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100m Prospecting Sprint. On your marks. Get set. Prospect!

July 26, 2012 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Prospecting, Sales Culture, Sales Driven Organisations, Sales Leadership

Prospecting is the oxygen that fuels the sales fire. It is the ignition point that allows us to get in front of prospective buyers. Great sales people like great athletes do not leave prospecting to chance. They make sure that making prospecting sales calls features regularly in their weekly sales activities. Many experienced sales people make sure they do two or three 2 hour blocks of prospecting every week: calling on both new and existing accounts looking for new business opportunities. By doing this they make sure that they always have viable, ready-to-buy-now prospects to talk to.

Sometimes sales managers will organise Prospecting Competitions amongst their sales teams – setting a challenge whereby sales people come together for 1-2 hours and make as many prospecting calls as they can with the aim to get as many client appointments as possible.

So in the spirit of the London Olympics we would like to propose that you create your own Sales Olympic events with the first event being the 100 metre Prospecting Sprint – Get as many appointments as you can in 1-2 hours – run this event 2-3 times over the next 10 days to two weeks.

be truthful, do not ask only but check te answers too

Be prepared

To get yourself ready for 100 metre Prospecting Sprint event you will need the following:

1. Prospecting List: company names, contact names and phone numbers of new and existing accounts you want to work with / sell to / do business with
2. Call Objective: the WHY you want to call them; what you hope to gain by contacting them i.e. an appointment, referral, etc.
3. Valid Business Reason (VBR): what you are going to say to your prospect; how you will engage the prospect and get them talking to you; what will be of interest to them?
4. Honourable Retreat: not everyone will be ready to speak to you so you need to know how to make an honourable retreat so that you can come back another time
5. Score board: keep a score board about how you and your team members went: how many calls were made; how many people did you each get through to; how many appointments were made; how many new opportunities were uncovered; etc.
6. Celebrate: celebrate any wins and encourage your sales people to make this a regular part of their sales week.

Enjoy the Olympics and don’t forget to enjoy your own sales successes on the way.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

Are you wasting valuable selling time?

July 20, 2012 in Sales Culture, Sales Leadership, Sales Management, Sales Results, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

When we employ salespeople we expect somehow that they will be selling nearly 100% of the time, however the truth is most salespeople are lucky if they get to sell 40% of the time. What we mean by this is that many salespeople spend more time in administrative non selling duties and travel than actually selling.

So when it comes to sales productivity and performance, many companies could dramatically improve their sales results by removing the obstacles that keep their salespeople from selling.


too many things to do

Too many businesses pay their salespeople for the business development function only to lumber them with too many non-revenue generating activities such as administration, meetings and account problems and wonder why they are ‘stuck in the office’ and not out selling.

A recent study done in Europe and South Africa found that many companies where asking their salespeople to do jobs that could have been better performed by the sales support function, marketing or other administration areas. Whether it is here or overseas, business leaders face the dilemma of doing more with less however removing sales support functions from the sales teams who should be out selling is defeating the purpose of having a sales team.

Salespeople are ultimately measured on how much they sell so if your sales team is spending more than 15% of their time on non sales functions then you may want to rethink where you want your salespeople to operate. Ask yourself and/or your sales manager what you expect of your salespeople: Sales or Deliveries or Service? If it is more in the delivery and service area such as account management then set their sales budgets accordingly. If on the other hand you want them to be operating in pure business development roles then remove as many obstacles that are in their way and let them sell.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

Customer Satisfaction & Retention Booster

July 10, 2012 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales Management, Sales Relationships, Sales Results, Sales Tips, Success

It is five to ten times easier to keep a customer we have than to get a new one – so taking customer satisfaction and retention seriously should be serious business. We already have the most powerful marketing tool to boost customer satisfaction and increase customer retention, as well as improve employee morale and develop new products and services that are exactly what our customers want and need. The problem is that most companies don’t use it.

There is no more useful tool in our marketing armoury than our front-line sales and service people. They are constantly getting feedback from customers about what is good, what is bad, what is missing and what the competition are doing.

Listening to the Needs of the Customer

Listening to the Needs of the Customer

Do you have open communication channels within your business so that sales and service staff can feedback customers comments, queries, ideas and complaints? Do you take this information seriously and do something useful with it?

