McKinsey taps EMC Vice Chairman for book on successful sales teams.
McKinsey & Company has published a new book that highlights what it takes to be a leading sales organization. Sales Growth: Insights from leading sales executives compiles selling lessons learned, challenges, and best practices through interviews with more than 100 executives at the world's most successful sales organizations, including EMC Vice Chairman Bill Teuber. In the book, McKinsey distills the interviews into insights across four major themes:
- Build up macro- and micro-market analysis programs to uncover emerging growth trends and existing pockets of growth
- Create a multichannel program that innovates direct channels and leverages partners as part of a unified sales experience
- Optimize sales operations through technology to unlock significant growth rather than just cutting costs
- Develop sales leaders who continually challenge the status quo and actively manage performance for growth
Teuber shares his perspectives on anticipating market trends, identifying growth opportunities and why EMC is "the gold standard of sales forces." Below is the text of Teuber's published interview.
McKinsey: How do you anticipate mega trends such as cloud computing?
Bill Teuber: We use a multi-pronged approach. We follow our cutting-edge customers closely to see what they are doing. We listen to our engineers--our innovation engine--to hear where they want to drive things. We have a sophisticated business development team that monitors new company formation carefully. We work with research universities to discover which emerging technologies have potential commercial applications. Then we marry all of that thinking with what our customers are thinking. Trends don't appear clearly from any one source. They come into focus when you bring a mixture of perspectives together.
McKinsey: How has your go-to-market model scaled up with your dramatic growth?
Teuber: It has scaled with our opportunity. We have learned to focus where our opportunity exists, both with current customers and outside our base. We identify opportunities by region and by customer, and we get very granular with irrefutable data to see where we can move the needle. Having that discipline gives us the ability to devise a plan to capture dramatic growth through our direct sales force as well as through channel partners.
McKinsey: How do you reconcile the quarterly heartbeat of your sales organization with the need to invest ahead of demand to capture long-term opportunities?
Teuber: In a publicly-traded company with a public report card every 90 days, you have to do both. In our international operations, we introduced a three-year sales planning process to get beyond the 90-day mentality of, "How will I make my number this quarter?" We monitor how markets are going to develop and prioritize opportunities that will generate the best growth over the next four to eight quarters. We've also created a Rapid Growth Markets Board made up of senior leaders who hold meetings in those markets and link back to the rest of the company, so people in product development can plan accordingly.
McKinsey: You have almost doubled revenues in the past five years, and are planning to grow faster than your markets. How do you sustain such growth?
Teuber: You have to have the right strategy and the right offering, and your sales organization has to communicate the benefits of that to the customer. In order to build our portfolio and market reach, we've bought 35 companies over the last five years. Doing cross-company sales integration successfully is one of the hardest things to do. We've learned a lot from experience.
Ultimately, you have to have the best people to execute your strategy. I'm betting my job on everyone who works for me. Therefore, I'm going to select the top people to represent our company in the marketplace. EMC has what I consider to be the gold standard of sales forces. There is an aura about it. To be in sales at EMC is a badge of honor. That's why we attract and retain the right people — to make sure we have the best talent bench in our sales force.