Want an effective sales team? Unlock their DNA

By Michael Wheeldon, Pinnacle Sales Consultancy

Unlocking the DNA of your sales team will also unlock a world of potential. DNA represents the building blocks for life. In a sales environment, sales drivers are the building blocks of success for your team and your business.

You can consistently improve performance across the entire team by drilling down to your Sales Functions core components and identifying its fundamental elements. Once you have unlocked your sales DNA, or as we refer to them the sales drivers, you can then start to maximize their impact to produce more sales by ensuring effort and resource are appropriately and efficiently deployed. This will deliver a clearly defined, ’blueprint’ for a high performing sales function which, if effectively executed, will more fully support the marketing and business plan.

Let’s take a look at identifying your sales drivers. These are simply a clear set of principles and factors that a sales organization can be defined and measured against. For example, your company’s Go to Market Plan, customer engagement approach or how you translate your Marketing Strategy into a Sales Plan could all be seen as sales drivers. Biological DNA comprises of four basic components that everything else is linked back to and we would recommend honing your sales drivers to identify a manageable number of key elements too. Don’t overdo things and end up with a long and impenetrable list of drivers.

Once your sales drivers are established, you can produce a clear sales function to understand what constitutes “Best in Class” in your market or channel. The sale function is the connecting pathway between each of your drivers to form a complex DNA sales structure. It allows you to objectively assess your performance compared to an aligned benchmark.

Here at Pinnacle Sales Consultancy, we believe that a balance between sales drivers that apply to similar businesses in your sector and those that are unique to your business must both be identified. While there are some basic principles that apply to all organizations operating in a similar market or channel, there are also many distinct characteristics that are not universally applicable or even desirable for certain businesses. It is essential to building a valid and understandable final model using a combination of both these generalized and specialized factors.

Each sales driver needs a description and a set of clear operating standards and metrics. This brings consistency to the organization. Every employee understands the business value of each driver and how they affect market performance and success.


Once your company’s sales function is established, these sales drivers can be used to review your operating standards and metrics using either a self-assessment or external review. A benchmark can be determined for your sales function and a set of agreed improvements can be tracked and quantified.

Furthermore, if your company operates on a global basis, the model can be replicated to compare achievements across territories and countries. Internal best practices can be transferred to teams in different locales and knowledge gaps closed with the minimum effort.

Theory vs practice

Some businesses raise concerns about the complexity feasibility of establishing such fundamental characteristics, compared with the simplified theory. In our opinion and experience, it is possible to establish, under three or four core themes, between 10 to 15 fundamental drivers for any sales organization. These drivers could span the broad themes of talent management and leadership, operational execution and excellence, through to customer engagement, for example. Alternatively, you could use different themes such as sales force optimization (including deployment, resource allocation, sizing and segmentation) and sales force effectiveness (including operational processes and capabilities) together with talent and customer engagement.

The process of establishing each driver and its constituent parts needs to be conducted and facilitated through an iterative process where free thinking and challenging dialogue and debate is encouraged.

Once correctly captured, the sales driver becomes distinctive, relevant and understandable for the wider sales community and other business functions. Just as DNA is formed of four basic components to generate complex structures, your sales drivers will be your company’s base elements to build a greater understanding on why certain tasks and actions are carried out or where others should be changed and even stopped. Once a clear definition is agreed, best in class operating standards can be set out together with the corresponding metrics. A development roadmap with key milestones can then be built, implemented and tracked.

In conclusion, the establishment of a set of clear and comprehensive sales drivers will provide an effective evaluation of the current state of a sales function and development. Success will then come through their effective execution. You just have to unlock your sales team’s DNA to evolve, survive and thrive.

For further information or examples of defined sales drivers and their metrics, please contact us at www.pinnaclesalesconsultancy.com, landline +44 1403 753534 or on my mobile +44 7730 832790
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