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The Perfect Sales Recipe – What Sales Metrics To Use

The Perfect Sales Recipe – What Sales Metrics To Use

Sales Metrics and sales KPI’s matter,for lots of reasons.

Having the right team sales KPI’s and the right individual sales metrics means your chances of achieving sales success are already increased.

The following will help you identify some of the challenges around this area, and for a more step by step guide you can download our free guide. See the link at the end of the article.

What Sales Metrics to Use?

That really depends on what you want to achieve?

And that’s the easiest way to start.

For example, if your primary aim is to drive activity then there are key metrics that will impact that:

  • How much data is available?
  • How much of that data has been called more than 7 times?
  • Average call duration?
  • Average admin time per call?
  • Contact rate for your industry – i.e. ratio of decision maker call/gate keeper call

This is not an exhaustive list, but you’ll get a picture for how you create your very best sales metric template for you.

BUT don’t set up metrics for the sake of it.

Ask yourself; if you had to identify the most critical sales improvement, profit improvement, sales performance improvement sales metric then what would it be, then monitor that by reviewing the intrinsic parts.

Often one of the first and biggest piece of work done in any sales turnaround or sales performance improvement is to agree to measure those sales metrics that have a direct relationship to sales success.

The sales metrics you can control.

The sales metrics you can influence.

Why Use Sales Metrics?

Lots of reasons, primarily it’s an indicator for the sales management and the sales people that you’re all on the same track.

It’s a way of measuring sales progress when the month, week, day is still in play. Check out more on this here

If you’re a sales person, you know you’ll earn bonus, and if not you’ve got some idea of what to do to change that.

If you’re a sales manager, you know what skills to re-coach and with who.

And if you’re the business owner, you don’t have to wait 2 weeks after the month end to discover how much money you’ve made, or not made, as the case may be.

Agile use of your sales metrics is the easiest, quickest and most efficient way to improve sales skills, sales people, sales function performance and bottom line profits.

The key to continuous sales improvement.

Plus, it engages everyone.

Whether you’re using a league table, a weekly sales meeting, a daily sales huddle, everyone is following the same road map.

Everyone is working with the same sign posts and with a supported and directed mission to get there!

When to Proactively Use Sales Metrics?

That’s simple, every day.

Both the team sales metrics/sales KPI’s and the individual numbers.

This is the top of the tree in hands on sales management and sales leadership.

It will focus everyone’s attention on what’s not happening.

Not so you can blame anyone but because now, as a sales leader, you can make it right.

But it helps if you launch that months sales metrics at the beginning of the month. Explain why you’ve selected these metrics. Explore what success looks like, what disaster looks like. Highlight what support the business is providing to help everyone get where they need.

Then you’ve set the premise of expectations, it’s your management guide map for the month.

These sales KPI’s can then be reported/reference daily via huddles, emails, leader board, office screen, 121 sales coaching.

How to Use Your Sales Metrics?

Your selected sales metrics and sales KPI’s are also part of every sales persons sales review.

They form part of every performance management and sales development plan, personal development plan.

Used to drive performance, striving for continuous improvement.

They can also highlight areas where sales training, coaching, shadowing, mentoring or additional support is required.

To foster team spirit and collective sales team focus for the good of the individuals and the business.

A reason to celebrate sales success.

To foster team spirit and shared focus, as well as giving a team platform for discussion and suggestions.

Collective learning, ideal for targeted buddying.

Sales Metrics Matter…but that’s not all

Of course, it’s not all.

No-one manages solely by numbers any more.

Numbers, sales metrics, sales KPI’s well they’re just the foundations. Keeping score.

The real winning benefit is how the sales leadership team use these metrics. Great sales leaders use them to interact, develop, coach and motivate the team.

Having worked with thousands of sales people, I know for sure that the fastest way to improve sales performance is to spend more time coaching and mentoring the sales team.

Having great clarity and shared ownership of group and individual sales metrics/sales KPI’s is the easiest way to do just that.

