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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

How to Close Profitable Sales

How to Close Profitable Sales

How to Close Profitable Sales – What Do You Need To Know?

Discover how to close profitable sales and it saves time, turnover, profit, reputation, resources and sanity.

Get it wrong and welcome to inaccurate sales forecasts, deals left wide open for the competitors to walk into and pick up, profit drains, instability and poor ability for forecast.

Knowing how to close profitable sales could be the difference between a high stress low margin sales environment and a solid, stable sales machine.

How to Close Profitable Sales?

Golden Rule: Always be prepared to leave a deal on the table.

Any exceptions to this? Not that I can think of.

Let the deal mature. Keep in contact, keep it warm, but hold the line.

Just because the buyer hasn’t snapped your hand off on receipt of the proposal, just because they haven’t got back to you when they said then would, and just because they haven’t responded to your email….

Just hold fire.

None of this means the deal is dead.

Avoid falling into the trap many sales people will happily dive head first into given the first sign of coolness from the Buyer.

You see, a regular jobbing sales person will get scared.

At the first sign of coolness from the prospect, they’ll simply assume the deal is being made with a competitor and they’re missing out.

It’s not always the case.

In fact, it’s often NOT the case.

Not Every Sale is a Good Sale!

A sale at any cost is just a race to the bottom.

And, typically the first reaction to a ‘cooler’ buyer is to start panicing, and try to cut a deal.

Any deal.

The first thing to get a hair cut is the price…margins get stripped out in exchange for a speedy signature on the dotted line.

WOW…savvy Buyer who uses that trick…stall a few days and watch the price crumble…first lesson in Purchasing School.

But what if the Buyer then accepts your lower price and STILL drags his heels?

You’ll knock the price back up to the higher, original level?

Good luck with that…please write and let me know how you get on.

The truth is – panic, negotiate and you’ll drop credibility and the business loses profit…and you’ve got to work hard to replace what you originally had, or could have had.

Congratulations, welcome to the Hamster Wheel….start running!

Lesson? You know the lesson….hold the line.

Want to Improve Your Profitable Close Rate?

Get a great deal to the table, lock it in and leave it there.

Here’s how.

Of course, make sure you keep in contact with the Buyer, make sure the Buyer has everything needed to make their decision in your favour.

But, the cast iron opportunity to REALLY protect yourself from this panic driven desperation, that costs you your reputation, credibility, pipeline, margin, commission and self respect, is to look at what’s happening during the sales process and how you interact with the buyer.

Closing Well Means Nothing If Your Sales Pitch Stinks!

Think about this…because it matters a lot if you want to discover how to close profitable sales

During your sales demonstration, you will have been careful to build a strong relationship with the Buyer, to do this you’ll have:

  • Checked and double checked you’re dealing with the decision maker because your time, expertise and insights are too precious to waste.
  • Checked budget and budget availability because you don’t want to spend time with the wrong person or zero budget prospects
  • Mapped the decision making process with the decision maker because that’s how you keep track of where you both are.
  • Uncovered the buying criteria because you need to know their expectations and buying pathways.
  • Uncovered the date the decision will be made by, based on when the product/solution need to be in place, because this will help you track the deal though your sales funnel and sales pipeline
  • Gained the prospect’s trust and asked detailed questions around implications associated with the purchase because you need to understand motivators and pain points.
  • Explored the extent of their relationships with your competitors and potential substitute solutions, or work arounds, because this tells you how much they need/don’t need your product/service
  • Investigated possible hurdles too because you need to explore these thoroughly and early on in the sales pitch
  • Coaxed out explicit and implicit objections and dealt with them because you NEVER want to have these bite you right before signatures are due.
  • Been able to provide some kind of financial indicator, maybe not an absolute figure, but a range; and in doing so you’ll have been able to assess, respond to and justify your costing in a totally transparent way because a robust ROI is one of the biggest closing techniques you’ll have access to.

You’ll have done all that won’t you?

If you haven’t then check this out….How to Sell.

As a result you’ll also have formed a relationship of value, integrity and openness, for both of you.

These are the very basics. Miss any of these elements out at your peril.

With all that done, have some faith.

Will all that in place how to close profitable sales just becomes a question of timing, not skill.

What Else Can You Do To Close the Sale and Get the Order?

Hold the line….BUT keep this in mind:

The In Principle Decision

 The order’s not in until the signature is on the dotted line, but that doesn’t stop you asking for an in principle decision, such that your buyer gives you a ‘yes’ pending agreeing a date to get the actual order signed and back to you.

Own It!

It doesn’t stop you being highly assumptive.

