You need tools, including apps, that enable the user to do their job easier, faster, better. Let's take the case of sales planning apps, for example those that enable a salesperson to do good territory or strategic account planning. The app itself must be easy to use. It must provide specific functionality that gives the user unique insight into their territory, accounts and enable the user to: - Create strategic plans - Gain insight into their target market - Identify sales opportunities - Prioritize their accounts and opportunities - Identify and develop important relationships - Establish competitive differentiation - Take meaningful action to implement their plan Further, it is important to have the app reside within the CRM/Sales Force Automation tool of choice, making it easier to: - Actively work the plan - Enable team participation - Coach the sales team - Share best practices - Respond to change quickly and effectively - Report on and track progress If your sales people had a tool like this, wouldn’t they do a better job and improve their results?
The best salespeople I know have a sales plan, check it regularly and update it often. In our dynamic world, this has become imperative- to respond to the changes in our industries, territories, accounts and competition. 1. Check/Update It Often Have it with you or have it easily accessible (i.e. via mobile access). Keep it up-to-date so that it reflects the changes in your selling environment. Reviewing the plan helps you see what you are missing; key players, articulating important aspects of your offering, responding to important opportunities and threats. 2. Have It in Your Sales Force Automation System This enables you to easily refer to, review and update the plan. It also makes it visible to other members of the team so they can help you achieve your objectives. 3. Review It with Management Getting management input helps you catch something you missed and keeps the plan fresh. Further, this enables you to get management support to get access to the resources needed as identified in your plan. 4. Use It in Your Quarterly Business Review Rather than either starting from scratch to prepare your quarterly business review, or starting with an out of date plan from last quarter, using your current plan saves time. Many of our clients present their quarterly business reviews out of our territory and account planning apps, saving additional time.
In the movie, "Money Ball," a young Yale graduate who has never played or managed baseball, comes up with a better measure to predict a team's success. Rather than the traditional measures of batting average, home runs, hits, etc., he said the objective is to get on base more often. If you get on base more often, you will produce more runs and more runs will produce more wins. So, they managed to “on base percentage” and took the Oakland A’s to the American League playoffs spending much less money than other teams. Two years later, the Red Sox used this approach and won the World Series. The “Advance” is the analogous measure in sales. An Advance occurs when a potential buyer commits to do something specific in a specific time frame that moves the sale forward. If you earn more Advances and progress through the sales process more readily, you will win more sales. So, the Advance is the key leading indicator of sales success. It is important to create a clear picture of the stages in the sales process and the key milestones within each stage. Management’s role is to use this to help the sales team navigate from one stage to the next; achieving more Advances more efficiently.
- Connect with buyers- respond quickly, engage them via video (live, on-line, in email).
- Ensure sales and marketing align to identify, target and touch empowered buyers.
- Engage users. Make it easy for the to get full value from the tool/method.
- Identify and implement the critical few strategies and metrics that drive results.
- Integrate in one place your tools and methods that drive results (i.e. your CRM).
- Communicate across boundaries (internal functions, organizations).
- Use video more (prerecorded and live) because it brings back the person-to-person connection that is getting lost in today’s selling environment.
- Build support connections that are easy to generate (i.e. through networking, acquaintances) and expand my reach and impact- by being more active in LinkedIn, twitter… and facebook.
- Participate in and help develop the value of online communities by delivering valuable content, asking questions that illuminate and sharing my experience.
- Manage the conflicting priorities in a world that is moving at the “speed of thought.”
So, your hard work in prospecting has paid off and you’ve landed an appointment with a big, publicly traded company. To prepare, you’ve scanned through the latest press releases and the annual report, but you want to go one level deeper to make sure you stand well ahead any competitors. Your extra effort will be well worth it. If you close this account, it could mean becoming the next sales superstar at your company! That’s why we wrote this article. By following these three non-conventional steps, you’re going to show your prospect that you’ve done your homework and you merit their business. Step 1: Study the Latest Investor Presentations Public companies are required to present to shareholders and analysts at least every quarter. Many do it more than once a quarter. These presentations are usually available to the general public for free. To access them, simply go to the company’s website and click on the Investors tab (or equivalent). Presentations to investors can be found on the “Presentations” tab (or similar). Read one or two of their latest presentations (usually in PDF format). While these presentations highlight financial information, they will also be great resources for information on strategies and goals. See an example of McKesson Corporation’s recent investor presentation. Step 2: Read the Company’s Latest Earnings Call Transcript Second, read the company’s latest one (or two) earnings call transcripts. These written transcripts can be a BIG eye-opener. That’s because during the call, CEO’s typically share their latest strategies as well as their biggest challenges and pains. This information can be like digging up gold for a savvy salesperson, so make sure you do this step. It can pay off in a huge way. Earnings call transcripts can be found for free at Seeking Alpha. Simply type the company name in the search box on the top right. As an example, here is the last earnings call transcript for McKesson's Q4 2011 Results. Step 3: Read The wikinvest Profile Lastly, you can read the company profile on wikivest. This is a gem of a website that provides you with a good snapshot of a company’s basic information, strategies and challenges – for free! Simply type the company name in the search box on the upper left. As an example, take a look at the wikinvest profile for McKesson Corp. Conclusion: These steps may take a little bit more work on your part, but it can pay off exponentially. Think about it: just one intelligent question on your part can make the difference between getting blown off and taking the opportunity to the next level. The extra digging will also put you head and shoulders above any competitor going after the same deal (who did zero or minimal research). Thanks for reading and we wish you happy hunting! This article on guerilla sales was written by Silvia Quintanilla; this month’s guest author. About Silvia Quintanilla Silvia Quintanilla is President and Chief Sales Detective of Industry Gems, a custom sales intelligence company dedicated to helping salespeople win large deals with Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. Learn more about us at www.industrygems.com. If you sell solutions to the Fortune 1000, Silvia invites you to sign up for our Sales Gems Triggered Events newsletter at www.industrygems.com (subscription box on top left hand corner). In each report, we highlight the best "door opening" news that can help you get your foot in the door at a big account. Copyright © 2011, Silvia Quintanilla & Industry Gems Please include this copyright notice when reprinting this article. Please link back to this site when reprinting or quoting.
Want to sell more to your customers? Re-ProspectMore and more I hear sales leaders talk about up sell and cross sell with their team. The situation as we all know is that it costs 80% less and takes 50% less time to sell more to people who are buying from you, than to acquire new customers. The problem is that few sales people really know how to accomplish this task. The method that I have found to work is simply to re-prospect. What the hell is re-prospecting you ask? It is simple, but not easy. Simply approach your customers as if you know nothing about them and have honest conversations about them and their business.
Okay... Here we are. We are getting on close to fourth quarter. We have 3 months to complete the year and hit our number. Fortunately, this looks to be a less tough selling environment. So how are you going to approach your sales territory in the fourth quarter? How are you going to increase your personal sales effectiveness? Are you going to make more sales calls? More cold calls? Are you going to sell more to your existing customers? Try everything, all of above? Here are some ideas..