Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Are you a Rocket Scientist or a Salesperson?

Recently I attended a business function where one of my clients introduced me to a business consultant.  Upon hearing I was a sales trainer the consultant related how he had watched a couple of dvds on sales training over the Christmas break and decided that perhaps he could add sales training to his portfolio after all as he said “its not rocket science”!

I was most disappointed to hear this as I have been waiting for the call from NASA for some time!!! 

But in fairness I have to agree that selling isn’t rocket science, it is very basic.

I always say –    “selling is simple – but not easy”

Sales in a nutshell comes down to –

Identifying your Prospect

Gaining an Introduction

Uncovering a Need
(If they have one)

Showing the Return on Investment

Asking for the Business

Delivering the Service

Follow Up and Support

Regular Contact

So if you want to launch your sales to new heights in 2011 you will need to jettison some of your unproductive practices that do not directly contribute to one of these areas.

We know that most salespeople on average only spend 90 minutes per day in face to face meetings – the rest of the time is spent gliding through the myriad of other jobs that they are tasked with.

A breakdown of where a typical sales rep spends their time would be –

Sales administration:  16%.  This includes any administrative work directly related to a sale such as entering information, writing reports, filling out order forms, pricing up jobs, quoting and writing proposals.

One way to lessen sales administrative time is to put an expert network in place.  Sales reps spend a lot of time tracking down answers to customer questions – finding the right person to answer the question,
sending emails, exchanging voice mails and so on.  Consider delegating the most time consuming tasks such as pricing and proposal writing.

Sales preparation:  16%.  This includes all the time spent preparing for a call, including research, preparing a meeting agenda, putting together a presentation and so on.

Waiting: 11%.  This includes time spent waiting for a customer, whether in the customer’s reception, on the phone, or in the customer’s office while he or she attends to another matter.

Travel and travel-related waiting:  21%    This category is just what it sounds like – the time reps spend in a car, on a plane, sitting in traffic or sitting at the airport.  To decrease the amount of time reps spend travelling or waiting to travel, look at how you might use telemarketers to interact with customers.  Face–to-face contact is great, but save it for when it adds the most value.   Territory planning can have a huge effect on reducing travel time.

Other administrative tasks:  10% – This is a catchall bucket for time-spent doing everything not included in the other categories. It includes everything from filing expense reports and time sheets to getting a cup of coffee.

Selling:  25%.  If you can decrease the time your reps spend doing other things, they theoretically should have more time to spend selling.  So put systems to work for you and watch this percentage grow.

How do these figures compare to our sales week?

If we are to propel our sales into lunar orbit then we need to delegate any task that is not related to business growth.

The beauty about selling is the sky is the limit when it comes to business growth.

So to help your sales to soar this year, spend more time face to face with great referred prospects – after all, it’s not “Rocket Science”!!!

Action Steps:

1. Identify all tasks that take up more than 30 minutes per week
2. Plan to either eliminate, delegate or outsource within a month
3. Block times for face to face meetings in your weekly planner
Quote:
                                                             Sales isn’t rocket science
                                                                                        Unknown Consultant

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

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

How Much Actual Selling Time Do You Have?

A challenge I hear from many salespeople and business owners alike is that there is never enough time to keep in touch with all their clients and prospects.   This in turn leads to many lost opportunities and indeed lost clients.

There are just two areas salespeople and business owners need to focus their time on as far as sales are concerned.

The first we will look at is retention of existing clients.   Our existing clients offer the best opportunity for future growth for a couple of very good reasons.

Firstly we have already earned their trust as an advisor/supplier and are therefore most likely to be offered the first opportunity of further work and secondly in many cases we are only getting a percentage of their work.

Some studies have shown that most of what we might consider to be “A” type clients are only in fact giving us slightly more than 50% of their potential business. 

Secondly, and this may come as a surprise to many salespeople, the key reason for this is a lack of account strategies and planning, particularly in smaller businesses who seem to believe if we look after the client we will automatically get all their business.

So to maximize sales to our existing clients we need to develop an account strategy.

The first step in this process is to identify the services and products they are already buying from us then work out what other needs we can fulfill for them and build these into our call objectives.

Another step is to work out a call cycle. This will depend largely on what type of client you are dealing with.  A trap for many of us is to categorize by turnover.  It is therefore very important to look at a number areas when categorizing accounts, such as gross profit margin, lifetime value, wallet share, potential growth and so on.

