Is America headed for the Great Recession, part two?
Unfortunately the statics say yes. With high gas prices, the housing market taking another dip, unemployment stagnant, the costs of goods and services rising, and manufacturing slowing down again, it looks like another rough turn for sales managers and representatives for a while longer.
Unlike the Great Recession part one, companies have already ‘trimmed the fat’ with downsizing, reduction of benefits, reduction in spending, and other cost saving moves. As a result, now companies will start looking at how to become more streamlined and effective in today’s economy leaving sales managers with a more difficult task even more challenging.
Here at Vendere Partners, we have seen steady growth through these economic times and we attribute our success to following process. Below are five steps that any sales manager needs to look at to become more effective in today’s economy.
Analyze Data Carefully
One of the most critical steps is taking the data from the past month, quarter, year, and two years and analyzing them with a fine tooth comb. Sales managers need to see who is/is not reaching their goals, which companies are purchasing/not from them, where they are strong/week and in what verticals. Sales managers need to what their customers are/not purchasing and why. Before can plan they need to go on a fact finding mission that goes deep and wide in their sales organization to find out critical data before moving on to the next step.
Create a Plan and Stick to It
Sales managers have to be in it for the long haul; there are not any more quick fixes or ways to inject new revenue streams quickly, at least not legally. The plan needs to be reviewed on a regular basis for adjustments but sales managers need to create a plan and stick to it longer than a single quarter, half or possibly a year. The plan needs to include diversifying your current customers purchasing habits into your other solutions and needs to address the steps for cold calling, lead generation, lead nurturing, email marketing, internet marketing, and the calls to action to convert those leads into sales.
Become More Efficient
Part of the plan needs to address the steps for streamlining processes and procedures for completing a sale internally. If you bog sales internal life-cycle down with company policies, procedures, rules, regulations, steps, and paperwork. Nothing frustrates a sales representative and a customer’s experience more after the ink dries on the purchase order than having to wait on someone else to execute the sale. Think about it this way. When you go to the store and purchase something you want it right then, not two weeks from then.
Sell Solutions not Products
The days of box pushing are over; There are too many ‘me too’, ‘you can purchase from us cheaper’, ‘we have better service’, and ‘buy X and get Y free’ out there. Finding and understanding a customer’s pain points, creating a solution around those pain points, building a total cost of ownership, showing the return on investment, and showing how your solution best fits your prospect. As well you need to show your services department will not only fix it, fix it quickly; and, fix it right the first time.
Focus on Selling
A sales representative needs the freedom to do what they are hired to do, sell. I have known of instances where a sales representative was expected to attend a meeting session to plan a meeting about getting a meeting with a prospect and at the same time put together three reports on therepresentative’s activities that they were doing to do and have done get that meeting with the prospect.
I know of another instance where a sales representative spent 75% of his day trying to get technical assistance for a presales activity. A sales manager must let a sales representative sell. You hired a sales representative to sell; let them do it.
A sales manager has schedule trainings, reports, and meetings on a set time every week, two weeks, month, or quarter on a set schedule. As well, a sales manager has to give the sales representative the back end support so that the sales representative can go find more sales to close.
There you have them 5 Steps to Sales Effectiveness in Today’s Economy: Analyze Data Carefully, Create a Plan and Stick to It, Become More Efficient, Sell Solutions not Products, and Focus on Selling. Today’s economy is re-redefining the way sales managers build their organizations. Sales budgets are lean and a few mistakes can cost a sales manager his career. Companies do not have the time, money, or patience to let a mistake correct itself; therefore, planning and execution of that plan is critical.