To get more details on what sales metrics you could monitor in your team, download this free guide 7 Sales Metric You Need to Measure, Manage and Monitor 

Also if you’re really serious about improving sales results within your business, hit the links below:

TurboCharged Sales – for when you are ready to embed a continuous sales improvement framework into your sales team

The Sales Improvement Workshop – the fastest way to refocus, re-energise and improve sales results – one day course inhouse or open – check dates and locations

Sales Audit – for when you want to improve sales results, turnover and profits, but have no idea where to start.

And, if you’re great at getting sales quotes out, but your buyer’s all seem to disappear when you follow up the sales quite check this out Buyer Gone AWOL – Following Up Sales Quotes

To discuss your specific sales training and sales improvement needs you can contact us on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Remember, having the right sales metrics is critical to any sales function wanting to outperform competitors, drive margins and foster continuous sales improvement.

Free Sales Health Check | Book Now

Free Sales Health Check | Book Now

The Free Sales Health Check – Your first step on your road to sales clarity and focus.

Book now for your Free Sales Health Check

If you’re struggling to see the real potential of your sales team…

When you’re tired of wondering if your expectations are too high, or if the market is really that tough…

If you feel your sales team should be delivering at a higher level…

Or maybe it’s as simple as you know something needs to change in the sales team, but you just don’t know what or where to start…

Worry No More | Book your Free Sales Health Check Now

I focus on looking at the easy wins in your sales team. After all this is the home of the 30 day Fast Track Sales Improvement plan and the Plug and Play Modular Sales Improvement System.

I’ve found, over 25 years that Sales improvement need not be complex, and it rarely requires drastic action.

But it does involve you knowing what’s  causing your sales problems.

Because once you know that, you can apply your wisdom and knowledge, and considerable focus to solve the issue/s.

That’s where your free sales health check starts.

Book Now

It’s two hours…to discuss any sales issues you have.

You can send across anything you need pre-event.

We can focus on a very specific issue or sales performance in more general terms.

The choice is yours. All yours.

In total confidence.

And there will be no sales pitch – this is a free exchange of information.

Just call 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Why?

I’ve spent the last 14 years doing mainly sales turnarounds, sales builds, sales rescue and sales improvement programs, training sales teams in highly competitive environments, structuring sales teams, sales functions, sales process and sales strategy.

Now I have lots of sales insights and I need to commoditise those, but first I need to understand what some of the biggest sales challenges are out there, for firms in all sectors, all sizes and all ages.

So you see, you’ll be helping me as much as I’m helping you.

Fair? I think so…do you?

Terms 

For the reason above, this is a very limited offer and may be on offer infrequently as the business transitions, however, I aim to engage withing 24 hours of receiving your booking request, and aiming for the consultation to take place no later than one week after we set a date.

If you’re still thinking about it…pick up the phone anyway, 10 mins and we’ll know if it is worth your time.

Just call 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Whilst you’re thinking, here are some of the subjects we’ve covered recently: how to roll out price increases when the competitors are discounting, how to recruit better quality sales people who stay longer than 6 months, how to remove a long serving sales manager who’s not responding to the needs of the business, how long to give a new sales team before starting formal performance management, what should a good commission structure look like, increasing activity levels without everyone claiming over work, qualifying great sales prospects, what should a good sales process look like…

What do you want to talk about?

Relevant Sales Activity and the Equal Odds Rule

Relevant Sales Activity and the Equal Odds Rule

In Sales YOU have as much chance of winning as losing.

Where you engage in meaningful and relevant sales activity…

You have as much chance of getting a customer as getting a rejection.

You have as much chance of succeeding as failing.

Your chances are equal.

Need more proof?

The Equal Odds Rule was published by a Harvard psychologist, Keith Simonton in 1977.

Check out James Clear for more information.

Here’s my 3 line take:

  • Sales is actually a numbers game.

So get dialing! Get talking! Networking! Profile Building!

  • You have to be in it to win it!

If you’re not dialing, talking, networking, profile building you’re not in it!

  • Your chance of failure AND success increases with your level of activity

Extra dials, the more rejections you’ll suffer, therefore the more success you’ll enjoy.

So What?

The Equal Odds Rule is simple. You’ve as much chance of success as failure, and it’s really that complicated, or that simple, depending on how your brain is programmed.

BUT too many sales people aren’t even in the game, not at all. They just think they are, and that’s where it’s dangerous, for them, their employers and their sales forecasts.