I see a million sales a year drop through the cracks because the sales person is way too reticent in claiming ownership of the order and letting the prospect know that they have claimed responsibility for the order and getting it to order completion.

Own it! Push it!

Make it Easy for the Buyer to Say YES!

Your aim through this whole process is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to say yes.

Take all the pain away, all the admin, all the responsibility to getting the order signed off, such that all the buyer is required to do is to email you a P.O.

Make Friends with the Decision Making Family

Make sure you’ve got all the influencers, all the referrers, all the other decision makers lined up and in agreement with your solution.

Sure, this is hard work…it takes time.

It costs a lot, but it’s worth a lot.

Having done all of that here’s what you don’t do.

What You Don’t Do If You Want To Close Profitable Sales.

You Don’t Panic

Silence is NOT a coded message from the Buyer for you to think ‘Let’s call the prospect and halve the price’…unless that’s how YOU interpret and YOU react.

You’d be surprised how many sales people have that very strong connect in their head.

It’s deadly.

You Don’t Assume – ASK!

You’ve build a good relationship with the Buyer, you can ask some direct questions.

What’s the hold up?

Is there any other information you need from me?

Do I need to meet with anyone else to expedite this through for you?

Are you going to place your order with my business?

Has anything changed since we met?

Is there anyone else involved that I’m not aware of? 

How to Close Profitable Sales and NOT Panic

So, here are a few things you can do to ring fence the times when you may be left hanging, and to prevent radio silence from the prospect:

  • Put an expiry date on all of your proposals.
  • Make sure you get a firm ‘yes’, even in principle, before you leave the meeting.
  • You must ask for the business as part of your sales demonstration.
  • Don’t leave the meeting without closing. Closing with the promise to send an email proposal will make you a busy sales person, not a rich one.

Stop Working for Zero Reward

If you’re serious about closing profitable sales then this is an absolute must, which you can choose to ignore this at your peril.

How and when you set this up will either make you a busy admin gofer, or will make you a fortune.

You pick!

Let me ask you:

What’s the one question you could ask, once the Buyer has told you that you’ve got his business ‘in principle’ that would indicate to you what the buyer’s real intent is?

Just one question…

Do you know what it is?

Any idea?

It’s this:

That’s great Mr Buyer, I’m so glad we’ve got this opportunity to work together, now, do you have your diary for next week, I can come back in on Wednesday or Thursday to go through the paper work with you, explain the quote/conditions in full and answer any questions you have, and the you can place your order. Now, which one of those days is better for you?

That’s it.

One question.

Will save you a fortune in time, selling time and admin time, it will save you chasing quotes that won’t fall in your favour, it will prevent you forecasting a deal that’s never going to materialise… it will tell you if you’re dealing with a buyer who is actually willing to do business with you.

Just one questions – the guess work and the mystery falls away.

Panic gone.

You know!

If you ask for an opportunity to come back in to present your proposal and the Buyer says ‘no’ then you have a very strong idea of where his intentions are.

That’s very useful.

Truly, very valuable.

It’s an opportunity for you to re-pitch, to re-explore, to challenge and re-close , or to move on.

So, having asked and secured the opportunity to come back and present the proposal, you can be confident that the only reason you are being accepted back to present a proposal is that the Buyer is sufficiently engaged and excited by what you had to say the last time you met.

And that the Buyer is ready to do business with you.

The Emotional Dip

But still, here’s what will have happened since you last met with the Buyer:

  • As time has passed his excitement will not have increased – it will have diminished and it will have diminished rapidly and steeply.
  • Plus, he may have seen your competitors, spoken with nay-sayers within the business, come up with a whole different list of potential objection or questions.
  • He may have ruminated on some of your words, some positively, some negatively, but the end results is that his thinking may be lacking the clarity it had when you last met.

The Second Meeting to Sign the Order – It’s Still a Sales Pitch!

In going back with the written proposal you have a chance to remind him of what his issues are, what the cost of not addressing those issues is, why he needs to get serious about addressing the issues now and why he should select you.

This is not a duplicate visit of the first meeting.

This meeting is a chance to reinvigorate, regenerate, re-engineer and revitalise the Buyer and get a signature.

You must walk through the door believing, acting and talking as if you’ve already won the business.

This is a highly assumptive pitch meeting and NOT a fact check.

This is about understanding how to close profitable sales because every Buyer contact is an opportunity to maximise your chances at getting the price you want and the order signed as fast as possible. To do that you must make every single Buyer interaction high value from the Buyer’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just one of the many push sales guys out there who have yet to discover how to close profitable sales with skill and mastery!

What to Tell the Buyer About the Second Meeting

When you book this meeting you must let the Buyer know that you will be returning to confirm the solution, answer any questions and get the order signed.

