Archives for: April 2008

04/16/08

10:22:46 am, Categories: Entrepreneurship, Sales & Marketing, Business Trends  

Some months ago, I was talking to a sales VP at a high-tech consulting firm. He mentioned that, at present, his company’s revenue comes from existing accounts and partner referrals, about a 50-50 split. Then, he mentioned that he wanted to develop a sales model where his revenue was coming from existing accounts, partner referrals and new accounts, about a 33-33-33 split.

As we kept talking, I could literally see the huge chasm between strategy & execution in his organization. This divide is especially wide in the sales domain where most personnel are heads-down-focused on making the next month’s numbers. Strategy just goes out the window.

Now, what makes up a sound sales strategy? Some key elements include:

  • Where business comes from (channels / partners, farming / mining existing accounts, hunting for new accounts)
  • Structure of the sales organization (industry, geography, size of business)
  • Size of deals and typical sales cycle
  • Type of deals (value-based, consultative, transactional)
  • Length of sales cycle and deal closure rates

Ask any sales executive and s/he will mention that tuning any one of the above elements will take years of focused effort. How then is a sales organization to adjust its sales strategy while being focused on its current numbers? At the risk of this post looking like a thinly veiled sales attempt, I think that adjustments to sales strategies can best be done by independent, outside consultants that aren’t exclusively focused on near-term results.

The above example of the sales domain is particularly poignant and illustrates the deep divide between strategy and execution. However, this issue is also at the root of constant tussles in the board room where scarce resources have to be allocated to either tackling today’s competitors or being in a better position tomorrow. There are no easy answers. And I think, the Management Consulting industry has a sound future …

Cheers,

Sampath

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