service firm in the legal, accounting, banking, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, and financial planning communities. Periodically, we will post guest blogs from professionals with knowledge to share for the good of owners of privately held companies & family owned businesses. The following blog has been provided by Bob Simril of Sales Xceleration (www.salesxceleration.com):
Evaluating & Improving Sales Department Performance Post Business Acquisition
Allow me to offer a perspective. Consider your sales pipeline the lifeline of your business. It’s the oxygenated blood pumping through to the brain (your employees), thus engaging the vital activity of our organs (cross-department collaboration, if you will).
A company’s leadership is the nourishment employees need to carry the weight of a company’s life force, providing sustenance, routines, motivation, and incentives (think diet of nutritious food or a personal trainer). Perhaps you see where I’m going here, with room for interpretation on what organizations require to perform as successfully as the human body.
Let’s examine the experience of your company’s sales team. Do you feel they truly understand or receive the guidance, support, or tools they need to deliver? Perhaps there isn’t the bandwidth to implement the necessary strategic or tactical sales efforts. When purchasing a new business, it can be overwhelming to know where to start, as there are so many resources available to help guide you.
My hope is that this piece will shed some light on what’s possible for your company, especially if you find yourself resonating with any of these areas affecting your pipeline and revenue plans.
These are the types of challenges I often hear when companies are attempting to build sales strategy, process, and execution:
There hasn’t been any effective, formal process leading to consistent results and measurable activity.
The right sales questions aren’t being asked, and executives don’t know where to start, leading to the frustrations of “I don’t know what I don’t know”.
Sales teams aren’t feeling effectively led, managed, or supported. In turn, hiring/retention has suffered.
Salespeople are experiencing burnout, and aren’t working towards a motivating and effective compensation plan that’s affordable for the company.
You might consider assessing these areas after acquiring your company. I learned the hard way, thus eager to share the lessons worth imparting as you enter this exciting time for your business.
Predicting future sales can be intimidating. You may not have a sense for how revenue flows, the signs of risks, or poor health of your renewal business. Customers will churn. That’s the nature of risk and business ownership. Silver lining, you can mitigate that churn identifying upsell opportunities and/or delivered new products or services into the current customer base.
These questions might help you assess the state of your sales organization, and are some key areas you should focus on right away:
First, what’s your sales methodology? Have you been strategic with your sales coverage model? What’s the logic behind territories and have you had success with them?
“Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident”. – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. What are all the steps in your sales process, from prospect to closed sale, and is it documented?
How are you monitoring your customer interactions, marketing leads, closed sales, pipeline goals, lost opportunities, retaining/upselling clients? Do you currently use a Customer Relationship Management tool effectively? Do you believe your sales forecasting is accurate?
Measuring what matters – what sales metrics are you currently tracking? Does your team have a clear picture of where they’re headed?
Show me the money! Are the compensation plan(s) bringing the desired results/behavior you seek? What’s the process for performance reviews, and is formal sales training offered?
If you pack your pipeline with new prospects, continuously diversify your client portfolio, and provide thoughtful guidance, support, and tools for your employees — this attests to a happy and healthy business owner. You’ll sleep better at night, and give your business potential scale and growth opportunities –increasing your business valuation. Developing a healthy pipeline is like fresh blood pumping to the enlightened brain.
As a longtime sales executive, I’m passionate about the selling world, and ready to advise and guide new business owners as they analyze and make decisions during this formative time of risk balanced with return.
My expertise best suits B2B companies, with sales revenue between $2m to $20m, without a sales force or those with simply a small team. Perhaps the Owner/CEO is leading the sales efforts (whom doesn’t necessarily have the desire or talents to do so), and sales have stagnated or declined.
Please get in touch to review my sample scope of work as an Outsourced VP of Sales, and check out my website to learn more about how I can help your business succeed.
Bob Simril is the President of VP Sales PDX, a consulting firm focused on improving sales performance in small & medium privately held companies. If you have questions about the content of this article or any area relevant to Mr. Simril’s expertise please contact him at (425) 531-1320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned businesses. IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.