It is very easy to dismiss customer complaints as unfounded griping or ignore customer ideas and comments as irrelevant. Feedback from sales people about products/services not meeting customer needs or complaints about service delivery can be perceived by management as excuses for not achieving sales targets. However, if management effectively registered these comments from the field, analyzing them for trends, insights and new ideas, they could include vital information in their strategy deliberations where they could create new solutions and

1. Further boost customer loyalty
2. Create a competitive advantage
3. Improve morale for sales and service teams

By using the sales teams’ feedback, the business is able to develop better products and services to meet customers’ needs and the bonus is that sales people feel included in the future direction and growth of their business. By being taken seriously, sales people are not just seen as the one dimensional revenue generators. Their feedback affects:

“do the right thing by customers and take their feedback seriously then it creates less administrative work rather than more.”

and builds our

  • Industry knowledge
  • Customer knowledge
  • Domain knowledge

To begin collecting feedback from the field we need to sensitise the sales team to its importance. We need to make them aware of the market they serve and then put a system in place for collecting, channeling and addressing customer feedback. Social media tools and PDAs (personal device applications) such Smart Phones and Smart Tablets should make it much easier for feedback to be collected. Essentially, every customer interaction is market research for sales people and should always be treated as such.

The dilemma that faces many sales managers is to keep their sales people selling, with as much face time in front of customers as possible and reporting customer feedback can possibly add extra administration time.

However, if we do the right thing by customers and take their feedback seriously then it creates less administrative work rather than more. Once sales people understand that action will be taken on their feedback, they feel compelled to gather the information.

In today’s competitive marketplace if we are not collecting customer feedback through our sales people and fail to act on it, our customer will quickly find someone else who will.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

5 questions every Sales Manager should answer

July 5, 2012 in Business Acumen, Education in Sales, Sales Culture, Sales Driven Organisations, Sales Leadership, Sales Management, Sales Results, Sales Tips

Most sales managers know the basics about their sales team and the selling process used in their organisation. They know which salespeople are their top, mid and bottom range performers; they know how long a deal takes to come to fruition, the length of the sales cycle, the dollar value of the average deal, and so on. However, successful sales leadership demands a deeper awareness of what’s going on within the sales organisation. For instance, they should know the common stalling points in their sales process, or which competitors they lose the most business to, and why.

Here are five questions that sales leaders should know the answers to

Which source of leads and prospects results in the highest percentage of closed deals?

Sales managers should be asking themselves where their best leads come from and what those leads look like. When they do, they can better focus sales and marketing efforts into more effective dollars boosting conversion rates.

Are the salespeople selling the most profitable products / services?

Salespeople often sell the products that are easiest rather than the ones that provide the highest margin for the company. Let’s face it, salespeople are going to look at how to achieve their sales targets the easiest way they can. If that means selling lower margin products, they’re going to do it. Managers should know which products are most profitable and direct behaviour toward them. While that’s typically accomplished by implementing the right compensation plan, the question remains: “Do you know, at any given moment, which salespeople are selling the profitable products and which are not?”

be truthful, do not ask only but check te answers too

do not just ask, be truthful finding the answers

How effectively is the sales process being followed?

Assuming of course that there is a sales process, how well the sales team adheres to your sales process is important. Many sales executives have lamented that there are sometimes as many processes as there are sales people. If sales results are in need of correction it may be as simple as getting the sales team to adhere to an established sales process that can be taught and coached to.

Where do the salespeople tend to stall or derail in the sales process?

Effective sales leaders know exactly how deals move through the pipeline and where each salesperson stumbles (if they do) in the process. When sales leaders understand where individual salespeople get stuck they are able to use their experience, insight and knowledge of the aforementioned sales process to coach their sales people and help them get deals moving again.

Which competitors does the organisation lose the most business to, and why?

All sales managers know who their biggest competitors are, but do they know precisely how much business they lose to each one? More importantly, do they know why they are losing the business without resorting to the default “price” argument? When managers understand the answers to these questions they can better position the company and maximise its strengths to more effectively compete. The answers allow managers to craft presentations that hit these issues head-on. By fully understanding losses, managers put themselves in a better position to secure more sales wins.

Find the answers to these five questions and you could change your entire sales operation.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

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