I’ve been doing a number of sales audits this Autumn, it’s usually the case this time of the year as businesses look at the sales results to date and wonder what more they can do.
Invariably I learn much about the leadership, the culture of successful and not so successful sales functions and sales team structure, so here’s a quick overview of key insights that are worth all sales leaders looking at:
- If you’re running a sales team, ask yourself this, how hungry are your sales team? Maybe I could phrase that better…how about this. How big is the difference in rewards between your sales team when they achieve versus when they fail to hit target? Are you running a comfortable sales team where the business is taking all the risk to hit target…?
- Daily sales metrics make up weekly sales metrics, make up monthly sales metrics, make up quarterly sales metrics…so you don’t just miss a quarter target…at some point the sales team missed lots of daily targets….that’s your room for improvement…your breathing space, it’s precious so don’t waste it
- Unless your sales team are spending 80% of their time in client facing engagement, then you’re probably paying for a very skilled and expensive function to perform very low level tasks
- Anyone can be taught to close business…that’s the easy bit. Most sales functions fail because new business development/sales prospecting is not rated as a high enough priority…every firm monitors the revenue coming out of the sales pipeline, few monitor how many quality sales opps are dropping in the top end of the sales funnel…could you measure that?
- Performing sales people don’t need managing…they need a peer to peer exchange and an open door…set them free and reward them well
- Non-performing sales people are a luxury, can you afford that luxury?
- No matter how cute your sales recruitment process, you have to live with the sales person on the team before you know them, that’s why ongoing performance management is a must…get the culture right from day 1
- There is no substitute for side by side sales coaching – which is a shame as most sales leaders live behind a screen and manage by email
- If you’re sales team can’t sell value, as well as having the skills to unpack value, risk and price with the prospect, then you’ll always struggle to build profit or market share…be prepared to have the tough conversations that way you WIN and you make it tougher for the cionmpetition to engage
- Too many sales people are selling, negotiating and trying to build relationship by email…which is truly a stupid waste of time
- Your competitors aren’t as smart as your sales team think they are…it probably doesn’t take as much effort as the sales team thinks to out perform competitors
- If your sales leader is managing by email – fire them
- Disruptive selling is great – 80% of the sales teams claiming to use it are just patronising their prospects – way to go if you want to get an order.
- Whatever your sales process looks like, you’d be surprised what really happens…that’s not always a bad thing but understanding why is key
- Prospects don’t care for your 12 page sales quote – give them the bones of the offering and make it easy for them to say yes to YOU. Less is more.
- Most sales cycles are longer than they need to be, typically because the sales person won’t ask for the deal…fear of rejection wrecks more sales forecasts than lack of skill. The faster you get to no, the faster you can start selling
- Look at who is feeding the top end of the sales funnel…and who is not. Step on it, everyone can add something of worth to the funnel – google alerts, industry press, LinkedIn….it’s everyone’s responsibility to fill the sales funnel
- While your sales team are finding ways to avoid picking up the phone, your competitors are having a field day…10 new business conversations before 10am…you could do that?
- Did you know that however many social media leads you get, in most industries the actual connect rate to speak with a real individually is abysmally low?
- No-one uses referral sales lead generation as much as they could…what’s your referral program? Are you measuring it?
- Most sales people ask leading questions so they can move to the next part of their sales pitch…that’s a disaster for the sales prospects and as confusing as hell. Follow the prospects thinking, have questions that meet the prospect where he is, and don’t try to drag him to where you are…you’d be surprised the difference it makes in your success rate
Ok…21 common traits of failing/successful sales functions…how many could you review in your business?
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