Sales Leadership

Home / Archive by category "Sales Leadership"
Sales Improvement – 6 Ways to Amp Your Sales Results on Zero Budget

Sales Improvement – 6 Ways to Amp Your Sales Results on Zero Budget

What is not having a system that delivers predictable sales results costing your business?

Every firm is seeking continuous sales improvement. They would like to achieve that on zero budget. Every firm seeks predictability and stability.

It’s the Holy Grail because once you’ve cracked that formula for your sales lead generation and closing, then you can simply plug and play and collect the cash. Simply put your sales process delivers great sales results consistently. Primarily due, to a large degree, to you removing many of the failing and costly variables in the sales process variables.

The result? Predictable sales growth, high level of sales stability, fewer peaks and troughs. Plus higher levels of confidence in the future…exciting times? You bet!

And it won’t cost you, because you’ve probably already got all the resources you need…it’s the application of those resources that’s causing the gap.

It why so many firms miss out on implementing the key elements of a predictable sales system!

It’s costing them, and maybe you, fortunes, every single day. Business is sitting on the table or even worse dropping into competitors laps way too easily…and what’s even worse is that margins are being compromised on sales that are landed.

Predictable Sales Results and Continuous Sales Improvement

I’ve completed two quite intense sales audits this month and something struck me as quite odd.

Whilst writing their respective and separate 30 day improvement plans, I saw more than a few common elements between the two firms problems. The common elements existed even though the sales teams operated in different industries, selling different products, each firm operated at different price points and are selling in to different decision maker levels.

What was even stranger was the key common elements existed even though one firm was doing ok, but had plateaued, whilst the other sales function was in a real long term sales dry patch.

Despite all of this the root causes were essentially the same.

The question is; are they the same for your business too?

So What Does That Mean?

Very few firms go from soaring success to total sales nose dive over night. Maybe occasionally if there is some disaster or unplanned legislative changes, so I can can accept that depressed sales performance is a spectrum that can slowly morph from a plateau to a dip to a dive to insolvency…

However, this doesn’t distract from the fact that there are critical success factors. It is the absence of these critical sales success factors that sets of the chain of events that see sales results start to slip and then dive…

Predictable Sales Results – Is Your Sales Function In Danger?

When you look at this list below, just remember that any sales function can address these issues immediately. Remember that providing your take quick action you’ll see some sales improvements.

I hope the list gives you food for thought, and also a cause to take action if you’re seeking predictable sales results and the huge benefits associated with such predictability.

How many of these easy to fix sales improvement options are available to your sales function, and what could your sales results be if you looked at implementing just a few over the next month?

Don’t try to do all of these at once.

You’ll get on everyone’s nerves and be the sales dictator that no-one signed up for. Just pick two or three and see what happens:

  1. Look at your sales management information at least half daily…personally I like hourly because that way there can be no slippage…but half day might work for you. This does two things. Firstly, you get an opportunity to praise high activity/high results success. You get to ask questions and unblock any issues with the rest of the team. Without a decent level of activity, everything else is meaningless. Get on top of activity and stay there. Which does not mean managing the team by numbers – any monkey can do that – look at their conversion rates, look at the meaningful outcomes, look at who is closing, advancing sales and who is simply going through the motions.
  2. Don’t confuse talk time or client facing time with selling time, review the selling process. Are sales execs qualifying hard enough? Closing soon enough? Educating, questioning, advancing the sale fast enough? Are they having an easy chat and picking the low hanging fruit?
  3. Get embedded in the team – the fastest way for any manager to change the sales performance of the team is to start a high intensity side by side sales coaching program. Don’t think you can do 3 or 4 hrs per day sat coaching the team? Of course you can! get your mobile device so you can work any where and simply plug in. Nothing better than someone listening in to really get a sales person to up the game, and you get the chance for immediate 1:1 feedback. Win!
What Next?

