In February, I posted the first of a 2-part Sales Leaders’ pledge. I’m creating this pledge as much for my benefit as I am for yours. You see like you, I’m not immune to the centrifugal force caused by the dizzying array of ailments that plague our profession.
Determined as we all may be, it is rare to NOT fall short of the lofty goals we set for ourselves and our organizations. It’s not sales goals or quotas I’m referring to (although a CSO study revealed that 37% of reps did not hit their plan last year — so we are falling short on those as well.) I’m referring to our convictions and intentions for improving upon the status-quo in order to radically increase revenue. I’m talking about making what seems like the impossible, possible.
In part-one, I outlined the first five challenges of which our profession has long suffered. I wrote them in the form of a pledge to take and commit to wholeheartedly. In this issue, I’ve outlined the last half of the top ten pledges. Will you join me?
Repeat after me…
- CRM is not a productivity tool
I recognize that we may be one of the 50% of organizations with a failing CRM system. I pledge to learn why it’s not working and fix it. CRM should help salespeople sell more — either by helping them to get more done in less time, or by helping them to spend their time more wisely and effectively. If it isn’t doing either, I will find something that does.
I will honor salespeoples’ complaints about CRM and learn what’s needed to actually help them sell more. ______ (initial)
- Forecasting has got to change
Multiplying opportunity amounts by a deal-stage percentage in order to calculate total forecasts makes no sense and I will no longer pretend that it does. Opportunities shouldn’t make it onto the forecast unless we can answer positively to three questions: will the deal close at all, will it happen this month (or quarter), and will we be ther?
I will be brave and take a stand on outdated forecast methodology. ______ (initial)
- Time-Use Matters
In order to accelerate revenue growth, I will shine a bright light on how salespeople spend their time. I’ll analyze what they’re doing when they aren’t talking with a prospect and then determine which of those tasks can be delegated, which can be made easier and thus faster, and which can be eliminated altogether.
I will figure out how salespeople can spend more time talking with quality prospects. ______ (initial)
- Mobility changes the game
The times, they are a changing. Mobile technologies like smart phones and tablets should be deployed so salespeople can; be more responsive to clients, present information in a more interactive manner, engage with prospects in a personable and collaborative way, have any needed information at their fingertips, and enter and log call reports and customer interactions faster.
I will no longer ask salespeople to deal with log-in connections and laborious laptop boot-ups when what they need is fast, always-on access to content and the ability to quickly collaborate with clients and colleagues. ______ (initial)
- Social is Personal
I know that salespeople have an opportunity to engage on a much more personable and relevant level. I recognize that buyers expect our salespeople to know something about why we’re calling and to provide relevant ideas on how we can help.
I will make sure salespeople have knowledge of the right verbal and written content to build trusted relationships. ______ (initial)
None of the challenges I’ve mentioned in this two-part pledge are easy to address. As is the case with other long-lived challenges, the key to solving them is to focus with a fierce resolve. It will be easy to get distracted. It will be tempting to give up. It will take guts. During the process, however, you will learn a great deal about yourself and your ability to pioneer deep changes that make a difference for your company and for you professionally. What will you do? Will you take the oath?
Author, Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert in sales productivity tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Click to get Nancy’s What & When weekly digest with invitations to complimentary webinars and informative publications. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools or subscribe to her Tool Talk blog. Nancy can be reached at 916-596-3035. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation click here.