Last post I proposed that the more we can create the environment for highly programmable sales visits, whatever our B2B sales environment, the better for your B2B sales process performance.  My hypothesis is…

  • High degree of visit programmability
  • Lends itself to hybrid role <as opposed to separate farmers vs hunters>
  • Hybrid role lends itself to high degree of sales function optimisation
  • High degree of optimisation lends itself to high RoI
  • If separation is required, separate programmable visit activities… not clients <farming> from prospects <hunting>

Like most things in life…easy to say, not so easy to do.  So, how?  Run a series of interactive and participative sessions with the folk in the sales team.  Firstly, get them to write down all the activities and tasks they undertake, day in, day out.  To avoid the “how long is a piece of string” scenario, instruct them to think and write in terms of 50-100 such activities/tasks. Guide and prod them to think in terms of the things they do in the service cycle <ensuring their customers get the products/services they need plus looking after all forms of “after sales”>…and … the sales cycle <all the things they do to maintain and grow relationships and new business>.  Get them to push their emerging, written activities/tasks to either end of the sales vs service spectrum.

Prod them a bit harder now.  With their activities assigned down the service end of the spectrum, now introduce a responsive vs reactive “overlay” spectrum.  Force the issue…get them to now push those service activities that are due to problem fixing to the reactive end of the overlay spectrum.  And those that are “healthy” and related to responding to customer or prospect driven opportunities to the responsive end of the overlay spectrum.  To assist the folk, introduce the term “front foot” to all those activities that now belong to the sales cycle end of the original spectrum and “back foot” to all those that originally resided at the service end of the original spectrum…that have now been sub-allocated to either back foot reactive or back foot responsive.  This should assist with the final round of shuffling and <re allocation>.

At the risk of sounding like a twee exercise, how does all this help design better sales process, via better sales team structure design?  The exercise just conducted reflects the current reality.  You have guided the team members to conduct the documentation and allocation from an “as is” perspective.  Come back next week to see what to do next.

In the meantime why not refresh – Hunters & farmers…or hybrids…critical decision for the viability of your B2B sales process (part 2)