Sales secrets of high growth companies

Feb 6, 2018 | Blog, Sales confidence, Selling Skills Training

Gary Williams looks at the impact of investing in sales ability

Winning more than your fair share of the ‘pie’

A recent McKinsey article focused on the ‘Sales secrets of high-growth companies’. It wasn’t focused on any particular sector, but when thinking about professional services, there are some interesting ideas about how to drive organic growth through the development of people. Having worked with thousands of professionals over many years, we have recognized that you can’t turn an engineer/lawyer/surveyor into a sales-person (or extremely rarely), but you can equip them with the tools, techniques and confidence to make an impact in their markets.

McKinsey surveyed more than a 1000 wide-­ranging companies and found that a rigorous focus on sales training is a clear differentiator between the fast and slow-growing companies. “Just under half the fast growers spend significant time and money on sales training, compared to 29 percent of slow growers.” What was really interesting though is that among the high-growers there was a feeling that they still needed to do more in areas such as ‘Understanding customers specific needs’, ‘Pipeline Management’ and ‘Account Planning’.

One of the surveyed organisations tried a new approach to improving sales performance after years of fruitless initiatives: “Instead of focusing solely on what sellers had to do, the program also devoted significant attention to building the talents and capabilities to enable them to do it, making a substantial investment in teaching skills and enforcing their use with specific goals.” The result? A 25% improvement in productivity across all regions within 18 months. More impressive still, the gains stuck, and two years later performance was still improving.

Selling skills training for senior people

Help your team achieve a better win-rate, higher fees, greater margins and improved cross-selling

A practical workshop for up to 15 people

So what can professional services firms take from this insight?

A significant weapon in a firm’s arsenal when fighting competition is the ability of its people. Not just their technical ability (which is important), but their selling ability as well. It used to be that one or two very well connected, very able ‘Rainmakers’ would create work for their juniors simply by working their network and being in the right place at the right time. Today’s world is different; yes, you still need to be well connected, but no longer can a firm really drive growth by relying on a few people to bring in the work. The successful modern professional is an all-rounder with the following attributes:

  • Good technical ability, keeping up with advances and changes.
  • Has a business and personal development plan encompassing objectives for both business targets and personal brand.
  • Has a strong and growing reputation (either for quality, niche player etc.) both online and offline.
  • Is a relentless networker who eats and drinks where her clients gather, writes articles for publications her target market reads, speaks at events where her chosen audience attends.
  • Understands the sales process and invests (or demands their firm invest) in learning skills and techniques for continuous improvement.

Questas Quote Marks Circle“Ultimately, those firms that invest continuously in developing sales and client management skills are those that will win more of the ‘pie’ than their competitors!”

Optimise your selling opportunity

Creating a positive impact at that first client meeting.

Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting


Effective Business Development Meetings

Download this guide to maximise your time and effort to win more sales.

Get it now

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Cross-selling

Cross Selling There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you. Course overview By...

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Course overview This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It...

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome. Course overview The...

Sales Conversations For Non-Sales People

Sales Conversation Skills We help technical people feel comfortable with the idea of selling – demonstrating that it is not some sort of ‘dark art’ – which can make a radical change to the dialogue they have with existing and potential clients. Course overview Our...

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors. Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales...

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don'ts if you will, of creating the...

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at...

Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Attending a ‘World Leading’ Event can be very daunting. Don’t let being a little fish in a big pond overwhelm you –  Gary Williams shares how he addressed his concerns and went prepared to optimise the opportunity. I recently attended #MIPIM2018. It was my first time...

Make your business development planning more successful

Having worked with different professional services clients over the years, I’ve seen many try to transform their approach to sales (or business development, if you prefer), says Annabel Miller. Some of these organisations have put together a formal transformation...

Get in touch