Metric sales

The missing sales metric that can mean CEO success or failure

As business leaders know, what is not followed is not.

What if I told you that the metric related to the life or death of many B2B companies during this crazy pandemic moment of 2020 could have been a big blind spot for businesses of all sizes – from the mid-market to the Fortune 500. ?

Think about the metrics businesses commonly track – from reservations and billings, backlog, conversion rates, transaction sizes, renewals, NPS and more. What is often missing? Track pipeline potential from existing customer base.

Even though account planning, cross-selling and upselling are buzzwords in professional services and other B2B industries, there is often not a good idea of ​​the opportunities that exist in checking accounts. or the company’s performance in the face of this increase.

Forget this at your own peril in 2020. New logos will be harder to come by as many companies pull back from trying new services while trying to survive in a more difficult business environment.

The most unknown sales channel

No matter how good your sales team is and how many new leads it brings in, it is always easier and more profitable to sell existing customers. They already know you, they already see value in what you offer, and you are likely able to better understand and predict what they will need and want as they grow.

Yet most companies underestimate this essential sales channel, often to the point that they don’t even have KPIs in place around it.

And many business leaders know that’s a missing piece. According to Gartner, only 28% of sales managers report meeting their growth targets for cross-selling and upselling. In the Altify 2019 Revenue Optimization Benchmark, only 46% of companies reported being effective at maximizing opportunities in existing accounts. It’s a huge missed opportunity.

So leaders know they are leaving money on the table. The reason for this is often an inconsistent approach to account planning, which includes collecting the relevant data to see the opportunity.

That’s where the devil lies: it’s the detail, the minutiae that can only be found in direct interactions with customers and the fieldwork that too often goes unnoticed by the company as a whole.

This invisible opportunity is sometimes referred to as “white space” – the products and services that your current customers are not using, but could. This is where there is room to unleash a lot of potential. It might seem obvious, but too often it just isn’t done.

While leaders and sophisticated B2B sales organizations have been planning their accounts for years, most cannot clearly report the KPIs around this white space and the potential pipeline of current accounts. The information they need is locked in silos: individual spreadsheets, individual brains, and regional QBR rollups. It’s hidden in marketing campaigns or upselling and cross-selling movements that don’t clearly track interactions at the sales region, product portfolio, or industry level. Most sales reviews and account summaries don’t have a standard way to capture potential pipeline or white space opportunities, let alone capture customer needs and issues. Unlocking and tracking white space opportunities is the first step in developing an account strategy to unlock more revenue in your core customer accounts.

Imagine being able to discern how much upsell potential you have across all accounts and then set metrics and goals to avoid winning that business. For example, imagine that the CEO of a multi-product company could log into Salesforce and quickly see at a glance not only the active pipeline and existing activities under contract, but also a summary view of the potential new pipeline for. a large multinational. counts with several sectors of activity and several geographical areas. From a summary view, you can quickly dig into the details to see a white space view that shows you a summary of all the different lines of business where your team works today, and all the open white spaces. where you have the space to focus sales and marketing efforts on unleashing new potential. This white space view and potential pipeline should be in your CRM, not trapped in Excel.

It’s easier than it looks. Many large account teams and corporate sales teams do a lot of this account planning work today, but it’s trapped in PPT, Word, Excel, not some system that shows everyone the real potential. . You need to be able to see and measure the footprint of these existing relationships, and then bring up those details to describe active opportunities. Either way, you need to be able to pull all of these disparate pieces together that are scattered around your business, and then visualize the white space in the middle of it all.

Often it’s the technical experts, the professional services team, customer success and support members who have valuable customer insights that can catalyze the existing pipeline and unlock new opportunities. They all need a seat at the table to help with account plans and account reviews.

Now is the time to dig deeper into current accounts

Covid-19 and shelter-in-place orders have been a game-changer for sales teams, placing a renewed emphasis on the basics of B2B selling and paying new attention to this existing account pipeline as an important KPI.

Here’s the good news: No matter how well you perform at upselling, this exercise will not be in vain. In a business environment like this, it’s critical that sales and customer service teams have a thorough understanding of their existing customers and their issues. Gathering this information and reviewing it will nonetheless pay off. After all, the best defense is a good offense. Account planning can and should be viewed as a way to defend existing customers.

But the real opportunity is to use it as a proactive strategy to invest in existing customers and relationships. In-depth knowledge and focus on customers and the ability to visualize white space are essential to unlock new potential and growth.

By breaking this information out of silos so that it can be collected and shared, the organization can form a thesis around each existing customer, pushing the sales strategy one step further to better understand the customer’s goals and how the business can help him. This is how you visualize white space and use it to describe the upsell and cross-sell opportunity.

Business leaders who can track, monitor, and clearly articulate the potential pipeline as a KPI are on the right track to driving revenue growth in any sales environment. Even in 2020.