How to Keep Business Development in the Sales Improvement Zone
The Selling Zone – a wonderful place.
The place where maybe’s convert to money.
And promises become real bankable signatures.
It is, at once, the best and the worst place to be if you’re in sales or business development.
And which one depends on whether you’re riding the waves of sales success or being swamped by silence, shoddy rejections, ghosting prospects and broken promises.
It’s a fine line!
When it’s the latter, it’s tough to see a way to get out of the bad run quickly, claim some high ground wins and start again…
So bad is it that the best advice I can give any B2B sales team is to work really really hard to ensure you don’t get into this position in the first place.
Classic case of prevention being infinitely better than cure…
That way, you only need to do the hard work once!
The best situation is when the Selling Zone is also the Sales Improvement Zone!
The Selling Zone = The Sales Improvement Zone
But that’s not always possible to keep sales performance stable – sometimes sales leaks that turn into sales floods can creep up on you and your team very quickly
So, I’ve written the following specifically for sales leaders and sales managers who want to avoid a trip to the negative side of the Selling Zone.
This is for you too, if you’re not keen on being the only Sales Trouble Shooter in the Business Development function!
And, if you want to help the sales reps maintain positive sales momentum by making sure that every sales day is at least as good as the last sales day, and hopefully better!
As an aside, if you’re looking for a little bit of help on getting something like this set up then check out this to get you started on the right path special sales coaching offer
Daily Sales Training Keeps Business Development Teams in their Selling Zone
But what kind of daily Sales Training are we talking about?
- Listen into a least 6 full blown decision maker presentations every single day. Then, at the end of the day, take 15 mins to share your findings with the whole team, using two headings: ‘here’s what we’re great at’, and here’s ‘what we need to improve’. To be time efficient plug into these calls while you’re sat at your desk. It takes almost no time and there is a huge ongoing payback. Start today!
- Take 10 minutes mid morning every day to focus on one topic that will help the team sell more / book more appointments. It could be ‘how to get past gatekeepers’ ‘how to ask for the order’ or how do deal with X objection’
- Every day, have yesterday’s worst performer sit with yesterday’s best performer, if they’re working remotely, then give the worst performer the best performer’s calls to listen to and learn from
- Ask everyone to keep a daily journal. Daily ask them to document what new techniques did they try, what worked, get then to share there big wins with the team at the end of the week
What Else Can You Do To Support Ongoing Learning in the Sales Team?
- Sales Pledge Huddles – Set aside 10 mins at the start of the day to have a Sales Pledge Huddle – what can everyone commit to deliver today, review again at the end of the day, no-one will want to over promise and under deliver for too many days in a row
- Circulate daily, yesterdays activity and sales success stats. Ear mark the bottom 10% for a 121 that morning. Do a public shout out to the top 3 as a thank you. This supports growth, acknowledges great contribution, and builds in competition
- Tackle poor performance fast – anyone who is consistently below acceptable levels for more than 3 days in 5 gets ‘back to basics’ sales support to get them on track. Plus as part of this they’re put on an an immediate Sales Improvement Plan
- Don’t be afraid to move people on, not everyone is suited to sales. Sales people can often burn out, letting a failing sales person free to pursue a role that suits them better and makes them happier. It is a great kindness.
- Treat every Friday as a month end. Split targets down into weekly targets and always front load the first two weeks of the month. This gives you 52 sales spikes instead of the usual 12 monthly sales spikes
- Get close to sales forecasting – Demanding accuracy and good judgement. Help them understand what good looked like and how to create it.
- Let them be accountable to coming to you and asking for help when they spot sales dips in their focus, make them responsible for their sales future. Show them how you look at their sales figures and let them self diagnose and problem solve, with your help.
Daily Sales Trouble Shooting and Business Development Planning
Be extra vigilant about where the sales trends are going….every single day.
This lies at the heart of good sales improvement. Good sales trouble shooters know this.
But don’t take soul responsibility for this yourself… hold your sales team accountable for doing the same.
Sales improvement is a finely tuned skill to develop.
It only gets stronger the more accountability and responsibility you give to the sales team to help them identify for themselves when things may not be going to plan.
Togther, you and your sales team need to keep attention on things like: contact rates, opened opportunities, quote rates, rejection rates, pipeline movement, regional variations in results, team variations in the key sales metrics, people variations, whether that’s close rate conversions, close-losts, over stuffed sales pipelines, depressed average order values, higher levels of discounting, there are a multitude of sales indicators that can all show you when you have trouble ahead (and under-lying trouble today) – I’ve detailed some of them here, specifically for sales leaders and managers – Become Your Own Internal Sales Trouble Shooter
Sales Trouble Shooter – Solve These Sales Problems Before You Launch Any Business Development and Sales Training Plan
The following sales problems are critical sales fails in many business development teams.
Just being able to spot and react to them early is a major win for a savvy sales leader.
Use this list to see where your team are dropping opportunities they should be winning.
Take each of the following points and ask your team….
It could be in the form of a quiz.
