What is Sales Acceleration?

By August 12, 2016Sales, Sales Accelerator
sales acceleration

Some may argue, Sales Acceleration is a buzzword that was popularized by technologies like insidesales.com. However, if arriving faster at predictable sales outcomes is the goal, then Sales Acceleration has existed in many forms: Sales Enablement, Sales Productivity, Sales Efficiency, Sales Training & Coaching.

As Jim Keenan puts it “It is the ability to remove latency between the time you connect with a contact and delivery of the sale

Simply said, Sales Acceleration is a combination of  3 things – proven sales process, technology and winning sales rep behavior that improves the prospect connect ratio, increases velocity of deals across the sales stages and reduces deals attrition.

Now, sticking with our theme of B2B SaaS companies, exact tactics and strategies you may use for sales acceleration would differ from stages of your startup evolution: from first 4 customers to 40 customers to 400 customers.

At each stage, the sales acceleration toolkit, playbook and sales attitude varies greatly, which is central to sales predicament of tech startup founders.

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So…? Is sales acceleration for you?

We discuss some signs and symptoms which might be slowing your sales engine down. And these tell-tale signs usually involve inefficient sales process, rusty toolsets and self-defeating sales behaviors.

1. Efficient Sales Process for Acceleration

“Make Sales Process repeatable, scalable and predictable!”

 

Everything starts with hiring the right executives (and Chief Sales Officer, as the first executive). Defining your ideal customer set comes close second.

Does your rep know where to find ideal target set? Have you defined your multi-touch outbound strategy? Do you have a way to measure its effectiveness? And more importantly, change what’s not working?

Does your sales team know where to find and get resources to help them close deals faster?

How do you tell if your sales process is designed to perform? Here is how to tell:

Signs your Sales Process is slowing you down.

  • Highly priced sales rep is engaged in all sorts of sales activities – from prospecting to deal qualification and sales closure.
  • No way to identify how much of prospecting time is effective and what outreach methods work.
  • Sales rep spends 20-30 mins on finding 1 prospect and sending emails that don’t get any responses.
  • Sales rep is spending great deal of time, finding resources for follow up emails.
  • You’re finding it difficult to quantify outcomes of your sales meetings and keep track of sales progress on monthly / weekly basis.
  • You are still not confident of your reps delivering numbers after 4-5 months of hiring them.

What does sales process designed for acceleration look like?

  • Having prospecting delegated and (semi-) automated, while your highly priced sales reps focus on closures.
  • Having solid control on prospecting times.
  • Defining solid outreach messaging and multi-touch approach.
  • Having a sales playbook that enables sales reps in times of need.
  • Defining sales meetings structure based on results & outcomes.
  • Have a metric based sales on boarding & ramp up plan. And monthly meetings to assess that.

2. Sales Acceleration with right Tools

“Picking up a toolkit to match your needs.”

 

Ok, this is not a discussion on whether you need a CRM or excel sheets.

You absolutely do! Period. (No, excelsheets don’t count).

Would you expect a Ferrari with a Hyundai engine to perform?

A basic CRM like Hubspot or Pipedrive is a must. For sales teams ready for flight, salesforce.com serves well.

But going beyond simple database as CRM is fundamental to sales acceleration. It is about using toolkits that help sales reps to save time and become more effective and intelligent in their approach to connect with prospects.

We’ve already covered some of those tools that improve sales productivity before.

So what are the signs that your toolkit for accelerating sales is incomplete?

Signs that your sales tools are slowing your sales?

  • Sales reps are trying too hard to get right data and access to emails.
  • Trying to figure out who they spoke with, when and what’s the next steps.
  • Using Excel sheets as CRM and then figuring out conversation chain.
  • Sending emails and then staying in dark on what happens.
  • Sales managers are clueless on their number games, how many people contacted, what warm responses received, no dashboards or reports to support their claims.

