Looking to increase top line sales? Invest in your sales managers
If you’re responsible for driving sales growth – a sales manager, a VP of sales, or even the GM or CEO of the company – you’re likely always looking for ways to do that. The traditional approach is to spend money doing sales training. While training, or ‘motivational’ speakers at national meetings can yield a tip or two or be entertaining, it rarely produces lasting changes in selling behavior. Spending a lot of money and getting little in return is never good PR for the person spending the money.
Our approach is different. We focus on making your front line sales managers great leaders.
Because your front line sales managers are the most pivotal influence on your sales people, these managers need training and coaching on how to play that role. They need positive visions of being a leader of salespeople. They need sales process frameworks within which to manage. They need a safe place to go outside of the company to share struggles and challenges and to seek honest feedback without risk of consequence.
Sales managers also need to have good ‘data’ on the sales funnel. While sales reports provide ‘lagging indicator’ data, managers need ‘leading indicator’ data that only a BuyCycle Funnel model provides. Having leading indicator data helps the sales manager drive higher sales with each rep by focusing today on what will increase sales tomorrow.
Looking to move deals faster through the sales funnel?
Every manager and rep wants to move deals through the funnel faster. There are several keys to doing this.
For one, you need to know if a customer has made the first big decision – to commit to change. Commitment is no small thing. Anyone can complain about their situation, the shortcomings of the product or service they’re using. Committing to fixing that situation takes energy – and often money.
Second, you need to know the person who has the authority to make commitment – spending money – happen. You’ll make no sale if she doesn’t make the commitment. No one else can. We call her the PFA, person with financial authority. That doesn’t mean you waste your time selling to non PFAs. Just know that ultimately it’s the PFA that needs to say yes.
Another key to movement through the funnel is influencing the stakeholder’s desire to change. Understandably, some stakeholders will be more motivated to change than others. Your job is to find out that motivation and influence it. This is often less about your own product or solution and more about managing the stakeholder’s ‘public image’, that is, how he believes he’ll be seen. If he lobbies for change he’ll for sure upset some people. If he stays status quo he’ll not get the performance improvements.
Finally, movement through the funnel often comes by providing insight to the people you’re selling to. If you can somehow gather enough intel about their situation you might be able to offer something that’s relevant and timely to catch their attention, like how another client handled a similar situation, or your perspective that’s based on great client experiences. This is very important today since stakeholders commonly don’t have time to educate you on their problems.
Looking to empower accurate sales forecasting?
We have a simple solution to more accurate forecasting. A more accurate sales funnel makes for a more accurate sales forecast.
By definition, the forecast is pulled from the funnel. The problem is most funnels range from 30-75% inaccurate. Managers can’t trust what they’re looking at. As a result forecasting becomes an exercise in inconsistent educated guesswork.
Why does this matter?
A CEO reminded me when I asked him this question that accurate forecasting drives investments he can make in the business. He’s no longer surprised when his forecasts are wrong – meaning he’s already hedged on that. He’s stopped taking the risk. Instead of choosing to look bad to his board he’s chosen to delay making investments that could benefit the business.