Simple Sales Tracking Blog

The best time to plant a tree

Many businesses delay training of any sort as they see it as a burden not an investment, it’s just something they have to do.

But consider that sales is the only function of your business that actually brings in an income. I was speaking with a colleague the other day who was deciding if they should bring on another accounts person or a new salesperson. They remarked that hiring a salesperson would be a no-brainer as they “pay for themselves”.

The same goes for sales training, it is something that pays for itself. Our clients are able to measure and see the results in a relatively short time frame.

Most of us start off in business with no formal sales training in place. We just wing it for as long as we can and hope for the best.

If however you have discovered you have a need for sales training it is best to act immediately (if the resources are available)

You have to ask yourself, what do I have to gain by putting off the training and more importantly what do I stand to lose?

There are many reasons that may cause you to put off training, some common ones are “What if I train them and they leave?”… This is a valid point, but the flip side to this is, what if they stay and don’t have the tools necessary to bring in new business, or mess up a big deal?”

Another common one is that they are too busy to implement training; they are right in the middle of their busy season and couldn’t possibly spare the time. What often happens is three months later the work finishes up and they are left scrambling for new prospects.

By not having a strong sales process, you risk missing out on prospects that you may have got across the line. Perhaps it was that one question you didn’t ask or that one prospect you forgot to follow up. Training helps us to plan ahead for quiet times so we aren’t stuck cold calling during our off season.

Sales is like anything in business, if you put a process around it, it functions better. They say – what gets measured gets managed. Consider the following questions to see if you may need a stronger sales process –

1. Do I have a standardized process or questioning method for interviews, or do I ‘play it by ear’ ‘let them do the talking’ or ‘show and tell’.
2. How am I managing the prospects in my sales funnel? Do I keep a record of our conversations to measure what stage they are at in the deal?
3. How do I manage my existing clients and what products they buy from me, what are they buying from other sources that I could be providing? What percentage wallet share do I have with each?

If you have been considering training your team or yourself, the best time to do it is now. You will see immediate benefits and a solid return on investment.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”–Chinese Proverb

Hayden Burgess
Sales Associate
Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , ,

New report and charts added

New Sales Tracking Charts

The first in a series of new reports and charts we’re developing is now ready for your review.

The first of those is a new manager-only report named Team Member Activity. The goal of this report is to give you insight into the same kind of information that each of your team members view on their own Start Pages – including New, Won and Lost Opportunities, Current and Overdue Tasks and Current Appointments – filtered by date range. By default, when you run the report it will show you all the information created or due for the current week. Sorry, if you’re not an Admin or Manager on your team, you won’t have access to this report.

In addition to the new report is a new charting series which enables you to graphically display your sales, grouped by your custom fields. So, for example – if you have a custom field for Industry, you can see all your Leads, Opportunities and Accounts per industry in a nice bar chart. The charts can be interacted with as well as exported as a downloadable image.

Just like the reports, you can access the new charts from the Reports tab.

Filed under: New Features, , , , ,

Easily switch between company or group accounts



We had some great feedback on the new reports for the Report Center as well as suggestions for new ones. If you missed our last email, please consider sending us your feedback – it’s not too late yet.

Along with the handful of design changes this week, you may have noticed a new menu option named “Link to Account…”. This is something that’s been on the requested list for a while and we’re excited to get it into production. Note – this setup option is visible only to those with Admin level access, however accounts can be linked for those with any level of access.

There are 2 reasons why you might like to take a closer look at this new capability:

  1. You have more than a dozen users who work in separate divisions.
  2. You use Simple Sales Tracking for more than one company.

With the ability to switch between accounts, you can jump from one company (or division) to another without having to logout, then back in again. If you want to organize your sales people into teams and restrict access so that each member has access and visibility only to those in their team, then linking accounts is a perfect solution.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , ,

Tell us what you’d like to see in the new Report Center


We’ve got a couple of new developers on board working out the final parts of a new API and Outlook plugin (we’ve had some delays – but it’s finally coming together now). Once they’re finished, we’re going to be starting on a new Report Center within Simple Sales Tracking – which will include new Reports and Charts/Graphs.

If you click on either report thumbnail above, you’ll see the sample report drafts that we’re looking to introduce. I’d really appreciate your feedback on those and any other ideas that you would find helpful from both a sales manager and team members perspective.

A handful of new fields will need to be added to support concepts like targets/budgets, so if your report idea includes information that’s not currently captured in SST – include it anyways.

You may have noticed the new filter boxes on the list pages. Over the next while another one of our developers is working to improve / streamline some of the UI. No big changes – just some refinements. If you have any questions about any of them – don’t hesitate to ask.

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

How many sales are you losing through poor Sales Process?

“To train or not to train?” – that is the question

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising to generate inquiries and yet spend nothing on training their salespeople to convert these same inquiries into sales.

A common misconception is that if the salesperson has great product knowledge they can make the sale. These types of salespeople rely on what we term “show and tell” selling which leads to price focused buyers rather than needs based selling.

Many sales are lost as a result of poor or even non-existent sales processes. The analogy I often use is when baking a cake you follow a recipe and if you do you get the same result each time. When you decide to change the recipe and say use less baking powder you may still get something that is edible but not the best result.

