Successful sales campaigns require continual momentum to a plan or a target. That is why many sales campaigns fail; the people behind the process do not have the plan to keep them on track. They may also lack the discipline to focus on the daily activities required.
Time is your resource of great importance in moving ahead in sales and in business today. Using your time productively to a plan will help you get ahead.
The rules to set up a sales campaign involve some key decisions including these below:
- Identify those ‘rainmakers’ in the sales team that are proven performers. They should be given optimal latitude in driving more business and sales from the client base.
- Determine the priorities that apply to the selection of ‘Key Accounts’ in your market and industry. Populate those segments from existing clients and prospects in your territory.
- Track the clients that are serviced by your competitors. They will require special attention to get leverage and encourage them to move.
- Some clients will be prioritised for repeat business as well as volume sales. Discounts can be applied depending on volume or sales stability.
- Set the rules for Major Accounts as opposed to Ordinary Accounts. Interact with both segments based on the applied rules.
- Create rules that take a new account into the pipeline of conversion and elevated sales over time.
- What are the delay factors that will apply to orders and supply? Always prepare for the known factors before anything else.
Top sales people are highly motivated at a personal level. The only way to achieve that is through focus and directed effort. It takes time to get there, however the rewards are many.
When it comes to building your market share or establishing your market share as a salesperson, a good database program or customer relationship management system will help you greatly. Keeping in contact with the right people in the right way is really what this is all about. Systems will help you do that and open the door with more prospects at the right time and in the right way.Here are some rules to establish a contact management program in your business:
- Define your market geographically so you know where your clients are going to come from. Unless you do this first, you could spend far too much time spreading your efforts too broadly and seeing little outcome. You want results as soon as possible and on that basis you should limit your efforts to a defined area at all times. Importantly that area should contain enough clients for you to focus on and convert to new business.
- Establish a list of raw data including a list of companies and people that should be contacted as part of marketing efforts. To keep the pipeline of opportunity moving ahead, this list should be added to daily at a rate of 10 to 20 people from selected businesses. Take care in setting the right level of decision maker that should be approached regards your product or service. Keep the calls going and eventually you will have a solid database of opportunity.
- Suspects are the people that you will be making contact with. They will come from the research undertaken as part of the ‘raw data’ stage above. On a daily basis, ring down your suspects at a rate of 20 per day. You will only reach 5 to 10 on average per day, so those that you missed out on should go back into the call register for another day.
- Prospects will be the people that you have spoken to and identified a need or interest in your product or service. When they are noted to be prospects, you should be moving them towards a meeting with you if and when such can be arranged. This can take time to achieve depending on their business and their need, so keep talking to them on a regular basis until you can the meeting that you require.
- Face to face contact is important in most industries before any orders are achieved. Rarely can you sell your services and products across the telephone. It is far easier to sell a meeting over the telephone and then to get to know the right people. Relationships are everything in business today.
- Hot Prospects are those people that know you and are actively looking for something to buy or sell as part of your industry and market type. Keep in contact with them every few days to open the door on a sale or order.
- Clients that you work with should be kept at the top of your contact register. The contact made will include calls, meetings, conferences, product or service briefings, product releases, and regular client events.
- Your competitor’s clients should get a special category in your database. Over time you can convert some of them to your clients, so a strategy of high priority contact should be established with these people.
Given all of these things, it is wise to ask for referral business whenever possible. Every client and prospect in your database will know other people, some of whom will be valid contacts for future business; ask the question at the right time with the right people.
When it comes to building your market share and your business, it is very easy to get tied up in the unimportant things that happen every day. If you work in sales, this can be a disaster that will destroy your market and eventually your commission or income.
In an ideal world you want your good reputation to spread around your industry and client base. You need to be seen and known as the expert that people go to when they want help. This ‘guru’ status does not come easily and can only be built by what you do and who you know. You earn the ‘expert’ mantle of a top expert in your industry.
The key to this process is in being different in an acceptable and relevant way. Business is not all that complicated if you follow the rules.
- Build your brand with clients and prospects after every meeting or contact. Send them your business card in the mail. Write something on the business card that is personal and connecting. Thank the person for giving you some of their time.
- Speak at business conferences or community groups on your speciality. In doing this you can give relevant information and tips that help people. Do not sell from the front of the room. It just puts people off.
- Set aside 90 minutes of your day to make calls to new people that you have not spoken to before. In this way your market share will stay positive and potentially grow.
- Leave messages when you cannot reach someone. You are a brand and your name means something. Some of the most successful salespeople have very unusual names that are hard to forget. This then says that leaving your name will in some minor way form part of the bigger marketing picture for you.
- Send short messages by SMS after a meeting to thank the person that you just spent some time with. Adopt a similar process when you are to meet with a person. Send an SMS message first thing in the morning or the night before so they know that you are coming to see them as expected.
- Go beyond email and lift the telephone as often as you can. Voice contact helps you build your credibility. Most emails get lost in the world of the email trash can.
- Follow-up the prospect or client after every sale to ensure that they are happy with what they purchased from you or your business. It also gives you the opportunity to answer any questions that they may have on product use or application.
