should never intentionally place soldiers in a situation where the price of
losing outweighs the rewards of winning".-Anonymous.
What is the best sales process? Well it seems to be one that understands how to win the battle.
often can you honestly say that your sales managers apply this rule to their
salespeople? And what systems do your salespeople have in place to ensure
victory, even before they go into battle?
You have two challenges when your sales force prepares for battle:
Challenge 1: Like any kind of 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. And 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
for realism? It’s typically easier for
salespeople and their managers to discuss why they didn’t win business, instead
of asking themselves the right questions before going to battle.
The right questions to ask to create the best sales process.
1. “Can we win and
should we pursue this opportunity?” If yes, then
2. “Which strategy
should we adopt to ensure that we win?
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 account 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?”
Challenge 2: Your sales people don’t do enough planning work before
going to battle.
Before going into battle again, make sure your salespeople can answer
these questions (honestly): What are you trying to sell and most importantly, why?
Sounds simple enough until you actually try to quantify it.
· Is the project funded? What if there’s not
enough? Who has discretionary use of the
funds? Who can get more?
· What is the sale worth to the organization? Does the
ROI justify the investment of time, money and effort?
· Have we sold this prospect anything in the past? Who?
What? Where? When? How? Why?
How many contacts have you already had with this
contact? How many phone calls, face-to-face meetings and so on? Do you have a
clear next step?
· Do you have an organizational chart? Do you have an
· What has been (or will be) your sales strategy?
· Where are you in the selling process? Here is a
checklist for the best sales process;
1. Were you invited in
or did you beg for an appointment?
2. What were the
prospect’s reasons for seeing you?
3. What were the
challenges, problems, and frustrations that you identified in the interview?
4. How important is it
to the prospect to fix those problems?
5. How committed is
the prospect to fixing those problems?
(Time, effort, money, willingness to fail?)
6. What is the
agreement you and the prospect have reached concerning the decisions that will
be made each step of the way?
Few salespeople understand the cost of pursuing sales and often fill
their funnels with bad business. Fewer think through winning strategies before
going into sales “battle”.
Ask your sales people these fundamental sales questions before
committing resources to a battle you cannot win.
Successful sales professionals qualify vigorously, and religiously before
committing time and energy so their closing ratios are 90% or better.
So, what are yours?
Greta Schulz is President of
SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling
author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and
entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to www.schulzbusiness.com and sign up for
‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to
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