How to further increase the productivity of a highly effective sales team
GROWTH CHALLENGES SOLVED WITH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
How a strategic Business Development programme enabled an international technology firm to transition from selling legacy solutions to their newest offerings while simultaneously increasing overall sales productivity and revenues from both new and old and by uncovering the latent potential in second tier enterprise accounts.
A Driver for Change
With revenues of $5billion and an established market-leading core product dominating its sector, why would an international technology firm employ an outsourced Business Development function to give it a competitive edge?
In a dynamic sales environment even with a highly effective sales team already achieving its targets there is always room for improvement.
To combat potential slowing growth within its core business and a corporate objective for 50 per cent of future revenue to come from new product offerings, this global tech organisation recognised the need to review how it could maximise its sales productivity, increase revenues and future-proof its business.
Clarify enabled us to scale the team aggressively, engaging effectively with accounts where we recognised high potential but had seen low yield to date. Clarify complemented my existing team of seasoned professionals with experienced business developers who quickly became part of our virtual team.
Without Clarify, our growth and transformation would undoubtedly have taken longer and cost more in wasted investment.
The Value of Strategic Business Development?
Clarify, a specialist in strategic Business Development, was engaged in the first instance to evaluate and uncover the latent potential in the firm’s second tier of enterprise accounts (to qualify – accounts which don’t spend more than $1m p.a.), which due to time constraints the enterprise sales teams were unable to proactively prioritise and fully engage.
Within three months of establishing the Business Development programme, six and seven figure deals had been passed to the sales team and into the pipeline, with the first deal closed within a nine-month time period.
This initial focus – to boost sales productivity and engagement – proved to be a success. The opportunities generated by the Clarify Business Development team have accounted for the overall pool of tier two accounts doubling in size to number over 200. Critically field sales headcount has not had to grow linearly as Clarify’s support allows each rep to cover more territory. As a result, more revenue per head is generated and the ROI created from sales opportunities exceeded the investment in a business development programme within 12 months.
Business Development is Instrumental in Sales Transformation
With a corporate objective of half the future business’ revenue being derived from new product offerings, this prompted a shift in business focus from generating more sales to changing the shape of the sales deals.
However, the new product offerings posed a problem; it required selling to a new audience – one that was more senior and with multiple stakeholders. Demand Gen exceled at generating pipeline for core products but struggled to provide in-depth opportunities for more complex, high-value deal types and multi-product opportunities that the business now needed to focus on. In addition, Field Sales’ attention was focused on a small number of very large deals so they lacked the bandwidth to close existing deals and create a balanced pipeline of new opportunities in new accounts.
Clarify’s specialist Business Development (BD) capability was deployed to focus solely on finding opportunities in these new accounts. To do this the BD team had to work alongside the sales teams within their accounts; a level of trust developed which has allowed the Enterprise sales teams to directly engage more of their accounts. This resulted in reducing the cost to scale revenues because it allowed less sales headcount to deliver more revenue.
Although the sales team was sceptical initially they now work closely with the Clarify team. The value Clarify brings as an outsourced Business Development function is summed up in this exec quote:
“The team at Clarify have been invaluable with helping map organisational structures, gather strategic information and in booking meetings with senior stakeholders in my accounts this year. They operate very much as an extension of my team and are key to the success of previously untapped accounts”
Results Designed to Scale
As a result of uncovering and realising the potential of tier two accounts and generating opportunities in new accounts, Business Development is valued and viewed as an integral part of the sales process. It is a skilled capability often described as ‘having the best field sales team solely dedicated to creating new high-value sales opportunities’.
As such, the Business Development function is valued accordingly; with the BD team firmly assimilated into the business and treated as an extension of the sales team. For example, BD has stepped in to bridge personnel changes ensuring the on-boarding process is more effective. New hires have an accelerated pipeline so it is not unusual for new sales people to close deals in their first quarter with the business – something that would have been unusual before.
The results are on-going* but to date over a two year period $62m pipeline has been delivered. Due to the nature of the Business Development programme and the often long sales cycles involved, the ROI figures constantly improve; currently for every $1 spent, $12 is realised, which equates to $1: $49 into the pipeline. As the programme continues to scale, these results will continue to increase.
The programme has the support of the senior business stakeholders who recognise the strategic as well as financial value of an outsourced Business Development capability and how it is able to support sales transformation, increasing revenue and productivity while reducing costs. It is a testament to the success of the UK initiative that the BD programme is currently being rolled out across all European Enterprise sales groups.
* NB a Business Development programme is designed to scale so the ROI will continue to increase along with revenue, new logo opportunities and closed deals.