They don’t believe that the harder the dial, the more they dial, the more people they speak with, the more people they meet with, the more networking they do (online and offline)…they just don’t get the Equal Odds Rule and it’s predictor of their fate… or their success

Cutting to the Chase

It’s not about saying no to maxing the level of activity, it’s now about just one thing…

Maxing Out the Level of Relevant Sales Activity

Activity = Failure/Success can be replaced by Relevant Activity = Failure/Success

What Does Relevant Sales Activity Look Like?

What’s your WEEKLY relevant activity schedule look like? For example…

How much time do you spend

  • talking with customers to get referrals?
  • with customers building relationships?
  • engaging with prospects?
  • with influencers in your industry?
  • encouraging dialogue and courting referrers?
  • nurturing relationships in your LinkedIn Groups, Facebook communities, Twitter sphere?
  • scouring LinkedIn and other such data sources to build comprehensive family trees of suitable organisations with relevant contacts?

Plus:

  • What efforts did you invest in working towards being recognised as a ‘go to expert’ in your industry?
  • How many educational posts did you put out this week?
  • Count the people in your personal/professional network your helped this week?
  • How much goodwill did you create via referrals/introductions across your network?
  • Did you spend enough time leveraging your personal network for your benefit and for the benefit of people who know you?

It’s not my job to point the finger and tell you what you should do or even what your Relevant Sales Activity should be, because I have no idea about you, your ambitions or how you currently work, instead I’d ask you to reflect on how you spend your time and how you could better spend your time to make sure you weight the odds in your favour in the Equal Odds Rule.

You have as much chance of winning as losing…you just have to be in the game.

To what extent are you really in the game?

Here’s the Truth about Relevant Sales Activity

Whether you believe the Equal Odds Rule or not, just think about it, there is an inevitable fact.

The more you are out there as a proactive sales person, the better you will get at your craft, the greater your skill, the better your professional profile, the higher your status, the better your sales skills will be.

You’ll get all of your ‘failures’ out of the way, by default, you’ll improve your chances of winning.

Work the Equal Odds Rule because you can’t lose.

You can take control of your own sales career now and focus on the absolute and critical sales success factors, and create your own relevant sales activity – just hit the link here – tell me more

Strategy – Cheap or Fast…What’s Your Choice?

Strategy – Cheap or Fast…What’s Your Choice?

Strategy and Sales Business Plans – Questioning the Reality

Strategy Overload, Strategy BS and Strategy Words Without Meaning!! I’ve seen it all over the last 4 months.

I spent three weeks in summer looking through some very ambitious sales strategy and business plans for a company that has huge ambition and even bigger potential.

Huge potential. In fact, off the scale potential.

Little competition. Great product. Demonstrable ability to deliver. Fabulous reputation. Outstanding service ethos.

Strategy – Why Bother?

As you would expect when the business needs to break through to the next level, then their senior business leaders put tremendous effort into pulling the business plans together.

That’s cost serious time and serious money.

We drafted, redrafted, discussed, argued, challenged, tested, refined, redesigned, road mapped, reflected, showcased and shredded…until the final business plan was alive and kicking.

At which point, the senior business leaders confirmed they’d all created a plan they knew they could achieve, something they could have faith in, fully recognising that if they didn’t take action now, then one of their hungry competitors would.

The value of a well designed sales strategy is not just making sure that it works on paper. That’s one aspect.

But it’s also about seeking alignment in the thinking of the key players.

It’s a chance for everyone to have their input into the sales strategy, everyone can say their piece, share their concerns before reaching a workable consensus.

So, by the time everyone has signed off on the sales strategy, you know everyone is on board.

That’s it. Committed to. In love with. Totally sold on what needs to be done…

Sales Strategy – That’s All?

No!

None of that is as important as the bit that comes next.

This is the most important bit.

It’s this question.

One single question.

That question comes when it’s time for action.

Time to make the dreams come true.

This is when I know whether the senior business team are really in, or if they’re just saying they’re in.

The question?

At this stage boards will ask one of two questions:

How cheaply can we get this done?

or

How quickly can we get this done?

Two completely different mind sets and two completely different trajectories to success (or not).

