Definition of commercial performance
The commercial performance can be defined by the ability of a company to offer a product / services adapted to the needs of consumers , all by deploying organization and process optimal. Indicators ( turnover , number of sales, margins, market shares, etc.) make it possible to measure commercial performance.
The goal is thus to achieve the overall objectives of the company in relation to the performance indicators previously defined. The sales performance thus summarizes not only the acquisition of new customers but also (and especially?) The loyalty of existing customers .
The evolution of commercial activity
The rise of digital and new technologies (CRM software, marketing automation platform, sales support tools , artificial intelligence, cloud computing, etc.) in recent years has significantly changed the behavior of buyers ( online shopping, research, comparisons, etc.) and has also had a major impact on the organization and functioning of businesses . Services (HR, marketing, production, etc.) as well as roles have evolved, particularly for the sales function .
Historically, the “ commercial-hunter ” crisscrossed the roads with his file of prospects and customers in a defined area in order to meet as many contacts as possible to sell HIS services / products .
Today, the commercial breeder generally focuses on a smaller but much more qualified sample by mixing the points of contact . His goal is to help his prospect to solve HIS problematic in order to offer him the most appropriate solution.
Where the salesperson could be seen as intrusive and disturbing, he is today perceived as advising and benevolent, which allows to establish a climate of trust and a strong customer relationship . We are now much more in a “win-win” relationship. Of course, signing remains a priority for the sales teams , but the objective is indeed to sign with the “ right leads ” while providing maximum value.
Who says business performance says business strategy
Before even looking into sales performance , it is essential to have defined a real sales strategy upstream . Indeed, it is difficult to monitor and measure your performance when you don’t know where you are going or how.
Define strategic priorities / objectives
The starting point of any business strategy is defining a clear business strategy. What are your macro goals?
Once you’ve clarified your goals, chances are there are still too many. The word to remember here is PRIORITIZE”. You will therefore have to determine what your main objective is in order to align a business strategy, ambitious perhaps, but realistic.
Define its targets and offers
Once you’ve set your goals, focus on your target. And again, don’t try to target everyone because you won’t be hitting anyone. Ask yourself these questions:
- who are you ?
- What do you do better than the rest?
- Who can you bring the most value to?
At the end of this step, you should have a PRIORITIZED list of what are commonly known as buyer personas along with a clear value proposition for each of them. We also talk about USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or, better still in my opinion, UVP (Unique Value Proposition).
Define an action plan
Now you have to define your operational action plan, the realization of which should lead you to achieve your objectives. Here is a classic methodology, but one that must be respected:
- Define business objectives and KPIs to follow;
- Define the prospecting levers to use (mailing, social selling, blogging etc.);
- Set up your business process;
- Choose the relevant tools.
Measure, learn and improve
This step is often the big missing from business strategies when it really is the most important element in reaching or revising your business goals. No one has the magic bullet the first time, but if you measure what you are doing, and take the time to understand the results, then you will be able to optimize performance on an ongoing basis.
To do this, equip yourself with the necessary tools for proper monitoring of operations.
Sales and marketing performance
It is no longer possible today to talk about sales performance without including marketing in the thinking. Well, at least if the objective is to really optimize it.
The companies today suffer two evils.
- The first is the non-precise definition of their targets (buyer personas are only too rarely defined) as well as their prioritization;
- the second is the historic internal divide that exists between the marketing and sales departments.
Companies still use this traditional internal structure (it was a modern day) which unfortunately does not take into account the societal changes due to the emergence of the Internet. Buyers today expect online content that answers their questions and salespeople who help them at the right time on the right topics.
Why aligning the marketing and sales teams is essential to perform?
One of the major challenges in improving the commercial performance of companies as well as its measurement is therefore the alignment of the marketing and sales teams , which we hear more and more spoken of under different terms, the most common being that of “ smarketing ”.
It is time to realize that all employees must move forward together in order to fulfill their common goal of satisfying their customers and therefore making their organization a success.
The expectations of the new generations, ever more demanding, are pushing companies to be more and more efficient in meeting their desires / needs.
The Smarketing is a key to improving business performance, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, general alignment within an organization becomes necessary in order to obtain the most impressive results.
One image that speaks to me a lot is that of Elon Musk who defines each employee of an organization as a vector .
A little reminder for those for whom math lessons are a bit far:
The vector AB has three characteristic elements:
- Its direction: right (AB);
- Its direction (there are two possible directions of travel from the line (AB): from A to B or from B to A );
- Its norm (or its length) of the segment [AB]).
In theory, an organization could have zero total impact if all of its stakeholders worked at equal level in 2 opposite directions. I think you have understood the principle correctly.
Although working generally in the same direction, employees of the same organization do not deploy their efforts (of varying standards) in a single direction, which results in a loss of productivity that is sometimes very significant. This is the situation that we find most regularly.
The definition of clear objectives, shared and declined between the different departments (using OKRs for example) as well as the establishment of a strong and assimilated corporate culture are elements that are often underestimated.
The final objective is obviously this:
But we digress from our subject. The idea that I want to convey to you here is the need to align your marketing and sales teams to achieve more results. But how to do it ?
Definition of smarketing objectives
The first step is to define the smarketing objectives: this involves determining quantified objectives for the marketing department on the basis of commercial objectives.
Historically, marketers have never had goals imposed on themselves, in part because the measurement of their actions was less obvious. However, the emergence of new tools now allows us to follow a whole bunch of KPIs on which marketing teams can work:
- Number of visitors to the website;
- Number of contacts generated by the site;
- Visitor-contact conversion rate;
It is therefore necessary to start by defining marketing objectives, aligned with your commercial objectives.
The alignment of your teams will allow you to facilitate a certain number of operations afterwards such as lead nurturing and lead scoring, etc.
Setting up an SLA
A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between 2 parties committing to mutually deliver a previously defined level of service. In our case, it is a matter of setting up a system so that our teams work hand in hand, and above all of being able to monitor the performance of this system.
Here are the KPIs generally followed:
- Marketing team: number of leads passed to sales representatives;
- Sales team: speed and “depth” (number of touches) of making contact with these leads.
To do this :
- Calculate the different KPIs;
- Set up a marketing and sales dashboard;
- Share objectives and performances:
- On a daily basis;
- Using a single, shared document.
After this first part, necessary to discuss the profound changes affecting the commercial function of companies today, let us now look at ways to improve commercial performance.