Sales Audit

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Continuous Sales Improvement | Sales Process Audit to Boost Sales

Continuous Sales Improvement | Sales Process Audit to Boost Sales

What is a Sales Process Audit?

You know there are 100’s of sales levers to improve sales results, how do you know you’re working the right levers to get the sales improvements you need?

The truth is you don’t always know, it’s more intuitive, its worked in the past, it seems to be working now, you read about it in a book…

Sometimes sales improvement is just 100 of mini things rather than a few big things that are done differently

But the question is, just where do you start?

Start Here! The Sales Insight | Sales Process Audit

Just hit the link above for full details.

But Why Should I Get a Sales Process Audit?

Well that depends on you, so I’ll share some of the reasons past clients invested in Sales Insights for their business:

Software client:

Problem: dramatic drop in sales after a long plateau, is a subscription product so recurring revenue took a hit

Discovery: they’d recently invested more focus, energy and money on new business development than customer ervice and retention, ex customers were starting to talk and their credibility was shot.

Solution: power up your customer retention

Business Solutions Client

Problem: loosing 100k+ per month

Discovery: their average sales order value was just 20% of their competitors, they didn’t focus on specific sectors so message was all over the place, sales guys were diverted between sales and new business development as well as account management

Solution: create separate functions for new business development and account management, pick 3 red hot niches and get s robust ROI to demonstrate value, restructure the management team – average order value after 5 months was x5, and team had stopped loosing money

Professional Services Client

Problem: Client retention, poor margins

Discovery: commission structure stopped paying out at 3 months, coincided with biggest client drop off, poor pricing skills based on being unable to demonstrate strong value based ROI

Solution: changed commission structure to reflect a period where the sales person could hand over to customer services/internal team, introduced sign on costs and bulk buy packages, tighter terms and conditions for long term block usage, improved skills on pricing and relaying pricing information and packages.

Could All These Firms Improved Without a Sales Process Audit?

Yes.

Maybe.

Eventually.

Worth the Wait to Find Out?

That’s your call…but why risk it.

Book you Sales Insight Now

To discuss how you’d like to improve your sales results, the functionality of your sales team or simply take your competitors out for a walk next quarter – call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

To sign up for free sales and business development insights – hit the link – The Advanced Business Achiever – and claim your free subscription.

A sales process audit is your key to releasing the infinite potential within your sales team…so why wait?

Not Every No is a Hard No | Not Knowing the Difference Costs You Sales Orders

Not Every No is a Hard No | Not Knowing the Difference Costs You Sales Orders

Sales rejection is a killer.

And I know.

But what dawned on my last week is that lots of sales people suffer from it and that many more of them are carriers.

It’s just a hot bed of sales rejection germs…

Sales Rejection | Are You Infected or a Carrier?

Check out these symptoms:

A genuine belief that a buyer will say no to your offer.

Sometimes praying that the buyer will say no quickly so you can update your sales pipeline and move on to the next sales prospect who you also expect to say no.

You have a tendency to either close to early, before you can guarantee a yes or…

Maybe you close to late, by which time the buyer has forgotten why he was even talking to you…or

You don’t close at all because you’d rather have some sales pipeline of questionable value than an empty pipeline

When your prospect does say no, you take that no utter something about keeping in touch and end the call, update your CRM and move on

How many of these symptoms have you got?

Is it fatal yet? I ask because sometimes we call catch sales rejection, might just be for a day, a week, a month, may just be when we hand out with certain people…but the first step to recovery is recognising we have it, and then how to cure it.

Because there is a cure.

Sales Rejection | The Story of Stephen.

I see Stephen 4 times per yr as part of a sales audit I do for a national client. Steve is a top performer. He’s the guy I ask everyone to chat with if they’re struggling with sales.

Firstly, because he’s a really nice guy, but also because he treats his prospects and his sales pipeline with respect

Steve tells it like it is. He challenges when he needs to, is great at listening, asks fanatstic questions.

BUT the reason Steve consistently smashes his sales targets, his cross sell lead gen, his up sell, and the reason why his average sales order value and customer lifetime order value is higher than anyone else is because Steve know s how to handle objections.

At this, he is a GOD!

So, having spend the week with Steve and his colleagues I move on to do some preliminary work on a sales turnaround project ready for next month.

Faced with a failing sales function, and some real anti-sales, almost sales prevention, selling techniques during sales call review, I couldn’t help but ask myself, when it comes to sales rejection…

What Would Steve Do?

Here’s the guidelines Steve uses for handling objections, minimising sales rejection and turning that sales rejection into an order and an invoice.

Here you go:

Steve only asks for the order when he knows he’s going to get a yes.

So, Steve reduces the times he can get hit with the Sales Rejection virus.

Until that point when Steve asks for the order and expects to get a yes, he uses that time by being a very valuable person to the buyer.

During which, Steve is simply asking questions.

Steve gets the buyer to clarify their thinking.

He challenges some of the buyers believes about Steve’s solutions.

Steve is also working with the buyer to help the buyer understand the cost of not buying. That’s a cost not just within his own business, but within the buyers, competitive market.

After a while, the buyer sees Steve as a very valuable person to talk to.

In fact, the buyer often calls Steve to have a chat about some aspect of the industry, competitors.

The buyer is interested in Steve’s thoughts and views.

It’s almost like the buyer has forgotten Steve is there to take his money off him!

What Else Would Steve Do?

That’s a good question.

Steve never takes the first ‘no’ as and actual ‘no’.

That would never occur to him to take the first ‘no’ and a final sales rejection.

When Steve hears ‘no’ from his contact what his brain does is flip it immediately into…’I’m not sure at the moment, let’s talk some more and then ask me again’

Do you know how much difference that makes to Steve’s sales performance?

