You’ve probably heard of sales enablement, but you might wonder what it means exactly. I think of it this way: if you work in sales, any tools, processes, or systems you use to become more efficient and productive at your job are part of sales enablement. Another way to look at it, according to Forrester, is that sales enablement is: "a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system."Read More
When was the last time you scrutinized your sales process? Even if it’s not elaborate or formally documented in a flowchart, your company has some kind of sales process. If you’re not generating enough sales revenue, the process isn’t working. To find out why, you must break it down step by step to find the place(s) where things get stuck.Read More
Over the years of both doing direct selling and managing sales teams, I began to analyze why sales forecasting was so unreliable. Why could we not get to a high degree of accuracy month over month? It occurred to me that if we did not have a well-defined sales process we could not get a reliable sales forecast. I asked myself, so when do I say a deal is going to close? I realized that it was when I felt it was going to close.
And my sales teams acted the same way. I began to examine what was critical to predict when a sales opportunity was going to close with a high degree of accuracy. My research and my evaluation of the activities
I was doing helped me come up with a model that can drive a very high degree of predictability.
I am often approached by businesses that complain that their sales are not what they want them to be.
They feel that they have a good organization with good sales representatives. They are certainly interested in growing their business, but the sales aren't there. As I dig further into their concerns, I often discover that the challenge for them might be bigger than just selling. It may be The Business of Sales.
Over the years of doing both direct selling and managing sales teams, I began to analyze why sales forecasting was so unreliable. Why could we not get to a high degree of accuracy month over month? It occurred to me that we did not have a well defined sales process to help us in our sales forecasting. I asked myself, "so when do I say a deal is going to close?" I realized that it was when I felt it was going to close. And my sales teams acted the same way. I began to examine what was critical to predict when a sales opportunity was going to close with a high degree of accuracy. My research and my evaluation of the activities I was doing helped me come up with a model that can drive a very high degree of predictability.Read More
Question: How do you know your CRM and sales forecasting tools are working? How do you know when you have a predictable business model and have hopped off that roller coaster?
Answer: Your month-end financial statements tell you so.
That’s right – you’ve cleaned your data, segmented and prioritized your contacts and assigned them sales stages. You’re using a CRM and you are generating reports. Now – take a look at your month-end financial statements. Here’s the payoff from all of your hard work:
My last several blogs have been about smoothing out the ups and downs of that sales roller coaster, and creating something that brings you peace of mind.
To recap, there are three primary elements in creating a smooth sales pipeline (also called a sales forecast). Number one: good data. Number two: market segmentation. And number three: developing sales stages.
This blog focuses on element three - sales stages, aka where the rubber meets the road. How do people buy from you? What are the stages they go through during the buying process? What do you need to know to help them?
A predictable sales forecast. Is that even possible? We don’t often use Predictable and Sales in the same sentence. Our forecast often feels more like a roller coaster ride - not very smooth and not very predictable.
However, we refer to our sales forecast is a prediction of sales to come. So if your sales forecast is a prediction of future sales revenue, we had better stop guessing at the numbers and begin to create a foundation based on information. Oh yeah - and there is no such thing as a crystal ball.
In our recent blogs, we’ve been working our way around the 9 steps of the Revenue Performance Management cycle. Well, here we are, at the end of the journey, steps 8 and 9: REPEAT and SCALE. Seems logical, doesn’t it? If it works, repeat it and scale it up!
Actually, you aren’t done. In order to REPEAT a success, you have to first understand and document it!
Start by speaking to your staff and clients, and regularly! Find out what is contributing to your successes, and what isn’t. Ditch whatever isn’t – don’t repeat unsuccessful tactics or strategies.Read More