More BANG for your buck!
Your Sales Executives are running east and then they are running west, they are sweating it out in the reception area of one account and persistently banging on the door of another one …
- One of them has an appointment at 10 a.m. on one side of the town and at 12 noon on the other,
- The 2nd guy is meeting someone at 3 p.m. (it’s his 7th visit to this account) to try and seal a deal for two units.
- Yet another team-member has been sitting in the reception area of an account because the contact was called for a hurried convened meeting and its stretched way beyond plan.
Sales Manager, would you be happy if this happens to be your team? Isn’t something awfully wrong?
Continuing on the theme of Sales Efficiency let us look at 2-3 things your team can do to improve the effective time spent in Selling and in turn help to increase productivity.
Get the team to fix their Call Plan – regularly review (this can be done by the team-leaders too) how the day is planned. Unless it’s exceptional in nature, and totally unavoidable, no team-member should be permitted to scatter his calls across the geography. Given the distances and the traffic snarls in most cities it’s pretty obvious that your high-cost resources are spending more time on the road and less in front of the customer. Don’t permit excuses and be tough about getting them to plan diligently on this – let calls be rescheduled, if necessary, to get them in front of more customers each day.
- Sales Cycle
That’s the sum total of all the steps through which a Sale passes through from Contact to Contract. Have you checked how long or how many calls it takes on an average to get to the close. This can be studied for product groups, types of customers and size/value of order – and internally you can assess this for each team-member based on time in the system and performance levels. This will help you to arrive at an average Sales Cycle for various segments, products and people. Your review should cover this aspect and then lead to a training / coaching program which will helps the leaders to improve further and the stragglers to catch up. The benefit of doing this need not be restated I guess.
- Having a Backup Plan
Customers can go on leave without giving notice, they can give you an appointment on a day they are not in town (it just slipped their mind) or they would walkout to attend an “urgently convened meeting” 30 seconds after you walked into their room – you can’t stop a customer from being the way he is. Result is wasted time, Sales Executives left high and dry wondering “What now?” It’s for you, as Managers, to help them make it a practice to have a back-up plan. Ask them to carry the case-file of other customers who are in the area they are visiting. If the planned call is completed before schedule or is missed for some reason they can always call one of the other accounts and push for a timeslot. If customers aren’t completely tied up they wouldn’t mind permitting an unscheduled meeting. Maybe the Sales Executive can even pitch-hit for a friend – a call to the office may provide them with an assignment that can be executed in the spare time.
In difficult times a manager needs to look at all the options to buck the trend – you need to be constantly on the ball and send the team in the right direction, so that come closing time next year the “BANG” heard isn’t from a petulant manager’s fist meeting the table-top … it’s from the celebratory fireworks!
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