Well it is the same with many salespeople who have never had any formal sales training – they may have a recipe/process they are following but some of the key ingredients may be missing, resulting in missed sales which invariably leads to increased cost of sales not to mention lost sales revenue.

When you consider the cost of making a sales call can be from $90 to $500 depending on type of call and then take into account the lost opportunity costs it often comes down to leaving sales to chance.

I meet many businesses who would gain immediate sales from sales systems but will delay sometimes up to 12 months before starting.

The great thing about sales training is that it is entirely measurable and the return on investment can be seen almost immediately.

The cost of missed sales can be huge even for small businesses. An example might be a business where an average client may spend $200 per month over 12 months – this adds up to $2400 p.a. If the average client stays loyal to this business for 5 years then the average lifetime value is $12,000.

Now if our untrained salesperson is fumbling one sale per week over 46 weeks this amounts to $552,000 in lost business and over 5 years this could come to $2,760,000 and remember this is per salesperson.

Quote:

From Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company, who once was asked by a wholesaler why he invested so much in training his people, when ultimately they might leave.

His reply was “what if I didn’t train them, and they stayed?”

Action Steps:

Review your sales processes – do you have systems for:

• Asking for referrals
• Managing new leads
• Identifying potential prospects
• Making appointments using the telephone
• Conducting sales interviews
• Quantifying your prospect’s problem in dollar terms

Hayden Burgess is a Sales Trainer with Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

How to get through the winter slump

Winter is pretty tough; it can be cold and bleak. Unfortunately, for a lot of businesses winter correlates with a slump in trade. Often we accept this as part in parcel of being a business owner and as a result fail to plan for this time of year.

A wise person once said the best thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by periods of worry and depression (or something like that).

But it doesn’t have to be this way! By planning ahead and getting our sales funnel in order we can stay on top of things so we are prepared for winter and with that ready for the prosperous spring and summer that follows.

Here are some ideas for getting ahead of the winter slump.

– Always be prospecting

We say prospecting is a 24/7 activity, always be looking for your next client. This may be as simple as noting down business names when driving through your local industrial area, reading the local paper and sharing your suspect list with colleagues. Take note of what is going on in the business community, who else can you add value to?

– Target specific businesses

Many of us attend networking and referral groups, but more often than not attendees stand up each week with the same spiel – “Hi I’m so and so from so and so business, we specialise in this and that if you know anyone who is interested, please get them to give me a call”. The problem with this is it’s a rare occasion when someone actually says to a colleague, “Hey I’m looking for something, do you know anyone who does that?” It’s an even rarer occasion that this occurs when you are actually looking for the referral. So instead, at your next event, target referrals and businesses you would love to work with and ask for them by name. See what happens.

– Use winter as a time to reskill your sales team

Sometimes no matter how much we prepare; there will still be quiet spells. Use this time to upskill your sales team; look at their KPIs, their weekly sales activities and their sales funnel. When you are a growing business, you must constantly review your salespeople, their sales process may be working for them but is it working to grow your business?

– Review your current clients.

They say it now costs ten times as much to bring on a new client as it does to maintain an existing client. So for every dollar you spend on retention of existing clients you will need to spend $10 to gain a new client. Now is a good time to review your current clients who haven’t bought off you in the last six months. Consider how you can add more value to their business. You may have a range of products; your client is buying products A and D from you but who is providing B and C? Your clients already know and trust you; it is your responsibility as a provider to make sure you are fulfilling all their requirements.

I hope these ideas help, if you implement just one it could be the influencing factor that makes the rest of this winter and the next more profitable and less stressful. Stay warm everyone!

Article written by Hayden Burgess – Sales Trainer – Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Top Five Easily Avoidable Mistakes of Sales Presentations

We’ve all been there, you walk out of a sales interview that was almost across the line and wonder to yourself, what could I have done differently that would have made for a different outcome.

Luckily as humans most of us learn from our mistakes and with that in mind here are five easily avoidable mistakes of a sales presentation. If you keep these in mind and avoid them you will be well on your way to making more sales and making the most of your selling time.

Not Being Prepared.

This may seem like common sense but many salespeople do very little preparation before a sales interview. The more prepared you are the more confident you will feel walking in the door. Consider what information you need to obtain about your prospect in advance, what industry are they in, who are their competitors, what are the possible challenges they may face?. Good preparation will save you on the day.

Being late

Well this one just rolls on from my previous point, but once again many salespeople make this mistake. They believe their time is more important. But consider this, in the prospects mind if you are five or ten minutes late without an explanation, how does this reflect on the delivery of your product or service?. Plan to be early but if worst comes to worst phone ahead and let them know if you are running behind.

Focusing too much on your product.

This is perhaps more harking back to the old days of selling but it is still very common. We want to go in and spout on about the great things our product or service can do for the prospect, how we can solve all their problems if only they would sign on the dotted line. You will get more sales across the line if you focus on the prospect and their needs first then worry about what your product can do for them later.