Your sales tools are designed for acceleration if

  • you know 100% where your best source of data lies.
  • your CRM is the go-to-point for conversation tracking (at least, for starters).
  • you have built automated processes & workflows on CRM just for your company.
  • your rep is able to track prospect behavior after an active conversation.
  • your reports & dashboards give data-driven insights to evaluate your sales action

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  • How to increase responses to cold sales outreach
  • How to empower sales reps with content & context
  • How to minimize data entry

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3. Accelerating sales with Winning Rep Behaviour

“Coaching them and training them for success”

 

Sales acceleration is not about being obsessed on pounding the phone but being focussed on results.

Encouraging rep behavior that leads to right outcomes is more complex than monday-morning standup pep talks. Without sales acceleration principles being applied to improving rep behavior,

There is a big gap between what sales reps want from sales managers, and what managers think they want. And principles of sales acceleration, when put to good use can bridge that gap.

Intelligent sales leaders use proven frameworks and motivation techniques that help in getting reps focussed and be effective.

It all starts with seeing these behaviourial signs that slow your sales down.

Signs that your rep behaviour is slowing you down?

  • Sales reps are not blocking time for prospecting.
  • Not focussing on high quality prospects that make the ideal customer.
  • Not sure of agenda of internal sales meetings, come unprepared for meetings.
  • Sales rep go into Pitching mode directly, and come across as pushy-sales rep.
  • Spend time on channels that don’t seem work to effectively by itself, emails and voice mail.
  • Going solo on deals, not getting executive coverage and sponsorship on deals.
  • Spending awfully lot of time on finding information & resources to share with prospects in follow up emails.

What does “unstoppable rep” behaviour look like?

  • Sales reps have figured out exact times optimized for reaching prospects via email or phone. Blocked times for follow ups.
  • Have days prioritized based on who to call, who to connect.
  • Is very clear on expectations during coaching sessions, pipeline & forecast meetings,
  • He/she comes across as helpful & educative.
  • Connects with prospects on social channels. Digs deals from multiple sources.
  • Collaborates and engages right resources to get deals done.
  • Uses sales playbook to save time and be effective in follow ups.

Finally, if everything checks out and you’re not facing any difficulties mentioned above, we salute you! You’re an effective sales manager!

However, if you did notice some of these speed-breakers in your sales roadmap – don’t worry! You have came at the right place and we are always happy to help. To do so, use the form below to connect with us or tweet me at @askdeepr.

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by Deepanker Dua

Deep is the chief sales scientist at SalesChakra. As he experiments with sales acceleration at tech startups, he documents his learnings through this blog. An avid traveller, he has lived selling disruptive technologies in 4 continents, and speaks 5 international languages. Connect with him on Twitter @askdeepr and LinkedIn.

  • Marah Sayaman

    This is a great checklist for Sales Managers. Sometimes people fall into the trap of relying too much on the tech–when the numbers don’t match up to the target, they think it’s because of the tools or the software. Well, not always. The tech is here, but ultimately it’s the people who will use these automation and acceleration products to get the best results.

    The problem with the SaaS starts when it fails to provide you what you need (alerts/notifs, accurate recording) and when using it is making the sales process a maze instead of a smooth ride home.

    Our company, Tenfold, tries its best to help our clients close leads faster. For us, that’s what integration between phones and CRMs should aim for.

  • Marah Sayaman

    This is a great checklist for Sales Managers. Sometimes people fall into the trap of relying too much on the tech–when the numbers don’t match up to the target, they think it’s because of the tools or the software. Well, not always. The tech is here, but ultimately it’s the people who will use these automation and acceleration products to get the best results.

    The problem with the SaaS starts when it fails to provide you what you need (alerts/notifs, accurate recording) and when using it is making the sales process a maze instead of a smooth ride home.

    Our company, Tenfold, tries its best to help our clients close leads faster. For us, that’s what integration between phones and CRMs should aim for.