I learned to sell from Dr. W. Edwards Deming the American statistician, college professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. Strange huh? Dr. Deming is known for saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. I learned that effective and efficient sales training and management requires measurements throughout a defined sales pipeline..
I have had an opportunity in my career to look into many small and mid-size companies. Often I see sales management operating with limited tools, subjective decision-making, fragmented communication, limited accountability and a missmash of sales training programs. If product development, engineering, administration, manufacturing or services departments had product failures or customer complaints they would quickly gain the attention of upper management and corrective action would quickly be forthcoming. Often not so much with sales.
An example is how a “lead” is managed. A “lead” has value. It cost money to exist and will cost more to nurture. And if it is an unqualified lead, the more time, money and effort that is extended, the more under-performing it becomes. What of that solid lead or potential account that has been or is being “worked on” or “I left a message” without delivering results? What about that “great” lead that is chased down only to find at the RFQ stage you can’t meet the price point or you just found out that the buyer’s sister is your competitor.
Managing a lead through a defined pipeline is essential to leveraging the value of that lead. A process supports accurate qualification; that the prospect buys what you sell, allows sales management to see a lead as it progresses, institute corrective action and creative solutions if it gets stuck and provides tools and content for seven touches through a DEFINED pipeline or stages. Then sales management can identify how and when to apply the appropriate sales training to create corrective action.
Sales Management through a thought-through strategy: tools,management and the appropriate sales training provides growth potential and protects sales resources. Ultimately it also does what it is intended to do. Sell more of your product.
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Bob Davis is the President of simple.sales.strategy in Austin, TX providing sales training and holding sales people accountable to a proven, systematic sales system. He can be reached at 512.658.9500 or firstname.lastname@example.org