Achieving Sales Excellence: Empower tech sales teams for success

| min read
Sales excellence

The core principle of Tech companies has shifted from pursuing growth at any cost to prioritizing sustainable, profitable growth. Recognizing the limitations of relying solely on cost-cutting, Tech companies now emphasize on maximizing revenue streams. Sales teams play a pivotal role, yet a significant percentage—60-80%—underperform due to a lack of Sales Excellence. Achieving true Sales Excellence typically yields 10-15 percentage points more revenue growth. This article outlines strategies for tech company leaders to ensure their sales teams excel."

The concept of Sales Excellence consists of four areas, each enhancing a sales team performance in different ways. Firstly, the structure of a sales team needs to be optimal for efficient resource allocation. Secondly, the incentive scheme should be aligned with a firm’s strategic objectives. Thirdly, management should monitor sales KPIs that are important for the business. These three areas facilitate a sales engine to run smoothly, however, to excel in the execution the sales team itself should be properly equipped. Therefore, this article zooms into the fourth part — sales tooling and training — to allow your sales team to excel namely sales tooling and training.

The right sales tools and trainings for sales teams

There is an ocean full of sales tools and trainings out there which makes it hard to pick those tailored specifically to a sales team’s needs. Yet, the benefits of having the right tools and training for sales teams are clear. 

The first benefit is that Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) will gain a deeper understanding of the most promising companies. The second benefit is that training and tooling strengthens the homogeneity of skills across the entire team generating better results. The third and final benefit is that the right tools and training increase the confidence of the sales team throughout the sales process. 

These three benefits enable sales teams to better focus on the most promising targets, better convey a value story that sparks their client’s interest and truly master the actual negotiation process. But what kind of tools and training facilitate these outcomes? To truly empower your sales team to achieve sales excellence, we highly recommend implementing the following three recommendations for the right tools and training.

1. Tooling to optimize targeting through refining Ideal Customer Profile  based on Customer Lifetime Value

Recent developments showcase why businesses can and must adopt a laser-focused targeting approach to prevent escalating Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC). Namely, Sales & Marketing spend to acquire €1 of ARR increased +58% between 2016-2022, whilst win-rates dropped ~12%-pts between 2021-2023, with the steepest decline this year (Private SaaS Company Survey, 2022). Therefore, businesses must adopt a laser-focused approached to truly succeed in their acquisition efforts.

CAC vs. win-rates development

To achieve this, it is crucial to begin defining or refining Ideal Customer Profiles to ensure that sales teams target the right companies. One data point that is often overlooked by 10% of tech companies during prospecting is the (expected) Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). Therefore, we recommend using a tool that clearly defines specific lifetime drivers and value/willingness-to-pay determinants to support sales with efficient targeting. A sales team prioritizing their efforts on companies with high CLTV potential is the first step towards Sales Excellence. 

CLTV forecasting

2. Guidebook with proven value stories to convince prospects

Once the SDRs have identified the most promising prospects, it is time to convince them about the product and how it will benefit their business. Often, we see that SDRs sell independent features of the products or the packages that they offer. This will not resonate with the buying side; they will have forgotten the first feature once the list is finished. Sell the benefit of a solution, not a company or a product. The question that cannot be neglected anymore is “What value does a solution bring to (new) customers?”. Sales teams need a guidebook with proven value stories that include business challenges and problem statements relevant for the target buyer accompanied by value statements and quantified proof points of your solution to solve these challenges. In most cases we find that companies have defined value statements but lack proof points to convince targets these statements hold true. Once the value story is defined and quantified each SDR can easily select relevant value statements to highlight; before, during or after touchpoints.

Value story template

3. Training to create skilled negotiators

By now the promising target buyers should be convinced of your value story and ready to acquire your solution. Time to negotiate. While many SDRs may feel confident in their negotiation skills, the truth is that confidence doesn't always translate to successful sales outcomes. A common exercise we do during our projects is asking SDRs to provide a price and their confidence level for this price for a hypothetical deal. Results are often striking, with sales teams quotes very different prices while being fairly confident about the prices they quoted. This also happens across actual negotiations, which impacts the ability to maximize results.

Negotiation training is truly important as in our experience skilled negotiators are twice as likely to achieve desired results compared to unskilled negotiators. The key elements of effective negotiation training are backing up their confidence with concrete, real-world examples and personalizing the training to the situation of your sales team. Make it real and relevant, continuously. Relevant by selecting the most applicable negotiation rules, such as a conditional discounting framework which specifies what truly adds value for the business to ask back when awarding discounts. Real by attaching war stories how each rule was successfully used in practice, such as case examples when a discount was and was not awarded. Sharing these practical examples with others is often the best way to provide guidance and come out on top as a team.

Sales confidence vs price level realized

Kickstart your journey towards Sales Excellence 

We support our clients with tools and training to identify promising targets, define a relevant value story and create skilled negotiators. Interested in how we can support you on these topics and set the first step in achieving true Sales Excellence? Feel free to contact us.


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