We have talked previously that the concept of strategy is all about growth. Virtually every executive that we speak with has organic revenue growth as one of his or her top priorities. As corporate balance sheets have continued to improve, the volume of acquisitions has continued to accelerate and multipliers are reaching crazy levels again as companies are buying growth. Some executives are smug about their ability to continue to grow through their acquisitions formula and expertise. When asked about their actual organic growth within the newly formulated organization, we have seen it many times to be single digit negative percentages.

So, what might you want to focus your attention on if you are seeking organic share growth in your existing markets? We believe the top 2 levers for growth relate directly to your sales strategy. The levers are increasing your Participation Rate and your Win Rate.

  1. Participation Rate. In simple terms, the way we would define Participation Rate is based on the size of your market and the number of transactions in your market, this is the estimated number of opportunities that you actually participate in during a defined period. This is not about luck. This is about your coverage strategy, channel strategy and the supporting marketing strategy or how you have chosen to go to market.
    Your ability to maximize Participation is often about strategic choice. Direct or Indirect Channels? The number of Quota Bearing Reps (QBRs) in your Coverage Strategy? Your Coverage Model and whether you choose to deploy a tiered model that utilizes Inside Sales or Outside Reps to create demand? What role does Marketing play to both Create Awareness and Demand?

Having a clear strategy and measurable goals around Participation Rates is important. With clarity around what you are trying to accomplish, then you can measure and adjust. Few industries have perfect information on the market size and the number of opportunities, so you will need to make some assumptions. Further more, it is an extremely valuable exercise to characterize what an ideal customer looks like and focus your priorities on that group of prioritized segments. All prospects are not created equal.

  1. Win Rate. This is a simple concept and based on the number of fights that you are involved in within your Target Markets (Participation Rate), then what percentage do you Win. For most organization we encounter, this number is on the decline. The root issues range from heightened competitive pressures, more competitors, skills of their people, lack of coordinated sales strategy and changing buying behaviors. The buyer plays a huge role and based on many material shifts there are far more “No Decisions” than in the past. No Decisions impact Win Rate, but they also impact Cost of Sale and QBR productivity.

If you were looking to increase Win Rates, we would focus you on some critical factors that are inter-related. It starts with your Value Based Positioning. Can you clearly differentiate? Are you telling your story in the clients’ language or in marketing speak like everyone else? It is difficult to sell effectively if your teams cannot lead prospects to your differentiated value.
If you can differentiate, then we would encourage you to focus on differentiating “how you sell” or your sales process. This is a massive area of opportunity for most organizations and has been proven to be the critical reason why clients both buy from you and stay loyal.
With your Sales Strategy in place, getting the right structure and plan for resource optimization in place in a good next step. You need properly trained resources that are aligned on expectations as you move into an execution phase.
Your Sales Management Operating System or Governance model aligns expectations and puts the appropriate communication plan, measures and controls in place getting the team speaking the same language and focused on the same success measures.
Tools are important to process support and productivity enablers that again help reinforce daily habits, common language, training and process.

If we are focused on the right market segments where we have a better chance of being successful and we are executing against a well-considered sales strategy, our Win Rates will increase.

Is this worth the effort?

Do some simple math. How does your funnel value change is you are Participating in 10% more opportunities than you do today?

How do your revenues and profits change if your Win Rate went up by 10% on a larger funnel?

The further leverage you create through the acquisition of that new client is the ability to further cross-sell and up-sell as you build a referencable and loyal client.

This is an important investment with high returns that creates further leverage for your enterprise.

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