Of course, the ideal sits somewhere in the middle of the extremes…well, you’d like to think that, in an ideal world.

Because this is the truth, if you’re wholeheartedly behind what you’re going to do and you’ve been sensible, realistic and conservative with your projections, transparent in your risk analysis and have a business model you truly believe in them money is rarely as big an issue as time is.

Either way – the point of this: are you asking yourself the right questions?

Because the best sales strategy in the world is pointless if you don’t believe in it enough to make it go as far and as fast as possible.

Action is key. Action drives everything else. Action matters when the words are just words.

Think about it next time you have to commit to business changing actions.

In the meantime:

You can download a selection of free reports on how to improve your sales performance – just hit the link on our blog 

Plus you can sign up to a free weekly digest of practical and proven sales and business development improvement strategies – hit the link – The Advanced Business Achiever.

 

Your Sales Conversion Rates: Your Very Own Sales Crystal Ball

Your Sales Conversion Rates: Your Very Own Sales Crystal Ball

Sales Conversion Rates: The Ultimate Sales Metric…or is it?

Lots of sales leaders and sales people monitor their sales conversion rates since it’s a good top line indicator as to how things are going…from staying steady to gently increasing or, heavens forbid, heading south.

But, I also know some firms who don’t pay that much attention to it at all. Personally, I think that’s a huge mistake and hopefully, soon, you’ll agree with me.

Here’s why…

Sales Conversion Rates, whether you are a sales person or a sales leader, informs you how you are using your most precious money making commodity….time.

Plus: anything that allows you to predict future performance in sales is worth watching.

Very closely.

Sales Conversion Rates: Where do I measure them?

Your sales process, documented and detailed, rigid or flexible, will have certain gates in it.

If you subscribe to my idea of a Plug and Play Sales Model – see here – then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

But, for the sake of speed, let’s assume you don’t.

You’ll know (or should know) how many sales calls you make in a day. How many of those convert to opportunities – meetings (that’s one gate) or quotes (that’s another gate)…or declines, or call backs, or deadlines…(these are all gates too)

You’ll know how many of those meetings turn to quotes. how many convert to orders immediately. How many decline and how many pipeline for another time (that’s another 4 gates). Even more gates will you consider monitoring sales cycle times also.

From your quotes, you’ll get another series of sales gates….

And at the end of that, you’ll get a final, maybe monthly, weekly or daily overall sales conversion rate based activity during that period.

It’s all about knowing what gates to measure

What gates to pay especial attention to and how focusing on the quality of interaction at each of those sales gates can dramatically improve the sales conversion rates for the individual gates as well as overall sales conversion rates.

Further sales metrics that drill even further down into the sales process is you’re serious about really improving your sales performance are detailed here. Just hit the link for your free guide – instant download – The 7 Sales Metrics to Measure, Manage and Monitor.

You see, measuring just one overall sales conversion rate is just not enough…it doesn’t give you a detailed enough picture.

And certainly you won’t be able to do the sales improvement diagnostic you need if you’re serious about really boosting those sales figures…

Sales Conversion Rates: The Fastest Way to Predict the Sales Future

Once you know the metrics at each of your selected sales gates, you’ll have your sales recipe. If you’re struggling as to how to calculate this – see here.

Your sales recipe is the formula, which may fluctuate slightly, allows you to judge sales performance, manage sales resources, predict sales performance, optimise sales resources and most certainly is the first step in creating any scaleable sales model.

It’s also the crux of real sales or performance management program.

5 Things To Think About With Sales Conversion Rates

  1. Too high and it could mean you’re pricing too low, or at least it’s an opportunity to reconsider your offer, your pricing, your route to market, how you package your product/service, and how you compete in the market place.
  2. Too low and it could be an indicator that you need to look at the prospects your chasing and the offer your proposing. On the whole this presents a huge amount of opportunity for positive growth (Click here to find out how one company went from 1:25 sales conversion rate to 1:3, and tripled their average order value)
  3. A sales conversion rate that stays the same (as long as it’s healthy) could mean many things, but on the whole it means you’ve got a solid test bed for testing out some new sales initiatives; namely – testing out new pricing, new positioning, different sales techniques.
  4. A sales conversion rate that’s in rapid decline should set all alarm bells off very quickly. Are you under competitor attack? Is it dissent in the sales ranks? A change in product? A raft of customer complaints? (A branding issue? Pricing problems? Quality issues? Read here about poor customer service nearly killed one firms new business efforts).
  5. A sales conversion rate that’s increasing dramatically – well first thing you do is celebrate…obviously, the second thing you do is monitor customer complaints…and then refer back to my first point.
Sales Conversion Rates: The Sales and Business Thermometer

