Sales organizations need to work as ONE. No matter the size of the sales organization, they struggle to do so. And this hurts both the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales.
Sales effectiveness refers to what tasks are performed focused to sell more. For example, do your salespeople know who needs what by when? Sales efficiency refers to how those tasks are completed.
Dan Burtan describes the difference between the two as that “sales effectiveness is the quality of the actions, while sales efficiency is the speed of the actions”. This definition is useful because you can only get to sales efficiency when there is sales effectiveness. Or, you first need to have your ‘house’ in order before you try to sell to the world.
Orchestrate Your Sales With A Network-Based Approach
Sales organizations are often focused outwards – focused on the ‘buyer’. That, of course, makes sense because most of the Key Performance Indicators of their companies are focused on the buyer. This is however only half of the job to be done.
Sales organizations should also focus inwards – focused on how they are connected with each other as well as with the rest of the organization. This is critical for performance.
And time after time, Innovisor found that low performance correlates with low sales team or organization coherence. Or to turn this insight into a positive phrasing: the better the performance of the sales team or organization, the stronger its organizational cohesion. In cases from different companies operating in different geographies such as China and Saudi Arabia, we have seen differences of up to 30% better performance explained by the coherence of the sales teams.
Two Cases Of How Sales Organizations Are Integrated
In this part, I will show you two cases from two different companies operating in Life Science with sales organizations in the same countries. The only difference is the size of the sales force to see if there are differences between smaller and larger sales organizations.
A Life Science Company With 6.000+ People Globally
First, let us look at how the sales teams from similar-sized countries operate in a life science company with 6,000 people globally.
The German salesforce clearly operates as individual sales teams. They only seek out each other inside their own sales teams and not across the sales organization. And even within their own teams, there are clearly barriers. Most people go directly to the ones with formal managerial roles. Sales employees do not connect with each other within and between the sales teams.
The sales teams inside the sales organization are only connected by the rest of the organization. The rest of the organization ‘sits’ in the middle of the network. They hold the sales organization together. Both the sales employees and sales managers are however not integrated into the rest of the organization because they sit at the periphery of the network. They are kept connected to the rest by only a few – making everything very fragile.
This case shows poor connectivity and that the sales teams and the sales organization as a whole are clearly only outward-focused. We have seen this in cases when we map both the internal and external networks. They operate on the edge of internal networks and more focused on the external stakeholders.
Is this a case of a specific country?
To answer this question, let us take a look at a similar-sized sales organization in another country: the United Kingdom.
At least, the sales teams in this sales organization are not completely disconnected as we saw earlier. However, it only takes a couple of people to make the network fall apart – ending up in the same situation as seen in the German sales organization. Besides this potential risk, there is a current risk: information and communication flow slowly inside the sales organization, as well as the rest of the organization. This is a tremendous blocker for an effective go-to-market strategy!
A Life Science Company With 35.000+ People Globally
Do we see the same inside larger companies? And are the risks and barriers identified in the previous case isolated in one specific company?
Let us look at how the sales organizations from the same countries operate inside a life science company with 35,000+ people globally.
The German sales organization is clearly more connected. This connectivity is also found when looking at how the sales organization connects with the rest of the organization. It does not operate as a separate part. It is an integrative part.
Is it because the larger the sales organization is, the more interconnected it becomes? That when you make these organizations big enough, it cannot fail?
The answer is no!
Their sales organization in the United Kingdom – as shown below – is of a similar size as in Germany. The difference between the two countries is however striking.
The sales organization is fragmented into different clusters. This makes the flow of information and knowledge go slow.
One of the clusters – in the left bottom – clearly shows that there are only a handful of people sought out by the rest in the cluster. Again, this makes the access of knowledge about the market risk. And in this case, there is a high risk. These handful of people are employees.
What if these key employees move their career outside the sales organization, or – even worse – outside the company?
It is not that the rest of the organization can take the ‘punch’ of key employees in the sales organization leaving. The visual on the right shows that the sales organization is not integrated with the rest of the organization. It is like an ‘appendix’ to the rest of the organization.
What Can You Do?
Connectivity is essential for your sales organization and the execution of its go-to-market strategy.
Connectivity helps sales organizations to operate effectively because it strengthens the access to information and knowledge about key stakeholders in the market. It also strengthens the access to information and knowledge about key products, solutions, and research from the company.
And this improved connectivity is the key to sales efficiency!
Start Changing The Mindset!
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