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Creating an Account Strategy in Salesforce.com

Posted by Steven in Sales planning | 0 comments

As difficult a sales environment it is today, every sales rep needs a good strategy and a good plan.  That is why we are excited to bring the newest Curve-300x224version of P2W products to the Force.com CRM cloud .  We are committed to helping sales people build trusted relationships with their clients and prospects.  (See the curve above)

Being successful as a sales rep today is tough.  As a manager, it is our job to give our team the sales tools that will increase their sales effectiveness without burdening them with additional software or forms.  That is why we are developing in the Salesforce.com cloud infrastructure.  If you are already using salesforce.com as your CRM system, check out the app exchange.  There are plenty of apps that can help your team. As managers we have to constantly be asking: "What am I doing to help and develop my team?" Account Plan Pro 1.0 for salesforce.com is now released as a Beta product.  Building on the success of the Account Plan 2008 method, we have now released the Beta version of Account Plan pro for salesforce.com.  Integrated into the Salesforce CRM, the team can now create an Account strategy, VISIT_APP_ICON-150x50 Opportunity strategy, and Relationship strategies.  If you are interested in being a Beta test site for free for your entire team, drop me an email at sharper at territoryplan dot com. Good selling! Steve

Why Creating a Territory Strategy is not easy (for some)

Posted by Steven in Territory planning | 2 comments

Creating a sales plan, or territory strategy, or sales strategy (you choose the name) comes quite naturally for some.

For others it is a chore that is put off until it has to be done and then it gets little grudging attention.  We know that having a clear plan and territory strategy makes even good sales people better.  In fact, most sales people know this.  So, why is it so hard for some to do this simple but critical exercise? As a Manager, we need to understand who on our team is more inclined to have this kind of focus.  The reality is that few Sales People have developed this ability.  Mainly this is the case because a) their profile and personality doesn't help them with things like paperwork and minutiae (that's why we are in sales) and b) it isn't taught any longer.  If you want to understand how to communicate and really work and coach with your sales team, I highly recommend using a profile assessment.  DISC is my personal favorite, mainly because I used it for years and it is very easy for a sales person to learn and use. Not only can you learn about yourself, but now you can use the information to learn about your prospects and customers.  Finding the best way to communicate with a hard to reach prospect, may be the edge that you need in this environment.  An assessment is the first step, in my opinion.

Consultative Selling

Posted by Steven in Sales planning | 0 comments

I hear this term more often than I care to admit.  So many companies and Sales Managers tell me "We have a consultative sales approach." "We want our people to really take more of a consultative selling approach" The funny thing is that so few of the sales managers saying this actually know what that means.  I'm not saying that you have to have been a consultant to sell like one, but you have to understand what and how people want to buy.  They do not want to be sold and they are tired of the old way of selling.  Andrew Sobel said it best in his book "Making Rain"

"In today's markets, you win by assiduously building relationships with clients , being willing to stick with them over the long term, and adding value every step of the way.  Golf and Lunch are nice, but they no longer represent real value to clients - they can get these from anyone."

In today's market, I believe that the real consultative sales person will have the lowest expense account on the team.  Bringing value to a meeting may mean a Latte or Coffee from Starbuck's, but a nice lunch or dinner only adds a dimension of Dis-trust to the equation.  If you can afford to buy a nice dinner, round of golf, or fancy lunch... what does that say about 1) your prices, and 2) your business acumen.

In this economy, showing value is about understanding their business and the business challenges that they face. Once you understand that, you work diligently WITH them to help them solve these issues.  This will win more sales than any lunch or golf game.

So... What is your plan to know as much about your targets and key accounts as possible?

How To Write a Successful Sales Plan? Know your stuff!

Posted by Steven in Sales planning | 0 comments

Especially in a turbulent economy, having a strategy and a sales plan is critical for staying focused, staying on track and making the mid-course corrections necessary to succeed. But the basis of any sales plan has to be based on your knowledge of your business.  What has worked and what hasn't worked?  More importantly, IS THAT STILL TRUE? So do an analysis of your business whether you are the CEO or the Sales rep.

