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Sales as a Service® 
The MarketStar Advantage

Executive Overview

Sales executives everywhere are under increasing pressure to deliver more revenue, increase their sales quotas, generate more leads, and sign more customers, and they have to do it with shrinking resources. But this sense of urgency is seldom tied to sustainable processes or strategic growth strategies. It’s time for chief executives and sales professionals to rethink the old quota-driven strategies and, rather than cracking the whip louder, develop a new approach to selling that is scalable and delivers growth that aligns with company objectives. It’s time to look beyond the quarterly sales quota, see the revenue game as a sustainable business process, and embrace a new sales approach that is nimble and extensible.

Welcome to the bold new world of Sales as a Service®.

This e-book will explore the benefits of engaging MarketStar as a Sales as a Service® partner, including the positive impact on sales personnel and processes and how Sales as a Service can deliver optimal results while generating better sales performance data and allowing you to remain in control. We will also share some of the secrets to MarketStar’s success in Sales as a Service and discuss proven sales strategies we have developed over 30 years of working with our clients.

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 Joel Rackham
Global Vice President, Strategic Accounts 

Creating a High-Performance Sales Machine
 Bryan Summerhayes
VP of the Direct Channel 

5 Tips to Create a High Performance Sales Team
Paul Grant
Chief Customer Officer 

How to Use the Right Sales Data to Shorten Your Selling Cycle 

Chapter 1

Maintaining the Sales Machine

If you are involved in sales in any way, as a chief executive, vice president, sales manager, or sales rep, you know that there is increasing pressure to “make your numbers.” Sales quotas continue to climb, but the resources remain the same, so every month is a scramble to meet higher goals. The sales team is being driven harder to perform, but sales goals don’t always map to the company’s long-term business objectives.

What many of today’s organizations lack is a sales model that delivers consistent, predictable, and scalable results. The sales program needs to be part of the strategic plan for the organization, providing a foundation for growth and generating the revenue to fuel that growth.

Creating a selling machine that can adapt to changing company needs requires resources that can be difficult to justify as part of internal sales costs. It’s difficult enough to hire qualified salespeople, and once they are hired, it takes more time and money to train them. Sales staff turnover runs higher than in most other departments, ranging from 20 to 34 percent. The average cost to replace a salesperson is $97,690 and takes between 3.69 and 5.42 months. With the lag time in hiring and training, corporate objectives will likely have shifted when sales reps are ready to get down to work. 

Smart sales decision-making also requires the right information. It has become increasingly difficult to gain access to the right data and analytics to understand what to do next. In fact, it’s almost impossible for sales to keep pace with changing business objectives while continuing to generate revenue and lay the foundation for future growth.

In order to remain nimble, competitive, and ready to respond to changing market conditions without wasting time or adding burdensome overhead, more companies are outsourcing their sales program. Our Sales as a Service® solution takes over internal sales tasks, provides strategic consulting, and works side by side with your sales and leadership teams to achieve the desired results.

"The sales program needs to be part of the strategic plan for the organization, providing a foundation for growth and generating the revenue to fuel that growth."

Chapter 2

What We Mean by “Sales as a Service®”

The concept of Sales as a Service has somewhat different meanings for different stakeholders. Most of today’s as-a-service business models relate specifically to cloud-hosted technology such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Storage-as-a-Service, and even Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS). In all these cases, the customer is leasing cloud-computing services, tools, and technologies that are delivered over a high-speed internet connection. The customer benefits by outsourcing the hardware, software, and maintenance to provide those technology services, cutting operating costs while gaining resources that can be added virtually on demand. These types of services are highly reliable and readily scalable, and ultimately, the customer is buying an outcome rather than an actual item (“I need space to store my stuff, but I don’t want to buy a new hard drive”).

Sales as a Service provides many of the same advantages, but it is so much more than just hiring an off-site sales team. MarketStar’s Sales as a Service business model takes full advantage of big data analytics, emerging sales technology, and recruiting and training top sales performers on your behalf. Sales as a Service® provides immediate support for resource-strapped organizations, bringing in qualified sales people and the flexible services required to serve as an extension of your internal sales team. Your sales goals may remain the same, but with MarketStar’s Sales as a Service® on board, you can extend the capabilities of your current team with the additional resources you need to hit your sales targets. 

Having the right people is the key to Sales as a Service success. You need a dedicated team of sales professionals working as your representatives and using their skills to create outstanding customer experiences that turn into lasting relationships. We find that having prebuilt HR services and the best recruiting is an essential part of Sales as a Service. Rather than your having to dedicate the time and money to hiring a comprehensive sale team from top to bottom, we find the best sales talent for you, taking into account industry knowledge, technical expertise, and the unique skills and abilities needed for your service or solution. We make those sales professionals a dedicated resource for your team—a seamless extension of what you already have in place.

