Is it just us, or is January the unofficial month when you address all of those nagging problems that you ignored–by necessity–during the holiday season?
That flashing “check oil light” was, a month ago, just another Christmas decoration. Now, it’s an appointment at the dealership.
The foot you’ve been hobbling on since you fell off the ladder while putting the star on your tree was just *wince* a little sprain. Now, it’s an X-ray bill (yipee!) and a very attractive boot.
The point is, this is the time of year when we all make an effort to get our n@ns$nse together, and it’s time to direct some of that energy toward your sales execution platform (SEP) and strategy.
Chances are pretty good that, even if you don’t know it, it’s hobbling on one foot, too.
Do you know where your SEP’s warning lights are?
Like a check engine light, there are indications we commonly hear that tell us–and the sales leaders we work with–that their sales execution platforms need some attention. Here are a few examples:
- “Our reps are burnt out.”
- “Reps aren’t hitting quota.”
- “Our reps are spending a lot of time on personalization, but it doesn’t seem to be making a difference.”
- “We’re putting a ton of prospects into sequence, but reps aren’t booking meetings.”
- “Our metrics are a mess.”
- “We have a ton of email bounces.”
You could look at several of those problems and assume it’s time to call HR and start writing some performance improvement plans. Or, you could blame marketing. (Shame on you!)
However, if you asked any of our consultants what the real problem is, they would all tell you the same thing: the problem is the way you’re using your SEP.
But don’t panic. We have a prescription for all that ails you and your team.
Don’t blame your reps (yet). The problem may be with your SEP.
If your reps are decent workers and follow sequences created according to best practices, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t hit quota most of the time. More importantly, they should have lives outside of work and, generally speaking, like their jobs.
When this isn’t the case, it’s time to evaluate your sales execution platform and the supporting program you (should) have in place.
Are your sequences manageable?
When we audit our clients’ sales execution programs, one of the first places we look is skipped tasks. Skips are not always an indication that your employees are as lazy as that Dennis guy who stole the dinosaur eggs on Jurassic Park. Naughty Dennis.
It’s honestly more likely that you’ve created unmanageable sequences; your reps feel like they’re drowning, and they don’t have a choice. With too many due tasks piling up, an SEP’s workflow features become virtually unusable.
If this sounds familiar, you need to make changes that maximize and multiply your team’s efforts. Not sure how? We can help.
Are you misusing personalization?
Our consultants also look for how closely reps are following your sequences and what “personalization” appears to mean to them.
If reps are writing tons of manual emails, and each one sent out is different from the last, then your reps are missing out on the benefits of tools like templates and snippets that make email writing so much faster (and safeguard best practices).
The Greaser team advocates strongly both for personalization and for rep involvement in content creation, but there is an appropriate way to involve reps in the process of creating messaging. Similarly, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach personalization, even within well-crafted sequences.
Good personalization customizes only the most valuable parts of each email step and allows the rest to be consistent, saving heaps of time and making measurement more reliable.
Don’t trust your numbers (yet). Metrics are tricky devils.
What sales or marketing leader doesn’t love numbers? Gosh, we just love ‘em.
But here’s the problem. Your sales execution platform is a software program; you’re smarter than it is. And if you or your team is misusing it, your SEP is going to struggle to keep up.
Psst. You’re doing it wrong.
Your SEP can only measure the activity that’s recorded in it, and it doesn’t have any way of filtering out the “they’re doing it wrong” exceptions. So, if you are, in fact, doing it wrong, your SEP will do its best to record what’s going on, but those numbers won’t be accurate.
For instance, you may think your reps have sequenced tens of thousands of prospects, but many of those folks may have either failed entirely, due to technical errors, or bounced, due to bad content creation practices.
Even if it looks like tons of people have gone through a sequence, only a small percentage of those prospects may have actually heard from you.
Your workflows just aren’t working.
Or, maybe your reps are only partially using their sequences. They do a bit of work in the SEP, and then they do the rest with a spreadsheet and their inbox. This sort of hybrid approach is really problematic and avoidable, given the many integrations SEPs have with email servers, Salesforce, and other commonly used tools.
If this is happening, then you need to create new sequences that actually follow your reps’ workflows, whether that means working from the SEP itself or, through an extension, from their inboxes or CRM. Any of these use cases is fine, but they have to be executed properly for you to trust any of the metrics coming out the other side.
Your reps have too much freedom.
A lot of sales reps would throw rotten vegetables at us for telling you this, but a lot of revenue leaders give their sales reps too much freedom to change sequences.
When reps make too many adjustments, the sequences lack statistical consistency. One altered version of the sequence may be working like magic, but another version is tanking.
The SEP sees one sequence, not a million variations, and it can’t do much more than report on averages. But, without more information, you have no clue what’s actually working and what’s tanking.
If you want to see numbers in your SEP that you can trust, then you need to create sequences that permit an appropriate level of personalization without sacrificing the integrity of your sequences or the numbers that report on their results.
Treat yourself (and your grateful team) to an audit.
The point is that many well-intentioned teams misuse their SEPs, and the consequences can be significant.
We crack a lot of jokes at Greaser, but we take this very seriously. A well-functioning SEP means the difference between the quality of life for reps and managers and one unnecessarily stressful quarter after another.
A healthy SEP also means you can trust the numbers and metrics you rely on to assess performance, make decisions, and predict your revenue.
That’s why you owe it to yourself, your business, and your employees to invest in a third-party audit to look under the hood, offer strategic advice, and point your sales execution program in the right direction.
Greaser Consulting’s audits are affordable, comprehensive, and personalized. A member of our team will work with you, individually, to understand your team’s biggest challenges, pinpoint causes, and recommend a prescription to set you up for the best year yet.
Get in touch with us today to schedule a “well visit” for your sales execution program.