Archive | November 2011

How can they be called “Salespeople”?

Salespeople spend most of their time on non-revenue producing activities. Really?

A recent study found that salespeople spend more than 70% of their time doing things other than selling. Our research found that salespeople spend, at most, 30% of their time in face-to-face selling. The rest of the time is spent handling administrative tasks, making collections calls, resolving logistics issues, attending meetings, and filling out reports.

How can we call these folks “salespeople” anymore when less than half of their time is spent selling? Maybe we should call them “support account administrators who occasionally sell.” Who is at fault–salespeople or management? Finger pointing does not really accomplish much other than scapegoating the blame.

It confounds me when salespeople tell me that they cannot make more face-to-face calls. Why not? Do buyers perceive little value in the meeting? Do managers require salespeople to yield to administrative distractions? Is traffic that bad?

I grew up in a sales culture where we were required to make eight face-to-face sales calls per day. If we were in the office between 8 AM and 5 PM, our bosses assumed we were goofing off, and we probably were. Sales managers scrutinized our phone credit card statements to make sure we did not spend the day doing phone work versus face-to-face selling. We did paperwork at night or on Saturday morning. If it sounds a bit Draconian, it was not. We were salespeople after all, not office people. I learned a work ethic that helped me start and run a successful business, and I am eternally grateful for the lesson. Maybe it is time for some old-school selling rules again.

How to Guarantee Your Success in Sales

What you do today has an affect on your future income.  Whether you’re a sales manager developing a plan for your salespeople or a salesperson developing your own sales plan, you need to develop a daily and weekly plan that is based on pre-determined activities levels reverse engineered from your goal in order to be successful.  It is the only way to stay focused on growth and stay self-motivated to actively pursue success, rather than waiting for it to come your way.

How do you develop the plan?

1.    Set your annual sales goal that is needed for you to make your targeted income level.

How much do you want to make this year?  How much revenue do you need to close in order to justify your salary and company overhead expenses associated with your position?  If you don’t know your goal, how do you know what success looks like?

2.    Define your ideal client and what their average value is to you.

Do not take every piece of business you find.  What type of clients do you want? What is their average worth to the organization?  If you do not have business intelligence to use, your need to determine an average worth of your client base to set a baseline for the next steps.

3.    Divide the sales goal by the average client value to determine how many clients you need.

If your goal is to make $100,000 this year and the average client is worth $5000 to your organization and you make 10% commission, you need to find 200 clients…..Pretty simple! Know how much business you need to close in order to meet the goal.

4.    Know your closing ratio.

If your closing ration is 50% and you know you need 200 clients, then you need to propose to 400 targets to meet your goal.  Again, pretty simple!

5.    Know how many targets you need make proposals for.

You can’t do business with everyone. If you do, I guarantee that you will lose money. 20% of the typical customer base in any company costs more money to the company than they bring in revenue.  If you make sure you are talking to “qualified” targets based on your ideal client profile, you will know how many qualified targets you need to propose to.

6.    Know how many prospects you need to qualify as targets.

How many prospects do you talk to or meet with that do NOT meet your ideal client profile?  At first, the prospects may seem like they can do business with you but when you are done talking or meeting with them, it is not a good fit for the organization.  It’s not your fault!  They looked like a target and do NOT feel remorse by disqualifying them to stay focused on better targets.

7.    Know how many leads you need in the top of the funnel to qualify as prospects.

The phone book is not a lead list!  Although you may think everything with an address is a prospect, you need to be smart about where you spend your time and energy to develop business.  Much like the conversion of prospects to targets, the smarter you are about the leads that you generate, the more successful you will be at moving leads to clients.

8.    Develop your “lead-o-sphere” to fill your funnel.

Much like the universe started in chaos and eventually developed into form, you need to form leads from the chaos in the market place. What are your lead sources?  Who have you partnered with to be a complimentary provider? What networking groups have you joined to increase your contact base?  What service organizations do you belong to?  What boards are you on? What social events do you attend?  Where do you go hang out? Who is in your LinkedIn network? Who are your centers of influence? Who do you need to meet to put you in a position to talk to your next lead?

You can download the “Get There” Calculator on the Technik Resources page to help you determine what your funnel volume and funnel velocity needs to be to guarantee your success.