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Think About It… the e-book version » Blog Archive » There may never be a better time than now.

There may never be a better time than now.

by Todd Youngblood

The cold, hard fact is that for most of us, this economy has jacked up the challenge of selling more faster BIG TIME. I’ll give 5 to 1 odds there are two things you wish you had already gotten done.

I know, I know, you were really, really busy last year. Big opportunities were everywhere and the competition was tougher than ever. There was flat-out no time to finally get organized and consistently using a first-rate sales process/time management system. Even though formally reviewing the value, quality and above-and-beyond service you and your team provided to those top customers has been a priority forever, you simply never got around to it. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

The time is now! Not that we wanted a break in the action, but the economy has just forced one down our throats. Use this business slowdown to solidify the future.

Clearly define and document your organization’s sales process, map it into a CRM system and consistently use it to manage your time and sales activities.

Not to sound harsh, but… if you’re one of those sales reps or managers who does not yet embrace the three core principles of sales process engineering, you might want to think about getting on the bus.

  1. Continuous improvement of the sales process is fundamentally essential (…unless, of course, your customers will accept whatever you give them without question and your competitors are dedicated to mediocrity.)
  2. Hard measurements – lots of them – are required to validate the amount and pace of your improvement. (Without hard numbers, you’re guessing about the quality of your performance and blowing smoke at yourself.)
  3. A well-defined sales process is a prerequisite but for determining meaningful metrics (If you can’t describe what you’re measuring it’s by definition impossible to measure it!)

Implement a Sales Excellence Council (external link) using The YPS Group’s Methodical Sales Process (external link) as a starting point for defining your process. Map that process into a robust CRM system, train everybody on its use and then actually use it on a daily basis. (Just do it, for crying out loud!) Start measuring number of opportunities, dollar value of opportunities, percentage of opportunities that move to the next funnel stage and the cycle time for that movement. Generate reports to compare and contrast the performance of all reps on a monthly basis. Get started!

Prepare and deliver a high quality Key Account Performance Summary (external link) for every one of your key accounts.

Go back and look at the “Build Loyalty” section of the Methodical Sales Process. (external link) Repeat business from good customers is the key to long-term sales success. (Like you needed me to tell you that…) You went through a lot of trouble to deliver superior value to them over the past year, go through a little more to write it all down and review it. They won’t remember unless you remind them. They won’t appreciate your competitive differentiation unless you explain it to them – repeatedly.

Yes, this economic slowdown is painful, but it too shall pass. When things turn up, wouldn’t it be nice to have a world-class sales process management system in place and humming? Along with a pack of loyal customers who appreciate how you hung in there with them?

Think about it…

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