Sales Conversion Rates are gold to me. At a glance I know who is performing and who is not. I know where to focus my efforts and what to leave well alone.

I know who’s on fire and who needs a fire setting underneath them.

Sales Conversion Rates tell me what types of customers my clients should avoid. What types they should hunt for, what to charge in what sectors, how to pitch and present in those sectors, as well as when to actively hammer a region as well as when not to waste time.

Monitoring sales conversion rates works.

It’s very effective and takes no time at all to set up, and it’s the certain route to optimising sales resources and minimising costly waste.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

779 002 1885

P.S. To check out more sales improvement insights and business development strategy, then check out our blog  

Plus: to receive weekly sales and business development support, directly into your inbox, just hit the link. Claim your free subscription to the Advanced Business Achiever

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

 

 

What’s Your Sales Process Really Costing You?

What’s Your Sales Process Really Costing You?

Your Sales Process – What’s It Really Costing You?

I hate waste. I especially hate waste in the sales process because it just costs so much money and wasted time, talent and resource…and don’t get me started on the opportunity costs.

It’s criminal.

If I tell you the cost of running an inefficient sales process is huge and largely unquantifiable…would you do anything about it?

What if I told you that an efficient sales process can get a sales conversion rate from 1:25 to 1:3 in a matter of weeks?

Or that it can treble your average order value? See here for more information and 3 case studies on how to increase price

Would you do something then?

Maybe you need more proof…

How about if, simply by improving the efficiency of your sales process you could treble the output of your sales team without trebling the costs?

Convinced now?

Well, fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it – you can check out this article form the Harvard Business Review showing that firms with a formal sales process generate higher revenues – here’s the link ‘Companies with a Formal Business Development Process Generate More Revenue’

So, read on to find out how you can get your business and sales team flying by adopting an efficient and effective sales process…

How Do You Know If You Have an Inefficient Sales Process?

Your business will suffer form the following:

  • Inaccurate sales forecasts
  • Inconsistent close rates
  • Low sales conversion rates
  • Inconsistent sales performance across your sales team
  • Lack of predictability in sales performance
  • Unqualified and aged data can clog up even the best of sales funnels

There are other indicators but these are the main ones you’ll be fighting against every day.

Wasting Sales Resources: Why Does It Happen?

Simple answer, because when people get busy they fall back on autopilot. That means they react.

This impacts on their ability to discern the good from the great and the good from the downright awful when it comes to what leads to engage with and what leads to pan.

So it only happens when sales guys are busy, right?

No, not really.

Conversely, when sales people aren’t busy enough, they’ll chase every prospect on the block, regardless of quality, value, risk or potential to convert.

So, what am I saying, that sales people can’t be trusted to know when to chase a prospect and when to drop?

No.

Well, maybe.

Sometimes.

But forget about the blame and thing about the solution.

The truth is, this is not a black and white area and sales teams are, by definition, semi-autonomous.

Sales people have their head turned by a prospect for lots of reason, and trust me I’be heard them all.

Every single one, from a sales guy fostering clients in a particular part of the UK where his new girlfriend lived (whilst ignoring other profitable clients across other UK regions), to sales guys meeting with small firms with no budget on the basis of promised work to come, and even one sales person who decided to go completely off message and recreate the offer to get more (cheap) prospects.

It happens.

But, after 20 years, I can honestly claim that sales wastage occurs because of a few key factors

  • Poor sales prospect qualification
  • Poorly defined sales prospect identification
  • Questionable sales pipeline management
  • Busy fool syndrome

The great news is…ALL OF THESE ARE SOLVABLE!