Huge amounts, so let’s take a closer look.

‘I’m not sure at the moment, let’s talk some more and then ask me again’

Ok, so how does Steve flip this?

First of all, let’s understand that Steve, wasn’t expecting this response, because, as above Steve doesn’t ask until he’s sure he’ll get a yes.

So the first thing Steve needs to do is look at where the mismatch is, because obviously he and the buyer aren’t on the same page any more.

So maybe he asks…

Ok, so the time’s not right at the moment. What needs to change, for everything to slip into place so you can go ahead?

Now, think about what this question encourages the buyer to do, and how Steve can benefit from this.

Then perhaps Steve asks, 

Right, thanks for that. I understand where you’re coming from now. You know we talked about you losing £X K every month you didn’t have this solution in place? How viable is it really, as we sit here today, knowingly writing of a loss of 6 months worth of £XK whilst you get these other elements sorted? Instead, together, lets find a better work around than this?

What Steve’s just done, because he’s already calculated the Sales ROI for his buyer before the sales close, is be able to quantify the money lost due to waiting

In doing that Steve’s asked the buyer in the nicest possible way…’Are you TOTALLY insane’.

But the buyer won’t hear that. Instead he’ll see Steve trying to help him save money.

What Steve has also done, is make himself part of the fix with the buyer. Now they are a team. It’s a peer to peer conversation – not a battle of wills in a tense sales arena with the buyer running scared as happens here: Anyone Seen My Buyer?

But it doesn’t stop there

And it doesn’t stop because the buyer has given Steve an insight into what the blocks are, now Steve needs to challenge the buyers thinking and reframe those blocks as something else, maybe milestones, gateposts but certainly not full stops in the sales process.

Steve now goes into a counsellor mode with the buyer, where his job is not to provide solutions, but just to ask his buyer the right questions.

Steve wants his buyer to come up with the solution.

And, Steve wants his buyer to have clarity on that solution.

Steve wants his buyer to own the solution, because, when that happens the buyer doesn’t say no to his own ideas!

What Doesn’t Steve Do?

He certainly doesn’t take the first no

He doesn’t take the second or third no either

Doesn’t offer to leave the buyer to take up the conversation with a competitor

He doesn’t say ‘ok, I’ll update my file and give you a call in 6 months to see if anything has changed’

He doesn’t burn sales leads and opportunities

Why Does Steve Refuse to Catch Sales Rejection?

That’s the killer question in this.

Why does Steve not fold at the first no and so many other sales people just accept sales rejection as part of the job?

Because Steve has a single focus that means he’ll never ever be a sorry victim of sales rejection, and her’s why:

Steve never progresses poor quality sales prospects through his sales pipeline…he cuts then loose when he realises either the prospect is not a fit for his solution or the solution is not a fit for his prospect buyer.

What this means is, that by the time the buyer is ready to be closed, Steve knows its a great fit, there is huge value for the buyer and that the buyer knows this.

Which means it’s not about shoe horning a solution in, it’s simply working out the the final details based on a foundation of great advice, trust and education.

Steve doesn’t carry low level prospects with a vague interest in buying with a low value payback on his solutions. He leaves those to the other competitors in his field.

Sales rejection, and the potential to be subjected to sales rejection starts at the very beginning of the sales qualification process.

Steve knows this.

That’s why he has the best sales conversion rate. The highest average sales order value, the biggest lifetime order value. Why he smashes his cross sell lead generation target and why CSI score is the highest in the team.

Discover How You Can Avoid Sales Rejection Too

You can join us on or bespoke or open B2B sales training courses – you can check out the dates for the Sales Improvement Workshop here

Or,  to embed a B2B sales training course and continuous sales improvement culture into your sales function, take a look at TurboCharged Sales

To discuss how to build a productive, efficient and high performance sales team, call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com 

Sales rejection need not be a sales killer but leaving handling sales objections to the end of the sales process definitely increases the chances of experiencing the symptoms which could so easily be avoided.

 

 

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People – When, Why and How.

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People – When, Why and How.

Training Needs Analysis for Sales People

Training Needs Analysis is so much more than you might think.

Many successful sales teams will undertake a Sales Training Needs Analysis maybe once a year. Some maybe only when they think about buying sales training in….sometimes never.

But anyone looking for Continuous Sales Improvements uses Sales Training Needs Analysis in another way, and here’s why.

Sales results are impacted by many things. Many factors you have control over and a few are at the whim and will of prospects, competitors, fashion trends, and a myriad of other number of random factors

Two of the key areas where you do get to really influence sales results is, firstly, the level of Sales Activity in your team, and secondly, the level of Sales Skills within the team.

Both can be controlled. But they can only be controlled if they are measured.

Few sales firms today get by without the Sales KPIs or Sales Metrics (If you want to see what sort of sales metrics were recommend then check this out – The 7 Sales Metrics You Must Measure, Manage and Monitor)

But measuring Sales Skills is a whole different board game and one that, by it’s very nature, is measured less frequently, and it tends to be measured more subjectively. Yet the wins in having an ongoing Sales Training Needs Analysis are plenty.

When to Conduct Training Needs Analysis

Every day!

I know, how scary is that? Well not as scary as you might think, and here is why.

Imagine your activity levels are optimised within the sales team. The target data is as good as you can get (good but not perfect). The only real controllable variable is the sales skills and the attitude of the sales person/people.

Assuming it’s a good environment, staff are motivated and the sales process is proven to deliver then the real variable is sales skills.

That being the case – there is a direct relationship between sales skills and sales results. It seems obvious. It is.

BUT many firms buy into the idea that sales results, or rather, lack of sales results, has more to do with the myriad of uncontrollable factors as opposed to the level of sales skills and sales competency.

I want you to get rid of that idea now.

