When a prospect told me they wanted to sell more but did not have a plan other than imploring their sales team to make more calls, I took a sheet of paper and showed them how I have been able to help my customers meet their sales goals.
Most plans, directions, and instructions are developed and read from the left to right -or- from the top to bottom, I have always started at the bottom and worked up. Why you ask? Because most sales people just focus on the next opportunity and don’t take the time to really think about how they won the last sale.
It is very simple. Write down your current sales goal and your past ten selling successes with the activities and actions that led to those successes on a sheet of paper. Additionally, write down what you might have done better and sooner in the relationship that could improve your sales cycle next time. Ask yourself: What made the customer decide to buy? What activities did you do to get in front of that customer? What information did you give to that customer and when did you speak or meet with them. Who introduced you to that company and how did you meet them? What was the trigger that made that prospect interested?
On a second sheet of paper, write down your sales goal at the bottom of the page and draw a target around it. Now in reverse chronological order, list the activities and actions that must be done in order to achieve the goal.
Congratulations! You now have a road map of what activities and what actions you need to replicate over and over in order to meet your goal.
If your company is a typical company, you have a series of sales people that you expect to operate autonomously and efficiently in the best interest of the company to help increase revenues. Is that the best practice to move you forward in the future?
Have your sales increases kept up with the market increases? Are you bringing as much new money to the bottom line as you are to the top? Are you retaining all the new clients that are closing? Do all of the other departments know who your clients are?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then congratulations, you do not need to have a learning session about where you want to be three years from now. However, if you did not answer yes, then there is a great opportunity before you.
In today’s economy, companies have to sell smarter as well as make sure that they are 110% successful in executing delivery and customer service in the manner that the customer expects. By making sure companies have the right people in the right positions with the right procedures, companies can sell their extra capacity and position themselves for further growth.
As companies have built new production capacity through the implementation of LEAN principles over the past few years, their weakest link is now the sales process that is still being managed by principles from the 1950’s. “Outside” sales people are only selling 20% of the time because of the way the organization is designed. If a company is serious about growth, they need to evolve their company to a customer orientated model that allows more sales to happen. Placing the right people in the right positions with the right procedures will allow a company to increase their customer retention and maximize their selling opportunities.