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Increasing B2B Sales Does Not Happen by Accident

Most of us have heard the definition of Insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” In most sales departments as well as in the company in general, a little “Insanity” usually exists and it is part of my role to shed light on it and make changes that produce different results.  Increasing your B2B Sales will not happen by accident or just doing more of what is not working. It is worth stepping back to see what does not work as well as what does. Preston Pond, co-founder of The Center of Organizational Design says, “Organizations are designed perfectly for the results they produce.” Design includes the strategy, structure, culture and execution.  Let me provide you with food for thought in these four areas that might provide some light for you to assess your current design.

Strategy: Do you have a long-term (3-5 years) and short-term strategy? A good balance between both provides an effective mix to fuel business growth. By keeping an eye on where you are heading (3-5 year vision) will help you maintain the perspective to develop processes and systems that support long term growth instead of simply fixing todays problems for today’s results. If you are an organization or sales person that is constantly putting out fires you are most likely designed for short-term goals. On the other hand if your organization works to build systems and processes that not only solve today’s problems, but also streamlines work in the future or improve customer service, you are better designed for growth.

Structure: This is a look at your people and roles.  Do you have an organization chart that spells out the roles needed to make things work smoothly? Do you then have the right people in place to cover those roles? I often find, especially in small businesses, that people are asked to do conflicting roles or perform duties that they are not particularly strong at. Many of these are associated with the web such as creating and maintaining a Linkedin profile, creating Facebook pages, tweeting, blogging, creating attractive emails on top of their calling and database managemnet. All of these tools are great when used with the right strategy, but overloading an effective phone caller, presenter or closer with these duties will usually work against you.  Production, customer service or administration might have the same scenarios. If you don’t have the right talent internally outsourcing is an affordable way to go.

Culture: Let’s begin by defining culture.  Preston Pond defines culture as, “The set of shared attitudes, practices, and beliefs of members within the organization.”  It is what we do, the attitudes behind, and the belief driving our attitudes and actions. Culture impacts the effectiveness of strategy. It is important to understand your culture to have realistic expectations with your strategies. Culture stems from leadership and no matter what a mission statement says, what the leader believes and passes down to the organization, is what forms the basis of the culture. If you want to read more on culture and a case study of two companies, you can find it here.

Execution: Maps are only good if you read them and plans are only valuable if you follow through on them.  The failure to implement or execute on initiatives, to dos’, action items or sales calls will kill all the well designed culture, strategy or structure.  When it is all said and done our results will show us what we “did or did not do.”  So execution becomes most important but without a sound strategy and structure you will limit yourself or work harder than necessary.

With the year end approaching it might be a good time to evaluate your design for next year.

Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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