Measuring key sales metrics every day is your ONGOING Sales Training Needs Analysis.

Why Ongoing Training Needs Analysis is a Good Idea.

To really impact the sales results and rapidly improve sales performance there is one single document that you need.

A Sales Leakage Report. All the information you will ever need, and all on one page, to rapidly and continually improve every aspect of your sales results and your sales performance.

Your Sales Leakage Report is contained in your Sales Insight, the Morton Kyle Fast Action Sales Audit.

Think about your DAILY Sales Leakage Report as giving you immediate feedback.  Day by day, hour by hour insight into the specific skills development actions you need to undertake in order to directly and positively impact sales.

In fact, every single day you get a red light in the key areas of development where you need to concentrate your sales coaching and mentoring. No more wasted time. Maximise sales results in the shortest possible time.

If you’ve ever thought that Continuous Sales Improvement wasn’t possible within your business. Think again!

Ongoing daily Training Needs Analysis is the fastest way to target growth.

How Ongoing Training Needs Analysis Works

You, as the sales leader, manager, coach only spend time on key areas of sales performance improvement.

You’ll get continuous alerts to the worst skill set within the sales team. This is broken down by individual, so you are acting with laser precision when you deliver coaching/mentoring/training.

Which means turnaround is fast.

The sales team don’t feel over managed.

The rate of development of the sales team and the individual sales people is rapid.

You create an environment of self regulating and self managed sales professionals.

You have scalability within your sales function…

And, it’s well within the scope of any sales leader to spend some time everyday coaching. Especially with lazer focus to address what will bring in the easiest wins fastest.

To discuss the Sales Insight Audit or any aspect of your sales performance, contact me for a discreet chat on 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com

Happy Selling

Carol

P.S. Get your free subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever here, it’s a weekly (non-spam) insights into how to create more sales, faster and with higher margins.

P.P.S. Hit the link to instantly download your Free Sales Training Needs Analysis Template

Three Sales Myths That Cost You Sales – BUSTED!

Three Sales Myths That Cost You Sales – BUSTED!

Sales Insight

Every business leader craves real, meaningful and timely sales insight. If that’s what’s bough you to this page then check this out

Meaningful sales insight is so important, especially since much of the information floating about will leave you mired in superstition and folklore…not so good when you’re aiming for sales improvement.

I’m a scientist at heart. That means all things are semi-predictable and there is typically a cause and effect at play somewhere along the line, you’ve just got to dive in far enough to find it.

That’s why sales myths like this just blow my mind (and not in a good way) so here they are – busted once and for all.

MYTH 1: It Takes 7 Touch Points to Make a Sale…

Sure if you’re THAT incompetent…hell, let’s make it 25 and really over egg the pudding.

First Fact – the longer the sales cycle the greater the chance of the competition joining the party. That what you want?

Second Fact – with more touch points, I guarantee, you won’t be increasing the sense of urgency, you’ll subconsciously telling the prospect he’s got all the time in the world.

Third Fact – who has that much time to WASTE?

Fourth Fact – ok budgets are on hold for specific release dates, decision makers are sometimes wrapped in endless buying criteria cycles and decision making nightmare. BUT…if your sales contact plan is predicated on 7 touches you might be giving the sales cycle just a bit too much time

Sales Insight 1: Understanding the decision making process and the buying process is key to shortening the sales cycle.

To find out how to REALLY SHORTEN the sales cycle, kick the competition out and engage the prospect in the SHORTEST possible time – check this out

MYTH 2: There is Less Competition in the Extra Mile

You’ll all have seen the stats claiming that most sales people give up after 2 follow up attempt. The same stats that claim most orders are placed after 12 follow up attempts. Is this true?

So what do these stats actually tell you?

  • Some sales guys are cut and run merchants?
  • Sales guys are super hot at qualifying and have made a commercial decision to ditch a prospect who’s not worth the time/effort investment?
  • Some ales guys can’t invoke prospect urgency and curiosity in any shorter time frame?
  • Some sales guys are stalkers? (12 follow up calls and I’d be changing my telephone number if I were the prospect!!!)
  • Prospects are just playing the long game?Trying to get the sales guy to panic and drop the price (‘cos that never happens!!!)
  • Sales guys can’t close!

Any, all, some, none of the above could be true.

But, based on 20 years experience let me tell you what I know:

  • Most sales guys don’t know how to shorten the sales cycle, and this is simply because they often don’t think to, which means they don’t ask for the buying criteria or the decision making criteria before they invest their valuable time in the sales process.
  • Sales guys who maybe lack a little focus and who don’t love new business development typically fall in to the Sales Stalker camp. It’s easy there, they feel busy, they can boast about the value in their sales pipeline…
  • Prospects are not always fast to make decisions – that’s why having the sales person create urgency is sooooo very important.
  • Some sales prospects will drag their heels because they just KNOW that it’s the fastest way for the sales guy to get nervous and drop the price (smart prospect huh?)

Do I believe the stats? Maybe…

Do I think it’s good use of a sales persons time to chase 12 times? Rarely…

I’d rather have a process that didn’t rely on that…if you’d like the same process – check this out

Sales Insight 2: Getting in principal decisions/agreements at every stage of the buying cycle/decision making process is critical to ensure your buyer is not simply a chattering head with no intention of committing.

MYTH 3: Sending 20 Sales Emails is as Good as Having 20 Decision Maker Sales Conversations

Internet businesses are springing up all over, telephone numbers are disappearing from websites, everything is done via a contact form or an email.

Why is that important? Well these firms boom, record sales, mega growth and wow. All supposedly on the back of email and online interactions. That’s amazing.

And it’s turning the heads of B2B sales people because they got to thinking that people buy from emails, that people will read 12 page email brochures, that buyers click a few buttons and send the purchase order.

