If all of the traffic lights in the world were green at the same time, imagine the mess it would create. Ultimately, there must be some sort of order, a balance of stop, go, fast and slow. When trying to get somewhere, the last thing you want is a red light, but it is this very thing that brings order from chaos and ultimately brings you safely to your destination.
Top-notch salespeople are often a difficult bunch of people to manage; elite sales professionals can pose especially difficult challenges for their respective sales managers. Top performers often are the ones that are moving the fastest, require little in the way of motivation and tend to neglect some of the necessary administrative details along the way. One thing we have as sales managers, to help to manage the sales process, is a Customer Relationship Management system. However, a CRM system is often perceived by sales people as a deterrent to speed and effectiveness rather than a tool to assist them in reaching their sales objectives and a means to help them create the level of income typical of top sales people. For the best sales managers, in the best sales organizations, a strategic key to success is transforming the sales pipeline into a sales production line. This may mean implementing some changes of mind, attitude and process, but in the end it will be well worth it.
Here are steps you can take right now that will morph the ho-hum activities of CRM maintenance into a fun, exciting and effective sales production process:
1. Establish Your Goals
Of course you will execute on company objectives, in selling the right mix of products and services. But this step is more than that. This step is a selling technique that the B2B sales elite use consistently. Set your own goals – much more stretched than what your company expects of you. Your team will be held to higher standards, much higher. You will not just make your sales goals; you will smash them early and often. You will test the limits of what your company’s compensation plan can pay. You and your team, along with your families, will reap the rewards of a job extremely well done. Your goal should be to rank consistently tops amongst your peers. Now, you will have to leverage the power of your team to accomplish this, you may even have to do some selling yourself. Whatever it takes…. to quote Bill Parcels, “Expect Nothing, Blame No One, Do Something.” This step is very important, do not go to step 2 until this one is complete.
2. Establish Your Pipeline Design
You should absolutely use your company established parameters to determine the stages of the pipeline, but I want you to take it much further to supercharge your sales funnel. Take these steps:
Know the average yield for each stage in your sales process. Then, determine the revenue required in each stage to surpass your goals.
Spend some time examining your sales process. Look for ways to improve the yields from one stage to the next. Focus more attention on improving the lowest yielding stages. A minor improvement there can yield big results at the bottom of your sales funnel. In the example below, when the first two stages are improved by 10% each, the ultimate yield is doubled.
Decide how much time a prospective piece of business should be allowed to remain in each stage of the pipeline. For example, once a prospect has entered the Quote stage it means that you have proposed your solution. Therefore, maybe you have determined that two weeks is sufficient for a company to decide to use your solution. If they have not decided after two weeks, you find out why, place them into the appropriate stage, remove the barrier, propose your solution again and start the clock ticking.
In order to get the right perspective on the prospects in your pipeline, read Exceed Your Sales Expectations. Do not be afraid to get collaborative input from your team or other sales managers.
Establish a meeting or communication format to implement this pipeline design, make sure it is understood by all as you start to gain a more granular understanding.
3. Establish the Ingredients
Do not permit junk, fillers or artificial preservatives in your pipeline. If the data in the pipeline is not an accurate reflection of what is really going on in a territory, then remove or add the data as appropriate. Get all of the garbage out; be ruthless on this step, because if the data in the pipeline is bad, it will be next to impossible to manage. It is important that everyone confront the brutal facts. If not, I assure you, that short of a stroke of luck, you will not achieve your goals.
4. Establish Weekly One-on-One Meetings.
Make sure your team knows that this is not the Spanish Inquisition but rather the means whereby you will be helping them to take their career and income stream to the next level. Whenever and wherever possible, speak to the members of your team daily to review opportunities, remove barriers and strategize. This is the fun stuff! You are not browbeating; you are inspiring and motivating your team. They will love you for it. You will find that the team members that have greatness inside of them will emerge, and the ones who are just going though the motions will begin to self-select out.
5. Establish an Understanding of Every Prospect
Here are some questions to help you get started:
Why would this company want to do business with us?
Why would we want to do business with them?
What level of contact(s) are we calling on?
Why has this company not bought already?
What can we do to remove the barriers that are preventing progression between pipeline stages?
6. Remove Any Barriers
Repeat after me:
“I am here to remove barriers and chew bubble gum, and right now I’m all out of bubble gum.”
Get creative and get aggressive. Find out what is preventing the sale and remove the obstruction. Do not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially since they have made it though the other stages.
7. Get Out and Meet with Prospects and Customers
That’s right, have the chair surgically removed from your posterior and meet with as many potential and current clients as possible. Use these visits to establish rapport, coach sales reps and see firsthand what is actually happening in the sales process. When possible, stick with the opportunity throughout an entire sales cycle. This will ensure that you avoid getting made fun of as a sales manager.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in