For Erik Charles, VP, Solutions Evangelist at Xactly, one could say performance management is part of his DNA. Charles has over two decades of experience working with companies to help shape and design their strategies for optimal business performance. He spoke with host Daniel Litwin on ways company’s sales teams can position themselves for optimal performance through successful strategies and solutions.
A trend Charles sees popping up in more than just SaaS sales is subscription-based services with he relates to the idea of the buyer subscribing to the relationship with a company. Charles said sales must think differently about how they approach the customer.
“It is not just about closing a customer deal; it is about building a contractual long-term customer relationship.” Business development needs to build customer retention into their close methodology from the beginning of the process.
What are the pitfalls that sales teams can avoid from a top-down perspective? The first important thing for organizations to remember, Charles said, is to think of salespeople as more than just sales, and not to form characterizations of who and what that salesperson is. “Who are you hiring into sales? How are you supporting them? How are you treating them? How are you viewing them is a big issue.”
Charles believes another factor leading to ineffective sales teams is the revolving door approach of replacing sales managers and or marketing heads too quickly. Too often a rinse-repeat cycle of trying to fix a problem through personnel change, rather than building a robust connective relationship between sales and marketing. “Before we blame the individual, we should look at what other factors might be causing an issue.” Are the sales reps adequately trained on how to approach a particular type of lead? Are the marketing materials getting in front of the right kind of customer? Is the product pricing strategy matched up properly when going against specific competitors? A lot of different factors can make a difference in sales performance that goes beyond the salesperson.
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