The first thing I have to stress here is this:
If your path to sales success and a successful sales month is full of super critical, mega important things you just MUST do….then nothing is important and almost nothing on that list will get done effectively.
How to I know? I’ve seen too many organisations set out some very grand and impressive sales plans, highly intelligent, well thought out and with an army of people to make the plans a reality, most would succeed….but no-one has an army of people and the plans rarely make it past the second week.
You see, one of the first things to realise about hitting sales targets is this – you must focus on the activities that have an impact on your sales figures….the rest of the stuff is just you being busy.
Here’s how you review what you NEED to do as a business to ensure sales success, as oppose to what you would LIKE to do.
First of all, take your list of all the things you want to do to improve sales performance and build a stable, plentiful and qualified sales pipeline, primed and ready to feed into a highly accurate and highly predictable sales forecast…write every single thing down that you want to do.
Secondly, go down your list looking at each of the entries and ask yourself, is the activity you want to engage in to increase and improve sales performance, is this activity taking you nearer towards or further away from achieving your sales numbers?
Now, you have a refined list of activities that take you nearer to your sales goal, look at how they fit in with the criteria detailed below; also understand this is not a one time activity. You may want to refer back to this check list on a daily basis to help you maintain focus on hitting sales targets and building a solid sales pipeline.
Next, ask yourself:
Risk – How risky is this activity in terms of delivering the sales results you need? Is this activity guaranteed to help you hit sales targets? By how much? Is it worth the risk?
High risk/high reward opportunities are all around, some are sustainable activities and some are one-off opportunities. What maybe high risk for one firm or even one person within a firm will be low risk for another. Either way, each opportunity should be judged on its own merits.
For some people this will send you straight back to doing what you know works, but have maybe got slightly bored with…if something works there is no need to make any major changes, however if you think you can improve on what you are currently doing try tweaking the current activity and monitor the results.
Reward – What are the rewards? What degree of certainty do you have regarding realising the rewards using this particular activity? Risk and reward go hand in hand, be prepared to test anything, especially if the rewards are likely to be substantial, you will either be celebrating or you will have gained experience, either way it’s a win.
Major caveat here – know when to give up. If you are not getting the results and rewards you want/expect – be prepared to walk away. The promise of reward is great – but potential can’t be potential forever, at some time it needs to result in profitable sales outputs.
Time – Who should do this activity?
You can achieve whatever you wish with enough time, so when you’re reviewing your list of sales generating activities ask yourself this – who should do this?
This is very important – make sure the people involved in their respective parts of the sales process only do what they need to do and nothing else, make sure they only do what they are great at, what they are THE BEST at.
Your best external sales person is exactly that – s/he is best used in that function – nothing else, therefore try to keep them away from non-sales generating activities. Your Sales Director may be an excellent and highly competent sales person – but you hopefully have a sales team full of those. Your Sales Director is best spending their time making the sales team as good at sales as s/he is – they should be spending the bulk of their time creating clones of sales superstars in the sales team not spending all their time closing deals, sure, get them involved in deals where required but this should be a rarity not an everyday event.
Measure – Not everything that can be counted, counts.
This applies to your sales activities at every stage of your sales pipeline. What activities and numbers do you need to focus on and measure to make sure your sales targets are easy to achieve? Make sure you are focusing on the correct numbers and outputs, pay special interest to those outputs that act as a warning signal to sales performance – especially those that give a very early lead warning, saves you vast amount of time and money.
To discuss how to improve your sales performance – call for a confidential chat.
Carol Griffiths – Director and Lead Consultant
Morton Kyle Limited
0779 002 1885