In addition to providing the key talent, the MarketStar Sales as a Service® model applies four fundamental elements: 

  • Data: Every sales decision needs to be driven by data. However, gathering and analyzing data to gain accurate market intelligence can be expensive and time-consuming. By outsourcing your sales to MarketStar, you are tapping us to lead data gathering and analysis, including what’s needed to open new markets and new regions. Letting MarketStar analyze the details behind sales decisions leaves you free to track important customer trends, such as customer experience, customer success, and strategic growth.

  • Processes: Delivering repeatable results requires tested business processes that shorten the sales cycle and produce revenue quicker. Adopting established business processes allows you to invest in a superior sales force with reduced costs and less infrastructure. To ensure ongoing success, these new business processes have to meld with your own time-tested processes to ensure that you get optimal performance in your already established markets and segments, and that you can transfer that success to every new sales rep who joins the team and with every new sales endeavor.

  • Culture: Achieving sales success requires motivated sales reps. We have cultivated a culture that sets high expectations and celebrates success to keep the team motivated. We find that acknowledging wins encourages the team to take personal ownership of sales, with more commitment to success. This is a high-performance culture that melds with your own internal brand identity, bringing the best of both worlds together in a well-crafted environment.

  • Coaching: One-to-one mentoring is the best way to ensure outstanding performance. In addition to embracing a culture of celebration, we provide the coaching needed to promote personal advancement. By utilizing the efficiencies gained through solid business processes, your sales managers have the time—and the energy—to work one-on-one with sales reps, finding ways to improve every step of the way. Consistent sales performance is a product of consistent professional improvement.

MarketStar’s Sales as a Service model applies hands-on expertise and the ability to work as a seamless extension of your current sales infrastructure. When you outsource sales to MarketStar, we build with you a dedicated, high-performance sales team that can deliver deals in a fraction of the time it would take to hire and train an internal sales team. MarketStar’s Sales as a Service offering is designed to deliver fast, comprehensive services and processes to help you quickly ramp up your sales volume.

"The MarketStar Sales as a Service business model takes full advantage of big data analytics, emerging sales technology, and recruiting and training top sales performers on your behalf."

Chapter 3

Harnessing Data-Driven Sales

There was a time when you could set your sales goals based on gut instinct, how sales were last year, and how you thought or hoped sales would be this year. With technology advances, today’s sales executives are making data-driven decisions, using metrics and analytics to guide precision decision-making. Every sales decision needs to be guided using insight gained from analytics, and every sales outcome should be measured and analyzed.

Surprisingly few organizations are able to take advantage of the vast amount of data available to them, such as historical sales performance, seasonal variations, pipeline reviews, and contract renewals. For example, historical data in any organization can be mined to find trends and activity correlations that could improve sales performance. Bringing in additional market conditions, psychographics, and factors using techniques such as big data mining can improve the accuracy of analytics even more, providing metrics that can guide smarter decision-making.

Developing the analytics technology to mine sales data for insight is a discipline in itself, with its own expertise. MarketStar’s data scientists are experts in sales analytics, with years of experience with hundreds of individual sales motions in multiple markets and segments. They mine historical POS data, activity data, and market data so you can benefit from these insights without having to do your own data mining and modeling. 

At MarketStar we don’t just recommend the right analytics tools; we have a core competency in setting up and administering data mining and analytics resources. Many of our clients have limited time and resources, so we provide ongoing optimization of these tools on their behalf. We’ve developed a standardized approach to measurement that is transferable and trainable. You get a single source for information, but the best practices for data gathering and analytics also can be shared, along with the intelligence.

Our tech stack provides insight into the end-to-end sales process. We customize the tech stack for each of our customers, using metrics at each point to identify and correct weaknesses and ensure that the sales team is working at its best. We also use the tech stack to refine and share best practices.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in sales analytics, just as it is driving greater accuracy in financial planning and supply chain management. We use machine learning to make it easier to assimilate historical data, CRM data, and input about the pipeline in order to come up with more accurate sales performance predictions. The more data you can ingest and analyze, the more accurate sales forecasts will be, including which deals are likely to close when and for how much.

By harnessing analytics through AI and big data techniques, we gain a lot of insight into what drives your sales process, including:

  • Pacing (i.e., whether you are closing deals fast enough to meet quota)

  • Whether the pipeline has sufficient leads to produce the revenue to meet quarterly goals

  • Whether the pipeline is growing at the right rate to meet future goals

  • A picture of the overall run rate, including revenue from deals that are open and likely to close in the quarter

  • AI-driven indicators that highlight the potential to win on every deal, with red, yellow, and green alerts to show you where you need to adjust execution to improve the close rate

  • Smart sequencing (i.e., building sales outreach messaging and cadence based on activity metrics, language usage, and sentiment analysis of sales correspondence)

Once the right big data processes and technology components are in place, forecasting and performing “what if” analytics becomes much easier. Using plug-and-play data reveals different outcomes to inform decisions about changes in staffing and business processes. We rely on our tech stack for ongoing analytics, creating a feedback loop that continues to generate insights into new ways to refine sales processes and continually improve sales performance.