Get comfortable in using this language; in fact you should use this language.

Be absolutely clear with your language and your intent.

You’ve done all the hard work, this is not the time to be reticent and hang back.

This is the time to be confident.

After all, if the Buyer was going to reject you, he wouldn’t have given you all the information you need to generate a proposal.

Plus, being clear, succinct and direct when you book the second meeting, then everyone knows what is required of them at the next stage.

If you have the deal, the Buyer will easily agree to this request.

If you haven’t got the deal, and the Buyer, doesn’t want to tell you directly, then (if they are like many Buyers) they will decline or possibly accept then send you an email to cancel the second meeting. That’s how cowards behave.

The conversation might go something like this…

I’ll prepare the proposal based on my research to date and our conversations, specifically considering your challenges, timescales and budgets, so our next meeting can focus on moving forward, getting the order signed and what happens when we start supplying you. Is that ok with you?

Should it scare the buyer?

Not really.

What it should do is to focus the Buyer’s mind.

You need the Buyer to understand that you are there because you want to do business with him and are serious about working with his firm.

And that’s ok. He should be too.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In learning how to close profitable sales, it’s only to be expected that the Buyer might well push back a little, because he can see what his decision should be, but that doesn’t stop him fighting against it which means he may well end the meeting by asking you to give him time to think.

Here’s what you do:

You ask the following:

  • What is it specifically you need to think about, I’d be happy to help you work it through….
  • Can you give me some insight into what you are thinking, your initial reaction, at this moment?
  • Is it you think that the business/board won’t support you on this?
  • How viable is this proposition?
  • Does it seem viable and reasonable to you?
  • What are the further concerns I need to address?
  • Ok– is next Tuesday or next Thursday better for you, I’ll come in, answer any questions and collect the signed paperwork…

Couple of things you may be thinking here:

Are You Being Pushy?

Maybe.

A little back bone at this stage means that you should know exactly where you stand before you leave the Buyer’s office.

You know whether to spend any time on the proposal because, after all, writing proposals can take up huge amounts of time.

But more importantly the Buyer knows what you expect of him!

You are not just going to let him off the hook…drift off into the sunset and chalk this one up to ‘nice chat’ or ‘maybe sometime’

Especially not after you’ve done a thorough sales investigation, mapped out solutions, shared your expertise and vast experience, presented additional insights he’d not considered as well as help him work through the reality of his challenges and pathways to success….

If you have done your sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you have a right to ask these questions.

If you haven’t done the sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you’re not in a position to ask these questions.

Don’t even try, because you’ll sound like the worst kind of shiny suited wide boy because that just won’t wash with the buyer.

So, How to Close Profitable Sales…

Just remember, hold the line because after you’ve invested all this time and uncovered a viable prospect, and because, it’s just what you must do to maintain credibility (and self respect).

Getting comfortable with being in charge of the sales process, which means getting comfortable with the sign off stage because that’s how you close profitable sales, since it takes practice and backbone, learn to hold the line because it’s worth it.

For ongoing weekly insights into how you can boost sales, drive business development and accelerate your sales growth just hit the link here because it’s the fastest way to work on improving your overall sales skills.

How to Close Profitable Sales is just one blog of our articles – check out more insights into building a solid and stable sales pipeline, accelerating sales growth and closing good quality business, quickly by hopping over to our blog http://www.mortonkylesalesimprovement.com use the search function to find whatever you’re looking for.

You can check out some of our additional Sales Improvement Reports here:

How to Generate High Quality Sales Prospects

10 Steps to Out Sell the Competition

How You Can Increase Profits by Avoiding the Commodity Gap

How to Fill the Diary with High Quality Sales Appointments

How to Recruit the Best Sales Talent into Your Business and Reduce the Costly Risks

How to Close Profitable Sales (c) Morton Kyle Limited

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

 

 

Problem Solving in Sales Performance and Sales Results Improvement: 3 Easy Steps

Problem Solving in Sales Performance and Sales Results Improvement: 3 Easy Steps

3 Easy Steps to Being a Sales Detective

Sales Performance and Sales Results Matter! Making sure that the key metrics are on point all through the month is key, plus having the skills and insights to reverse any decline and accelerate any upward trends is vital.

But, before that you’ll need to learn how to be a Sales Detective, embrace the fact that your  favourite question will now be ‘WHY?’

That’s the BIG WHY…

  • Sales results aren’t as they should be…
  • Consistent performance is so elusive because sales performance and sales results are is over the place…
  • Why profit is a fluctuating feast or famine.

