We’re approaching the end of sales kickoff season. Companies have brought their sales teams together, and have started planning new go-to-market strategies. They’ve added new product features, benefits, and new territory plans to their sales bags. With the best companies (unfortunately, most companies don’t do this enough), there is a new skills-based learning deployed at scale to the sellers as a way of kickstarting initiatives. However, I stress that you need to be very mindful that event-based learning at sales kickoffs is not behavioral change – it’s merely the planting of the seeds of change management.
But now that sales kickoff season is just about over – the highs of getting together as an organization, the learning, the camaraderie, the awards, the planning of your President’s Club – are all finalized. You’re back at your office or on the road trying to generate business. Your customers have been busy, and you’re probably starting your year at zero – you’re looking up at that insurmountable mountain, and can barely see up the mountain over the clouds, let alone to the top of the summit.
This is when reality kicks in. The learning and skills that were provided to your team at the sales kickoff have probably not best prepared them for the realities of 2020 – in which prospecting is going to be key. As a Chief Revenue Officer, you have white hot fear coursing through your veins, because your CEO gave you a big number to hit, with a compounded growth rate on top of last year – yet nothing has changed.
I’m going to deploy you with one tip – which ultimately should have been accomplished pre-sales kickoff, or at least at the sales kickoff itself. Every one of your sellers needs to come back to you with a concrete territory plan – known as a Total Addressable Market (TAM) plan or TAM map. The world’s best companies visualize that TAM, in order to understand what opportunities exist there.
Every seller needs to subdivide their TAM map into their specific territory, which is either geographic, verticalized, or named account – and come to you with a concrete plan, with “Top X” at a minimum. From our customer base, that means 10-25 accounts. Some call it their “Strategic 25”, some call it the “Top 10”, but you need your sellers to come to your next meeting with a Top 25 or Top 10 list that also contains concrete analysis done on a very simple question: why are you going to spend the next 10 months on this account, to try to win it before December 31?
Their answer to that question will dictate where you have skill gaps in your organization. If they cannot articulate why that account has an asymmetrical competitive advantage (meaning there are relationships or compelling triggers that give a higher than normal probability of buying intent), then you have a massive skills gap in your organization and you are running the same ineffective playbook that you ran in the past. You have sellers selectively selecting accounts based on market trends, market size, revenue size, or number of employees, but that never gave you a competitive advantage that you could execute against to best your competition and get companies to make buying decisions within a year.
To review: you as a Chief Revenue Officer need to simply get your sellers to build a territory plan with 10-25 accounts on it, and get them to defend why they selected those accounts. If they can’t articulate simply where you and your organization have an asymmetrical advantage over your competition, and why this demonstrates a greater buying intent, then you are in trouble.