  • First, what is your average deal? I really have to laugh when I ask a sales person and they tell me that "there is No average".   The dictionary defines "Average" as:
–nounStatistics.
the mean obtained by adding several quantities together and dividing the sum by the number of quantities: the arithmetic mean of 1, 5, 2, and 8 is 4.
Now, why is this important?  You have to know based on your business, what you need to do to succeed. Knowing that if I closed 20 deals last year and made 110% , with an average deal size of $30,000, that is good information.  (Usually what I do is take out the two biggest deals that are not typical) So now I can focus on how many I need. I can now look at my performance YTD and my pipeline and see where I am at, NOT JUST from a dollar amount.  So now YTD I have 15 deals and that average is $27,000, I know that the deals are getting smaller, (or that I had a couple of big ones if you didn't take them out) and I need x number of deals based on the average deal in order to make my number.  Now I can look at my pipeline and see if I have the deals I need.  

Sell your way out of it… Survive Q4 with Strategy Planning

Posted by Steven in Sales planning | 0 comments

As I sit typing this, I admit that I have been staring at the screen for an hour. (well, maybe not a full hour, but..) With everything that is going on in the markets around the world, I just couldn't decide what to post.  I finally decided that if I could offer some tips for surviving the fourth quarter and setting up the first quarter that would be useful. Last week I made several suggestions including looking at past business and past messaging.  All of that applies still.  However, I would suggest a few more things for this quarter. First, focus on the fundamentals.  Get back to basics. One of my favorite stories is about Vince Lombardi.  Every year the first day of training camp he would hold up a ball as say to the team, "This is a Foot Ball."   By the way, by fundamentals I mean, Prospecting, Questioning, cold calls, customer follow up, research, and of course Strategy Planning. What are you or you team doing to focus on the fundamentals?  Check out the about.com article by Darrell Zahorsky.  He has great experience and a nice write up on sales strategies. Now is all of the focus on Q4, don't forget about Q1.  I am fond of saying that as sales people we "Drain the swamp" every year end... But the most successful sales people plan for the first quarter.  They get out of the gate fast and don't have to play catch up.  We as sales people have a big red RESET button that gets pushed on December 31st. One way to get a jump on the first quarter is to elephant hunt in the fourth.  Why?  Because you know that you aren't looking for end of year business, and so do they.  You have time to build a relationship and sell at a slower pace that large enterprise companies need anyway.  For a good article on Elephant hunting, see Ray Silverstein's article at Entrepreneur.com. Last suggestion... Stop worrying about the 201(k).  I say to myself and always to sales teams... "Sell your way out of it!"

How to Write a Territory Plan

Posted by Steven in Best Practices | 2 comments

There are many aspects to creating a full blown territory plan.  However, if you have never written one, where and how to start many be confusing.  While a full blown plan description is longer than a blog post, I will try and hit the highlights. Whether you use slides, spreadsheet, or a document is up to you, but the key is the data that you need to turn into information.  So where do you start?

  • First, analyze your territory / quota / business
    • What are my accounts?  How much have they spent?  What else could they or should they buy?
    • How am I doing against quota?  Where did I get my business?
    • How is my pipeline?  What are my targets?
    • create a good list to prospect from including prospects, customers and targets
  • Next, look for patterns
    • Are there verticals that i am winning more than others? (marketing may dictate this)
    • is there common "Pain" or business issues I am solving? (this may be specific based on the product suite)
    • Are there common buyers that I am getting to?
    • Are there specific products that I am selling more than others?
    • Are these because of the market or because I am more comfortable selling these accounts?
  • Next, identify the help that you need
    • Internal resources
    • External resources (Partners etc.)
    • Resources inside a prospect or customer
  • Now, identify that actions / activities you need to complete
    • Look at things like meetings / demos / conversations / dials
      • If it takes 5 dials to have a conversation, and 2 conversations to get a demo and 2 demos to get a meeting and 4 meetings to get a deal... Now you can see how much activity it will take to hit your number
  • Now, build the plan
    • What activities when with what desired outcome?
    • What next steps and how many activities by when?
    • Why are you doing all of these actions?
  • Write it out and let someone read it
  • Make sure you can follow it
  • Look at it everyday or week
If you don't plan the work, you can't work the plan.  Winging it is the best way to miss your number.  Good luck and Good Selling!

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