Case Study Overview: The client is a major brand in the corporate and personal travel services sector with a turnover of between $150-$200 million. Active Directions was referred by an Executive Search firm conducting the search for a new National Head of Sales.
Project Trigger: As the process kicked off for the National Head of Sales, management decided to conduct a sales function review in parallel. The aim was to help the new Head of Sales hit the ground running from day one. Other triggers for a sales strategy review may include high turnover of quality sales people, loss of key customers and partners, and consistent gaps between forecasted and actual sales results.
Scoping Questions: We opened up a number of talking points to help understand the requirements of this engagement:
Sales Process: Firstly, we explored the customer buying cycle: to what extent do we understand how customers like to purchase travel services and how does sales activity align to these preferences? Do we know which stage of the sales process gives the greatest return (i.e. where do we invest our finite resources)?
Sales Structure: Secondly, we assessed the team structure, capacity and capability… and the incentive program: what motivates this particular sales team and is it clear how everyone contributes? Does the incentive program support the sales strategy? Is there the right balance between driving new business versus growing the current base? Does the incentive plan encourage team work?
Sales Tools and Reporting: Finally, we looked at how the business may best support the sales team with effective tools: what percentage of the sales team’s time is spent on administration and reporting? Can they do all their work effectively out of the office? Is Salesforce the single source of truth for sales information? How effective are sales meetings?
Sales Function Review Outcomes: The engagement included analysing sales operations data, job descriptions, and client reports; conducting interviews and workshops with the sales team; and continuing to share insights with the executive search process. These activities resulted in the following outcomes:
- A target customer sales cycle with new a focus on annual sales planning and accelerating revenue realisation by improving the on-boarding of new customers;
- Incentive plan options that consider greater risk/reward scenarios, clearer KPIs, and business affordability;
- A new structure to promote regional teams, entry into new markets, and more investment in channels;
- Recommended improvements for the use of sales tools with a focus on managing fewer, but more insightful, sales data points.
So what, value? Working alongside an executive search process enabled both the search and the review process to share insights and ultimately deliver a better outcome for the client.
The new Head of Sales started from day one with our independent review already completed, an executive team informed and supportive of the improvements required, and the ability to spend more time focused on customers at a critical stage of the sales year. The next step is to develop a new sales and marketing strategy.
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