Oh if only.

Sales guys think a great email is as good as a great sales conversation. NO WAY!

I’ve seen good sales people fail miserably because they forget (displacement activity) to pick up the phone every single chance they got. I mean really tanked. Off a cliff tanked.

Likewise, I’ve seen mediocre sales people smash sales targets because they worked the most effective sales channel harder than their email writing, social media surfing, LinkedIn connectors!

Sales Insight 3: Look – both routes work. But neither route works to the exclusion of the other.

Sure, social media is great for research, relationship building, building highly qualified lists of prospects. But it’s the sort of activities that can be done at any time, BUT not during core selling hours and not to the exclusion of picking up the telephone.

So What?

I did a sales audit last week. Some sales guys were spending as little as 20 mins a day on the telephone and the Sales Director wondered why sales results were nowhere near what they needed.

Strangely no-one could really identify where the rest of the day went. They just knew that it went. The figures showed that wherever it went, it wasn’t on generating sales, feeding a pipeline or creating value that prospects were prepared to pay for…so, go figure.

We need to understand what sales channels work best, and work those, because that’s where the sales results are.

The Sales Improvement Workshop is designed specifically to get the juice back in to talking to prospects. Get the sales function having proper sales based conversations. Sharing sales insight. Delivering business development and sales techniques that will destroy all the myths that are leading to sales people losing focus.

This course can be delivered internally or it’s run monthly in Sheffield. Just call or email to discuss which option is better for you, contact details are below.

What Next?

Book Your Sales Audit. If you’re looking to improve your sales results, then before you do anything, book your Sales AuditIt’s the fastest way to identify all those areas that are stopping you getting the sales results you deserve. Delivering sales insights that allow for targeted and focused sales interventions…instead of buying into the the sales folklore and myths currently derailing your sales results.

Book now.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com 0779 002 1885

p.s. You can also subscribe to a free weekly sales insight and business development newsletter. I’s great for supporting daily sales huddles, internal sales training and sales coaching sessions. Subscribe here – The Advanced Business Achiever 

 

 

Sales Detox

Sales Detox

When Did Sales Get So Complicated?

Simple sales plan? Really?

It seems tough to open my inbox some days without getting a flood of information on new sales techniques, tips on how to be a better influencer, how to close every deal first time and make all your prospects swoon at the thought of getting a call from you…

it’s just wow…

Nearly 20 years ago I read quite a bit of this stuff. Yes, STUFF!

I was a proactive sales person, keen to be at the top of my game, every little bit helps and you can’t out earn your learning right? So I dutifully got stuck in…

Some of it worked, most didn’t. I learned a lot…how to test new approaches. Elements needed revising. Some ditching totally…but the new insights pushed me on so it was all worth while.

Now…could I do the same if I was an ambitious sales person? Not a chance.

There’s just too much information. Swamped in it. And that’s coming from someone who can scan and speed read with the best!

Too Much to Concentrate On?

Absolutely too much to concentrate on.

But should it really be that complicated?

Especially when all we’re really looking for is a simple sales plan that works for us, and that’s the same whether you’re a lone sales person looking to get a higher level of sales output (MORE BONUS), or you’re a sales leader building a sales function that delivers (MORE PROFIT, MORE MARKET SHARE. MORE CUSTOMERS).

So, after all this time, I think there are three strands at the crux of this:

  1. There is no ONE universal simple sales plan…once we get over that it’s easy to stop seeking the unicorn
  2. The only simple sales plan is the one that works for you
  3. You need to build it…and keep building it

Does that make you feel any better? Any more motivated?

Better, maybe not.

Motivated, then I hope so.

Because it’s full and total permission to create your best ever sales pitch, your best ever sales process and your world class sales funnel which will deliver the financial rewards you need, and because, well, if you don’t do it then no-one will do it for you!

Make the Most Important Thing THE Most Important Thing!

And that’s the crux of it.

But toachieve that you need total and absolute clarity on what it is you’re doing and how each activity relates to your ultimate one and only goal…because that will dictate YOUR simple sales plan.

Once you can isolate every single element of your sales recipe and the activities that sit behind it, you’d be surprised at how simple sales really is…and therefore how simple sales improvement really is

Once you have that total and absolute clarity then you can start the improvement process AND see results. Quickly.

As an individual sales person, that relies on you knowing your sales recipe, and how that relates to your results and ultimately your bonus.

As a sales leader, it still relates to your sales recipe – but this time it’s reflected in the activities of your whole sales team.

To fully understand more about the Sales Recipe and what it means for you – check this out The Sales Recipe – What Sales Metrics to Use

The Simple Sales Plan

Once you’ve developed your simple sales plan, the plan that works for your, gives you the sales results you want, when you want them, as often as you won’t them…then you’re in danger of becoming legendary.

Now doesn’t that sound better than the alternative?

Happy Selling

Carol

p.s. If you’re looking for a massive step up and embedding this in your business you can check out Sales Insight or you can hit the phone/email on 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels…

Building highly qualified sales funnels is the single most important task in building any growth model, scaling your sales team, and therefor, building your business.

Anything else is just risky, costly, as well as unpredictable.

Is that what you want?

So…

How Would You Describe the Health of your Sales Funnel?

Spot on…it’s my guiding business tool?

Getting there – still some lingering prospects in there but they’ll be sorted soon?

It works on paper but it’s not producing the sales results I want?

The metrics are there but I don’t know what to do about improving them?

What sales funnel?

Or any variation of the above!

Why Should I Even Bother Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels?

This is something I typically hear from people, sales leaders, business owners who have never known the absolute joy and certainty of having a smooth-running sales funnel, producing, managing and closing highly qualified sales leads, as often as they need, with the margin they need, at the frequency they need.

