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One of the questions we get asked a lot at TSIA is how to test the efficiency and effectiveness of changes that companies are implementing in their Sales organizations. It’s such a popular question that we’ve noticed a significant step increase in the number of these inquiries that we’ve received over the last 3-6 months.
The changes that companies are implementing tend to fall into one of two categories:
These two categories aren’t mutually exclusive, as we’ve worked with member companies who are looking to do both of these simultaneously. But oftentimes these organizations will consider “running a pilot”, which can sometimes be seen as a step to avoid rolling out an initiative fully.
You will hear people say, “We want to do this, but let’s just run a pilot first.” This can be perceived to mean that people aren’t fully behind the idea. However, the reality is that it’s quite sensible to take an approach that will allow you to validate and confirm your assumptions, and also to adjust based on the findings from the test.
When you run a pilot, the most important thing is to prepare for it like you were preparing for a full rollout. The best pilots never end, but rather evolve naturally into a full deployment of whatever you were testing in the pilot. In other words, take the stance that success is inevitable and that the objective of the test is just to refine the approach.
We guide people to follow this simple five-step process when setting up a sales pilot. It shouldn’t be complex or over-engineered. You want to keep the team focused on what you’re looking to test, and everyone must understand very clearly what their role is and how they will provide feedback.
Setting clear goals and objectives for any pilot may seem obvious, but some pilots are initiated without clarifying the desired outcomes. Very often, everyone just assumes that these are understood.
This depends on what you are testing and assumes that a new sales methodology/approach is being tested.
The following criteria should be considered:
Too often, we see sales pilots fail to live up to expectations because the process of engaging and onboarding the key constituents is under-estimated.
Sales pilots are an opportunity for “trial and error” and this should be the context; you are trying to figure out how to make something work, don’t just look for patterns of success, you’ll learn as much from the failures.
As mentioned, this question is common among TSIA members, which is why we’ve done ample research on what makes for a successful sales pilot and how to get started. If you and your organization are finding yourselves struggling, reach out to us. Membership in our Subscription Sales research and advisory practice has the data-backed insights, tools, and business frameworks you need for success.
Post Date: January 7, 2020
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Martin Dove is the former vice president of subscription sales research for TSIA and brought a unique set of experiences and insights on outcome-based selling and subscription sales methodologies. Martin helped TSIA members navigate the journey to being more outcome-based in the way they sell and to optimize their organization’s sales of subscription, or “as a service” offers, to both new and existing customers.
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The Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) is dedicated to helping technology and services organizations large and small grow and advance in the technology industry. Find out how you can achieve success, too. Call us at (858) 674-5491 or we can call you.