Monday, January 19, 2009

How should a Sales Program be created and run?

Kees Vogelesang, Head of Business Operations, Oracle EMEA Strategic Accounts division

Best Answer: Took some time for me to rate all the answers ;-)

His Question: How should a Sales Program be created and run?

My Answer:
First of all I distinguish "Sales Program" from "Sales Process" they are very different. You're at Oracle, so the first question is; "What is the sales program for? Is it to grow revenue organically or provide market share growth?" Sales programs around market share growth are much more difficult than programs geared toward organic growth.

In any case I would start with an analysis of the installed base. What have they bought, when have they bought and who are they. Knowing the business profile of the clients that bought the product you want to promote during the same time frame you have targeted gives you a running start. If you don't know what you want to promote or when, this might help answer that question. Sometimes a trend pops out that answers the question for you. During this analysis for another program my staff noticed a very large installed base of EOL software; we quickly created a sales program to get these upgraded. Easy money…

Once you have a good understanding of who buys today and why, you have the starting point to move forward. Again, not knowing specifically what you would like to accomplish I can only guess at potential avenues to follow. I generally have target revenue for my program, so I work backward. What is the value of the product I want to promote and how many of these do I have to sell to make my target? I can look at my data to see who has bought it in the past. I can project that profile over the market to see the potential prospects. I can calculate the probability of success.

Now the hard part… the science is easy, the art isn't…. Now you have to be able to exploit the unique sales proposition you have in the market place to create two important things… a driving mechanism and a critical event. You have to create an offer that is so compelling that the market will want to act and a time frame to act that causes them to make a decision. Without these you have nothing….

Once you have these in place; (i.e. steps 10 through 600 are left up to you) you can create a program roll-out package for the sales force. They need the list of targets, sales training, the product promotional, and the calling scripts. Personally I would go one step further and provide proposal boilerplate and sample letters. The less you leave up to them the faster they can execute.

Last, and I always leave this to last, you will need a sales SPIFF. Some incentive to get them to act differently during this campaign then they would normally. Sales activity is driven by the compensation plan. Tie it to desired financial goals, not sales activity.

This is the best I can do without writing a book.

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