It could be a multi choice
Even works well as a simple call listening in exercise for you.
Whatever you use as a means of testing, the key points to look at are these.
Get Your Sales Team to Assess How Effective their Business Development Efforts Really Are:
Once you’ve outlined what good looks like by sharing best practice calls around the team, put everyone into self reflect mode and ask them….
- Did they effectively navigate the gate keeper and reach the the decision maker?
- Was it clear that they’d been able to grab the sales prospect’s attention quickly and confidently?
- How much of their conversation is a pitch and ditch versus a discovery based sales exchange?
- To what degree did they seek to position themselves as expert advisers and different from their competitors?
- How effectively did they qualify the sales prospect?
- Did they use ROI, case study, success story information as part of the exchange?
- Did they use an agreed sales structure?
- What percentage of the time did they speak versus the prospect speaking?
- Did they ask for what they wanted at the beginning of the call, so as to set up the ‘ask’ later?
- How successful where they in discovering the buyer’s current position?
- Did they address potential and hidden objections before they were raised by the prospect?
- How effective were they in demonstrating value for the prospect?
- Did they use test closes and intent based questions with the prospect?
- Was it evident that they got the sales prospect on side and in ‘buying mode’?
- At the end of the call did they set the agenda for what happens next?
- Did the prospect agree to the next action?
- On reflection – would you have bought from them / booked with them if they’d called you with that pitch?
- What are the key three things they need to get better at quickly?
Need Help to Become a Sales Improvement Trouble Shooter?
Help is available.
At Morton Kyle we run three kinds of sales trouble shooter support services
A done for you solution – this is done vi a Fractional or Interim Sales Leader project. Contact Carol on 0779 002 1885 for details
A done with you solution – this is done via a three month project. The project specifically embed sales trouble shooter / sales improvement thinking into your sales function. Details are here – The 90 Day Fix and Flow – Sales Improvement Challenge
Done with you and your team – this is in the form of a 2 day course. Designed specifically to address all of your sales improvement need. You can check out the details here Sales Improvement Workshop
So, Here’s Your 10 Reasons Why Daily Sales Team Reviews and Sales Training Keeps the Business Development Function in the Selling Zone
- No-one gets a chance to have more than one off day
- Everyone in the sales team feels engaged with because they ARE engaged with
- You’re feeding daily drips of relevant and real world sales wisdom to them, stuff they can use immediately and in bite size format…you get them to start to think like you, and like their prospects!
- The element of competition will drive sales activity – because as much as people will fight it – sales is still partially a numbers game, especially in business development
- Your business development team will quickly see they contribution daily is a must – super for eliminating time wasting tasks – great for time and teak management
- Likewise they’ll understand that wasting time with tyre-kicking prospects who won’t commit doesn’t get them to the top of the sales leader board
- You don’t impact the critical selling time
- It’s a daily chance to change the sales message depending on what you’ve seen within the last 24 hours, so it’s always relevant
- You get to talk specifics – if you see that pipelines are getting over stuffed at one particular stage – that’s your message for the day…
- It’s not all down to you – you’re sharing the daily sales training heavy lifting with those who need to perform, be successful and improve in the team
And finally, and the most important thing:
Your business development team feel invested in, they feel valued, they feel appreciated and they know they are in a growth environment…so you should also see staff retention improve dramatically
They also feel that they are trusted and empowered to run their desk as their desk. To be both creator and problem solver. To be equally responsible and in total control of how they work, operate, and deliver their sales results
It’s easy to stop a sales off day becoming a bad week, a bad month, a shocking quarter…but only if everyone is constantly vigilant regarding cause and effect!
You just need to know what to look at, when, and how to fix it!
So, What To Do Now:
First question – does this feel like too much work for you?
Do you think the payback is not worth the effort?
Sometimes initiatives like this can feel like a lot of work to get started.
You may have questions like
- How do I get started?
- What will the team think?
- How do I cram this into my already packed day?
- What if it fails?
Well, there is a starter solution I’ve put together based on some of the points covered here…
It will be really useful to you if you’re running a sales and business development team.
Especially if your team work predominantly on the telephone or use the telephone to run 80 -100% of the sales and business development process.
You can check out more details here – The Sales Improvement Workshop
It’s a 2 day – sales cours.
Packed with everything you need to know about how to sell in a competitive space.
Learn how to drive accountability back into the team, and build confidence and systems into your day to day sales activity .
Bring your team along and take this journey together.
This is your chance to empower your business development teams to deliver and become their own internal sales trouble shooters!
Now – how great would that be?
If you have any questions – call Carol on 0779 002 1885
Sales training in ambitious B2B business development teams is the first step of a critical sales improvement ladder.
High performance sales teams have a growth mindset…they fix their sales leaks daily
Now you and your team can too!
Working with the business development team and building sales training in to every single day comes with huge paybacks, and is the fastest way to make a considerable difference in your team, your culture and your sales results
For more information, or to book your call – please conplete the form here and we’ll be back in touch
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