An Under-used Source of Free Sales Effectiveness Consulting
Nov 14 2016
About this time of year, just like clockwork, the phone starts ringing with sales executives wanting to discuss ways to optimize sales effectiveness. The driving force behind this trend is that companies are starting to look ahead to next year’s projected sales objectives, which are inevitably higher than this year.
As they do, the realization settles in that their sales teams will need to implement new strategies and tactics to up their game and hit those higher goals. A lot of questions I field on these calls are related to what companies can do to determine what “better” looks like when it comes to optimizing the performance of their sales teams? So, let me share some advice on how to get some priceless free consulting on that topic.
Sell Cycle Reviews
A common practice for many sales organizations is to do sell cycle reviews. These involve a review of past deals: wins, losses and no decisions, interviewing the salesperson to get their perspective on what happened during the sales process. This analysis can surface best practices to be shared with the rest of the organization, along with identifying challenges that will need to be overcome with the right combination or people, process, technology and knowledge. We have long been advocates of this practice, but also feel this is only half of the equation.
A companion process that far fewer firms take advantage of is doing “buy cycle” reviews as well. Here, you go out and interview the key client stakeholder(s) who were involved in the decision to go with you, a competitor, or do nothing at all, to find out what transpired in the buying process.
A buy cycle review example
A medical supplies manufacturing firm shared the results of their buy cycle analysis. What they found was that when purchasing was the primary decision maker, their win rate of forecast deals was 39%. That number increased to 71% when the nursing team was the key group to make a product choice.
In drilling deeper into the buy cycle data, they found that purchasing’s objection was price related; the vendors products were more expensive than alternatives. Nursing however found the vendors products easier to use and more reliable, so price was not a factor for them. By changing the coaching process to ensure that sales managers verified that nursing was actively involved in the final product choice, the manufacturer saw a spike in closed deals and total revenues.
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