What’s the biggest waste of time in the world of sales?
If you asked a group of sales professionals…
“What’s the biggest waste of your time?”
They would probably tell you: Reporting, paperwork, updating the CRM, dealing with customer complaints, internal meetings etc.
In reality there is one thing that sales people do, that wastes more time than anything else:
Chasing the sales opportunities that they are never going to win.
Why is this? Forecasting often tends to be dependent on a combination of ‘gut’ feel of the sales person, and how suitable a client is based on a set of internal factors. The salesperson knows where in the market their price and product fits and when their offering seems like the ideal choice for the client. At this stage the salesperson feels it is only a matter of time before the client signs on the dotted line. However, often the sale falls through at the end of the process. It was forecast as a successful one, so what went wrong?
I can’t stress this enough: an often overlooked skill is
the ability to qualify, early on if a sales opportunity is winnable or not.
Just think of the time a sales person, team or business could save if they were able to ‘qualify out’ of just 10% of the deals they are never going to win in the early stages of a sales cycle. That valuable time could be reinvested into spending more time on the deals they can win and prospecting to uncover more sales opportunities.
In essence, there is a need for a robust
Implementing a robust sales process, and making sure that it is followed, is proven to increase success. It’s not enough to rely on a good product at a good price. This is especially true in hard times.
You will need two pieces of information. First of all, you need to see the bigger picture of why your client needs a particular product. Another one is to determine what steps and criteria are necessary in order to sanction purchasing that product. By following the sales process, the salesperson will unearth all of the factors that are part of making a decision. This in turn will lead to a much greater chance of a successful sale. At the end of the sales process they will know the client inside out: what’s important to them, who is the decision maker, and the people who can influence it.
The Sales GAP
Building a robust sales process is about finding the gaps. We are talking about gaps in the ways sales are taken on and managed, and filling those with some targeted training. The sales process does not have to be complex at all. It should be as simple as giving the sales team five steps to take during each stage of the sales process, and showing them how to master each one.
Managing the Sales Process
How can you tell if the sales team have found out everything about a client at the start of the sales process? Have they followed all the elements of the cycle, from the very first meeting right through to signing the deal? By implementing a consistent robust sales process, and using the same steps to manage it, the answers become clear. In addition, in the early stages of a sale you find out if the client is or is not an ideal candidate for what you are trying to sell. As a result, you waste no time.
How Can You Make Your Salesmen More Productive?
An IT client had a percentage of high calibre salespeople, yet were losing a lot of deals at the end of the Sales Process. The issue became even more acute. The company had to make a big investment in order to come up with the right IT solution for a particular client, without the certain knowledge of a sale at the end. The problem lay in the fact that the salespeople were all using their own individual sales steps.
Longley Academy implemented a very simple sales process; one that pinpointed certain key things that had to happen before the salesperson would get the resources invested. As a result, the client saw a dramatic reduction in the number of deals lost, because they were able to flush out unlikely candidates early on in the process. This left the sales team with the time to focus their resources on ones they would win. From losing an original eight out of ten deals, the company was now losing only three.
Here are four questions to ask of any sales opportunity to help qualify in or out:
- What’s the Problem? What problem does your product / service help the customer solve?
- What’s the Value? What will your product / service enable the customer to do that they couldn’t do beforehand?
- Who are you talking to & how often? Are you in regular contact with decision makers, not just the person holding the purse strings?
- Are WE moving forward? Be honest with yourself here: is the customer taking measurable next steps towards making a decision in your favour or are you the only one demonstrating commitment?
Do you know what your salesmen are up to? If you need help making them more productive, do get in touch. Give us a call or send us an email.