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The 2016 TOPO Sales Framework

In the not too distant past, you could be fairly confident of succeeding in sales with the right mix of good hiring, training, and motivating your reps to sell. But succeeding is a far cry from excelling. The fact is, you can’t apply a run-of-the-mill approach to sales and expect to drive above-average results. And you certainly can’t achieve significant and rapid growth without embracing a systematic, replicable and data-driven approach to building and cultivating your sales operation.

Our research has surfaced a massive shift in how the most successful sales organizations are being designed and run. Simply put, success relies on a strategic rather than tactical approach. Our research also uncovered the elements that are always present in high-growth sales machines. We compiled these into an 8-point framework that is essential for any organization wanting to drive scalable, consistent revenue growth.

sales process, sales methodology

Identify the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas
To focus their sales efforts, organizations must first define which accounts and buyers are the best fit and show the highest propensity for closing; these are captured in an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas. The ICP and buyer personas drive the key decisions throughout the rest of the framework in areas such as organizational design, messaging, plays and more.

Develop a sales strategy and framework
To develop an effective sales strategy, organizations must first understand the high-level revenue goals and how the sales organization can contribute to the overall revenue plan. This determines how the sales  organization will go to market. It also covers the entire revenue process from demand generation to upsell and what is needed to support the company’s revenue model.

Align the organization to the ideal customer
The organization needs to address everything from territory planning, hiring and recruiting to quota and compensation to ensure the sales team is in lockstep with the go-to-market strategy.

Design a scalable, standardized sales process and plays
A standardized sales process with clearly defined stages and criteria for each stage underpins every world-class sales organization. That said, these must align with the buyer’s path to purchase and guide sales teams in best engaging and converting these buyers.

Use buyer-centric messaging
Effective messaging, value propositions, and use cases are those that buyers can relate to and that sales reps can deliver quickly and consistently.

Invest in sales enablement
Sales enablement starts the minute a new rep is brought on board and is provided on an ongoing basis by both managers and the marketing team. Enablement includes creating a strategy for how sales reps should approach their role and ongoing use of relevant content, training and methods for robust execution.

Design and build the sales technology stack
A high-growth sales engine must be built to support efficiency and scale. A sales technology platform starts with CRM as the everyday foundation sales reps need to do their jobs. From there, world class organizations add advanced tools and applications for both reps and sales management with the goal of increasingly boosting effectiveness and efficiency.

Track and optimize with metrics
Perhaps nothing sets world-class sales organizations from all others as much as their embrace of a data-driven approach to business. Not only can leading organizations churn out better forecasts, and track and measure the impact of their activities across the revenue process, they can analyze the data to make strategic decisions going forward.

Every company wants to build a sales operation that hums along like a perfectly tuned engine and is primed to grow by leaps and bounds. The key is how to do it in a sustainable and proven way. This framework provides the guidance, and helps kick-start the transformation from tactical to strategic.

If you’d like access to The Sales Framework, contact TOPO at www.topohq.com for more information on subscribing to our research

Robert Koehler is the Senior Analyst for the TOPO Sales Practice. He develops best practice frameworks and actionable research that help clients cultivate world-class sales organizations. Prior to TOPO, Robert held sales consulting and sales effectiveness roles at LinkedIn, IBM, and HP. He has over twenty-five years of sales, marketing and sales effectiveness experience in the financial, publishing and technology industries.

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