You’ve just come out of your own monthly reiew with your management. And it didn’t go well. There were lots of difficult questions you couldn’t answer. If only your sales team was better at what it did, you’re life would be so much better!
Some people are saying these are difficult times. They don’t have to be. There’s still business to be won and sales to be made, you’ve just got to work at it a bit smarter.
Here’s three ideas any sales manager can use to make sure his or her sales team is a winning team rather than a losing team.
A good sales process used well will always increase sales
Got a sales process? Then use it – consistently. It doesn’t matter if it’s an off the shelf methodology like Miller Heiman or something in use in your own organisation. They key is to use it consistently.
Sales team performance and effectiveness has been shown to increase by as much as 40% when sales teams have a clear, proven sales process visible to them.
Without a clear process, the chances are extremely high if you currently have six salespeople on your team, you most likely have six different sales processes going on at once!
No other part of your organisation will be running multiple different processes. Imagine six different accounting processes. You’d laugh. But sales teams do it all the time.
Don’t fool yourself either. I’ve met many sales managers who say they use a sales process – and they don’t. They pay lip service to it. Don’t waste your time – do it properly or not at all (and face the consequences). Also recognise you may just be too close to your own current sales methodology to see the gaps or problems.
If you want to implement or change your current selling process, be careful. You’re not only impacting your own team, you’re impacting the rest of the business as well. It may be advisable to bring in some professional expertise to make sure everythng works out as you’d like.
If you’re considering implementing or changing your current sales process, call me on +357 99 860725 or contact me. I’ve loads of experience helping sales teams use sales processes to increase their effectiveness and sell more – and I’m confident I can help you too.
Look for the easiest sales
It’s a proven fact existing customers will always be an easier sale than new names. And yet, if you look at most forecasts or prospect lists, there’s usually many more new names than existing customers. You probably need to change that.
Consider first all your existing customers. Don’t rule anybody out for any reason. If they’re a current customer, review really carefully to see if you’ve left any money on the table.
Then consider other organisations that have done business with your organisation, even if a while ago. Again, don’t rule anybody out for any reason. If they’ve been a customer once, they could be again.
Then think about the next group – the qualified new business prospects. You may well have qualified them once – but in the light of what’s known now, what will it take to close them (and is it indeed possible).
It’s not unknown for no hope prospects to stay on the forecast for months because a salesperson is clinging on in the hope of a miracle happening. It won’t – unless something different is done. It’s your job to root out that ‘something different’ or qualify out.
Finally there’s the rest – often referred to as the ‘suspects’. These are the ones that’ll need significant effort to first qualify and then to progress.
Whilst they may well be great opportunities – be very sure they are – and be very clear about the amount of time being spent on them. Chasing a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow is futile – even if at times it’s reassuring for the salesperson involved!
Sometimes an objective outsider can help with this. I’m happy to be that objective outsider for you – call me on +357 99 860725 or contact me.
Be an effective sales team coach
As a sales leader, your job is to ensure your team is performing as well as it can. And that means you need to be the day-to-day sales coach.
Don’t be fooled – one to one sales coaching is the fastest and most effective way to drive your sales growth. One to one sales coaching is a powerful, time-tested, behaviour-changing, sales acceleration strategy and is the foundation on which permanent and consistent growth in your business is built.
Whilst there are many different processes and skills to be an effective sales coach – there are two activities you can apply that will have an immediate impact on your sales success.
The first sales coaching activity you must do – and do frequently and consistently – is the weekly one to one discussion with each member of your team. You need to cover:
- What have you done in the previous week?
- What are you planning to do in the next week?
It doesn’t need to take long – it can be done on the phone – but it must be done. Without it, you’ve no idea what’s going on day to day, and your salespeople aren’t feeling any support or pressure to do the hard things.
The second step is to take a harder look a what each person in your team is planning to do in the next week.
You need to be sure they’re planning sensible actions with prospects that might actually buy. The following series of questions are the basics that’ll help you explore the realities of what’s going on and encourage the right actions to be taken.
- What do you know about the organisation you’re trying to sell to?
- Who are all the personalities involved in the decision making process?
- What research have you done to understand all the critical issues the target organisation is facing right now?
- What evidence is there they’re really facing these issues?
- What do you believe the potential impacts of those issues to be? What is known about how they plan to deal with these issues?
- What are their current time, people or financial constraints they face in solving those issues?
- What is our solution to solve their issues?
- What are the current market trends they are facing?
- What do we know about other companies that operate in the same space as they do?
- What are their key strategic initiatives?
- How may we be in a position to help them?
- What savings can we realistically offer them and how are they calculated? Are they based on any assumptions, and if they are, is the base of the assumption sound?
- What information don’t you have and how are you planning to get it?
- How do you plan on positioning our organisation with them and what it is we do?
- What new information should you bring back from your visit to move this opportunity to the next stage of the sales process?
- What is the objective of the sales call?
Imagine if each of your salespeople had thought through accurate answers to the above – how effective would they be?
I’ve years of experience coaching sales managers to coach their teams effectively – and I may be able to help you coach your own team.
Here’s what to do next
If you’re interested in how this could help you, or feel I may be able to help you with some of the challenges you’re facing, please get in touch for an informal discussion.
There’s no commitment, we’ll just discuss your situation to see if working together might be a good fit. Contact me now.