The top three issues should bump your sales results considerably…but there are three more I want to share with you:

  1. Pay attention who the sales execs are pitching to…the number of sales execs that pitch to gate keepers in the hope they will put them through is a shocker (but they need the talk time right? of course, that’s why side by side coaching is so important). It’s also important that your sales execs don’t try to be Idiot Converters
  2. Have a performance improvement plan for everyone, (I call it a sales coaching plan) and just as the doctor leaves your notes at the end of the bed during a hospital stay, fill in the daily report card on what needs to improve daily due to your coaching and guess what? You’ll see fairly rapid sales skills improvement, and the inevitable knock on affect of more sales, better quality sales…in less time.
  3. Don’t treat your performers and your non-performers the same…I’m not explaining this further, you’ll know what I mean by this
So Will You Get Predictable Sales Results?

You’ll be well on your way.

Building a business development, lead generation and sales closing system that delivers predictable sales results is not just 6 bullet point.

The points above are 6 key reasons why firms DON’T get semi predictable sales results, and are in a sales slump/dive.

Don’t ignore the obvious.

The market is no tougher for you than anyone else.

The buyers are no more exasperating with you than your competitors

The economy is not penalising you, it’s impacting all.

Don’t listen to it.

Take control of what you can control (click here if you’re totally out of control or heading that way…) and you’re well on your way to predictable sales results…

Happy Selling

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

P.S. Want to receive a regular feed of sales improvement and business development tips? Then simply claim your weekly free (and span free!) subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever. It’s great for sales meetings, in house sales training, daily coaching and daily huddles…

P.P.S. If you’re looking for a way to create your own internal sales and business development system to predictable sales results…you can find that here TurboCharged Sales 

And if you want to book your very own Sales Audit – hit the link here for more details. Or give me a call for a confidential chat 0779 002 1885

So, lots of ways to get predictable sales results…let me know how you get on

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

Sales Pipeline Management: Do Not Resuscitate

Sales Pipeline Management: Do Not Resuscitate

Sales Pipeline Management: Your Sales Crystal Ball

Sales Pipeline Management is the key to predictable and stable sales performance.

That means sales growth, sales security, certainty and the ability for any business to produce accurate sales forecasts.

So today, whether you’re a sales leader or a sales person, let’s think about your sales pipeline.

How do I know?

Because proactive sales pipeline management is a daily task. For sales professionals their sales pipeline is their true north.

The sales pipeline feeds the sales forecast…so managing the sales pipeline is a high priority task.

The sales pipeline is the holy grail of sales crystal balls.

Your’s isn’t?

It should be.

Sales Pipeline Management Facts

The profile of a typical sales pipeline will show you it’s a mixed bag; for example.

  • You’ll have some great prospects in your sales pipeline
  • Some rubbish in there
  • You will have new leads in there
  • You’ll have some very old leads in there
  • Some entries in your sales pipeline will be ready to close, some just in the process of being opened up
  • Other records will offer you huge sales rewards and some will barely cover the sales acquisition costs
  • Some you’ll love dealing with, some you’ll want to shoot
  • Others won’t know what they want, some will know exactly what they want but can’t afford it
  • Some will be liars, some will be chancers and some will be using you to get a better price to beat your competitor with
  • Occassionally, youll find those who will enjoy your hospitality with no intention of buying from you
  • Some will have told their team to always say they’re in a meeting when you call
  • Often there will be others who will always see you to chat…picking your brains for free is part of the deal…right?
  • Some will think they know best, yet continue to fail, they want to do it the hard way first

Just a fragment of what you might find in a typical sales pipeline…the good, the bad and the ugly is just a cliche, so how about the prospect, the chancer, and the waster?

 

Key reminder: if you’re like most sales teams your sales pipeline is 90% rubble and 10% gold.

 

Sales Pipeline Management: Think Again

I’m not jesting when I tell you that your sales pipeline should be your Holy Grail. It REALLY should be your sales crystal ball.

No-more guessing. No more getting half way through the month and realising the sales target is just not going to happen this month.

No. A great, well managed, quality based sales pipeline gives you and your business all the sales intel they need to remove risk and to provide the basis for a health sales result at the end of every month.

Plus, it’s a great start for a replicable sales and business development team…but that’s an aside.

