Some hints ‘n’ tips on how to grow sales:-
- Hiring the right sales person
- Setting targets and objectives
- Providing sales support
- Managing and motivating
- Share and prosper
- Targeting your effort in the right place
Hiring the right sales person:
One of the most important hires that you make will be your sales person(s). Making the wrong choice could set you back months or years. I have found finding someone by referral with a proven track record is by far the best option AND it saves money on recruitment fees.
Plan the interview, ask for evidence of activity, results and knowledge – take a measure of skill from the questions they ask and how they close for the (order) job.
I always ask for a written follow up to make sure they have understood my need and how they can meet/exceed my requirements. I might get them to present a 90 day plan at their second interview if I am feeling particularly bullish and want them to work for the position and/or it’s a choice I have to make between two or more candidates.
Setting targets and objectives:
Base targets on what’s achievable and realistic. There are 181 selling days in a year after weekends, bank holidays, annual leave, a day in the office a week for admin - all need to be taken into account.
How many calls/visits can they make a day, how many calls on average to move a prospect to an order, what’s the average deal size, how many deals to do the target ?
With all this information it’s possible to calculate both individual and team targets and set commission schemes around achievement – remember to keep the carrot near enough to the donkey.
Set ‘SMART’ objectives around Activity, Skills and Knowledge in order to improve competence.
Providing sufficient sales support:
- Where appropriate buy and maintain a relevant data base of prospects.
- Provide additional telephone support to fast start appointment making.
- Maintain customer info on an appropriate CRM ie, Salesforce.com, ACT or MS-CRM Dynamics.
- Arrange seminars, breakfast briefings, exhibitions, demo days and networking events to drive up customer interaction.
- Provide all relevant off- line and on- line marketing support and lead generation activity.
- Set quarterly activity targets.
Managing & motivating:
If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it! Don’t just manage the results, manage all the components that together work to achieve the results. Be prepared to invest in the right sort of training (avoid open courses) find a coach prepared to work hands on with your sales team as they grow in experience.
Focus on Activity, Skills, Knowledge :
- Direct those with low competence
- Coach those with some competence
- Support those with medium competence
- Delegate those with high competence.
Motivation is a combination of commitment and confidence – build personal contracts with your people to develop both.
Never dish out a ‘rollicking’ when they make a mistake unless you have seen them do it correctly at least once!
Base your leadership style on the situation and where the follower is in terms of their development.
Management & motivation is something you do with someone, not to someone!
Share & prosper:
Many small companies I have worked with have chosen to introduce equity participation in one form or another.
Employees need to earn the right to participate in such schemes.
For sales people the one sure-fire way to drive up results and lasting commitment is to offer shares or share options. You don’t have to give the shop away.
I would always insist on at least 18 months over target performance before they become eligible. If they leave for some reason they forfeit their share options.
Targeting your effort in the right place:
Elephants, Deer and Rabbits
Denote the larger deals that you may get involved in if you sell to large corporates.
These are bigger in size but much more difficult to catch. Long sales/buying cycle you may starve cash flow wise on route to catching an Elephant.
Ask yourself is it worth the effort and time – do they have a Preferred Supplier Listing? – you may find you don’t qualify.
Are your medium size opportunities typically from medium size enterprises. It is ok to go deer hunting if you are suitably prepared. Beware of behind closed doors selling, competing budgets and the case for doing nothing. On the positive side Deer are more likely to have the need for personalised service. You may need to up – skill your sales people in account management skills. Have a robust renewal and retention plan. Don’t expect hunters to become farmers and visa versa.
Small deal value, lots of them. You get to sell to the decision maker and handle any objections face to face. High activity spreads your risk – you need many to survive. New business hunting skills and high activity is paramount. New products or services require case studies and testimonials. Build a beachhead in your market sector before moving onwards and upwards in the food chain.
by Richard Spooner – Sales Coach and Business Advisor
N.B. From M & A Rainmaker – I have asked Richard – who I have known since working together at Memorex Telex – to contribute to this blog and there will be more from him. Richard is one of the best salespeople, sales managers/Directors and Business Development people that I know.