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The 12 Key Drivers of Business Performance

The research conducted by BusinesSPM reveals a number of drivers of high productivity. In particular, leaders should note the wide disparity between high and low performing companies on the following factors:
  • Solid market share in target markets
  • Time spent prospecting
  • Quality and timely proposals
  • Mutually rewarding partnering
  • Systematic recruitment and induction of sales people
  • Organisation focus and alignment in support of the customer and sales
The key productivity drivers and the productivity ratings for all companies, the top 10 companies, and the bottom 10 companies surveyed are summarised in the table below and the insights revealed follow.
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1. Strategic mission creates competitive advantage

High productivity companies employ strategy as the basis of how they address and manage all company functions, including sales. Lower productivity companies report a significant underachievement of their company mission and feel that their company’s overall strategy is a barrier to improved performance. These companies do not have a mission that drives planning, nor do they review company performance against plans and goals.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Strategic planning is a standard aspect of organisational management
2. The purpose and mission are clear and realistic and are well deployed, with achievement is regularly reviewed.
Insight: It's not the plan that's critical, it's the planning.

2. Solid market share in target markets

Lower productivity companies report that they underachieve with regard to market share (and high productivity companies exploit their advantage) and that their company’s go-to-market model is a barrier to higher performance.
Conflict between the direct and indirect sales forces is not perceived to be a widespread problem although some companies still suffer from it; low productivity companies report “channel strategy” problems.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. A defined and effective Go-to-Market model is used
2. A clear channel strategy is supported by market segmentation and specific goals for each channel.
Insight: Evidence-based market segmentation, coupled with a clear channel strategy, are prerequisites for a high performance sales function.

3. A strong solution portfolio

The higher productivity companies are quite satisfied with the standard of product/solution/service management within their organisations. Lower productivity companies describe challenges in how their portfolio of offerings is managed, and how well their offerings are communicated to the market and internally.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Individual solutions and the solution portfolio are managed formally and systematically
2. The company’s solutions are evangelised internally and externally.
Insight: Companies are slowly moving their offerings into “the cloud” as “Software as a Service” solutions; this is now more of a "table-stake" rather than a differentiator.

4. "Sales ready" lead generation

Higher productivity companies use “programmatic” demand generation techniques and seek to continuously improve their lead generation performance. These activities also provide “sales-ready” leads to the channels. Poor lead quality, poor marketing communications, and poor lead generation for partners are attributes of the lower productivity companies

The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Demand generation is “programmatic”
2. Marketing communications is broad and effective
3. Demand generation provides “sales-ready” leads.
Insight: Companies must move from sales and marketing "silos" through alignment to full collaboration between to the two functions.

5. Time spent prospecting

Sales people from companies with higher productivity spend 64% more time “selling” than do the sales people of lower productivity companies. This works out to be 9.8 “sales hours” per week – more than one extra selling day each week!
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Strong teamwork across sales and with the rest of the company
2. Disciplined use of a standard sale methodology and a supporting CRM/SFA tool.
Insight: The more ‘selling time’ available to sales people, the more they can sell (obvious, but often forgotten)

6. Quality and timely proposals

Lower productivity is associated with late submission of poor quality proposals that are not managed through a formal bid process. These companies report that their proposals are often unsuccessful.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. The customer is involved in opportunity planning
2. Bid management forecasting processes are formal and effective, but also easy to use.
Insight: High performing salespeople agree with the customer how the opportunity is to be managed

7. Product and service delivery quality

Higher productivity correlates with the use of formally defined, managed and reviewed delivery processes.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Solution capabilities are clearly specified and communicated to customers
2. Formal delivery processes are used.
Insight: Companies often have trouble meeting delivery commitments often eventually obtain the reference. However, the quality and reliability of that reference is over-estimated.

8. Sound customer relationships

Lower productivity companies are concerned about how well all groups within the organisation support good customer relationships. Sometimes they are concerned that these groups do not see this as part of their role. They also experience lower levels of customer satisfaction than the other companies
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. The whole organisation takes responsibility for maintaining excellent customer relationships
2. Customer service/relationship activities are defined, managed and reviewed.
Insight: Customer focus across the company creates customers who are responsive to up-sell/cross-sell initiatives, and who are willing and active references

9. Mutually rewarding partnering

Most companies, but not all, work with partners. The higher productivity companies are very satisfied with how their company works with partners and with the performance of the partners themselves. However, even these companies have their partnering problems
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Partnering is conducted with a clear strategy and effective programs
2. Partners are integrated into the marketing, sales and delivery processes.
Insight: A well designed and executed partnering strategy creates mutual benefit

10. Systematic recruitment and induction of sales people

Higher productivity companies systematically select their sales people whilst lower productivity companies experience high turnover of sales people and indicate some confusion as to what style of sales person (“hunter”, “farmer” etc.) the organisation needs.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Sales people are systematically and formally recruited, inducted and assigned to customers
2. Sales managers mentor and coach sales people.
Insight: In high performing companies, the sales manager has primary responsibility for recruitment, with the HR department in support.

11. Organisation focus and alignment in support of the customer and sales

Higher productivity companies in general are positive about their supporting groups (HR, IT, Legal, Finance, and Facilities). Lower productivity companies feel these groups are not aligned with, and do not adequately support, the sales function.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Focus on customers, functional alignment and performance optimisation
2. All functions within the company are fully aligned with, and support, the sales organisation.
Insight: Sales productivity is underpinned by the quality of the service provided to Sales by IT, HR, Finance, Legal and other supporting functions

12. Organisation performance monitoring and control drives productivity improvement

Lower performing companies do not have a company-wide culture of excellence or performance management processes that are aligned with the company’s goals.
The differentiators of high productivity are:
1. Focus on customers, functional alignment and performance optimisation
2. Use of financial and non-financial measures, and both lead and lagging indicators of performance.
Insight: Performance management systems drive productivity when they are used by individuals and groups to continuously improve their performance

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