Today

Today, when you look at your sales pipeline, think about this:

Think about getting rid of all the dead beat prospects, all the prospects that are just taking up space, the ones that your eyes fly over without registering any more, the prospects that give you hell and always want something for nothing, the prospects that take forever to pay, the firms that only use you when your competitors have put their account on stop.

Say no to continually calling those prospects that don’t respond to calls, ignore emails, tell you time and time again that they’re the decision maker when you suspect they’re not.

Reposition those prospects that have said yes 10 times and never sent the order, say goodbye to the prospects who give you grief or just call you in to batter you on price with threats to go to your competitor.

Make today the day you say ENOUGH!

DO NOT RESUSCITATE

Your time is precious. You can earn whatever you want when ever you want, if only you can manage your time.

A poorly managed sales pipeline is a killer.

Undiscerning sales pipeline management will definitely diminish your ability to close business effectively and efficiently.

Poor sales pipeline management will also compromise the quality of the sales you close.

Instead of carting around 600 questionable sales prospects (for example) be very cute and very commercially attuned to where you’re spending your time (and therefore your money), and clean out all the gunk…all those prospects that you’ve been nesting in the hope they’ll somehow wake up to the value you could deliver.

Give Up On Being A Sales Stalker

Surrender the wasters to the universe…at best your competitors will pick them up and get mired in the prospect’s maybe promises.

At worst, you’ll have set yourself free. Free to concentrate your fabulous skills, efforts, talents, time and money on prospects that are worthy of that investment.

So with pride, with head held high, and a huge sense of relief and rebirth slap those DNR stickers all over the prospects that are clueless, spineless, not interested, not worthy and just stuck. Instead, march forward with the brave, the enlightened and the glorious, because that’s what you deserve!

Your sales pipeline is your key to sales glory, endless commission and a genuine joy of doing a great sales job…and your discerning sales pipeline management skills are crucial to you achieving this.

Ditch The Losers!

You owe it to yourself.

Fly higher and devote time to the prospects that have the potential, insight, budget and mindset to work with you.

Don’t compromise on the quality of your sales prospects or the quality based criteria in your sales pipeline.

Your sales pipeline management could be all that stands between you and huge sales success.

Happy Selling

For further insights on sales pipeline management as well as information on how you can boost sales and super charge your business development efforts for free – hit the link – The Advanced Business Achiever

If you want to know how to fill your sales funnel and sales pipeline with high quality sales leads – check this out Leads ++

And if you want to discretely discuss sales improvement in your business – contact me, Carol on 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com

You can also check out the blog for articles on improving sales performance, building replicable and scaleable sales and business development systems as well as sales pipeline management. Act fast, because this is the fastest easiest way to boost sales performance – Morton Kyle Sales Improvement

For further insights into sales pipeline management, sales funnel creation and creating accurate sales forecasts – check this out – tell me more

You can also check out the Morton Kyle Sales Audit for a super fast insight into the real reasons you’re not getting the sales results you want, need and deserve.

Here are some of our most recent sales improvement reports – all free, instant downloads

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

 

 

 

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 Pipeline or Sales Plug Hole?

Sales Pipeline or Sales Plug Hole?

10 Ways to Get the Most From Your Sales Pipeline

Sales Pipeline Abuse!

Let start off by explaining what a sales pipeline is, it is:

Your pay check for the next 12 months and beyond.

The difference between you going on holiday or having to explain to the family why it’s another staycation.

Choices and options –  do you spend your birthday in NYC or Rotherham…

You see where I’m going with this don’t you?

Why?

Do you treat your sales pipeline so shoddily when it’s so important?

Fill it full of half-baked, second rate, tyre kickers?

So many that the good, healthy, profit generating sales prospects either get lost totally or struggle to get the attention they deserve in order to prosper.

It’s because of this one single thing…

Being busy is more important that being effective…chasing a lead is chasing a lead, whether it’s a waste of time /effort or not…

Disagree with me?

Great…it means you know better.

So, this is NOT about time management, it is about how you manage your sales pipeline.

What is a Sales Pipeline – REALLY?

Some firms will map their sales pipeline so that it matches the buying process of their buyers.

