PE Growth Insights: Sales Effectiveness & Growth Drivers

The sales function at any company is very complex. A successful sales organization is the result of many variegated factors which are directly affected and also indirectly influenced by the sales leaders of those organization (i.e. a EVP or VP of Sales or the CRO – the executive who is in charge of the sales organization):

  • decisions
  • investments
  • systems
  • processes
  • execution

This strategic set of inputs into the sales organization’s success is called the “Sales Effectiveness & Growth Drivers” and they affect the sales and the company’s results.

Every executive responsible for the sales force and for sales results – and therefore, by design, the “Sales Strategy” – must design their Sales Strategy based on these drivers.  These drivers will help break down the complexity of the sales organization into logical components when planning. Sales executives can also use these to diagnose sales results by looking at these categories and the drives and they must also correctly adjust to improve their sales effectiveness and growth.

My own approach to the “Sales Effectiveness & Growth Drivers” for B2B SaaS/tech was inspired by the original research and work of ZS Associates which was published in “Sales Force Effectiveness: a Framework for Researchers and Practiotioners” by Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer, 2008. They also discussed this framework in the book I highly recommend to every senior sales executive who leads the sales force and manages Sales Strategy – the book is: “Sales Force Design For Strategic Advantage” by Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha , and Sally E. Lorimer.

The research from the experts at ZS Associates presents their “Sales Force Effectiveness Framework” (SFEF) that organizes the many complexities of sales organizations and offers a holistic view to defining and assessing sales force effectiveness that any sales executives can use to diagnose sales force problems and develop multi-dimensional solutions when either responding to external and internal events or when trying to improve their sales results.  To give credit where credit is due, I based the below on the original work done by ZS Associates (which is one of my favorite sources of best practices related to Sales Strategy and strategic thinking about sales) and then I made some contextual adjustments that I found helpful in my work in the B2B tech/software/SaaS space:

1) Strategic Drivers

  • Sales strategy
  • Sales force structure and size
  • Sales role design and span of control
  • Sales territory planning & management
  • Sales pipeline creation

2) Sales force Development Drivers

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Sales leadership
  • 1-on-1 Coaching – Account Coaching
  • 1-on-1 Coaching – Opportunity Management Coaching
  • 1-on-1 Coaching – Sales Skills (Calls, Objections, etc)
  • 1-on-1 Coaching – Complex Sales Negotiations
  • Group Coaching via Film Reviews
  • Communication
  • Continued learning
  • Ongoing training and development
  • Company and sales culture
  • Quality of sales management team
  • Alignment with marketing
  • Teamwork

3) Performance Management Drivers

  • Goal setting
  • Sales forecasting
  • Performance management
  • Compensation and incentives
  • Motivation programs
  • Culture and a meaningful work environment

4) Technology Enablement Drivers

  • Information management
  • Industry and customer research
  • CRM and data
  • Sales tools


What else?  What are some thoughts on using Sales Growth & Effectiveness Drivers to scale your sales revenue and scale your company?