"At MarketStar we don't just recommend the right analytics tools; we have core competency in setting up and administering data mining and analytics resources."

Chapter 4

Defining and Redefining Sales Processes

Delivering predictable and consistent sales results requires well-defined and proven sales processes that are also adaptable. Successful sales teams create a structured framework for execution and reporting across the entire sales process. That way you generate metrics that provide insights into performance on a macro level, as well as for individual accounts, products, and sales reps.

We apply a well-defined AOR sales management framework: Activity + Objectives = Results. AOR provides us with the means to demonstrate the direct impacts that sales activities have on outcomes. It also helps align specific activities with sales goals. 

When developing an AOR sales process, remember that each element of the AOR formula includes variables that will affect the sales process: 

  • Activity is the foundation of AOR, giving sales reps factors they can control, such as the number of emails sent, time spent on a call plan, detail around prospect research, and so on. These activities need to be quantifiable and trackable to provide a baseline.

  • Objectives are only partially dictated by activities. For example, you can make a preset number of sales calls, but the outcomes will depend on whether or not you reach decision-makers.

  • Results are the outcome of activities against objectives. For example, developing a call plan (activity) that leads to reaching a set number of decision-makers (outcome) should result in new contracts (results).

In defining sales processes, we understand that sales managers can influence the bottom of the pyramid as well as the top. Refining sales processes requires modifying the activities in such a way that the process yields better results. 

Another formula that we use to refine sales processes is:

AOR = Data Science + People + Competency

MarketStar applies the best data science techniques, enlists the best professionals to do the job, and relies on their competency to not only improve sales performance, but to inform the activities that make the sales processes successful. This approach allows us to use performance metrics to continuously refine and improve processes for optimal sales performance.

In developing sales processes, our goal is to create methodologies that provide consistency while still maintaining adaptability. The steps that lead to a sale are fairly consistent, but there is still room for experimentation to improve the results. We also take into account your own well-earned knowledge gained by knowing your own sales channels, techniques, and markets. The key is to take the best of what you know and believe, and improve them with the efficiencies of our time-tested processes. This is how we streamline sales processes and make them more efficient. We also close the training gap with additional coaching to makes sales processes consistent, while giving our sales team a sense of ownership and personal achievement, which in turn reduces staff turnover.

Our mission is to develop sales methodologies and processes that are transferable. This provides consistency across our organization and our client companies, promoting closer collaboration between the MarketStar team and our customers’ in-house sales teams. It also improves training and onboarding of new sales talent and shortens time to productivity.

"MarketStar applies the best data science techniques, enlists the best professionals to do the job, and relies on their competency to not only improve sales performance, but to inform the activities that make the sales processes successful."

Chapter 5

Creating a Culture of Sales Achievement

People are an essential component of any sales effort. People are responsible for selling and closing deals, and people have to use their interpersonal skills to connect with customers. Sales is a tough profession, so to recruit and retain the best sales professionals, we have created a work culture that celebrates professional achievement.

Celebrating success has a positive impact that lifts the entire sales team. At MarketStar we have found that smaller achievements build to big sales wins, so by celebrating the “microwins,” we are nurturing a positive sales culture that keeps the sales team healthy and motivated. Encouraging the sales team to achieve both personal and team objectives also creates an environment of collaboration. Our goal is to create a sales culture that rewards collaboration, rather than one that requires sales reps to hit seemingly arbitrary sales quotas (i.e., using a carrot, not a stick). Creating great experiences for the sales team that translate into incredible experiences for the customer—that’s a win-win philosophy that distinguishes a successful MarketStar sales team.

Nurturing a positive culture that rewards achievement also makes it easier for us to attract the best sales talent. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find good sales talent. In fact, 65 percent of recruiters cite a lack of skilled candidates as the primary obstacle to growing their sales teams. And those sales reps who are being hired lack the necessary expertise; 55 percent of people working in sales lack the skills to be successful.

U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsFigure: Competition for jobs continues to rise, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the chart from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, job growth continues to climb, with 6.7 million jobs open at the end of April 2018. There also were 5.6 million hires and 3.4 million quits, and the number of job openings continues to exceed the number of hires by 1.1 million. In this type of job climate, finding the best sales talent is an ongoing challenge, but MarketStar excels at creating a positive work environment with room for advancement, which makes it easier to hire and retain top-performing salespeople. 