So, having identified the causes of sales wastage, let’s look at

Getting Rid of Waste in the Sales Process

Here’s the short answers to minimising waste in your sales process, and it starts with one clear message, look at what you put in your sales funnel and look at how you manage your sales pipeline.

Rubbish Leads In = Rubbish Business Out

So:

  • Have a clear and detailed view of what your perfect prospect looks like, create some real characteristics for this avatar.
  • Set some tough qualifying questions.
  • Look at the go and no-go responses for key buying criteria questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to reject prospects that don’t fit your perfect profiled client…it’s tough to start with but soon you’ll be too busy with your perfect clients to pander to the needs of ‘nearly good enough’ prospects.

To expand:

Look at the risk and the value of the prospect…and set out very early on to be rigorous in the qualification of this prospect in terms of budget, intent, time scales, alternative solutions, other providers, doing nothing, motivation to change, commitment to act, motivational forces, profile of purchase, part in a bigger picture/process.

Ensure the buying process is very clearly defined very early on. Be super aware of deviations from the agreed buying process.

Understand the buying process, the buying criteria and who is involved in the decision to go or not go.

Identify the game changers up front – what could cause the buyer to change their mind, alter their thinking, modify their course of action (and establish how that impacts on you)

Never leave a single interaction without agreeing the next action and where that action sits in the process.

Be conscious of sales timeline creep, simply because are deadlines being missed in the buying process.

Look at the nature of the interaction with the client, moreover is the sales person acting as a free consultancy resource?

Is the buyer responsive, committed, working in partnership or do you still have ‘supplier’ status where you’re chasing the deal?

Of course, a super savvy sales person will be clued up on all of this all the time…or will they.

I think some will, but I think the majority won’t.

If you want to ensure all of the sales team work this way all of the time, then check out this blog post from last week – it will change how you look at making sales and running a sales team.

Plus if you want a further insight into improving sales performance – hit this link

Summary: Minimising Wastage in the Sales Process

Sales wastage will be costing your business a huge and largely unquantifiable sum. So, it’s serious.

So, it deserves your attention.

I’ve seen sales conversion rates go form 1:25 to 1:3 in the matter of weeks using the basics outlined here.

It’s almost like doubling the output of your sales team without doubling the size (and costs) of your sales team.

Efficiency is a state of mind. Busy is also a state of mind, it matters a lot which one your sales team have, because you have to ask: what’s that costing the business?

Watch out in the next few weeks for an insight into what creates a great sales process, the individual building blocks and the points where you’re most likely to lose sales…also, if you think you’ve got the perfect sales process, how you can get to work on checking out those sales metrics and making sure you’re getting optimum results – download your free guide here – 7 Sales Metrics to Measure, Manage and Monitor

If you’ve any questions regarding your sales process get in contact

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

Plus – if you’d like to receive weekly sales and business development hits, tips, strategies and insights to boost sales and sales revenues – check out this – it’s free

Sales Meeting: How Not to Send Prospects to Sleep

Sales Meeting: How Not to Send Prospects to Sleep

Prospect Sales Meeting – Wake Up!

Your prospective buyer is NOT here to entertain and educate you during a sales meeting.

You might wish they were, but they’re just not.

Surprisingly, some sales people haven’t cottoned on to this yet.

That has some disastrous results, like:

  • Prospects runs the sales meeting!
  • Your agenda gets hijacked by the prospect!
  • The prospect ends up no wiser than when the sales meeting started!

The Result?

It’s easy for the prospect to think he doesn’t need your product, your service or (and this is the killer) your expertise

You know what that means?

You’ve just lost the sale….(and the prospect thinks you’re a drip, but nothing I can do about that).

So, if you’re running your prospect sales meetings on auto-pilot, here’s your wake up call…

How to Rock the Sales Meeting…

The prospect needs to enjoy the sales process

And that starts with him enjoying the sales meeting.

Silly as it may see, it’s very true.

Boring meeting – chances of a sales just dipped…a lot.

Keep the prospect engaged, that means making your presentation interesting.

Research done a few years ago said that story telling was the key to this. I panicked like crazy because too many sales people take that statement at face value and wonder why their sales pipeline collapses.

It’s Story Telling…but not as we know it.

