case study

Transforming a Sales Team From Order Takers to New Business Generators

Sales Management Best Practices in Action

0 %
Sales Growth in first 120 days

Overview

*The name of the company has been withheld at their request*

The company is a middle market player within the financial services industry, with five inside sales and two outside sales reps. All but one were primarily order takers since the company had a relatively large customer base and it paid commission on contract renewals. 

The COO reached out to us and said that he wanted to know if their sales setup was right, what we might recommend doing better, and what areas needed improvement.

Key Challenges

While the company grew sales each year, it primarily did so because its customers grew and ordered more. Although new customers were added, these were primarily very small firms just starting out, which meant their orders would be small for some years to come. 

Furthermore, these came in as inbound leads, which meant the sales reps were waiting for leads to be assigned to them before reaching out to prospective clients.

We ran some reports in Salesforce and found that over 97% of their opportunities consisted of sales to existing customers. In fact, 84% of their pipeline was straight renewals, and sales to new customers have remained flat at around 3-4% of total sales.

We then reviewed their sales pipeline of non-customers and found that nearly half could be taken off as they have been left open for a year or more, where they typically can close deals within 3-4 weeks.

What We Did

The CEO hired Alicia Assefa as interim sales manager to transform the sales organization and help recruit a full-time sales leader. With the CEO’s approval, Alicia immediately made the following changes:

  • Change the compensation plan to change behavior: Stop paying commissions on renewals, cut commissions paid on upsells by 20% and add that to the commissions paid on winning new business to provide more incentive hunting. This had an immediate impact as sales reps realized their pay would soon start dropping unless they closed the new business.
  • Work with marketing to improve quality of leads and target larger financial institutions with better quality marketing assets. This gave the sales reps more leads for prospecting.
  • Require each sales rep to prepare a personal GOSPA (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plan, and Activities) so they can articulate their personal goals and how they would achieve them.
  • Train the sales team on SPIN Selling - in the past, the sales reps primarily demoed products, asked if the prospect wanted a proposal, sent over a proposal, and waited to hear back. Now, they performed complete discovery calls that enabled them to customize their product demos and proposals, significantly increasing their ability to close new deals that they had developed from marketing leads.

Results

The result was that new sales overall grew by over 63% within the first 120 days of the new sales strategy implementation, simply from greater focus and better strategy for closing new business.

Furthermore, while the five inside sales reps had previously shown a wide spread in performance (the best one outperforming the worst by nearly double), after the new sales management was installed, differences between the best and worst inside sales rep shrank to about 16%—the worst performer was now selling within 84% of the best performer.

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Sales Growth in first 120 days

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