Giving price too early

Say you are going to buy a new PC, you have in mind that you want to buy a basic laptop that you can use to browse the internet, watch movies and do basic word-processing. The salesman at the electronic store instead quotes you on a workhorse desktop PC that will cost twice as much. The mistake was instead of asking you what you were after he made an assumption and quoted the price too early. When making your sales presentation make sure you uncover if they have a need for your service and justify it before price is ever mentioned. Only then will they be considering how, not if they can afford to use you.

Focusing on ourselves instead of helping the prospect

There is so much competition in the business world that sometimes we can be so focused on trying to sell sell sell that we forget that we provide solutions where there is a need for what we offer. If we are pushing to get everyone across the line even if they don’t need our services we are doing ourselves and our clients/prospects an injustice. Find out if your prospect has a need for your service, qualify them, then set about filling that need.

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Important changes to Simple Sales Tracking

New sales calendar view

As the release date approached for our first quarter release, we realized we were planning to release a lot of changes and improvements all at once. Instead, we’ve decided to split the release up into 2 or 3 parts. The first part was released last night.

The upcoming release will include the other changes we mentioned in our previous newsletter, including a revamped Start Page – with charts and more summary data.

Highlights of what’s been released in Part 1:

 

  • Increased File Storage – We’ve doubled the file size limits on uploads and increased overall storage from 200Mb to 1Gb. Soon we’ll be releasing an option for even greater storage.
  • Follow Up and Expected Close Dates – These are now included in the Calendar, Start Page Reminders and Appointments Report.
  • Additional Security Profile – We’ve created a new “Manager” security profile. Read more about this later in the email.
  • View combined calendars – Previously, you could only view one calendar at a time. Now, view a combined calendar of all users.
  • Choose Acocunt, Opportunity or Lead when entering a new Task or Appointment
  • Easily view associated Account, Opportunity or Lead when viewing a Task or Appointment
  • Increased space for your logo and have it display on login page.
  • Added search box for messages.
  • Revised organization of Admin page.
  • Easily lock-out a user from the Admin page.
  • And there’s more on the way…

 

New Manager Security Profile

In the past, each team would default to having a single Admin person. A lot of the time this worked fine, but occationally, there was a need for more flexibility.

In this latest release, we’ve given you the ability to create as many Admin or Manager users as you need.

The new Manager profile gives a user with that profile the ability to view any records, even if you’re operating in the Closed Model for security access. This was only possible previously if the user was an Admin.

Admin users are also by default made Managers, but they also retain access to the Admin area – whereas Managers do not.

 

 

 

 

Filed under: New Features, , ,

AMEX Now Available as Payment Option

AMEX-LogoIn the past, as a Canadian company, we’ve had some restrictions around charging in USD through American Express credit cards. This was a restriction put in place by AMEX.

Our solution had been to support only Visa and Mastercard; however, we’ve been increasingly requested to bring in AMEX support.

To support AMEX, we’ve partnered with US-based payment processor, Stripe.  They’re an industry leading payment processor and we’re pleased to have them setup with Simple Sales Tracking.

If you’re new to Simple Sales Tracking, you’ll be offered AMEX as an option from today onwards.

If you’re an existing client and would like to switch to using your AMEX card, please update your billing profile on the Admin page of Simple Sales Tracking with the new card information.

Filed under: Company News, , , ,

Top Eleven Networking Tips

As business people many of us see networking as something you just have to do. It means we can tick the box to say that we have been out and about drumming up contacts for future business.

However it is vitally important to make the most of your time at networking and referral group events. We have to consider that the time spent is taking us away from other important business activities, or if outside business hours family and recreational time. Therefore the more efficient we are at making the most of these events, the better.

Here are some ideas to make the most of your networking time.

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone!
  2. Treat networking at referral groups as you would any other social interaction, don’t just focus on the business side of things, be friendly and useful first.
  3. Don’t dismiss anyone! You may think you do not need to know or meet this person, but you don’t know who they may know, or where they may be in the future, give everyone the time and respect they deserve.
  4. Your first goal at every meeting is to help someone else, build the trust first, help another, and eventually they will reciprocate.
  5. Be more interested than interesting!! its not all about you, no one wants to listen to someone else talk about themselves and their business for 15 minutes, they will be looking at their watch and making excuses to sneak off to get more canapes.
  6. Introduce people who have similar interests and may benefit from the relationship, help someone else first.
  7. Always follow up! Be prompt and follow up when you say you will, people will appreciate your punctuality, it says I value your time and I come through when I say I will.
  8. Never sell at a networking event!! There are many reasons for this, just don’t do it.
  9. Ask good questions in order to get a strong idea of what the other person’s business offers, only then are you in a position to help them.
  10. Be clear when introducing what your business offers, people are not interesting in in depth explanations of your products and services, use case studies of how you have helped others to explain what you offer.
  11. Add value! This goes with the previous statement, when discussing your business make it about them not you, how can you help them? This could be as simple as updates on current regulations if you are in the health and safety industry, or changes to tax laws if you are an accountant.

Finally, be picky, don’t be the person who goes to every networking event who talks to everyone but never makes any strong connections. Have a purpose at each event, make the most of every interaction. You need to get a return for the time invested.

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

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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