"MarketStar creates a work environment that celebrates achievement, often having a significant impact on our customers’ culture, challenging them to match our enthusiasm and success."

Finding the best sales talent is not enough. You also have to ensure that they are motivated to perform. Gallup research shows that 51 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work. Sixty-eight percent of salespeople plan to seek a new job within the next year. MarketStar is able to hire and retain the best salespeople by keeping them challenged. Gallup research also shows that highly engaged business groups yield 20 percent higher sales and a 10-percent increase in customer ratings, which MarketStar clients can attest to.

Even though we have created our own culture built on sales success, we also understand the importance of being able to adapt to our customers’ business cultures. That’s why MarketStar also rewards collaboration, integrating our best practices and values into those of the customers. It has been our experience that by creating a work environment that celebrates achievement, we often have an impact on our customers’ culture, challenging them to match our enthusiasm and success.

By creating a work culture built on recognition and collaboration, we continue to improve team performance across the board.

Over the years I have worked with every sort of outside outsourced sales agency. I can say with certainty that both the management team and the people that make up the organization of MarketStar have performed better than any other organization that I have worked with. The relationship they have with my customers has really grown my business.

- Jason Turk, Director of Sales, Americas, NETGEAR

 

Chapter 6

Coaching to Improve Sales Performance

Coaching is an essential part of any successful selling culture. Most sales environments set goals and objectives, but too often sales management asks the team to achieve the goals without the necessary tools and techniques. Rather than focusing on more supervision and empty platitudes, we use coaching as an effective tool to show reps not just what is expected, but also how to get there.

Mentoring as well as managing the sales team makes it easier to promote consistent performance for our clients, using personalized metrics to track improvement. Sales managers should be the most important coaching resource for the sales team, armed with the training, tools, and techniques to help all sale reps achieve their goals.

At MarketStar, we use a variety of coaching techniques to help improve our sales team. Sales training and support is individualized, and all salespeople are equipped with customized documentation that evolves with their training. In addition to established performance metrics and milestones, coaching includes self-assessments to make sure that the coaches and the sales reps are working together using the same criteria. 

These metrics are fueled by the AOR framework, giving sales managers a paradigm to follow when coaching the team. Managers look at the specific activities, correlate those activities to how well the objectives are being met, and build a coaching plan to help the reps understand exactly where they need to improve or alter. AOR provides the means to demonstrate the direct impacts that sales activities have on outcomes, and coaching to those elements help us reach the goals set—right down to the individual-rep level. 

MarketStar sales coaching also includes real-time training. Coaches work side by side with sales reps to show them how to overcome obstacles and achieve the best results possible. There’s also peer-to-peer mentoring, where team members work together to brainstorm ideas to address sales challenges.

Using metrics that measure personal progress against ROI, sales coaching is structured to reinforce positive results by encouraging success rather than punishing failure. The result is better sales performance and an expansion of experience and knowledge.

Training sales managers is as important as training the sales team. Management training is structured to draw on sales executives’ experience, sharpening their leadership skills and showing them how to adapt what they know to specific situations, including applying coaching techniques for knowledge transfer. In many ways, sales management training is about showing managers how to coach themselves, adapt their skill sets, and improve their personal performance, as well as teaching them how to share that insight with the sales reps.

"At MarketStar, sales training and support is individualized, and all salespeople are equipped with customized documentation that evolves with their training."

Chapter 7

Conclusion

MarketStar has been refining the Sales as a Service business model since our inception. We have found that that this completely integrated approach is the best way to create effective and profitable sales processes. Combining the best people, data, technology, and training creates sales methodologies that serve as a gold standard for our team and our customers. Our sales processes ensure optimal, repeatable results that can be measured, documented, and shared, and that can be readily adapted to accommodate new market and sales conditions.

Drawing from decades of sales experience across multiple markets, MarketStar has been refining this sales model to ensure it delivers quality and consistency. MarketStar’s Sales as a Service® offering meets the challenge that today’s B2B sales managers face by providing a growth-oriented sales model that can become a reality more quickly and more affordably. MarketStar maximizes sales without the added pressure of hiring and training an in-house sales team. We also provide scalable, adaptable resources that can align sales processes with changing corporate objectives, delivering data and metrics to measure progress along the way.

In this climate of rapidly changing market conditions and new technology, it’s becoming harder to build and maintain a competitive sales force. Many successful organizations have realized that outsourcing to Sales as a Service is more efficient and more profitable than trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing market landscape. Partnering with MarketStar lets you scale your sales effort without losing control and allows you to build new sales processes and successes with little or no investment in added overhead or sales infrastructure.

 

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Sales as a Service: The MarketStar Advantage