Some firms have their own loosely structured sales pipeline.

So, to generalise between those two extremes, you can think about your sales pipeline as your sales forecast in motion.

The sales pipeline can represent a series of stages in the sales and buying process.

At the top of the sales pipeline the sales prospects are relatively unqualified…the nearer those sales prospects move to the end of the sales process the more details become attached and the higher the level of qualification as the discussions turn from possible sales to discussing prices and potential delivery dates.

You can see how it works.

Some firms will attach very specific qualifying criteria to each stage in the sales pipeline. Other firms are much more fluid around what happens at each stage.

In the former, you’ll see prospects held back in the sales pipeline until the sales person can qualify certain information – it may be around budget, sign off date, understanding/mapping the buyer process, meeting the key decision maker or some other business critical insight

Sales Pipeline – Understand This!

A sales pipeline is a flowing source of information.

It’s organic.

It moves often, maybe daily, maybe several times daily, weekly, monthly, depending on your sales cycle duration, order value and sector.

Either way, the crux is, it moves.

It doesn’t bulge out of control…at every one of the sales stages – there is a chance to decide if you keep that sales prospect in the sales pipeline and progress them to the next stage or if you ditch the prospect or simply take them back to a previous stage in light of new information.

Your sales pipeline directs all your daily activity.

Not enough sales prospects in your sales pipeline due to drop at a certain stage? Better get on with topping up the sales funnel then.

To many sales leads dropping out? Maybe need to tighten up the sales qualification criteria at the start of the sales process.

Sales prospects dropping out due to one factor? Maybe need to look at how expectations are being managed earlier on in the process.

Inaccurate sales forecast? Maybe a tighter sales pipeline with more specific criteria.

Your sales pipeline and the sales forecast it creates is vital to your business…it’s the resource planning, funding, operational blue print, so accuracy, management, maintenance are all vital.

So…

To Get the Best From Your Sales Pipeline:
  1. Refer to your sales pipeline daily to direct you most urgent sales activities, your sales pipeline should direct your day, what do you need to create today? More appointments? More quotes? Are you chasing existing clients today or closing deals? What’s your activity? Your sales pipeline will show you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to push for the information you need at all stages in the sales process…a serious buyer will be happy to answer your questions as best they can….or tell you why they can’t.
  3. Pension sales prospects off if they have stagnated for unexplained reasons i.e. the prospect has stopped returning calls/responding to emails…don’t be a sales stalker.
  4. Understand the difference between being busy and being effective, some business will never be worth chasing.
  5. Allocate your resources carefully to protect yourself and your resources – beware of prospects just wanting a price, or those who are just at the ‘thinking about it stage’ and seem happy to stay there…
  6. Check the next stage in the buyers mind to ensure you’re always on the same journey, together and with the same map…otherwise you’re not partners in the process as you’ve different understanding of the situation
  7. Make sure you’ve done a very thorough fact find and be mindful that facts can change, i.e. another referrer/influencer needs to be convinced, the late entry of a competitor, a change in budget, change of delivery date…keep checking the important questions
  8. Credit check the sales prospects in your sales pipeline…you may check then at the beginning, but you should be checking them periodically though the sales process too…you don’t want to get to order sign off stage and find the prospect lacks credit worthiness.
  9. Be scrupulously honest with yourself when you’re working your sales pipeline…don’t delude yourself…if things in your sales pipeline look shaky then the sooner you take remedial action, let someone know and get additional support, the greater your chances of success…head in the sand is not a good tactic for remaining successful in sales…
  10. Neither is relying on blind luck…the great thing about an active sales forecast is it lets you work out what your very own sales recipe is. How many cold calls:meetings:quotes:orders do you need to hit your target? Once you know this you know everything you need to know to optimise your sales earnings…learn what this recipe/formula is for you ASAP and work on the leaks continually…
The truth is – your sales pipeline is either a major asset or a wasted money making opportunity…which is it?

Also, consider this, rejecting or ejecting unworthy sales prospects early on saves a mountain of time, money, resource…because dragging an unwilling and unqualified prospect through to the sales close at which point they reject your proposal is dangerous and it’s a money pit with no end in sight…actual costs plus opportunity costs all start to mount up.

