The new Suc6 model for a successful sales team
Geplaatst op 4 juni 2018 door Ronald Swensson

In the good old days, when selling was so much simpler, sales management rested on the six S’s - 
SUC6 model for a successful sales team [Ronald Swensson, 2001]
- Selection: recruiting the ‘best’ salespeople; 
- Sales objectives: executing insightful sales plans ; 
- Skills: having effective sales calls and - conversations; 
- Salary: basic salary plus commission as a trigger; 
- Size: how many sales people do we need?; 
- Structure: tasks and support of the sales team. 

If you could get those six things right, then you had all you needed for a world-class sales team. At a workshop last year someone asked me whether I thought the six S’s still applied to the much more sophisticated sales environment of today. Yes, I answered, the six S’s still remain valid predictors of sales team success in today’s sales environment. Really good sales people are still scarcer than gold, and if you can select the best with the proper skills and attitude, you are an automatic winner. And those other four S’s are just as essential to success as ever they were. After the workshop I had some thoughts about my answer…. What was the impact of the revolution in selling that we’ve seen in recent years on my Suc6 model? And are there now other factors for a successful sales team than 15 years ago when I constructed the Suc6 model? 

I certainly don’t want to underestimate the importance of selection, objectives, skills, salary, size or structure. They remain essential ingredients to the success of any sales force. But it’s increasingly clear that they are no longer enough. In recent years I’ve worked with some sales teams that had good salespeople and decent sales planning. According to the Suc6 model, these sales teams should have had a superior performance. Yet, sometimes they were losing market share to the competition. Why? What did competitors had that was making them more successful? In some cases it wasn’t a sales force issue. The competitor had for example superior pricing or a better offering. 

I’ve pondered mightily on these cases and I came up with these three additional S’s: 
- Sales management: especially first-line sales management; 
- Sales metrics: that go beyond the traditional measurements; 
- Sales methodology: a fundemental new way of selling. 

Let’s look more closely at each one to see why these three S's are essential components of sales team success for the immediate future. 

For the last 10 years, whenever I’ve been asked to help turn around a sales force, my first question is always about the capability and potential of the sales manager(s). Selection, one of the old six S’s, is still a vital component of success. But in the ever more complex business environment where companies must compete for the future, it’s even more important to select good sales managers than good salespeople. There are many bright sales managers who are highly motivated to succeed and who are nevertheless struggling to survive. They are ready and willing to do the right things, but don’t. What they lack - and it is mostly a time problem - is helping and coaching there sales team. So stop for example with time-consuming and irrelevant meetings and start to help and coach your people!

Sales metrics are important because they allow us to measure the performance of a sales team. But what does metrics mean to the average sales manager? Measures such as the amount of calls or visits per week? Targets and quotas in terms of volume and profitability per salesperson? These are the tried and true metrics of the old selling. Ask yourself: ‘Which set of sales metrics do I need to run a high-performing sales team?’ So I would urge sales managers (and c-level management) to invest time to thoroughly understand the important role played by sales metrics. A fundamental understanding of sales metrics is the foundation of sales team success. Our 100 Sales Metrics infographic can help!

The final S is sales methodology. The landscape of buying and selling has changed more in recent years than it has in preceding decades. Customers are more sophisticated and, thanks to the Internet, are awash in information and research. At the same time, companies are searching for new ways to innovate, compete, and improve their success. Addressing change requires different thinking, different skills and a new way of selling on the part of the sales professional. Soft skills remain as a portion of the knowledge and abilities needed to succeed in sales but no longer are in a dominating position. Hard skills such as divergent thinking, insights and business acumen are necessary if the sales professional is to meet and exceed expectations. When sales reps learn a new way of selling and practice new skills, they strengthen relationships, differentiate from competition, and win more sales. Read more about the new skills in a changing landscape.

This article is also published on LinkedIn.