Strategy to Revenue, a global sales performance company, won a Gold Stevie® Award in the Sales Awards categories of the 2014 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top sales and customer service awards program. The 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are currently accepting entries.
Strategy to Revenue’s Stevie Award winning nomination outlines how they worked with DHL Global Forwarding to achieve sales excellence. We talked with Matt Downes, Executive Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, about what his company is doing to help its clients, and what he brought back from his experience at the Sales & Customer Service Awards in Las Vegas last February.
To provide some background on his company’s mission and vision, Matt explained that the company was established in 2008 and named Strategy to Revenue (STR) in order to telegraph that sales training should be deployed both to support the implementation of a company’s go-to-market strategy and to deliver revenue in line with the business plan. Said Matt: “We believe sales training is important only if it improves aligned sales performance and accelerates revenue.”
The founders of STR had many years of experience in leading premier sales training companies that provided sales effectiveness solutions to global organizations in transformation. “Our collective experiences have directly informed our point of view and our approach,” Matt told us.
A True Partnership
We asked Matt what winning a Gold Stevie® Award had meant to his company. He told us that it had been a tremendous accolade for STR. “The award is recognition that our innovative thinking and our approach to tackling the sales performance challenge head on is working,” he said. “What makes it extra special is winning this award in collaboration with our client DHL, as we have managed to develop a true partnership in supporting their growth strategy where the sales organization is at the heart of this success.”
He added: “Without doubt, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is one of the most respected and well known awards in the sales training and performance industry, so to be ranked up alongside other leading companies is fantastic for STR.”
We asked Matt for some insight into his company’s innovative thinking. “We think few sales enablement or training programs have delivered the intended business impact because most training providers have failed to address obstacles in sales performance improvement,” he told us. The examples he cited include:
- a lack of individual and team motivation to learn;
- inability to transfer learning into behavioral change in the field;
- difficulty in integrating new marketing collateral and product/service information into sales activity;
- poorly implemented tools supporting misaligned processes;
- inability to adapt to different customer requirements and situations; and
- lack of sales organizational/cultural alignment.
Collaboration is Key
Continued Matt: “We also recognize the changing role of the Salesperson and, perhaps more importantly, the Sales Manager, as well as the increasing contribution that technology makes to learning. These obstacles present challenges to be resolved. This is our mission: to accelerate revenue by addressing these issues head on and resolving them. We can only do this in collaboration with our clients and other suppliers, so collaboration is key.”
A Source of Competitive Advantage
“Our continued focus is to work with our global clients to create sales performance programs that are motivating, embrace the culture of the organization, and are seen by the Sales team as a source of competitive advantage,” Matt explained. “In the right circumstances, we believe that Salespeople will take responsibility for improving their performance and see learning as a formidable tool to help them.”
Improving Sales Performance
We asked Matt for some tips on how companies can improve their sales performance. Following are some of his suggestions:
“Making a shift in sales behavior and productivity in the sales organization continues to be one of the hottest topics for every company out there.” suggested Matt. “What has become absolutely evident over recent years is that without sales leadership and first-line sales management alignment and com-mitment to any sales training initiative, the chances of a successful impact on sales performance are slim.
“We have seen this happen all too often at companies that invest in high profile programs such as value-selling methodologies, value-proposition messaging, sales skills, or business acumen. When they review the impact 12 months later, they recognize that it didn’t move the needle.”
According to Matt, there are two things that STR is absolutely focused on and which the company believes will help tackle this:
“Firstly, investment into the sales management to ensure a consistent cadence and approach to pipeline management, and performance coaching aligned to the business metrics driving revenue and margin. Sales Managers need to be able to anticipate potential issues in the pipeline before it’s too late, and then translate that into positive action through coaching.
“Secondly, a ‘Certification’ approach to any sales training program that hits the field and a focus on evi-dence and observation that a change in sales behavior is taking place.”
Comments Matt: “I would argue that for every training dollar you spend, 30% should be focused on ensuring it is adopted in the field, otherwise the other 70% is being wasted. If companies can get these two things right–and at the same time ensure they have a solid customer-aligned Sales Process, sales tools automated inside the CRM, skills curriculum and effective proposition messaging, and collateral from marketing–then the chances of success are significantly improved.”
A Perspective on Sales Performance
We asked Matt if there were any online tools he found particularly useful in his work. “There are so many blogs out there right now covering thought leadership, insights, and opinions on the sales performance challenge,” Matt told us. “I find the Top Sales World website very good as it brings together a number of thought leaders and blogging sites that all have good perspectives. We also have our own STR Google+ site, where we comment on interesting blogs and post our own insights. Check it out!”
Making A Difference
Finally, we asked Matt what personally motivated and inspired him about his work. “What keeps us all inspired is constantly looking to push the envelope when it comes to motivating sales organizations to improve their performance,” he told us. “The combination of talent inside STR–including our sales best practice experts, our content and creative designers, and our multimedia and learning technologies team–means we have all the ingredients to bring new thinking to market quickly and to execute these solutions with our clients to make a difference. Not many companies can do that!”
About Matt Downes
Matt is one of the founders of STR and leads Global Sales & Marketing for the company. Prior to STR, Matt spent eight years working for other global sales training and performance companies engaging with Fortune 500 companies. During that time, Matt lived in the US and led a sales transformation practice before returning to the UK to launch STR in 2008.
Outside of work, Matt is passionate about sport and is kept busy enjoying life with his wife Rosie and their three children Joe, Olly, and Bella. Matt holds a BSc in Business Information Technology Manage-ment.
About Strategy to Revenue
Strategy to Revenue designates itself the 'Revenue Acceleration' company, delivering strategic consultation and sales execution programs that help businesses transform the way their sales forces sell. STR has created a unique position in the sales training industry by combining sales and management best practice, instructional and creative design expertise, and technology and broadcast media to make sales performance programs engaging and motivational for the sales force. For more information, go to: www.strategytorevenue.com