And that’s ok.

Trust me when I tell you I’ve seen all sorts of sales funnels. The great news is once you’ve got a working sales funnel…it’s like having your own ATM machine where you hit and it pumps out cash.

There’s a degree of certainty about the results it produces, what part your sales function needs to play, you can tell the marketing team what they need to produce in detail, account management becomes a breeze and the money keeps rolling in.

As long as you don’t get lazy, complacent and comfortable…you’ll only have to set your sales funnel up once then refine it until it becomes the highly qualified sales funnel you and your business needs.

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels – What Does That Mean?

Well, first of all, lets look at what a Sales Funnel is.

A sales funnel houses your sales process.

At the top of your sales funnel you have a wide entry – this is where the sales prospect is first identified as a potential target, worthy of engagement and spend, so it might be a list purchased against strict criteria, it might be twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts….

This follows though, post a level of suitable marketing activity, then the prospect acknowledges they have ‘seen’ you.

A prospect at this stage has migrated from the marketing stage of the sales funnel to a more directed stage in the funnel, it may be someone who has downloaded your white paper or your lead magnet. It might be someone who’s contacted you for further information, asked for details or spoken with you proactively via some form of social media.

The key to all this is the vital work QUALIFIED Sales Funnel. If you want to get your prospects in to this stage of your sales funnel and you want to watch what they do and how they interact with your business then check this out

Anyway, back to the structure…Rubbish in the top…rubbish quality or no business out the other end…you look busy BUT nothing’s happening.

This is why having strict go/no-go criteria about what level and type of prospect enters the top of the sales funnel is key. Too broad is as bad as too skinny. Likewise you’ll need some go/no go criteria at every stage if you want your sales funnel to stay healthy and producing

So, potential prospect enters at the top and as the sales process progresses, with very tight go/no-go criteria at each stage, so the funnel gets more selective regarding the quality of the prospects it lets through.

There is a go/no go set of criteria here at the top of this page – you’re version might look different.

What Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels Means for Your Business

Each one of these stages in the sales funnel has a metric. For example:

How many prospects passed from one level to the next? Higher than expected? Lower?

Why did you reject? What are the remedial actions at this stage that could convert a dead prospect to a live prospect again?

Knowing your metrics at each stage and your conversion options at this stage has many huge benefits:

Lost business is minimised – this can save you fortunes, and keep your competitors running hard

You are able to act in a timely manner to any deal that’s falling off the expected path

For more insights into what metrics to use – you can start by downloading – 7 Sales Metrics To Measure, Manage and Monitor

Sales Forecasting Using Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

You can identify weeks, months, maybe even years (depending on the sales cycle duration) what your sales figures will be…which means you can make corrective action to boost sales when you still have the time.

You will be able to continuously monitor the quality, profit, value of the business you’re chasing

No deal falls through the net

In fact, a strategic and robust highly qualified sales funnel answers all the management information questions you need to run your sales function like clockwork…of course you need a motivated sales team who honestly report activity and a sales methodology that’s robust enough to train sales teams to ask the tough questions, and this is where having the go/no-go gates really pays dividends.

Types of Sales Funnels

Building high quality sales funnels is not always a one off…in some instances you’ll need a sales funnel for different products and services because the sales process for those products and services is different.

This is where it’s worth considering how you are selling each of your products and services – some sales funnels maybe based on different sales methods – some of your products/services may respond better to Challenger sales methods, some will be SPIN based, some more strategically focused and often sales funnels need to be tailored to encompass various methodologies at different stages.

Note: this is reflected in the sales structure of the pitch, the reporting metrics and the no/no-go gates.

The Single Most Common Flaw with Building High Quality Sales Funnels Today…

Is this; firms forget that even though it’s called a sales funnel. It’s actually a Sales and Marketing Funnel!

If you start building your high quality sales funnels at the point where the sales process formally starts, you’re actually starting it half way through the process…and missing a vital, key stage in the sales funnel.

Other common flaws are:

  • Over filling the sales funnel
  • Not being quick enough to cut away or spend time re-qualifying prospects that have stalled
  • Using discounting to attempt to flush solid sales prospects through the sales funnel at a faster rate
  • Not focusing enough on filling the top of the sales funnel
  • Putting any sales prospect in there, rather than focusing on high quality

If you’re looking to at how you should be building highly qualified sales funnels in your business, you can call for a confidential chat 0779 002 1885

Alternatively, if you are looking for some insight into how your current sales funnel could be improved to further improve the sales results of you business, you can book your Sales Audit and get the results back within 10 days. Find out more here – Sales Insight and Fast Action Pack

Happy Selling

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

p.s. One of the other real benefits of a highly qualified sales funnel is that it makes recruitment of sales people and onboarding a breeze…call me to find out more

Not Demonstrating ROI? You’re Throwing Business Opportunities Away…

Not Demonstrating ROI? You’re Throwing Business Opportunities Away…

Demonstrating ROI is Critical

Demonstrating ROI is really that important?

Yes, it really is critical.

If your business, your sales team and their sales pitch can’t demonstrate ROI, then you’re leaving business on the table, and most certainly you’re leaving chunks of cash there too.

Without demonstrating ROI, you can’t demonstrate value, explore risk or maximise margins

And, if you can’t do these three things, then any attempt at a close is likely, at best, a shot in the dark.

(If you’re looking for insights into how you can build a strong relationship between value, risk and price then pop over here, and if you’re looking for insights into creating value hit the link here)

What Happens When ROI is Not Explored?

Yes, you’ll lose business

Yes, you’ll lose margin

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because you’ll also see:

  • A longer than necessary sales cycle
  • Competitor growth
  • High sales acquisition costs
  • Increase in performance management
  • Over staffed, therefore costly, sales units
  • A messy, inaccurate and out of control sales pipeline
  • Pie in the sky sales forecasts

Nothing fun about that list is there?

