As a principle of your organization, you clearly understand the importance of sales. But do you really know how your sales stack up against the competition? If your sales team isn’t hitting revenue goals, do you know why?
Most importantly, do you have a battle plan to change it?
You have two challenges as you prepare your sales force for battle:
Challenge 1: Reliable Intelligence
In warfare, you have a distinct advantage when you can tap good and reliable intelligence. Here’s the problem: Your salespeople don’t get enough accurate intelligence about their prospects. As a result, their pipelines are filled with flaky opportunities.
Your sales managers don’t have enough guts to call them on it.
Here’s the litmus test. When your sales people submit their forecasts, do you or your managers “adjust” them down to account for “realism?”
It’s typically easier for salespeople and sales managers to discuss why they didn’t win business, instead of asking themselves the right questions before going to battle.
Here are some of the right questions:
1. Can we win and should we pursue this opportunity?
2. If yes, how do we know? What is the reasoning?
3. Which strategy should we adopt to ensure that we win and why?
To begin, ask your salespeople: “How much does it cost to win a new account?”
Calculate the actual costs associated with generating a lead, a contact, an appointment, a proposal and a sale. Now add in the opportunity cost of missed business they could have won if they weren’t wasting time on business that won’t close quickly.
If you’re like most selling organizations, the cost per pursuit is several hundred or even thousands of dollars. Multiply that by the number of opportunities you chased and didn’t close in the last 12 months.
Staggering isn’t it?
Before your sales people charge off to fight the next battle, ask them, “If this was your money, would you spend it?”