So, this morning, Linda and I were watching Morning Joe while talking business. We were discussing our brand promise of, “When you lie awake at night worrying about sales growth, we lie awake at night.” We compiled a list of questions that often haunt managers throughout the day and into the night when they should be preparing for a good night’s sleep:
As we’re talking, we see a news banner at the bottom of the screen about a man who was arrested for breaking and entering a home. He was apprehended after the police entered the home and saw his feet dangling from the chimney. As usual, I automatically started thinking about how that related to sales, sales management, performance management, coaching, pipeline, pre-call strategies, etc.
My first question is this – “Do you have sales opportunities that are important/critical for hitting your goals and growing sales that are stuck?”
My second, but maybe the most important question, is this – “Is this particular opportunity a repeat offender?”
QUESTIONS FOR EVALUATING OPPORTUNITIES
Now, there are 2 things to consider when attempting answering that 2nd question.
- Is that opportunity familiar to you and the salesperson who has entered the opportunity into your pipeline management system? (This isn’t the same as your CRM). If we’ve worked on this opportunity before and they – the opportunity – “got away on a technicality”, then this would be defined as a “repeat offender”:
- Not the decision maker
- Wasn’t able to undo the current relationship
- Decided to not make a change
- Couldn’t arrive at the price point
- Really didn’t have a solution that fit the features and benefits they were looking for
- The timing wasn’t right
- Are other opportunities stuck in the pipeline/chimney for the very same reasons as this one – the salesperson failed to execute the qualifying steps in your sales process:
- No compelling reason to make a change identified
- Competition unknown
- Incumbent still part of the equation
- Budget for investing time, money resources is a mystery
- Decision making process has not been uncovered
- Timing or urgency of making a decision not clearly understood
- Agreement on next steps unclear
- Did not ask the question – Is this a “want to fix” or “have to fix” problem?
CMBMQHM AND WHAT YOU NEED FOR SALES GROWTH
Sales growth is dependent upon this – CMBMQHM. My staff hates it when I make up acronyms like this. When I put these in our learning decks, the people in my office want to know what the acronyms mean. I generally tell them that they don’t really need to know; they just need to make sure the rest of the deck is done correctly. I know what it means and I will explain it to the sales team we are working during our training session. But, they insist on knowing, so here it is:
Close More Business, More Quickly, at Higher Margins
It’s almost as good as WITALAIITU. (If you want to know that one, click HERE.)
So, what does it take to accomplish CMBMQHM?
- You have to have a milestone-centric sales system – something that can be quantified, measured and evaluated for progress towards the objective of “getting a decision”. (This is not the same as “getting the sale”.)
- You have to have a process for building a success formula for each salesperson based on that sales system.
- You have to have complete buy-in to the use of your pipeline management process. Here are the guidelines to get that buy-in. It needs to…
- Be easy to use
- Be effective
- Be beneficial to the user
- Provide you with business intelligence
- Automatically generate and send reports to you so you don’t have to go find the information
- You have to have a system of pre-call strategy sessions for EVERY opportunity that meets or exceeds the benchmark of your top 33%.
- You have to have a post-call debriefing session for every opportunity you discuss in the pre-call session.
- You have to conduct a CSI – “Crime Scene Investigation” – for every deal you don’t get.
- Finally, you have to conduct 1-on-1 coaching sessions that are intentional.
- They are based on the findings from your pre- and post-call meetings
- They are based on what your data is telling you about the choke point(s) a particular salesperson is having or the most common choke point(s) for the group
- The coaching needs to accomplish 1, if not 2, things:
- Change behavior
- Improve skill
In the next post, I’ll talk about the 5 Keys to Effective Coaching. (Pam, don’t let me forget that is the next blog topic!). In the meantime, here are the 9 skills needed!
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