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Give yourself the right tools to measure success

Nearly a decade of study has proven one thing: there’s a powerful connection between the relationship a selling organization enjoys with its customers (as perceived by the buyer) and the level of sales process the selling organization has implemented. There’s a lot of talk about sales process, and there are lots of articles written about relationships, but historically there haven’t been any useful constructs around those terms. And much of the information you can find is based on opinion rather than on data and observation.

So at CSO Insights, a B2B sales-effectiveness research firm, we created some rigor. We defined explicit benchmarks to clearly delineate the difference between levels, and outlined the skills, abilities, or characteristics that reps have at each of those levels. With the Sales Relationship/Process (SRP) Matrix, we began tracking key metrics associated with these levels for the last eight years, recording data on both axes against companies’ actual reported performance.

Learn how to apply the SRP Matrix to your sales organization

Map your route: onward and upward

Adopting the framework of the SRP Matrix helps assess where your organization is today, but it also helps users plot a course. As with any journey, prior to departure, you must identify the destination, why you’re going there, and alternative routes you might be able to take. This notion of establishing the current state, desired end state, and plan for getting from A to B is hardly new. What is new—and routinely supported by the research data—is the consistency of improved sales performance in moving through the SRP Matrix in the direction shown below.

Our research proves it: if you move over and up in the matrix, that correlates with better performance. This is not a pet theory. It’s not an opinion. It’s a framework that is supported by thousands of companies’ data.

Corning has been working on its sales process with us for 15 years. It continues to outpace its competitors and market growth. Of course, Corning has great products and is well run. But also, Stuart Hoiness, SVP of Enterprise Networks at Corning, has said that the SRP Matrix “is the foundation upon which we’ve built our sales organization and provides a framework to tie together our enabling systems, procedures, coaching, and more. Having a consistent process that we continually improve has supported our growth and sales success.”

Download the whitepaper to see if your company is on the right course

Take action now before it’s too late

Too often questions targeted on strategy are kicked down the road while more urgent (but less important) issues consume leadership cycles. The perennial favorite is “What’s it going to take to close this deal?” though that query takes on new weight as the end of the period approaches if you are not at or well ahead of plan.

In turn, a focus on tactics rather than strategy becomes a self-stoking cycle, period after period, until the deferred strategic questions manifest into a full-blown and now immediate crisis.

You can avoid this problem. Take a moment and ask yourself three big questions. The answers will help you plot your course:

  • Is your current state (A) satisfactory, or does your team need to evolve to a higher state (B)?
  • Would you train, support, and equip your reps in the same way at B that you currently do at A?
  • Would you recruit, hire, and train reps with the same skills and profiles as those you already have on your team?

Get off the hamster wheel

There are lots of people in sales—and particularly in sales management—who are on hamster wheels right now. When they get to the end of a quarter or the end of a year, they get to take a breather, and then it starts all over again. That’s a vicious cycle. When you start implementing sales process and start solving—not just solving problems, but removing the cause of the problems—you’ll get to higher levels of higher-order selling work. You create a virtuous cycle, where people are happy to come to work, believe in what they are doing, and feel there’s a real purpose. With a planned route from A to B, reaching the next level on the SRP Matrix is clear, intuitive, and achievable.

Get the whitepaper and start using the SRP Matrix

CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global, is a sales and marketing effectiveness research firm that specializes in measuring how companies leverage people, process, technology, and knowledge to improve the way they market and sell to customers. For more than 20 years, CSO Insights’s surveys of more than 20,000 sales effectiveness initiatives have been the standard for tracking the evolution of the role of sales, revealing the challenges that are impacting sales performance, and showing how companies are addressing these issues.

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