Here’s How to Demonstrate ROI

You and the buyer go in deep.

Stop talking about benefits, features, case studies, research, testimonials etc, those things are the bare minimum to be sat at the table, the minimum cost to be in the game…demonstrating ROI is where the magic starts to happen.

Demonstrate ROI in the simplest way brings clarity to your sales pitch, gives the prospect the opportunity to view your product/service in terms of real financial and cost context, and also means that the close is a very natural event, rather than a twisted fumble when the sales person sort of asks and the buyer goes into avoidance mode.

The prospect has to demonstrate, clearly, logically and with the full cooperation the financials and costs involved in making the purchase and the financials involved in NOT buying the service…now, to get to that stage takes skill, tenacity, trust, research, industry knowledge…in a nut shell, hard work.

Most crucially, the figures and the cost assessments have to come from the buyer, else they mean nothing and your sales pitch is built on sand…conduct the Sales ROI with the agreement of the buyer, and you’re home and dry before you ask for the order, because that shows buyer commitment.

Big time!

Seems too easy, once you know what you’re doing, the stages, how to frame the tough questions, how to deal with the wary buyer…of course it does…it’s so simple and so basic that most sales people can’t, or don’t, do it!

Look, it takes some highly consultative selling, some excellent questions and questioning techniques plus a real insight into the problems that your product/service solves and the cost of the problem in the context of your buyer’s business.

You also need to understand that when I reference ‘cost’ above, this cost is not just the financial cost. There are all kinds of costs to take into consideration.

BUT, the good news is that you really only have to learn to demonstrate ROI once. After that it’s a skill that will repay you many times over. In fact, if you’re anything like me, it’s one of my first go-to’s when I’m in any client sales environment and I want to improve the performance of their sales team.

You can get a great insight into how to demonstrate ROI on any of these courses

Fixed Price Sales Training

TurboCharged Sales

The Sales Improvement Workshop – Open Course and In house Program

Closing is Easy Once You’ve Demonstrated a Robust ROI

Many sales people think closing is the hardest part of the sales process. That’s why most sales people are scared to ask for the order.

But, the truth is, if you can effectively and efficiently demonstrate ROI, then the close looks after itself.

It really is that simple because you create a ‘NO-BRAINER’ situation for the buyer. You prove to the buyer that there is no way he can legitimately say no.

Demonstrating ROI

It’s the fastest, easiest, simplest, most effective way to increase sales close rates.

Don’t miss out.

Learn the basics and you’ll never struggle to close quickly and efficiently.

This is one of the key training points we cover on all of our sales training courses. If you’d like to discuss our bespoke sales and business development training solutions call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Happy Selling 

Carol

Plus: you can subscribe to our weekly (non-spam) Sales and Business Development insights newsletter. Great for sales team coaching sessions, sales team training and practical sales improvement. Get you email subscription here – The Advanced Business Achiever

Don’t get caught napping. Demonstrating ROI is the easiest way to immediately boosting sales performance, close rates as well as protecting margin.

 

Sales Audits: Uncovering Untapped Sales Opportunities

Sales Audits: Uncovering Untapped Sales Opportunities

Why Conduct Sales Audits?

Sales Audits are vital if you’re serious about continuous sales improvement.

The truth is – sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know!

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s mastering a new sport. Developing a new skill or just trying out a new Jamie Oliver dish for the first time.

We miss things.

You and I will give much greater importance to some things and negate the relevance of others. Sometimes to our cost.

Eventually we get where we need to be, and hopefully, we’ll have enjoyed the process and all our inexperience will have cost us is a bit of time, maybe a few bruises in the pursuit of a new sport and hopefully no dodgy tummy when cooking plans went awry.

It’s all part of learning, and it makes life interesting.

But what happens when you need to solve a business problem.

And the clock is ticking.

Money is running out, or at least the money isn’t coming in as fast as it should.

What do you do?

Would you enjoy the process of solving that problem as much?

Would you enjoy the detours the challenges gave you?

I didn’t think so.

So it makes sense to make the problem solving process as smooth, effective, efficient and productive as possible.

Why a Sales Audit?

Here’s two examples to show you why Sales Audits are so valuable.

These examples are specific to failing divisions/firms. Beware, Sales Audits should also be used in profitable firms to ensure nothing is lurking in the background and to further ensure that all profit and sales generation opportunities are retained.

Sales Audits are crucial in showing that uncovering the REAL problem. Scoping the impact of the REAL problem can save you time, money and stress, lots of time money and stress.

Sales Audits – Example 1:

Client was looking at the new business team in a buoyant and expansive market and seeing a long term sales plateau starting to take a sharp downward slide.

Their options:

  • Invest in training
  • Start performance management
  • Increase coaching
  • Talk to customers
  • Enhance/change the product
  • Fire the sales manager
  • Up the marketing spend
  • Fire the sales team
  • Ditch the market and concentrate in another vertical

Or, any or all of the above…what’s the solution?

On further exploration, the Sales Audit took me 4 days, I discovered the cause of the sales drop was a change in strategy. A change that had been employed about 18 months ago in the business.

Quite simply, the Sales Audit showed that 18 months ago the business has eschewed all manner of account management and moved their whole focus into new business development, which mean that the business had just one person to account manage per 400 customers.

So, in a nut shell, bigger focus on new business development caused sales to plateau then drop through the floor?

Absolutely.

It turns out, the real problem was nothing to do with the new business development, the team, the function, the price, the product, the market, the business or the vertical.

The Sales Audit Uncovered the Real Problem.

