Categories: Podcast

Rethinking The Sales Process with Justin Roff-Marsh

If you’re wondering why your sales team isn’t converting, maybe it isn’t time to double the size of the team; maybe it’s time to rethink your whole sales process. 

In fact, while you’re at it, why don’t you scale back the sales’ team responsibilities, divide up their tasks, division of labour, so to speak, and have your sales executives responsible for just, sales…

Controversial? 

Maybe, but this approach to sales is what today’s guest, Justin Roff-Marsh advocates not just in his book, The Machine, but with his management consultancy company, Ballistix.  

“Typically we will either build a sales function entirely from scratch, or we will work with [a company] on the rebuild of their sales function. I say sales function loosely because actually most of the work that we do is building the functions or rebuilding the functions that are adjacent to sales, so as to make sales more productive.”

Having dedicated the last 15 years of his 30 year career to developing a scientific approach to the design and management of sales processes, Justin is incredibly well placed to discuss why companies need to rethink their sales function if they hope to scale. Because Justin is on a mission to shatter the myths around what makes sales people great. 

On today’s podcast:

  • Why sales should learn from effective operations and production environments
  • What Ballistix does
  • Why companies’ approach to sales is wrong 
  • Why the sales environment needs to feature division of labour
  • The misplaced focus on marketing
  • Why we shouldn’t pay salespeople commission
  • Why sales isn’t all about personal relationships

Links:

How To Scale Up Sales with Justin Roff-Marsh

Is your sales team just not converting as well as they ought? Have you considered scaling their duties back, so they have just one function, sales. And then placing the sales executives front and centre, rearranging the other departments to become their support team? 

Yes, this might sound wildly controversial, but then most companies take the view that salespeople are the ones who have the relationship with customers, when in fact, they should really only be the first point of contact, the people who connect up the company with customers. 

And it’s this redesigning of the sales function that we talk to today’s guest, Justin Roff-Marsh, about. 

Justin runs marketing consultancy firm, Ballistix, a venture that was created after spending 15 years developing a scientific approach to the design and management of sales processes. 

“Typically we (Ballistix) will either build a sales function entirely from scratch, or we will work with a company on the rebuild of their sales function. I say sales function loosely because actually most of the work that we do is building the functions or rebuilding the functions that are adjacent to sales, so as to make sales more productive.”

Restructuring the company

Essentially, what Justin advocates, in order to make a sales team more effective, is to restructure the whole of the sales’ support cast. 

“We re-engineer the engineering teams, particularly sales facing engineering, and re-engineer the marketing teams. The end result of all this heavy lifting is we put salespeople in a position where there is absolutely nothing that they can possibly do with their day, other than have selling conversations, purely in pursuit of netting new business. 

In other words, Justin recommends removing salespeople from any other activities, including transactions with existing accounts, in order to focus salespeople exclusively on the pure pursuit of netting new business.

Why salespeople need to focus on sales

According to Justin, it just doesn’t make sense for salespeople to be involved with customers after the first transaction. They should be handed off to a dedicated team such as project management for implementation, onboarding, or whatever the case maybe, and then onto customer service who will manage the account going forward. 

“I mean, in the old days, if you were a salesperson selling mortgages, you used to go door to door to collect every payment, and this is how most sales functions are still structured. Salespeople are winning accounts and then managing them thereafter. And of course, the more accounts they have, the less new ones they win.”

So for Justin, therefore, having salespeople focus solely on acquiring new business, nothing else, means redesigning the rest of the organisation so there’s no requirement for salespeople to be involved in anything other than the pursuit of netting new business.

The problem of placing emphasis on marketing

“I think most businesses are not built on the back of marketing. Most businesses are built on the back of sales.”

But marketing seems to be the driver for most businesses today who hope to acquire new business. By spreading the word about their brand, they’re assuming that they’re growing the business, but without converting the marketing efforts to sales, marketing is all for nothing. 

“Most marketing folks don’t spend that much of their time on the generation of sales opportunities. They spend most of their time on the kind of necessary infrastructure that’s required, you know, websites, ecommerce, brochures and sales collateral and so on.”

However, if you want to create an environment where salespeople do nothing but sales, then you need to reconfigure the marketing department so the marketing department can serve up sales opportunities to salespeople at the rate at which they consume them. 

Every organisation that Ballistix works with ensures that salespeople’s opportunity queues are replenished every single morning, before the salespeople get to work. And salespeople have nothing to do with the origination of sales opportunities. They focus simply on performing selling activities against the opportunities that are served up to them.

Book recommendations

Dominic Monkhouse

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