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In a tight economy, what sales professionals consider their “A” game has to be even more potent than before. Having salespeople head out onto the road blind—without proper training, a solid methodology, or adequate structure—is no longer an option.
Adam Trevaskus, director of sales and marketing at FleetPartners, a fleet-leasing company in Australia, pondered these issues when he first assumed his role in April 2008. Four weeks spent evaluating the sales department, he recalls, were enough to reveal that the systems, processes, and overall structure used were not aligned to what he felt was necessary. “There was no particular discipline or methodology being applied in the sales area,” he says.
The first step, Trevaskus says, was to alter management and structure to make sure everyone was working in an area that best suited each person’s skill set.
Trevaskus then set out to locate a CRM system that worked not only for his business-development employees but also for the relationship managers—and the answer, it turned out, was already in place: Salesforce CRM. “It’s a great system, but it wasn’t being used well,” he says. “It wasn’t maximized in my organization.”
After hiring a Salesforce CRM specialist to manage the database and retrain employees on the CRM application, Trevaskus says he had to find a sales methodology that, as he puts it, “would work across the board.”
Enter The TAS Group, a Seattle-based provider of sales performance automation, which offered Trevaskus more than mere training: FleetPartners got Dealmaker, a virtual training and sales performance platform that has out-of-the-box integration with Salesforce.com (as well as with Oracle CRM On Demand and Microsoft Dynamics CRM On Demand).
“That would encourage people to use Salesforce.com even more, and give them another reason to go to the system,” Trevaskus says. “If, as part of sales methodology, you can discern existing accounts, win new ones, and increase penetration in existing ones using Dealmaker, the methodology is beautifully simple.”
Implementation, according to Trevaskus, was not difficult on the software side, due to the productized integration with Salesforce.com. “We had our full-time database manager then trained as an administrator of Dealmaker so he could make changes on the run if we needed to tweak anything,” he says.
What took a bit more time, but was worth the effort, was developing the questions and qualifiers sales professionals would have to ask and enter into the system, from qualifying the opportunity through closing the deal. “We could actually incorporate disciplined thinking by the use of good questions, and involve the board of directors here as well,” Trevaskus says. “I knew that there needed to be participation from the wider executive team in the sales processes. They needed to have confidence that the sales force team going out into the market had the right approach and was asking the right questions.”
After nailing down the qualifiers and methodology, and training the sales force, FleetPartners was able to significantly improve its performance. Since July 2008, pipeline opportunities have increased from 48 to 520. The average fleet size in opportunities nearly tripled, from 57 to 156, landing squarely within what Trevaskus calls the sweet spot of 100 to 300 vehicles per deal. By having the structure and methodology in place for all sales people to follow, potential problems with current customers were found before they exploded. Lost accounts per month plummeted from an average of 8.6 to 0.8, while new contracts per month rose from an average of 1.3 to 7.8.
Trevaskus says a new culture has emerged in his organization, noting that sales-related information simply “hasn’t happened” unless it’s been entered into the Salesforce.com system. The implementation, he says, has placed his company back in the fast lane. “This has helped to completely turn around our ratios in terms of loss and win rates, the number of opportunities we have, and the quality of the [potential sales],” he says. “We’re very encouraged about what we’re seeing.”
Since turning to TAS Group’s Dealmaker, FleetPartners has:
- realized a 400 percent increase in new-business contracts in 2009;
- increased pipeline opportunities from 48 to 520 in a year;
- seen an expansion in average fleet size per opportunity, from 57 to 156;
- reduced the number of accounts lost per month from 8.6 to 0.8; and
- boosted the average number of new contracts per month from 1.3 to 7.8.
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