How to manage your sales process for better results

August 4, 2017 -  By

Picture your Monday morning sales meeting:

“How are we doing in new sales?”

“Good.”

“Are we close to getting any new work?”

“Oh yeah!”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Everyone I talked to loves us.”

“How many is everyone?”

“A bunch.”

“What’s the plan for this week to get these guys?”

“I have lots of meetings set up.”

Perhaps I’m being overly glib, but you get my point. This is not sales management. No data plus no math equals no plan—and probably no sales. What’s the solution? Base your sales meetings on data to make a plan that might actually work.

The way to accomplish this goal is to marry a few simple reports with the idea that falling short of the goal is not an option.

We start with the big picture: budget to actual sales performance. Using reports, we can assess volume and pacing at a glance and answer the question, “Are we proposing and closing enough and doing it on time?” In Figure 1, the KPI chart tells us we are at 110 percent of the proposal budget and 90 percent of the closing budget.

This is good information but insufficient because we can’t 1). predict the likelihood of achieving the goal or 2). define a plan. We need an open pipeline report (summarizing each job’s status, price and the probability it will come in) to assess what is “in play.” This information is where sales meetings should be focused—defining what’s real and where the salesmen should employ their energies. The chief reason salespeople underachieve is wasted time due to misplaced priorities.
For this reason, we need to know 1). whether we have enough in play to make the goal for the next few months and 2). which strategies must be pursued to close current opportunities and create new ones.

The key to the sales plan is prioritizing actions that have the highest probability of producing the result. Specifically we want to determine how best to touch existing opportunities, prospect for new ones and resurrect losses.

  • Touches. Determine which opportunities require salesmen focus and the type of touch that will advance the sale or get a decision.
  • Prospects. Determine how many new opportunities are required, given probabilities of current opportunities—and from where these must come.
  • Losses. Yes, plan your losses. Determine low probability opportunities and move on to reduce wasted time. Use the lost list to resurrect and revisit those with whom we have already engaged to bring sales serendipity into play. (Sales serendipity is making your own luck by calling at precisely the right time when clients have a need.)

This methodical approach is the way to manage your sales process and meetings using data to do the math to make a plan. This is a way better way to coach and motivate your sales staff than any rah-rah speech or strategy based on hope. Yes, hope is a wonderful thing. But it’s not a good way to build a better sales person. Remember, manage what you can see.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in 0817

About the Author:

Kevin Kehoe, a longtime landscape industry consultant, is managing partner at Aspire Software.

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