A Sales Engine that Drives Customer Relationships, Part 2 Sales Strategy Components

A Sales Engine that Drives Customer Relationships, Part 2 Sales Strategy Components

Carl Zuhl

Carl Zuhl

Business Designer at Do Tank
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Sales Engine Part 2

This blog post is part 2 which will take you through the sales strategy components of a sales engine. It focuses in on the key resources, key activities, performance, and culture of a sales engine. Along with part 1 Customer Facing Components (embed link in text), which covered value proposition, customers, channels, and relationships, the blogs are structured to see the connections among the components & how the interconnections can influence & change other elements.

At the end of this blog, you’ll find links to tools and additional content that are part of the sales series to complement this topic.

Sales Strategy Components

Key Resources

These are the tangible & intangible resources the company uses to create its product, offer, or service and deliver value to the customer. The sales engine needs its resources, and it needs to pull resources from across the organization to execute its strategies successfully. Additional resources may be required as the selected ideas from “How Might We” questions are thought through and fleshed out. Below are examples of possible resources:

  • Leadership to set the company’s vision & strategy
  • Management to execute strategy
  • Sales personnel to engage prospects & customers
  • Sales coaching to keep the sales personnel in the game
  • Learning & development to upskill & drive better sales performance
  • People from across the company who have the skills & capabilities to create the products & services that deliver value to the customer
  • People who participate in creating the customer experience
  • Intellectual property
  • Brand
  • Technology – everything from devices to a digital platform that showcases products & services
  • Active social media accounts
  • A clear story of what the company does & how it does it
  • Customer success stories
  • Sales collateral – printed & digital – that resonates with the customer personas
  • Last but not least, budget

Key Activities

The sales engine comprises the sales team’s core capabilities/superpowers that allow it to execute its objectives in service of the organization’s overall strategy. These activities develop & manage the sales process, customer relationships, and sales strategy. They should correlate to the sales team’s objectives & key results based on the relationship mode you’re in – Get, Keep, or Grow.

To keep these activities relevant to any new objectives, use the “How Might We” activity (mentioned previously) to develop a gallery of ideas. For instance:

  • How might we get a meeting with persona X?
  • How might we keep our customers engaged?
  • How might we double our sales by the year 20xx?

Collaborating & ideating on the how might we statements generates a gallery of ideas. Selecting top ideas to vet into objectives and building out the measurable key results will identify the activities to work against that are needed to be successful.


The priority is keeping the sales engine running. The next focus is to keep it well maintained and tuned for growth. There’s a lot of work in doing this, especially when customers’ needs are continually changing, and they have choices.

Metrics & key results get to the brutal truth of how a salesperson/team is performing. Fundamentally, reviewing the key activities to align with the objectives ensures you have alignment. Furthermore, suppose an activity is not delivering the expected key result. In that case, it might be time to pivot & re-think the activity needed or ask if the objective is attainable. Setting some objectives outside the comfort zone will push thinking, capabilities, and activities to new heights.


Culture is an enigma that surrounds a business. It is present within every department and is a crucial component to achieving heightened success. The sales team must exhibit the right behaviors to do this. Even more critical are the enablers that allow for & support the good behaviors needed to achieve the outcomes agreed on. These enablers are the compensation plans, the organization’s policies, and good sales management practices that align with the behaviors and allow the sales team/individuals to succeed.

Juxtapose this with the bad behaviors & blockers that hinder success. These can create a toxic environment that makes a sales engine run haphazardly. Blockers are the opposite of enablers, such as inadequate incentive structure, misguided sales metrics, poor accountability, and bad sales management practices that create a poor selling environment.

Finally, the culture needed to drive the outcomes & results can be designed. As people come into or leave the sales team, the culture has vast potential to shift because they bring with them good or bad values & behaviors that impact the sales team. Attributes that matter are personality, initiative, and integrity. Most important is how a person thinks, and makes connections in certain circumstances.

Growth Multiplier

Here’s where the stretch goals come into play by thinking big & being bold. Growth initiatives are critical for value creation because they make you think & behave differently when you’re hyper-focused on your customer. This may lead to incremental innovation of an existing offer whereby updating or enhancing it delivers a better exchange of value to your customers/prospects. This is also the space where new offers are created & prototyped in the innovation engine to address customers’ newly uncovered needs. Collaboration is essential here, so get the proper cast of characters from across the organization involved & aligned. The goal here is to generate new levels of revenue, protect margins, and exceed customer expectations. Keep in mind, higher goals can motivate higher levels of performance.

How to Get this Work Done?

Your organization may have ways for teams to collaborate & ideate around challenges & problems. However, our approach to this work is through our Insight Selling model. It encompasses Business Design Thinking methodologies that focus on:

  • Human-centered design & user experience
  • Using visual tools as a framework to hold conversations
  • Creating strategic change through different types of innovation
  • Running design sprints & creating strategic journeys

Our Insight Selling strategy lab, Radical Sales Growth Through the Power of Design Thinking, is about one thing: refreshing your perspective to grow your relationships and revenue with a select client. It’s about challenging yourself to find ways to double, 5X, or even 10X the value your organization delivers to your client and then capture that value in revenue growth.

Together with a colleague or team member, you will analyze and identify the opportunities you have to 10X the value of a defined client relationship.

Blog Part 1: Customer Facing Components

Blog Part 1: Customer Facing Components

Visual Tools

Business Model Canvas – use this tool through the lens of your sales department/team to map out the current state and to design future states. The link will take you to where you can download the tool & provide a video on using it.

Strategy Lab

Radical Sales Growth through the Power of Design Thinking, March 4th and April 22nd

Recorded Webinars

What’s Your Story: Crafting a masterful narrative to drive business growth

Your 45-minute Strategy Rethink: Bold Steps for Fearless Leaders


A Simple Tool to Help Design & Explore Bright Ideas

The Great Escape: Designing Your Team’s Journey to the Marketplace

How to Host Innovation Meetings Like a Strategy Consultant

Top 9 Tips to Make Your Meetings Memorable

5 Quick Ways to Drastically Improve Your Presentation Technique


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