- Spend 50% of your day out of the office visiting clients. It is harder to win business from your desk, so make it a part of your diary each day to get out and talk to people.
Is business all that hard? Is there something that some salespeople do that is special? No, the answers are quite simple; the top salespeople in any industry know that personal contact and branding will help them more than anything else. You are in charge of your branding, so build your contact system and start moving it forward every day.
In business and in life many people struggle with the targets and goals that they must achieve. All too often the path to progress gets clouded and confused. When it comes to sales, the same process and observation applies.
When you want to go on a holiday, what do you do? You set your targets, you plan, and then you figure out the steps that are required to get you there. Every week or month you do more things to push the holiday closer to you. In 12 months or so you will have achieved the holiday of a lifetime.
Most salespeople stay in the average zone of achievement. They will have some good months and some not so good months. Only the very best people rise to the top of their market, and they do so because they know what has to be done and they create a system to do it each and every day. They work from a base of achievement.
Some of the biggest problems you hear some ordinary salespeople refer to are any or all of the following:
- Not enough time
- Incorrect resources
- No support from management
- Need to go home early
- It’s 5:00pm and the clients are not in their office
- The market has changed
- It’s time for a holiday
- The client is away for a few weeks
- Nothing happens at Christmas time
- I left a message and they did not get back to me
So these are all ‘excuses’, and top salespeople know that the results that they need come from one source; that is themselves. They systemise themselves and they take daily action to get the result that they need. If they have any shortcomings in skills, they practice until they remove the problem.
If you work in a sales related job, and your salary depends on your success in client connection and orders, you would be best advised to look at your systems and your actions that you do every day. Would you say that most days are effective and positive as to results?
If the answer is not clear, don’t worry; you are not alone. Do however take a step back and closely review exactly what you do each day that is high priority business. If 40% of your day is not business generating then you need to modify you actions and focus.
It takes about 3 weeks of deliberate effort to change your focus and develop new habits, but soon you will be on the road to new and better outcomes.
When you work in sales in any industry, there will be one thing that stands out as the most important thing that you should do above everything else. It will be the thing that helps build your business and strengthen your sales.
So what is that thing? Could it be any of the following?
- Prospecting for new clients
- Keeping in contact with your existing clients
- Gaining more market share from your competitors
- Improving service and supply solutions for your key accounts and clients
From time to time throughout the year some of these things will change and take a different priority. You could even say that some of them are equally important to others.
When I work with sales teams I like to draw their thinking to the factors of their business that are really important in their industry. This reality check tends to open up the thinking that maybe every salesperson can get back ‘on track’ and away from the things that are distracting them from the most important issues of the business.
It’s a fact that most of the time these things are happening:
- Customers are examining costs
- Competitors are chasing your clients
- Overseas business is creating a level of product supply that has not previously been a factor in your customer base and client purchase decisions.
- Margins are being lowered to attract more sales in just about every industry
- The global world of supply and demand is opening up to a wider supply chain and differing cost base.
- The internet is letting the customer interact with their sales and orders to a great degree.
When your industry is highly competitive or the levels of orders and sales are changing, it pays to step back and do this simple analysis. If you can clearly see some things that are being overlooked or lacking in intensity in your business activities, take action today so that you preserve market share as things change around you. Decide what that one thing is that will help your business thrive. Is it ‘prospecting’?
Today I come across so many hurdles and excuses in sales teams; it is as though the sales people are looking for reasons to not do something! Strange don’t you think?
In this market and economy we need more salespeople that are prepared to do the ‘hard stuff’, like making calls to new clients, dropping cards in with prospects, visiting new sites, finding new people to talk to. Chasing the competitor’s clients is also a good thing to do.
Why does a business or salesperson fail? Most commonly it is because they have failed to drive market share and new business. It takes about 3 months to improve your market share and it takes the same amount of time to start losing it.
Over time many clients will move on for their own reasons; for that very reason you cannot run a business that has no growth pipeline. Growth is the most important factor in running a business today, if only to fill the gaps of people that may be leaving.
So what are the excuses that many business teams use in holding back from doing the most important and difficult things? Try some of these:
- A lack of resources is perhaps the most common reason that comes up first. It is easy to blame someone else.
- Lack of management support will also hit the top of the list. Again it seems so easy to blame the management team for lack of action in the sales team.
- Many salespeople lack a system to their day and they just take things as they happen. Lack of system means lack of progress.
- Confidence and fear can hold back many salespeople from taking the right action every day. If you tell a group of 10 salespeople that they must prospect every day, only 2 on average will do the required task. Over time those 2 people will be your top performers.
- In some sales teams there is always a degree of confusion over what the business offers and how it should be marketed. A common message is required in the sales team and a process of practice is the only way to improve and solidify the message.
In a sales environment today, the message is simple; more business of the right type is required. Prospecting should be a feature of every business model above all other issues. The prospecting process should occur first thing every morning across the entire sales team. In 2 or 3 hours the team can do all of their cold calling and in doing so systemise a growth plan for the business.
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