The Blueprint for SaaS Sales Success
Did you know the average win rate for an Inside Sales Team is only 22%? Yet elite, best-in-class sales teams win 50% of their deals.
That’s a BIG difference. Sales leaders that achieve this see:
- Increased sales without hiring additional reps
- Higher revenue without added stress
- Happy C-suite executives
- More opportunities to advance their career
But, getting there isn’t easy. In fact, I struggled with low win rates for years.
I was hired at 23 to run sales for a startup. At first, I ran the full sales cycle and focused on closing deals myself. But my responsibilities grew with the company. Soon I found I needed to source, interview, and hire top reps. I needed to craft a sales process that was repeatable and easy to learn. I had to manage a CRM build, distribute leads, assign territories and more.
I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing: Like many SaaS sales leaders I had little formal management or sales training, and was learning by trial and (lots of) error.
When you’re figuring it out as you go, it’s no surprise that the average inside sales team only closes 20% of their deals.
How You Can Improve Your Win Rates
The answer is simple. World-class sales leaders are great at two things:
- Identifying the MOST important thing to work on next
- Focusing on that task until it’s complete
Sound a little intimidating? The good news is it’s relatively easy with the right approach and long-term focus. It takes shifting your mentality from reactively building your sales organization by solving problems to proactively designing your organization based on a long-term strategy.
This article will introduce a framework for building an elite sales organization and give you the exact steps to craft your organization the way the experts do.
The Blueprint for a Successful Sales Organization
Though each company demands a tailored approach, there is a universal framework for building a successful sales organization. I call this “The Blueprint”. There are 5 building blocks:
1. Explore Your Options
You can’t fix what you don’t know, and attempting to increase win rates before knowing every option risks spending valuable time on initiatives that aren’t high value.
This simple chart shows why:
No matter how efficient you are at implementing the initiatives you do know, the highest-value initiatives to work on might be completely outside of your current circle of competence. Without researching their, a sales leader might spend valuable time on efforts that do not have a maximum effect on the success of their organization.
Instead, FIRST take time to identify the possibilities, THEN prioritize.
Here are a few tips to “learn what you don’t know” before spending time on initiatives:
- Meet with key members of your team. Ask: “what discrete initiatives could we greenlight to improve our win rates”?
- Attend sales conferences, such as AA-ISP Digital Sales World
- Read: books, articles, blogs, journals
- Brainstorm and consult resources until you have identified at least 100 initiatives. These initiatives are the foundation for your blueprint to success.
2. The Thematic Structure
Sales leaders who work on 10 completely unrelated items at once tread organizational water. Take the initiatives you came up with and categorize them with a thematic structure.
This is your blueprint for success: an organized vision of what your sales organization looks like once it’s a well-oiled deal-closing machine.
Common high-level themes for a SaaS company are:
Once you’ve mapped out your initiatives by theme, you’ll have a visual structure of how each one fits into the bigger picture of organizational success.
3. The Game Plan
Many sales leaders plan the quarters by picking a few “flavor of the month problems” reps are complaining about, cobbling together ideas for resolving those problems, and then working like hell to implement them.
The issue with this method is it doesn’t account for what the organization needs. Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Don’t keep making poor Henry roll in his grave. Use the initiatives you identified and the thematic structure to drive success proactively instead of reactively.
When you build out your strategic plan for the year, look at your thematic structure. Identify what areas are most important to success this year and then create action plans broken down by quarter or month. By breaking down larger thematic initiatives into monthly or quarterly adjustments, you’ll drive lasting improvements instead of small spikes of success.
4. The Tools
Top sales leaders consult world-class resources. Thematic execution gives you the time to prioritize depth over breadth in your sales education. Seize this opportunity to level-up your research.
Focused on improving your People this quarter? Don’t just read blog posts: buy, read, and review “The Sales Acceleration Formula” by Mark Roberge. It’s comprehensive and, when aligned with your core focus, well worth the reading time.
Spend less time reading listicles and blog posts, and more time sucking the marrow out of world-class resources.
5. Focused Execution
Without Focused Execution, none of this planning matters. There are two rules you must follow:
- Work on the initiatives you’ve prioritized
- Don’t get distracted along the way
Boy is that easier said than done… Here’s how to make it happen:
Focus on habits, not goals. Goals are tricky little devils. They require willpower to accomplish, and you can’t control the outcome.
You can control habits. And, when properly selected and implemented, habits nearly guarantee you achieve your goals.
- Goal: Hire 6 rockstar AEs by January
- Habit: Reach out to 10 qualified candidates every morning
See the difference? A goal’s success is determined by the outcome. A successful habit determines the outcome.
Practice “The ONE Thing”
According to the fantastic book The ONE Thing, there is always ONE thing you can do to achieve your goals that “makes all the rest either easier or unnecessary.”
The key is to make this happen before you work on the flotsam and jetsam of the day. Is hiring your priority? Schedule two hours at the beginning of each day to identify and contact candidates.
Stephen Covey put it best: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Protect Your Time
Practice extreme minimalism outside your Blueprint (much easier once you have a Blueprint).
Respond to irrelevant ideas/requests with “I love the idea, but our priority is to build our Blueprint for a World Class Sales Organization–let’s complete xyz first, and then decide whether to tackle this.”
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”
If you craft a quality blueprint and diligently complete it, you’ll see real, lasting improvement every quarter. Soon, you’ll have all the tools in place to be a top sales organization.
Want help building your blueprint? Save time by working with Delamon to create a roadmap to a best-in-class sales organization.
Delamon Rego is the COO of TOMIS Tech, an automated marketing platform for the Tours and Activities industry, and the founder of SaaS Ops Factory, where he likes to share detailed operational frameworks with B2B SaaS executives. Previously Delamon was Director of Sales at Xola, where he built a sales organization that took the company from zero to several million dollars in ARR.