THE THINKSALES APPROACH

REVENUE GROWTH ENGINEERING

INTERVIEW WITH THINKSALES CEO,

ANDREW HONEY

THE REALITIES OF TODAY’S SALES ENVIRONMENT

Q: As someone who regularly interacts with CEOs and sales leaders, what are some of the most pressing challenges they face today?

Without question, the single-biggest challenge we see our customers facing is that their boards and C-suite are typically demanding between 5% and 20% year-on-year growth against the backdrop of a global downturn and a stagnant local economy that’s delivering only 0,5% to 1,5% growth.

Furthermore, because of the heightened pressure to secure this growth, many companies are moving into markets not traditionally their own and, consequently, pressuring existing players who suddenly find themselves having to deal with new competitors who were not there yesterday.

Q: Have you found many of your customers are voicing their concerns about disruption?

Disruption is not just a buzz-word, or business model reserved for the Uber or Airbnb companies of this world. The reality is that it’s changing the face of a broad range of industries, which is why incumbent companies in every industry need to adapt and evolve.

Compounding this issue is the increase of cheap international imports being sold at prices below the cost of local manufacture and the fact that a number of our customers are competing with global competitors.

Q: With price driving many purchasing decisions, how are your customers able to differentiate if they are not the low cost option in their industry?

In a market dominated by customers making supplier-switching decisions primarily on price, the key challenge facing companies is to understand the customer’s perception of total value received and not just the lowest price. There are two reasons for this. First, some of our customers are being forced to sell products and services at prices lower than their business model allows; this is obviously a massive problem.

Second, many of the companies we interact with know there are deals they should or must win, and yet they are losing them. This is often because their Sales Force and sales and marketing collateral are not geared towards fully articulating the value of their services – the customer therefore cannot comprehend the value and so defers to the easiest measurement, which is price. The result for the organisation is value leakage, the greatest threat to profit realisation.

A way for companies to differentiate if they are not the low-cost option is through their sales organisation. This can be achieved by enabling their Sales Force to stop selling features and benefits and to rather diagnose problems or missed opportunities in the absence of the product or solution and conclude with a mutually-agreed cost of the problem.

REVENUE GROWTH ENGINEERING

ThinkSales's proprietary approach to Revenue Growth Engineering spans these 5-Pillars of high-performance sales orgs:

PILLAR 1

Competitive Strategy

Strategic positioning within the competitive landscape

PILLAR 2

Customer Engagement

A structured approach to differentiating and winning, retaining and increasing business in value-based sales interactions

PILLAR 3

Sales Talent

Attracting, retaining & developing the right people with Competitive Sales DNA

PILLAR 4

Sales Management

Equipping managers with the ability and frameworks to lead teams and drive results

PILLAR 5

Sales Enablement

Enablement tools to assist the sales force to be more effective in increasing productivity, engaging prospects and closing deals

HOW SALES ORGANISATIONS CAN DIFFERENTIATE TO WIN

Q: Traditional business wisdom suggests that companies dominate an industry either because of low costs or differentiation. Is there another way for companies to win?

It has been our experience that every company in every industry has a silver bullet at their disposal, and that is their sales organisation. By building a unique ‘sales way’ for a company, not for the sake of novelty, but based on best practice, it’s possible to set oneself apart from even the most dominant competitors.

Q: Is it truly possible for companies of today to build uniqueness, or is this just a vision that many companies aspire to but very few realise?

When I say unique, I mean unique in the ways that the sales organisation engages with customers. It’s extremely difficult to emulate or copy company culture and this is an advantage that every company has at its disposal and that few are leveraging.

Today, it’s largely accepted that a healthy corporate culture improves the performance of a business in a number of areas. However, ‘culture’ is still viewed as something ‘soft’ and a ‘nice-to-have’.

The truth is that if we look at ThinkSales’ best performing customers, they are the ones who have successfully managed to embed new sales processes into their culture. This enables them to cement these processes into their daily sales activities and to transform behaviour to ensure lasting change.

Q: How have your customers gone about this approach?

They design a unique strategy for their sales organisation that is based on a strategic process we call revenue growth engineering. ‘Engineering’ implies a set of processes that are precise, repeatable and measurable; there is a science to it.

Q: When you say ‘revenue growth engineering,’ what does this entail?

Revenue growth engineering is founded on ThinkSales’ proprietary 5-Pillar Strategic Sales Organisation Framework and AssessmentTM process. It is enabled through diagnostic selling, data-based decision making, technology-enabled processes, a future-orientated programme, and dual accountability between ThinkSales and the customer.

It also addresses a key problem in sales organisations, namely that there is no formal tertiary qualification for Sales Managers. Tertiary education teaches students best practice, and enables a universal understanding of how to do a particular thing.

By giving sales organisations the ability to work with a consultancy like ThinkSales, where we have gone to significant effort to develop best practices, they can look forward to the creation of a solid foundation that helps them appreciate clearly where they stand, and the solutions that apply in their specific scenario.