Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Do You Have A Sales Process?

Every business says they have a sales process, however many of these businesses do not have a process so much as an evolved way of doing things. When asked what is working well and what is not the answers are vague at best. It is very hard to measure something that isn’t managed.

A major study in 2006 in the States found that 51% of businesses do not have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for their sales teams. From my personal experience over the past 14 years I would have to say the figure in New Zealand would have to be much higher.

The consequences for these businesses can be very expensive.

Problems caused by the lack of sales procedure include –

• Inconsistency in sales
Which means an inability to budget accurately

• Lack of sales systems and structure
Which means reduced closing ratios

• Poor client management systems
Which means lost clients and opportunities

• Poor reporting and measurement systems
Which means a lack of accountability

• Lack of a detailed sales plan
Which means average results

• Salespeople spending all their time servicing existing and favourite clients
Which means a lack of growth

• Lack of structured prospecting activity
Which means inconsistent growth

While these may not all apply to you, any one of these could be impacting your profitability.

The advantages of developing standard operating procedures for sales include –

A systemised process for selling
Which means – more consistent sales

A systemised prospecting system
Which means – increased numbers of qualified prospects through referrals

Increased closing ratios
Which means – most efficient use of time and increased profitability

Reduced sales cycle
Which means – most efficient use of time and increased profitability

System for maximising existing accounts
Which means – reduced costs of sales

A systemised presentation structure
Which means – increased motivation and confidence of the sales team

The key areas that need to be systemized are –

• Sales Planning
• Prospecting
• Presentations
• Follow-up and 90 day contact system

In these so called tougher times businesses are looking to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The key area to increased efficiency is in sales.

By developing a systemized approach to the selling process you should be able to increase your sales team’s closing ratio by a minimum of 10%

What would a 10% increase in turnover mean to your business?

My point is it is vital to the success of any business to standardize their sales process. This starts with all of those involved in sales using the same processes and this is achieved through a customized sales training programme which then becomes a standard operating procedure for all the sales team.

Training is the first step – you learn process through training then practice and eventually it becomes habit.

We will begin to look at sales planning in my next article.

Quote of the Week:

“If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got”
Action Step:
To record all your sales processes and identify key areas that need to be standardized.

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Are You Continually Improving Your Sales Skills?

In a recent article I mentioned the importance of “sharpening the saw” from a concept which Steven Covey talks about. Due to requests I have included the story below which illustrates the importance of taking time out to refresh and sharpen your selling skills.

There were two forestry workers, who were very competitive axemen, who decided they would have a wood chopping competition to see who was the fittest and the better axeman. The rules were simple – whoever chopped the most wood on the day would be declared the undisputed winner. Both were perched a fair distance from each other – barely able to see the figure of the other person. The chopping commenced at dawn. From time to time they both took a look at each other to see how much wood was being chopped. By mid morning the contest was closed.

One of the axemen stopped for about 20 minutes. The other kept chopping to gain an advantage. During mid-day the axeman who took a break in the morning took another break. I’m sure the other guy was thinking, “I’ll get him now”.

They kept chopping. In the middle of the afternoon the break-meister took still another break. The other guy just kept chopping. When the sun had set, the axeman who hadn’t stopped once looked at what he had chopped and felt he had the advantage. He walked some distance to greet his opponent. When he had arrived – he almost went into shock at the sight of the opponent’s chopped wood – which was substantially more than his own. He grumbled, “How did this happen, you stopped chopping three times for breaks and lunch, while I kept chopping. I just don’t understand what happened.” In a soft and deliberate voice the winner said “yes I did stop three times, but you see, it was to sharpen my axe.” Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to chop down a big tree, I’d take two hours to sharpen my axe.” You don’t have to be Abraham Lincoln to sharpen your axe.

There are a lot of impersonators out there – pretending to be professional salespeople. They are devoid of any selling skills and basic fundamentals and certainly wouldn’t dream of spending any of their own money on personal development.

Every day you’d better make it a priority to read books and articles, listen to CD’s while driving from account to account, sharpening your axe, (I mean your selling skills) improving your attitude and developing mini-systems, creating your own competitive advantage. The simple truth is, if you don’t sharpen your axe, you could be working with a dull blade and worse still working for the opposition i.e. presenting to prospects and priming them for your competitors to close. The key point to all this is we need to be constantly looking at better ways to improve our skills in whichever field we choose to work if we are to retain our competitive advantage.

The benefits are:

Sales Confidence
– Bigger closing ratios
– Increased Profits

Staff Retention
– Client continuity
– Reduced costs of recruitment

Reduced costs to make sales e.g. higher conversion ratio
– Focused prospecting
– Higher qualified referrals

Many companies can’t find money for training yet spend thousands on advertising and marketing to try to attract new business, instead of converting higher percentage of enquiries they are already receiving.

I will continue with this topic in my next article.

Quote of the Week:

Winners evaluate themselves in a positive manner and look for their strengths as they work to overcome weaknesses.

Zig Ziglar

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , ,

How Professional Are Your Sales Team?

Over the last few months we have been looking at the importance of developing a great presentation through preparation, planning, developing a great questioning process and how to ask for the business.

All this theory sounds good however the challenge for many salespeople is they believe because they have been in sales for many years there is nothing new they need to learn, after all they have “x” number of years of sales experience. What they tend to have is one years sales experience repeated “x” times.

Steven Covey talks about the need to constantly “sharpen the saw” as one of the 7 habits of successful people. What he is talking about is taking time for personal and professional development.

Many professionals are obliged by their professional bodies to invest so many hours each year in these areas.

The definition of professional is: Member of profession. Somebody whose occupation requires extensive education or specialized training and a high standard of ethical behaviour.

Salespeople can certainly differentiate themselves by becoming professional at what they do.

I often ask teams I work with who their favourite sales author is. More often than not I am met with a stony silence – interesting.

I was reading an article by Dave Kahle a renowned sales trainer in which he states that in his experience only one in twenty salespeople he had worked with had spent $25 of their own money on their own improvement in the previous 12 months.

The point I am driving at is in today’s selling environment only the most professional salespeople will survive and do consistently well.

If we look at the most successful people in business and spot one of the commonalities they have it is they are constantly seeking perfection in their chosen field through personal and professional development and practice, practice, practice…

One of the greatest myths about the sales profession is the salespeople can learn on their own out in the field as long as they have good product knowledge. Hence the focus in many companies on product training with sales stills training tacked on the side.

You wouldn’t hire someone and immediately put them in charge of a $200,000 machine and yet many companies put reps on the road with minimal sales processes and skill sets and send them off to see prospects that could have a lifetime value of $200,000 plus.

There are very few “natural born salespeople” in this world – 95% of the most successful salespeople have been professionally trained and follow a process.

The majority of untrained field salespeople perform at a fraction of their potential because of lack of systems.

I used to be a keen shooter and one day I dismantled a gun to thoroughly clean it. When I began to reassemble it there was a spring system that wouldn’t go back in. Being the determined person I am I spent hours working on it and after days of frustration I gave up and took it to the gunsmith who reassembled it in two minutes!

The point is he was a thoroughly trained professional whereas I thought I knew what I was doing – so it is with many salespeople who have learned on the job.

I will continue with this very important topic in my next article.

Quote of the Week –

You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind.
You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.
Zig Ziglar


Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, ,

About

Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
Go to SimpleSalesTracking.com

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