Selling the Connected Widget–Aligning Competencies and MetricsBy: John Stamos Digital Transformation, Manufacturing, Revenue Growth Strategy, Sales Productivity, Sales Talent
Earlier installments of this blog series discussed new buyers and buying processes associated with selling connected services in the traditional manufacturing space, as well as some of the differentiated roles needed to effectively capture these opportunities. Organizations need to ensure they have the proper management components as support elements–particularly competencies and metrics.
Review of Common Enterprise Sales Roles
Two distinctly different roles from the traditional manufacturing space are enterprise hunters–(responsible for landing new logos) and customer success managers or CSMs (responsible for ensuring adoption and expansion). To effectively identify and deploy these resources, manufacturers should strongly consider what makes these roles unique and successful.
Enterprise Hunter Competencies and Metrics
The skill set needed for enterprise hunter aligns more closely with those found in tech organizations than in manufacturing companies. To navigate the longer and more complex buying process, sellers must have strong business acumen to communicate the longer-term ROI of a solution. This is particularly important when working with a broad set of executive stakeholders.
Often times, manufacturing organizations will find their traditional sellers exhibit varying degrees of technical competency. In these scenarios, it may not necessarily be a requirement for success. For the software enterprise hunter, however, strong technical acumen is a necessity. Specifically, the enterprise hunter typically requires an understanding of the enterprise architecture: how the product integrates, communicates with other systems and adheres to security protocols.
Metrics to measure the performance of these sellers are different from the traditional account manager. Because of the aforementioned longer sales cycle, forward-looking diagnostic metrics become more important. Pipeline progression and milestones such as completed demos and executed trials can serve as leading indicators to gauge if the seller is tracking with the level of performance the organization expects.
Customer Success Manager Competencies and Metrics
If the software service is a subscription-based model, another common role is the customer success manager. While there are different valences to this role, ultimately CSMs are chartered with ensuring that customers are effectively and appropriately leveraging the technology. The overarching theme is strong account management capabilities. It is critical that candidates have strong relationship skills and problem-solving capabilities, involving sales representatives only as needed. Additionally, CSMs need to serve as advocates by ensuring the customer adopts and uses the solution and is thereby realizing ROI. To that end, the CSM must understand and communicate the impact and value of the solution.
With very specific charter, metrics become intuitive. Penetrating accounts through adoption and expansion, a strong proxy for success would be usage metrics such monthly recurring revenue churn, expansion monthly recurring revenue. More specific metrics might be the usage of specific functionality if it serves as a proxy for strategic growth objectives or drives the stickiness of the product. Ultimately, a strong indicator of CSM performance is the customer satisfaction: net promotor score (NPS). This is particularly important for CSMs with limited focus on expansion responsibilities.
Establishing the appropriate competencies and metrics is fundamental to focus sellers. Watch for part 4 of this series which will detail the critical management levers to enable and motivate sellers: appropriate quota setting and motivating sales compensation plans.
Do you need to take a closer look at aligning competencies and metrics at your organization? Contact the experts at Alexander Group to help you navigate this challenge.
Co-author: Priya Ghatnekar is a director in Alexander Group’s Chicago office.
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