You’re stories have to be; short, client focused, results/outcomes orientated, relevant, appropriate and in case you missed it the first time – SHORT.

Those stories should also educate the client…and not just simply showcase how great you are at bragging.

And another thing, shouldn’t have to say it but I will, make sure they are true…it’s an illustration not a fairy tale.

On the subject of fairy tales, make sure you share the learning experiences (stumbles) as well as the out right successes, authentic sharing is better than pie in the sky vision.

Plus, your prospect will probably want to follow up your stories with the other participants…

This article here talks about how your whole sales pitch should be scripted like a story – take a read – I don’t know if I agree, it’s a bit too prescriptive for me, but you might like it. I’ve used parts of this in training and myself and it works very well. Try it.

As with any story – it’s got to stir the emotions – it’s got to take the listener (or in this case prospect) through a process of a changed emotional state – so a sales person who can influence and persuade during the retelling of a story is sure to be a step ahead of the rest of the pack – take a look here to see how to make it work for you.

And if you really love the idea of being able to influence and persuade – check out Robert Cialdini

Blast the Boundaries

Other people might say push the boundaries, but that’s if you want to play it safe. Do you?

I love sales meetings, truly loved them, especially with energetic and ambition business owners and sales leaders…just love it.

Why? They have vision and they can play around with ideas, their minds are open, their thinking fluid and they love the challenge of wondering what if…nothing’s off limits to these guys and I just adore that.

Some prospective clients are more reserved.

So pushing boundaries may not be form them. Or maybe it just means baby steps…

It’s ok to push and challenge the prospects thinking, test out his commitment to his existing ideas, invite him to look at things in another way, show him some alternative perspectives, play the ‘what if’ game.

Of course, you still might come back to a nudge past where he was before, but you’re been a person of value, you’ve stretched his mind, you’ve challenged his believes and you’ve given him food for though…all of which will have made sure he valued your input. As a result the prospect may feel even more committed to his original, possibly revised, solution, either way they’ll have a more rounded view…

Be the Smart Cookie

If you’re not the brightest person in the room…go home and work until you are!

You have to (you must!!)  know more than the buyer about what you offer and how it works in his industry and his sector.

That’s just a fundamental must.

It’s also why sector or vertical sales works better than geographical selling.

If you’re selling in a vertical you’ll get to know the industry, the key players, the sector challenges, the competitors and the alternative solutions inside out and back to front…in which case you’re value to the prospect has just sky-rocketed.

You’ll be, or should be, an expert in your solutions in your buyers sector. Kerrrrching!

Ask the Questioning Questions

By this I mean proper questions…

Lots of sales people ask the questions they ask because it leads them to where they want to be in their sales pitch.

You know the prospect knows what you’re doing, right?

That’s why most sales pitches are boring, unimaginative and unproductive.

It’s ok to go off piste with your questions, chase the rabbit if the prospect comes up with something left of field, ask them to explain, feel free to explore how their mind works, give them a chance to vocalise their thinking…you’ll be helping them and you’ll be helping yourself.

In truth, it’s in sessions like these that you’ll uncover the real decision making process, you’ll gain insight into how the prospect thinks and what his key concerns are as well as helping you understand how he buys, why he buys, and why he should buy from you…what more reason do you need for exploring and deviating from your pre-prepped sales pitch…?

Who knows what you might find out…(that none of your competitors will ever get to know)

And lastly…

Make sure you enjoy it too…sales is hard enough, without doing business with people who son’t  respect or understand the value you bring to the table.

If you’re looking for insight into how to get more out of your prospect sales meeting – pop along here and check out this

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

If you’d like to receive regular updates and insights, hints and tips and other goodies that will help you boost sales results, increase sales conversions, maximise profits and generally make your sales process as slick and effective as possible – join us here

 

Sales Performance – What Do You Really, Really Want?

Sales Performance – What Do You Really, Really Want?

Sales Performance – What Do You Really, Really Want?

Sales Performance – the puzzle for anyone in sales management.

Bigger? More? Faster?

But what does Sales Performance means to you, and how do you measure it?

I ask this question a lot.

Every business and sales leader I know wants better sales performance. Every single one.

Ask those same people to define what ‘better sales performance’ means and it gets more complicated.

