Archive for July 19th, 2010

The numbers in selling just do not work

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I am reading a very good book on learning about your customer before you ever talk to them (Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling) . This is in part based on what is also in People Buy You. Customers buy a solution to a problem they have. Your job as a sales person is to learn beforehand what problems appear to be occurring, so you can speak about their company and not yours.  Doing anything less, means you are doomed to the losing sales numbers game.

The sales numbers game, if you do not know.(Where trickle down is not pretty).

  • Corporate sets a target of 10% more sales this quarter ( We never know where this comes from)
  • Each sales guy realizes with  his  10% closing rate, that a 10% increase is multiplied by ten. thus he needs 10 times f2f presentations.
  • Inside sales realizes that with a 5 % response rate to prospecting, their outbound calls have to increase by twenty times – and there is no more staff.
  • The entire department is already busy – they are not sitting around

This is a losing game, because it does not address the huge losses embedded into most sales systems.  Sharon Drew Morgen, Mitch Gooze and Michael Webb all are up in arms about the tremendous wastage in sales, where such low rates are common.  A few process trainers have ideas about bumping up the percentages a bit with different behaviours.  But that is just icing a flawed cake

No one in senior management recognizes that this is a much bigger issue (yet fairly logical to address).  If you present a solution that solves a real customer problem, that he can recognize easily,  your sales cycle shortens.  You need to start to remove the obstacles to selling that you have created yourself.

In using our sales and marketing framework Rocket Builders find big self made linked obstacles/inefficiencies  in many places in companies, such as:

  • product management
  • marketing management
  • channel management
  • executive management but
  • rarely in sales management

The blind spot is that if an executive does not know what they do not know, where would they find out? In your company, do not be content with accepting long sales cycles and a decreasing return based on using the numbers game.  You have created these yourself and you must find the root causes (Its your job as CEO) . If you are on a Board of Directors, you should be asking lots of tough questions. Do not know the questions to ask? Give me a call!

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Part 2 in learning about selling

I recently did a short list for someone new to selling
http://www.regnordman.com/2010/05/28/a-booklist-for-someone-very-new-to-sales/
which has generated quite a bit of comments, traffic and a few meetings. Now I am being asked for whats next?
So next up is Snap Selling by Jill Konrath which is very current
http://www.regnordman.com/2010/06/14/snap-selling-speed-up-sales-and-win-new-business-with-todays-frazzled-customers-jill-konrath/
Jill then recommends Sharon Drew Morgen as someone with tremendous insight
http://www.regnordman.com/2009/09/30/dirty-little-secret-why-sellers-cant-sell-and-buyers-cant-buy-and-what-you-can-do-about-it-sharon-drew-morgen/
(I concur)
The books above talk from the sales side (because that is how you sell books  in this space, people really do not buy as many marketing books)  but the authors  at least understand the disconnect between marketing and sales, and give the sales group something to do about it. When you really hook sales and marketing well together, the system works like a fine machine. At Rocket Builders we have made that happen using what we call a sales and marketing framework.  Wrto marketing, we have  yet to write the book about the framework that is needed that addresses sales effectiveness.
After the books above then you start to get into the sales efficiency stuff – how to be efficient with lead gen, being better at SEO , sales behaviours, sales processes , sales management, and so on.  There are many books – some great ones, plus lots of trainers and courses , a few of which are current and terrific.
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