All accounts, including those of prospects and customers, should be categorized to keep their call frequency as productive as possible. You must decide which accounts are most important to your company.  Categorizing helps determine this.  For every prospect or customer, there is a call frequency that will give you maximum return per call.

It is based on the belief that a greater portion of time should be spent on prospects or customers who offer larger volume potential.   Less time should be spent on lower volume prospects or customers.

You will categorize your prospects or customers as A, B, and C accounts.  A are major accounts; statistically they number about 15 percent of your accounts and give you 65 percent of your volume.  The following 20 percent of your accounts are B, or minor accounts.   They give you 20 percent of your total sales.  Of the remaining prospects or customers, 65 percent are C, or marginal accounts.   They give you 15 percent of your total sales.  These percentages apply in most industries and are an excellent rule of thumb for determining account classification and setting sales-call frequency.

In most businesses, this simple analysis is rather startling.  You will probably find that a small number of accounts produce the majority of your sales dollars, whereas a majority of your prospects or customers provide you with a small percentage of your sales.  The classic statement that “80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers” is refined somewhat in the three account classification – A.B.C.

A good exercise would be to go through your database of clients and categorise them as

A, B or C.  By understanding this you can then manage your time more effectively and look after the 20% of your clients who are indeed giving you 80% of your income and more importantly retain these very valuable clients through regular call cycles.

I will look at the second key area which is growth in my next article.

Quote of the Week:
“Sales is a contact sport”
Brett Burgess

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

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

A Feature Bonanza, Part 1 of 2

Over the weekend we released a handful of new features and we think you’re going to like them.

We’ll give you the highlights in this newsletter and with one in particular, we’ll follow up in a (rare) second newsletter to follow shortly.

User Defined fields as Drop Down Lists

Until now, User Defined fields were available only as text boxes. That meant that you needed to type in each value manually for every record.

Sometimes values recur, so to speed things up, we’ve given you the option to change a text box to a drop down list.
To define the values for the drop down list, have a look on the Admin page.

Avatars

A while back we gave you the ability to upload your company logo. Now, you can upload an Avatar, or profile picture of yourself.

Latest News & Real-Time Chatter

Sound familiar? We’ll tell you all about it in a newsletter to follow a little later.

Sales in Tasks List now Linkable

For better reference, and by popular request, we’ve made the column of Sales in the Tasks list linkable back to the related Sale.

Changes to the Social Tab

A while ago we introduced the Social Tab, with its Twitter integration. It’s been a popular feature and we’d like to continue to add to it; however, by growing it, it will outgrow it’s fit within Simple Sales Tracking. As a marketing tool, we felt branching it off onto it’s own mini-product (still integrated with Simple Sales Tracking), would be the best approach.

We’re calling the new product Twitter Web Alerts. Have a look and let us know what you think.

And not to worry, if you’re currently using the capability, you’ll have the option to migrate accross at no charge with a long while of free usage as well.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , , , , , , ,

Overcoming the key obstacles to make the sale

We have been looking at the key obstacles in the buyer’s mind which we need to answer before we can progress the sale.

The first of these was the different needs of buyers depending on their roles within the business.

We identified 3 potential buyer levels –

  1. Middle Management level
  2. Senior Management
  3. Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors

Then we looked at lack of funding where we discovered we need to clearly identify all the associated costs related to their current need.  Business owners make buying decisions based primarily on the expected return on investment.  If you can’t show a clear cost saving then there is no reason to change.

It is a fact that 99% of new prospects you visit already have a provider providing the same services/products you do.  Therefore they are only focused on two things in talking to you – the cheapest price or at least a price check on the current provider or improved value over what they are already receiving.

Our sole goal is focused on adding value. This can only be achieved if we can uncover their needs through good questions.

The opportunity for us to add value with these prospects lies in the following areas –

  1. Helping them to uncover an unrecognized need
  2. Helping them to uncover new opportunities
  3. Finding new solutions for old problems

To achieve this requires good preparation which unfortunately most salespeople tend to skip as they argue they are far too busy.  These types of salespeople are generally referred to as “professional conversationalists” i.e. they get paid to go around and talk to people but not actually to make sales.

Back to the subject of today  – No Hurry/No Desire to change from the status quo.

If we can uncover a big enough need through this process and combine the return on investment calculation that we looked at last time then this should create the desire and more importantly help the buyer to come to the buying decision.

We will look at the last of the obstacles in my next article.

Quote of the Week:

Opportunity dances with those who are ready on the dance floor

                                                                                H. Jackson Brown Jr

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer 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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