I have the good fortune of working with many companies focused on their growth. In crowded spaces, it takes a special breed of leadership to grow at a rapid pace. After seeing one company achieve remarkable growth in a very competitive space, I interviewed their vice president of sales to uncover their secret sauce. Thankfully, he was happy to share his secrets, and many are things you can replicate for your business.
I first learned about GPS Insight when I had the honor of speaking at their national sales meeting in 2017. Though the company was doing well, clients would often compare them to competitors that offered a fraction of their capabilities.
Over the next year, Jason Walker, their VP of Sales, lead the team to growth of 30% top line, and did so with fewer salespeople and lower expenses. In speaking with Jason, I see three key areas where they have executed beyond their peers.
Positioning and education
For a global positioning technology company, it seems fitting that they started with positioning. In working collaboratively with their marketing team, GPS Insight has crafted a message to help potential clients understand what they do differently from the competition, and why those capabilities might matter to the client. Most importantly, their entire focus is on delivering results for clients.
In the past, GPS Insight's team described what they did (fleet tracking). The team shifted that message to the problems they solve and the outcomes they deliver. They illustrate how they can impact safety, expenses, theft, and risk. They also provide real-life examples of improvements to customer service.
Today, they describe three different levels of client challenges they help to overcome to help the client determine which level applies to them.
Their ability to help clients understand how GPS Insight helps its customers allows them to focus on the client's view of the world rather than a self-facing perspective. Customers don't purchase technology, rather, they want to solve specific challenges with defined outcomes.
A defined route
Jason and his team share a common language to determine which clients they can help, and which ones are not a great fit. Within each opportunity, they have adapted their CRM system, NetSuite, to log key pieces of information: 1) the issue the client is facing, 2) why they need to address the issue, and 3) the measurable results the client will track to measure success.
Just like many companies, GPS Insight has a team of people (not the salespeople) who execute projects for clients. By capturing the discussed challenges and success criteria, the implementation team knows up-front the common objectives they are pursuing with the client. This prevents clients from investing money without getting results.
It's ironic that many businesses focus on making that sale without defining success with the client. By taking the time to confirm the success criteria, the client can see that the GPS Insight team sees value beyond the sale, and wants to sincerely deliver results. Let's face it, if you don't' get the results you need, it doesn't matter how much you spend.
Too often in businesses, an implementation team delivers what they believe the client wants, without actually knowing. When the deliverable misses the mark, the implementation team and the client are both disappointed. Though it sounds simple, documenting the success criteria with the client not only helps the client be more confident, but it increases the likelihood of first-time success during delivery.
Weekly practice and feedback
In nearly every profession, practice is a key to excellence. Imagine an athlete, musician, or litigator showing up at their job without practicing. Sadly, few organizations schedule regular role-play for sales professionals. When Jason Walker said he was going to implement weekly role play, I was hopeful.They have done just that.
Changing behavior is not easy. Walker adds, "The first few weeks, we were bad... it was uncomfortable... It has become one of our best activities to do as a team." They've expanded their role play exercises to include game show themes and friendly competitions with prizes. The team actually looks forward to weekly practice.
They also use technology to help guide coaching sessions. Walker's team uses artificial intelligence to analyze phone calls and spot behaviors that can benefit from coaching. Team members get feedback and mentoring to help improve skills. Their results are proof enough. Ultimately, their clients are the ones who benefit the most.
Results matter most
When I spoke to them in 2017, one of their business units had only 20% of the team hitting their sales numbers. Walker knew that's where they needed the greatest attention. Today, 90% of that team is at or above target to plan, with some team members exceeding 200% of their goal.
The lessons you can apply to your success
If you want to grow, it might not require adding salespeople. If you follow Walker's example, you can navigate your path to get there with a clear message about the problems you solve; a common vocabulary and approach for everyone to follow; weekly practice and coaching; and a commitment to delivering customer success throughout the organization. Stay on the path, and don't make a wrong turn down a dark alley.