In a nut shell…we need you to discover the answer to the question every sales leader asks himself on a very regular basis

Why Am I Getting this Level of Sales Performance and Sales Results?

It’s not what you think…the answer, that is. It never is because there’s always more. So much more!

So here’s your 3 step guide to uncovering they you’re getting the sales performance and sales results you are

The 5 Whys

Write your sales performance and sales results problem down and then ask why.

To that response ask another ‘why’

To that response ask ‘why’ a third time

And so on, until there are no more different responses

The truth is, you’ll get two dozen reasons…some of those reasons will be big, some small. Some of those reasons will be part of one bigger reason, some will be stand alone reasons, some reasons will already be known to you and others will be new.

The skill here is just to keep asking ‘why’ until you get to the fundamental and most basic of answers.

For example – why are the sales guys diaries empty?

Your first response could be – lazy sales team

Why? We recruited badly, cheap people, poor commission structure

Why? We’re not making any money, couldn’t afford better people

Why? Competitors are killing us

Why? We’re too expensive

Why? Competing with China

Why? We’ve always done it this way

Why? It’s all that we know

Why…..

Because the empty sales guy’s diaries is only a manifestation of a problem then getting to the root cause is what makes the solution much easier

Cause and Effect 

Get a large blank piece of paper. At the centre of the page write the problem…empty sales guy’s diaries.

Down the middle left hand side write all the possible causes of that.

Down the far left hand side write all the causes of the first line of causes.

And so on and so on…

Down the middle right hand side list all the implications, or consequences of that.

Down the far and side list all the further implications and consequences

What you’ll start to see down the left hand side is some of the common elements that cause the empty sales diaries

What you’ll see down the right hand side is an order of the impact…so you can see if this is a problem that is worth applying your time and intellect to.

For example, if the implications are few, it may be a problem you have to deal with, but perhaps there are bigger problems with more far reaching consequences.

You might come to the conclusion that actually the empty sales diary is the result of poor territory management, data selection and prospect clarity because that’s the REAL cause, rather than just blaming it on the reward and bonus structure.

Sales Performance and Sales Results – Best Practice Gap Analysis

Look at the whole sales process – you should have this mapped out, it should be universal and it should be standard practice across the business. If you want to know why you should have a well documented sales process – check this out – Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue

Look at which of the sales guys perform best in each section of the sales process.

Now look at which of the sales guys perform worst in each section of the sales process.

Now you’ve identified another set of causes or you’ve confirmed the causes you’ve identified above.

Pitfalls of Being a Sales Detective

In your role as Sales Detective, you’ll have to fight the continual urge to solve the problem immediately.

That’s not your primary concern…if you do that, you’ll simply be falling into the same trap that many sales leader do.

The skill is in being able to STOP trying to find the solution long enough to allow you to discover what the REAL problem is.

Once you’ve discovered the REAL problem then you’ll most likely be able to solve the sales problems in a heart beat.

Solutions

So now you have now identified all the key causes and problems that manifest themselves in poor sales performance and sales results.

Now you’ve identified some of the causes then you’re able to evaluate a plethora of suitable solutions because there is never just one simple fix.

Filter through the solutions – apply some creative thinking and beware of some of the pitfalls that will destroy your decision making capabilities 

If you’d like to understand more about the absolute sales performance of your sales and business development function and how to increase sales and reduce wastage in the sales unit – let me know.

The Morton Kyle Sales Audit is an intensive diagnostic and sales improvement tool, because it’s specifically designed to facilitate rapid sales performance and sales results turnaround.

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

For further insights into improving sales performance and sales results because every day lost really does cost you, then download Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow – a report on how to create value in your business

Plus – here’s a blog case study showing how to increase sales conversions and profits – Here’s the link

Your can also download some of our most recent sales improvement reports right here:

How to Generate High Quality Sales Prospects

10 Steps to Out Sell the Competition

How You Can Increase Profits by Avoiding the Commodity Gap

Fill the Diary with High Quality Sales Appointments

How to Recruit the Best Sales Talent into Your Business and Reduce the Costly Risks

Plus for other sales performance and sales results improvement insights – check out the blog – Morton Kyle Sales Improvement

 

 

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

 

How to Improve Sales Performance: The Friday Sales Rant

How to Improve Sales Performance: The Friday Sales Rant

How to Improve Sales Performance: The Friday Sales Rant!

You’d be surprised what businesses will do to improve sales performance.

You’d be surprised the lengths they’ll go to, the resources they’ll commit and the efforts they’ll expend all in an effort to improve sales performance.

Selling their soul? No…but not far off.

So, why, why, why, why do business owners and sales leaders miss this one simple trick? Continue reading