Be diligent about the sales leads you progress early on. It may cost thousands to get a sales prospect to the end of the sales process, if the chances of conversion are low, ensure you qualify hard at the start of the sales process.

Look out for a new blog on sales conversion rates tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are a selection of free guides to help you create a robust sales pipeline. They’ll  help you create a profit generating sales funnel – free instant download – just hit the link.

How to Generate High Quality, High Converting Telephone Sales Appointments

Only Dead Fish Go With the Flow

10 Steps to Out Sell the Competition

20 Ways to Price Like a Pro! – Creating Hungry Sales Prospects

Just hit the links above and the reports are available for instant download

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

p.s. For free weekly insights into what’s new in sales, business development and profit creation – sign up to the Advanced Business Achiever – it’s free.

Not Just Sales People – Value Added Problem Solvers

Not Just Sales People – Value Added Problem Solvers

Changing Times

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

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

Some of them stick, some of them fade.

Many work, some don’t.

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

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

Sales Is Not About Selling…And It Never Has Been

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sales Skills Tool Box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future of Sales People

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

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

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

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

So, anyone can be a business developer?

I don’t think so.

What do you think?

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

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

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

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

And this Blog Post

How to Recruit High Performing Business Development Professionals

 

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…..

So you see, the empty sales guy’s diaries is only a manifestation of a problem, therefore 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…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, 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 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. 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

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

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

 

 

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

Sales Performance: A Sales and Business Development System to Deliver Accelerated Sales Growth

Sales Performance: A Sales and Business Development System to Deliver Accelerated Sales Growth

Sales Performance: The Best Sales and Business Development System

Sales and Business Development Functions are worthless if there is no sales and business development system in place which is used throughout the business.

With regard to maximising sales performance, what’s the best sales and business development support system look like?

First of all, let’s think about what your Sales and Business Development System should deliver for you and your business.

We could make this a really complex list and you’d probably go no further than a very complex list, so I’m deliberately going to make my list very simple for you.

Your sales and business development system should deliver:

  1. Quality opportunities that convert to profitable sales
  2. A predictable supply of the above
  3. An opportunity to continuously improve conversions at all stages in the sales process

Just three things. That’s all.

Those three things will deliver you the following:

  1. A regular, predictable and controllable supply of profitable business
  2. An opportunity to accelerate sales growth in a sustainable manner at a controllable rate that is appropriate for your business

What more do you want?

I thought not.

What Should Your Sales and Business Development System Look Like?

Again – it should be really simple.

So simple it’s child’s play.

I’ve seen sales processes that stretch around the block and back again…trust me when I tell you, the more complex your sale process, the more things will go wrong AND, even worse, you’ll rarely be able to find the root cause quickly…that means the sales fix is a million miles away.

Keep it Simple.

Like this:

  • Qualified Leads In
  • Meetings Booked
  • Quotes Out
  • Converted Customers
  • Retained Customers

Too simple?

Too right!

But, in reality, those are the key 5 sections that will affect your profit and your sales throughput.

Sure – there are mini sections inside these 5 sections but the reality is – if you manage these 5 sections and the 4 gates in between them, then you’ll be doing what 90% of the sales teams working today ARE’NT doing.

How good would you feel then?

You see, these four gates (shown in red) – from Leads > Meetings > Quotes > Converted Customers > Retained Customers, will show you exactly what part of your sales process is letting you down.

Once you know that, it’s a very simple deep dive to improve that section.

If you want some guidance on what you can do to improve each of the 5 sections – take a look here.

How to Set Up Your Sales and Business Development System?

3 key rules:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Don’t make it complicated
  3. Remember rule 1 and rule 2

Seriously, I can’t stress it enough…complicated and complex will kill any ambition you have of accelerated sales growth.

You can wave goodbye to highly predictable sales growth and it will cost you heavily in time, profit and opportunity, plus you’ll be forever cursing the day you spent creating a monster that’s unmanageable.

