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Drive Sales Results with Dynamics 365 Part 1: Sales Adoption Maturity Lifecycle

Improving sales results and getting adoption is always our focus when we roll out sales solutions with our customers.

We have a structure that we propose to help customers get more predictable results. Before we dive into our process, let’s walk through what we refer to as the Sales Adoption Maturity Life Cycle. We use this model to orient the customer on their primary business objectives in each phase while creating an approach for continuous improvement for the sales team, management, and executives.

 

Let’s look at each level individually:

Adoption

Most organizations see “adoption” as the goal. They want their team to, “Just use it.” But having a sales system is about more than just using it. We want to ensure our customers use the solution to support their priority business objectives.

Take this simple example:
Many customers begin their sales solution journey wanting to track all their key prospects and accounts, the interactions with them, and to have an accurate sales pipeline. Let's say the definition of an accurate pipeline is that for each opportunity, the following 10 points are captured:

  1. Who is the customer?
  2. What are the customer’s needs?
  3. What value is the customer getting from purchasing from us?
  4. What products/services best meet the customer’s needs?
  5. What is the value of the deal?
  6. What sales stage we are in?
  7. How likely we are to win?
  8. What are our differentiators to win over the competition?
  9. Who are the decision makers?
  10. When is this deal likely to close?

Once the sales team is tracking the required 10 pieces of data reliably on each opportunity, the organization can run an accurate pipeline and forecast their results reliably. It is at this point they have reached the first level of Adoption.

At the Adoption level, measurement is more typically oriented towards percent of actual sales versus forecast, percent of opportunities that are up to date (e.g. right sales stage, estimated close date) and related usage metrics. The sales team may or may not be getting a specific return on their personal investment, but the company has started to see an ROI or benefit. For an organization to sustain success, it is critical that they push past this first stage.   

Operational

At the Operational level, the sales team members start to leverage the solution in a way that makes them more efficient, and as a result, are starting to get a return for their personal investment. At this point, the sales team is typically following up with customers more quickly, actively working on more opportunities, and getting more accomplished with prospects and customers because their day is better organized.

At the Operational level, measurement is more focused on efficiency type metrics like the number of activities completed, revenue size of pipeline, reduction in time to get proposals out and related activity-based metrics. These metrics are also typically more leading indicators to actual sales results. At this level, we start to see a balance of benefits for both the sales team and the organization.

Strategic

At the Strategic level, the sales team is starting to leverage the solution in a way that makes them more effective – and as a result, are starting to get a larger return for their personal and organizational investment. At this point, the sales team is typically working smarter because they’re leveraging the solution to work on the best opportunities, and the sales management team can be more effective coaches, which will start to drive higher win rates. For example, the team may now have properly tiered customers and prospects, and as a result are putting their focus on the highest potential customers & therefore achieving higher returns for their effort.

At the Strategic level, measurement is more focused on the sales results metrics like wins/rep and revenue/rep. At this level, we see actual business impact and the metrics are more lagging indicators, like sales results.

Transformational

At the Transformational level, the solution is now making recommendations or suggestions to the sales team based on analytics and data science. This can be delivered in a variety of ways, and is almost always as a result of insights into the sales, customer, or market data. At this point, the sales team is typically getting the highest return for their personal investments because the solution is uncovering new opportunities or recommending the best next steps that in many cases, the team could not identify on their own. An example of this is when the solution suggests a sales team member follow up with Customer A and recommend Product X because the solution analyzed millions of transactions and determined that Customer A is like Customers B, D and F who all purchased product X. The result here is to drive higher close rates and uncover latent opportunities based on insights that are generated from data in the solution.

At the Transformational level, measurement is always focused on sales results metrics like wins/rep and revenue/rep. As customers achieve this level, the business impact is both highest for the sales team and the organization, and will continue to grow as the discipline to maintain the accuracy of the customer and market data exists.

There is value in every level of this sales adoption maturity model.

It is important to point out that it isn’t necessary for a customer to work through these stages linearly with the entire sales org. For example, it is achievable for some of the sales users to get to Operational and Strategic levels early in the initiative.

Ultimately, the further a customer can drive their sales initiative up the maturity curve, the higher their ROI will be and the more the sales team will buy in culturally to sales business solutions.

Watch our video to learn more about you can achieve better sales results with the Sales Adoption Maturity Lifecycle.  And, stay tuned for our next blog post on Sales Results Workstream.

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