A core driver of GCP’s investment partnerships, and a core pillar of GCP’s Growth toolkit, is driving sales and account management effectiveness. Following the recent GCP Portfolio Commercial Day, a discussion forum for senior sales and growth leaders, Sam Ellis has penned insights on key focus areas from the GCP toolkit.
Why do your customers buy from you?
Our portfolio sales leaders highlighted the importance of knowing who their ideal customer is and having a clear and well-articulated value proposition to them. Often this clarity can be harder to accomplish in practice. The most successful businesses ensure that anyone who speaks to a customer, whether in sales or another function, knows exactly the value their business brings. Doing the work is worth it: all our sales leaders agreed that achieving a clear and consistent articulation of the business’ value proposition throughout the organisation greatly enhances both new business wins and customer retention. This can also support team members to understand their own role in delivering the proposition, as well as driving the discussion on the proposition’s evolution.
From this clear internal view, the focus shifts to ensuring customers view the business in the same way. We all agreed that validating the business’ potential value-add with existing customers is critical. Asking the question often evokes hidden pockets of value that the business itself was not aware of. The transparency of these conversations also helps to deepen the customer relationship.
Driving a closer customer relationship also assists in creating visibility of the “white space” in each key account where sales growth is possible. Directly asking a customer where a business can add additional value can be a fertile hunting ground. Several of the sales leaders achieved this goal through sharing their key account plans with the customer themselves, as it can give a preview of other services and products while credentialing their business’s understanding of the customer’s challenges and goals. These internal account plans should also be considered live documents as the relationship with the customer, the customer’s needs, and the personalities involved evolve and change with time.
The people behind the sales
Sales teams are too often overlooked for leadership development. There is sometimes a misguided view from elsewhere in organisations that generous commission structures negate the need for the other benefits typically bestowed to other staff. As with any other function, they will need to have career progression plans in place to drive engagement and personal investment in the process. Development programmes are also important to keep the team and its members evolving with the market and continuously improving how they engage with customers.
Another significant part of our Growth Toolkit is the feedback loop that accompanies the sales process. Processes that do not result in sales successes can be useful for providing feedback and debriefing on what has worked well or not so well. The aim is for this feedback and insight to feed back into the sales process and any future work, improving the quality of both selling and delivery.
GCP’s role as a partner
Over the 24 years of partnering with outstanding businesses, we have seen markets and sales techniques evolve with new technologies and new generations. We have been privileged to work with many outstanding sales leaders and grow outstanding commercial teams. All that experience has informed our GCP Growth Toolkit and helped build our capable network of commercial experts.
It is core to our portfolio strategy that experiences and expertise from current and realised investments are shared for the collective evolution of sales strategies. There are few functions more core to growth than sales, and the GCP Network supports this by supporting each portfolio business to build the right commercial structure including supporting talent acquisition in senior commercial roles where appropriate. Our focus in outstanding growth companies is driven by the growth we can achieve through a holistic sales strategy and a well-developed sales team.