And you know the worst thing? Without such a simple, transparent and segmented sales and business development system, you’ll be FOREVER reliant on the skills of your transient sales team rather than the potency of your sales engine, and if that doesn’t scare you then stop reading now, because if you’re putting your business performance in the hands of the sales team who can up and off, en mass, in a heart beat then you’re playing with fire.

Trust me.

So, top line – how do you set up a Sales and Business Development System for your business?

Take a look here for an initial insight.

Your Sales and Business Development System – 10 Things to Think About.

Transparency – each section (shown above) should have it’s own high level of transparency, it’s own accountability and it’s own check list

Sales Process – have a sales process that EVERYONE sticks to. No deviation, no hesitation, no question – you’ll never be able to scale and replicate a working and profitable sales and business development system if everyone is doing their own thing – this will help you.

Set KPI’s for each of the 4 gates that exist between the 5 sections. They are the KPI’s you manage every single minute of every single day

Metrics – for additional sales metrics to check you’re on track – down load this

Lead Quality – be very very careful of the leads you put in the top of your sales process – your sales and business development system will die a slow and painful death if you treat all leads as being of equal value and if you shove any old rubbish in there…no point keeping count if you’re just counting worthless buttons…make sure your leads are high quality, pure gold prospects you’d LOVE to work with – for more details check this out for advice on How to Build A Great Sales Funnel

Get Creative – to drive accelerated sales growth you’ll need to get creative in each of your 5 sections. Here’s two insights  to show you how you can do that – check them out – download – Only Dead Fish Go With the Flow, check out this blog on How To Increase Price.

You’re Selling What? – think about what you’re actually selling, you’ll be able to get a greater insight into this by asking what your customers are actually buying, because once you understand this not only will you be able to accelerate your sales growth you’ll also be able to increase your prices…here’s a guide to help you – just hit this link

Value – think about what value you bring to the buyer at every single stage. If something in your sales process doesn’t deliver value to the buyer, then serious consider getting rid of it.

Managing Poor Sales Performance – you’ll need to be tough, there’s no point putting up with sub par sales performance if you’re a business committed to sales growth – check this out – How to Deal With Poor Sales Performance 

Get Competitive – be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and make some noise, sure you can still keep your operations covert if you wish, but as far as your prospects, buyers and sales force are concerned – be loud and proud – check this out if you want a nudge in that direction.

And one final thing – make sure you’ve got your sales and senior management team on board acting as sales performance improvement functions, sales coaches, sales problem solvers and sales guides…this is a big task and some of your old guard will rally against the change, check here...if you’re committed to accelerated sales growth I know you’ll do what you need to do.

So, can any business set up a sales and business development system?

Yes – any business can.

Few chose to.

Many leave it in the hands of the individual sales functions, sales people, sales managers and they pay the consequences when key sales people leave.

Accelerated sales growth relies on ALL aspects of the business pulling in the same directions – that means any business undertaking such a commitment to increase sales and business performance needs an agreed, workable and sustainable sales and business development system.

Few firms have this.

The cost associated in not having such a system is huge – time, money, market share, brand value, competitor growth, missed opportunity, lack of responsiveness, mediocre business and sales performance…all negatively impacting the bottom line.

I hope you think about how your business could benefit from such a system…

Any questions…call me

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

 

 

 

Sales Manager – Has Your Job Died?

Sales Manager – Has Your Job Died?

Sales Manager

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

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

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

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

Chairman*

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

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

Good Luck.

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

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

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

And another thing…

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

***

Oh dear!

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

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

The questions is, as a Sales Manager:

Will you read it?

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

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

The New Role of the Old Sales Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

…there are more but that just about covers it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not bothered?

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

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

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

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

7 Sales Metrics You MUST Measure, Manage and Monitor

High Converting Call Structures for Generating High Quality Sales Appointments

7 Big Mistakes…

Only Dead Fish Go With the Flow

How to Price Like a Pro

How to Outsell Your Competition

And a few blogs on Sales Performance and Sales Performance Improvement

Habit Beats Knowledge – Every Time

Sales Performance – What Do You Really, Really Want?

And a Free Gift – all your’s

Hit the link here to claim

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

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

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