Alexander Group’s annual Sales Pulse Survey tells us that the average Fortune 1000 sales organization will be charged with an 8% growth objective in 2011. It further indicates that these same organizations will enlarge their investment in sales resources by only 1.5%. Yes, growth is back on the table and expectations are on the rise. Yet the conviction to invest in sales resource to drive growth still lags. This puts top sales executives in a tight spot. To convince CEOs and CFOs that an investment in sales is an investment in sustainable growth they must deliver impressive results in 2011 with the resources they had in 2010. To win in 2011, and set up for more robust investment in the years to come, top sales executives are going to have to plan harder and sell smarter.
Planning harder means figuring out where the growth is and what resources will be needed to secure it. It means finding under-covered segments and accounts. It means figuring out how to depopulate low growth areas and shift scarce assets to where they will produce a better return. And it means considering new channels and new sales jobs that better balance what customers expect with what companies can afford.
Selling smarter means flawlessly executing the plan. Where steep productivity growth is a must, there is no room for error. It means creating and following new coverage protocols and new playbooks. It means getting leverage from insightful coaching. It requires the discipline to substitute more efficient resources where scarce, high priced sellers are no longer economical. And it means provisioning sellers with the tools to challenge their customers to boldly consider new and innovative ways to meet their own business objectives and in the process forge deep and lasting partnerships.
Alexander Group will kick off 2011 with an exploration of what leading sales organizations are planning for 2011, a year when growth expectations will be renewed but the courage to add sales resource will lag. Starting with the results of our Sales Pulse and Sales Compensation Trends surveys in January, we’ll continue throughout the year with a series of Regional Chief Sales Executive Forums, Executive Roundtable Calls, Webinars and Sales Operations Clinics. These events will culminate in November with the 10th Annual Chief Sales Executive Forum – our flagship event of the year. We hope you can join us at one of these events to learn how to plan harder and sell smarter.
Check our events page for more details.