Play the Long Game – Why Quality Sales Drives Long-Term Success

Play the long game - why quality sales drives long-term success

We all know that revenue growth is key to business success. Growth is essential for value creation, market capitalization and, of course, to yield greater returns for your company.

I don’t know a single company that doesn’t strive for year on year growth – it should be central to every business plan.

But what happens when sales leaders start focusing on short-term sales targets at the expense of sustainable success?

Here at Pipedrive, we know all about the thrill of fast growth. In the past year, we have launched our London office to serve one of our fastest growing markets and reached a key milestone of 70,000 customers.

Watching Pipedrive go from strength to strength has been incredibly exciting and we strive to continue driving this momentum. But we also know that success comes down to the right kind of growth. This growth is defined by healthy profit margins, long-term relationships and business reputation.

Focusing exclusively on rapid revenue can have serious implications on the long-term viability of your business.

The problem – overlooking sustainable growth

Sales leaders who focus on short-term payoff in a race to meet quotas can easily lose sight of the need for longevity and sustainable growth. This is often driven by a sales culture that fails to prioritize quality sales. Such sales teams can often be spotted by signs like:

  • A culture of celebrating quick wins
  • Lack of strategy and process
  • Pressure to constantly increase sales velocity
  • Fear of failure to meet sales targets
  • Chasing or converting the wrong prospects

The issues that arise from this behavior may not impact revenue right away, but you can be certain this approach is gradually eroding the value of your company. Focusing on quick wins or short-sighted deals will breed further challenges that ultimately stunt the growth of your business, such as:

  • Transactional prospect and customer relationships that lack real value
  • Little room for retention and upsells
  • Lack of strategic and visionary thinking
  • Unstable client relationships
  • A dispirited sales culture
  • Damage to reputation

How to drive long-term success

The good news is, a short-term sales focus can be turned around!

But it does involve taking a hard look at your sales processes, your communication strategy, and your sales culture.

Here are some effective strategies to refocus attention on quality sales.

Act like an owner

Empower your team by sharing the long-term goals of the business. Make them feel excited about the company vision and give them the autonomy to contribute and make an impact.

When I worked at LinkedIn, one of the pillars of culture was to ‘act like an owner’. This cultural tenet motivated employees to work individually and collectively to achieve the overarching goals of the business.

Identify ideal customers

The ideal customer is one with whom you have the best possible strategic fit.

Have your sales reps do their homework to fully understand the profile and buying process of their prospects. This will help them to allocate their time and energy to the right opportunities that can lead to long-term customer relationships.

Know when to say goodbye

Losing early thanks to good lead qualification is better than closing the wrong deals, or no deals at all. Let your team know it’s ok to say goodbye if the fit isn’t right.

Having a lean pipeline isn’t always a bad thing, especially if it allows your team to regain focus on the leads that matter.

Our latest Global Sales Performance Review showed that the best performing organizations have half as many deals in their pipeline, but win at least twice as many.

Foster value-creation over revenue

This involves a mindset and behavior shift that needs to start with the sales leaders.

Encouraging your sales team to identify deals where they can really bring value, results in happier customers and more sustainable, profitable revenue.

Instead of asking ‘when are you going to close that deal?’, ask questions like ‘What is the value we can bring to this prospect?’

You should also look to celebrate and reward achievements outside hitting quotas, like client anniversaries or upsells. It’s important not to neglect existing customers – creating ongoing value breeds loyalty.

Loyal customers are a powerful resource for sustainable growth. Long-term relationships not only generate more revenue but serve to strengthen your reputation and establish your business as a powerful player in the market.

Repeat your success

Explore exactly what defines your sales success and repeat it.

Having the right CRM will allow you to track actions, identify patterns and standardize the reasons for winning and losing opportunities. A thorough understanding of historical trends is imperative to find repeating actions that drive long-term success.

Here at Pipedrive, continually optimizing our processes to generate quality sales is a key part of our strategy. This is a constant cycle of learning and using data to inform our processes.

It’s important to help your sales teams to understand that sustainability of revenue is just as important as quantity of revenue. High-quality revenue should be predictable and profitable and these characteristics are integral to the long-term value of your company.

Remember that low-quality revenue drives short-term value, but creating real value drives real long-term success.

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Laurence Bret Stern

Laurence Bret Stern is Chief Revenue Officer of Pipedrive, and is responsible for driving awareness and engagement. Based in London, Laurence heads an international team of professional marketers, sales and customer solutions experts in four different countries.