It turns out a simple question generates a very long list, all under the heading of ‘better’

The mind-blowing thing is that the long list is long because it’s pointless!

While we’re on the subject of sales performance – interesting article on this very subject here – well worth a read.

Sales Performance – What Do We Mean?

Bottom line, for most businesses they want more customers, spending more money, more frequently.

They also want short sales cycles, decent margins and a flowing sales pipeline.

You and I can buy into that. It makes sense.

BUT, here’s what happens in reality.

The key person, or group of people, responsible for bringing on board more customers, encouraging them to spend more money, more frequently, are also the same people that are often handling customer account, queries, complaints, emails, and all manner of other functions that actually STOP them achieving their goal of recruiting  more customers, spending more money, more frequently.

What?!?

But it’s true.

How to ACE Sales Performance – The Plug and Play Sales Model 

Rule Number 1 – let the sales team do what they are good at.

Let the sales team so what you recruited them to do and what you want them to do! 

You wouldn’t expect a top level chef to wash the kitchen down at the end of the night, or have a major fashion designer order stationery…it’s not playing to their strengths and the truth is they’d be the most expensive cleaner and office junior imaginable.

It doesn’t happen.

Yet, it happens so frequently in sales teams – it’s almost like we imagine that anything to do with the customer is ‘sale’s job’

It’s not.

A slick sales operation has sales people selling 100% percent of the time.

Sales people don’t manage accounts – that’s for account managers.

Sales people don’t handle customer complaints – that’s for customer service

You get it so….I won’t go on

Rule Number 2 – isolate every function in your sales pipeline if you want real sales performance clarity.

Who’s generating the leads?

Then, who’s contacting the customer to sell?

And, who’s managing the existing customer accounts?

know this – Sales in a production line.

Think about the car manufacture production line – if the same guy that bolts the chassis is also running to the end of the line to polish the car before dispatch – well, guess how many cars get made and finished that day? NONE!

It’s the same with your sales production line – when everybody does everything – nothing gets done! Or if it does, it gets done more slowly than it should, which means it’s also more costly.

Even worse – if you do have sales performance issues…can you identify them in a heart beat? Not a chance.

Can you solve them easily? That would be no!

Having true clear transparency around every sales function in the sales production line with real time KPI’s and sales metrics can see your sales rocket.

It’s the fastest way to get your sales engine roaring.

Rule number 3 – monitor and manage your sales metrics religiously.

KPI’s at each of the gates in your sales process will let you see where you’re wasting resources – that might be time, leads, conversions or profits….or maybe all three.

Keeping a close eye on your key metrics is vital if you’re driving for optimum sales performance.

Sales is very scientific in that you can have a process of Continuous Sales Improvement – hour by hour, day by day, week by week…then all of a sudden you’ve had your best quarter yet because this the only way to consistently drive improved sales performance

Sales Performance – Quick Summary

Make sure your sales guys do what only your sales guys can do! Multitasking will kill your productivity and chances of success in a heart beat, because your sales people will never be your best administrators!

Have a very transparent sales function process with key metrics at each stage because that’s the fastest way to see where your sales leakage is taking place. Hit the link here if you want to know what sales metrics to monitor in your sales team.

This might mean having a research team, an appointment setting team, a sales team, a customer service team. Or maybe your team equates to just one person in each function. You can do the maths, moreover separate functions work best because you get total clarity along your whole sales process.

And Finally:

Know your numbers at each of the gates in the sales process because that way, if the sales results aren’t what you expect you can IMMEDIATELY see where the leak is…and that usually means a speedy fix too.

If you’d like to discuss your sales team and sales performance – do contact me on the details below, because every day wasted in sub standard sales mode costs you money.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

Plus check out my blog for further sales and business development insights because it’s the fastest and easiest way to start boosting sales performance.

Competitive Strategy – Do You Just Drop Your Price?

Competitive Strategy – Do You Just Drop Your Price?

Competitive strategy allows you lots of options.

Competitive strategy takes more than simply dropping the price.

Discover how lowering price is not the best differentiator when you’re trying to boost sales, profits and market share, and why simply distracting the market with cheaper prices is the last thing you should do.

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