That real problem had everything to do with the vibe that was now going around in their vertical market that said ”this company is great at the up front sell, BUT, once you’ve signed, you’ll never hear from them again, and, heaven forbid if you do have a problem, it’ll take you months to get a response, if you are lucky enough to get a response that is”

By diverting extra resources back to the account management team. By ensuring a strong and immediate account management and customer retention strategy, the new business team started to see an immediate lift in their sales conversion.

4 days and 1 Sales Audit saved that company in that vertical market.

Sales Audits – Example 2.

Division failing badly, average order price just covering costs but conversion rate running at 1:25. The division was being propped up by other more profitable trading divisions by things were getting worse not better as time went on.

Again – large potential market, highly competitive but very buoyant, no where near saturation.

But 1:25 conversion from meeting to order was killing the business.

Lots of opportunities to improve and all pointed to firing the sales team and starting again.

Many solutions also pointed to cancelling the external sales function and relying simply on a telesales team.

Either way something had to change.

A three day Sales Audit came to several crucial conclusions:
  • Competitors we making the same mistakes as this company…so it really was a race to the bottom.
  • The division wasn’t selling what the prospects needed…although they could have
  • The division wasn’t selling what they thought they were selling…no-one had unpacked the benefits
  • The average order value of the competitor that was succeeding and doing very well was 7x that of the division in trouble
  • It was a very crowded market of failing ‘me-too’ competitors
  • Every competitor was trying to serve every vertical
  • Every competitor was doing a ‘hit and run’ sale

Knowing all of this and employing some highly practical solutions mean that neither the product nor the routes to market changed, instead by changing the vertical, extending the sales presentation by 1 stage that happened post sign up, and by employing a higher level and more robust ROI demonstration during the sales process, we got the sales results we needed.

.All resulted in a 3x increase in average order value and a 1:3 close rate instead of a 1:25.

Summary: Sales Audits

And there are plenty more examples of how an intensive Sales Audit can dramatically change the fortunes of a sales division…but you see, the most crucial  point is, sometimes the most obvious solution to a problem is the correct solution, but not always.

For example – had we dismissed the Sales Audit all together and taken some or any of the actions outlined in the first case study above, the client’s sales performance in that vertical would have nosedived still further, even faster…and still with no clue about how to improve it.

In the second case study…simply training the sales staff would have brought about marginal improvements in the short term, would have minimised the growth potential and most definitely would have seen the sales division closed within 6 months.

Solving the immediate problem is one thing.

Identifying the true cause of that sales problem is another.

That’s where a Sales Audit really comes into it’s own, and can prove invaluable in saving time, money and other valuable resources.

Solving the cause of the problem and not the symptoms displayed by the cause of the problem can just do more harm than good. You can send results spiraling out of control, waste precious time and money as well as driving you insane in the process.

When you’re dealing in high risk situations, where the cost of getting it wrong is huge, where you’re against the clock, and money is flowing in the opposite direction to you…shouldn’t you take a deep dive into causes before looking at solutions?

To discuss any aspect of the Sales Audit, just use the contact details below.

Sales Audits can be conducted in as little as 3 days and feedback provided within a further 2 days.

When you’re business isn’t getting the sales results you want, need and deserve, time is of the essence so contact me now.

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

To receive the most up to date Sales and Business Development Insights into your business every week, register for your free copy of the Advanced Business Achiever

 

 

Not Just Sales People – Value Added Problem Solvers

Not Just Sales People – Value Added Problem Solvers

Changing Times

Sales and the art of selling is changing….just like everything else.

New theories, practices and reworked ideas come around again and again.

Some of them stick, some of them fade.

Many work, some don’t.

Some we’ve seen before, maybe under a different name, and some are genuinely original, just check this out regarding B2B sales

One thing that’s been around for ages, but always there in the background, as something that good (and great) business development professionals have know is this.

Sales Is Not About Selling…And It Never Has Been

And that’s even more true today than it’s ever been.

It is not about taking the order, being a walking brochure or even pitching harder than the competitor.

Customers, Buyer, Prospects and Procurement teams have no use for that sort of sales person any more.

The sales person that succeeds today is the sales person that out performs his competitors. Who secures the business. Whot leaves his sales persona at the door and picks up the position of the Buyer’s problem solver.

That means your business development and customer facing target carrying team may need to have a slightly different skill set than you’d imagined.

Instead of thinking about the value of their address book, the length of service in your industry, the length of their business development career, maybe there are additional things to think about.

The Sales Skills Tool Box

Critical thinking skills – their ability to grasp complex situations, issues and constraints and see the Buyer’s issues for what they are and the impact they have on the Buyer

Team building – to build cooperation around creating a suitable solution with the relevant internal and external parties

Problem solving capabilities – the ability to see the real problem and it’s implications as opposed to just seeing the manifestation of that problem

Rapport building – to gain trust quickly and establish expert status with the Buyer and their influencers

Listening skills – genuine listening skills, listening to understand and not listening simply to sell

Communication skills – how good are they are respectfully pushing boundaries in the Buyer’s thinking. How good are they at being able to coherently present ideas, discuss scenarios whilst having all parties keep an open mind

Ability to prioritise – their ability to differentiate between the urgent and important and respond accordingly

Negotiation skills – their ability to compromise and to broker compromise across different parties, different solutions

Resilience – in the face of challenges, objections, resistance, nay-sayers and group think

Creativity – seeing solutions that are not evident to the Buyer. Conveying those solutions with high levels of confidence and credibility

Belief – do they have it, can they convey and transmit their true belief in their solution

The Future of Sales People

Business development might have historically been thought of as a trade that people ‘fall into’.

Ask any 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up and I’ll bet few of them say ‘sales person’.

Sales people can be nurtured to be better business development people, that’s true.

What’s also true is that most great sales people are born with a certain skill set that they invest in to make better.

