Process management helps you successfully achieve defined results. In the sales world, the process is often referred to and depicted as a "funnel". Perhaps you have noticed, that we are big fans of processes. We believe - an effective sales process management is more important than developed sales skills. Surely you have noticed, that learning materials about sales are difficult, perhaps too academic, so if you need a brief and clear overview -This article should be helpful.
The science of sales tells a simple truth - to reach a certain number of transactions, you must talk to many potential customers. The main salesman’s goal is to complete many major transactions in the shortest possible time.
Your sales process will be effective if:
- You will have more and/or higher value potential deals;
- Skillfully arrange the transaction process over time;
- Conclude deals fast enough over the intended time period.
These three things are much more important than sales skills, especially if you are selling high-value goods or services to hundreds (rather than tens of thousands) of customers. Of course, the ability to communicate well - helps, but that's another topic of our blog.
So, we would like to discuss these three principles in detail.
- Make sure you have a sufficient number of potential customers (or deals, or any other way you call them). What is sufficient? It depends on various conditions, but without a doubt, it is too low if the final sales result does not suit you.
The arithmetic lesson of a third grader: Let's say your goal is that 25% of all new customers will make orders. This means, that you must complete 10 deals every month. If by the 20th of the month you only have 20 prospective customers – your target is not met. Mathematics is so simple, that even too embarrassing to explain, but our experience shows, that this proportion is very often overlooked.
- Keep enough customers at every stage of the sales process. It is not only the number of interested customers you have, it is also important at what sales process stage they currently are.
If you want to make at least 10 deals monthly, you need to find time to talk with at least 40 people. Then you will reach your goal (keeping in mind 25% probability of the deal). Probably, 25 customers will be interested, will meet with you and will advance to the next stage of the sales process. Inevitably, 15 prospective customers at this stage will fall away.
Most probably you will be able to push another 15 people to the next sales stage, who will want to get a commercial proposal (10 of them will not). Eventually, 10 people will place an order, and the remaining 5 – will not. According to our model, over a period of time, the number of clients in different sales stages will vary as 40-25-15-10. There will be 40 potential customers, with 25 you will come into contact, and 15 will receive your proposal.
- Always push your sales process forward. Potential customers are worthless if the transaction is not made fairly quickly. You have to set the pace.
I had a buddy who was a very good salesman before joining my team, but when we started working together, he immediately started facing some problems. That’s what happened: at the beginning of each month, he had 10 potential customers. When the month ended - every opportunity to sell, was still in the same place, they did not move anywhere! It took around 2 months before we realized that the common customer response, "we are still thinking about it and we will give our answer in 2-3 weeks" was not good enough for us.
So my colleague has taken greater initiative and saw that only one (!) from the potential customers list places an order. All others were not even close to signing the contract! Although it seemed that things are going quite well. Potential has been good, but the deals were carried through slowly and had a negative impact on my friend's salary. It is good, that he learned a lesson and quickly became one of the team leaders in terms of sales performance.
There are no miracles
It was funny to realize, that milling of the tongue repeatedly had a negative impact on my sales performance. I concluded, that these three basic principles are more important than a polished sales technique. No miracles - just strict process compliance and hard work. The good news is, that disciplined process and active work really pays off and gives great results.