So, anyone can be a business developer?

I don’t think so.

What do you think?

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

If you’re looking for further support and guidance on how to recruit the best sales talent for your business – check out these two Free Guides:

Beware of the Twins – How to Recruit the Best Business Development Talent in Your Business…and minimise the costly risks associated with recruitment.

Wait! Is your New Business Development Recruit Really That Good – Your Top 10 Check List

And this Blog Post

How to Recruit High Performing Business Development Professionals

 

Sales Manager – Has Your Job Died?

Sales Manager – Has Your Job Died?

Sales Manager

I regret to inform you that as a business we’ve taken the very difficult decision to let you go.

We will honour the obligations laid out in our contract and as such, hope you will do the same as a Sales Manager in the business.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to you for your commitment, effort and professionalism during with your time with us.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed working with us as much as we’ve enjoyed working with you, and we wish you every success in finding a new position.

Chairman*

P.S. I really am very sorry. I have no choice.

You see, you’ve been great at pulling reports, checking the sales metrics, doing discipline hearings, checking off expenses, sorting out queries, handling complaints, reconciling month end figures, checking commission claims, fielding holiday requests and making sure the sales car fleet was renewed competitively every year. Thank you…I don’t know what I’d have done without you.

Good Luck.

P.P.S. I just wanted to say, personally I wanted to keep you…we’ve been through thick and thin together…but you see the board had different ideas – you see, they’d read this report, and after that the board want  someone who’s never at their desk.

The popular view is fixated on having someone who coaches 7 hours a day, who just loves helping the sales team sell better, helping the sales team deliver a better sales experience to prospects. Someone who works with the sales team to help them sky rocket their commission. A sales leader who is embedded in the customers markets, who can see the changes in the market ahead of time and prep the sales guys to do battle.

They want someone who is keen to work with the sales team to bring about the demise of the competition, someone who can spot commercial opportunities ahead and guide the sales team to exploit those opportunities, but I guess you like doing admin in your office more than you like working with people to improve their sales performance. I guess you can’t be great at everything.

And another thing…

No-one does pivot tables and power point like you do, therefore you make sure you add that to your CV!

***

Oh dear!

As Sales Manager it’s the last thing you want.

Chances are – you’d be neither the sender (see disclaimer at the bottom of this post) or the recipient of such a letter…but the writing’s on the wall for Sales Managers everywhere.

The questions is, as a Sales Manager:

Will you read it?

And, once you’ve read it, will you do anything about it?

You might want to think about your response…the role of conventional Sales Manager is changing, and it’s changing quickly.

The New Role of the Old Sales Manager

If we were honest, we’d stop using Sale Manager as a job title to describe the person that manages the sales team.

It’s not proper any more. And it won’t be again. Ever.

Today, the Sales Manager is that and so much more.

And the ‘so much more’ encompasses a lot. But even more crucially, it’s a whole different skill set.

So let’s call it what is really is – let’s scrub out Sales Manager and use words that have some meaning in this new age:

Sales Coach, Sales Performance Manager, Sales Leader, Sales Analyst, Sales Auditor, Sales Improvement Specialist

…there are more but that just about covers it.

Now, I hope you can see why conventional sales manager just doesn’t cut it any more?

I hate using the word should but I have no choice here.

Here’s what you should be doing and where you should be focusing your precious time; use this list to check of what you’re currently doing versus what you should/could be doing, or doing more of.

Also, as Sales Manager, use this list as an opportunity to look at some of those mundane non-value added tasks you either need to delegate or simply jettison altogether.

Key Must Do Activities for the New ‘Sales Manager’
  • Sales coaching – real time side by side coaching
  • Analysis of sales performance in situ – field or telephone, exhibition, skype or networking
  • Creating Best Sales Practice as you go along – not as an isolated academic exercise to share post creation
  • Sharing Best Sales Practice
  • Monitoring Sales Leakage Points in your Sales Pipeline and Sales Funnel…and stopping the leaks
  • Monitoring, measuring and managing key sales metrics
  • Accurately forecasting
  • Improving the competitive position of the sales team
  • Exploring competitive niches
  • Building up intelligence and knowledge to help your sales team minimise the impact of the competition

What might not be immediately evident from this list is every single one of these tasks is people facing. You don’t need an office or even a desk. You’d be surprised how much great, results generating work you can get done sat next to your team on a rotating basis.

How do I know? Because I do it. It’s one of the easiest and simplest ways to see sales results rocket. Try it. Then tell me it doesn’t work. You’ll not be able to.

I’ve yet to find a Sales Manager yet who hasn’t seen a spike in sales just by spending more time with their staff.

So here’s the good news – step up, the writing’s on the wall, read it and change course accordingly…the choice is your’s.

Not bothered?

That’s your call. Hope you’re dismissal letter as Sales Manager is nicer than the one above.

And if you need even more proof – take a read of this – just hit the link –  Job Description and Skills

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

Free Guides – Instant Download – to help Sales Managers to drive the sales team and improve sales performance:

7 Sales Metrics You MUST Measure, Manage and Monitor

High Converting Call Structures for Generating High Quality Sales Appointments

7 Big Mistakes…

Only Dead Fish Go With the Flow

How to Price Like a Pro

How to Outsell Your Competition

And a few blogs on Sales Performance and Sales Performance Improvement

Habit Beats Knowledge – Every Time

Sales Performance – What Do You Really, Really Want?

And a Free Gift – all your’s

Hit the link here to claim

*Disclaimer: as if I should need to add this, but I will.

If you wish to dismiss any person in your employment, this is NOT the letter to use.

You should always take independent legal advice from a HR, legal and employment specialist in order to comply with the law and your legal obligations. This will help you protect your business, and minimise the risk of any adverse action.