From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Sales Force Productivity

July is a month for independence, a chance to break away from the strangling hands of your competition. In the last lesson, I showed you exactly how to unlock the chains of unproductive behavior holding you back from moving revenue to the next level.

It may not be your fault entirely that you make these mistakes; but it is your responsibility to demand key sales and marketing management see that they don't. If you've been a long-time subscriber, it's likely you aced that test, and that's why you're ready for today's lesson ...

One of the biggest complaints I get from B2B sales and marketing management is that their sales training budgets are shrinking faster than they can drive new revenue. What you'll learn in this lesson will stop this unforgiving downward spiral.

To add more to your bottom line, here are ten things your salesforce has forgotten that once remembered will turn around sales productivity. You'll discover performance management strategies that help achieve sales productivity results without expensive sales training programs.

This lesson prepares you for next month where you'll see how to grow major accounts more easily than ever before. You'll learn two ways to increase revenues (and the investment you can make into sales and marketing training.) Until then, if you have any questions, I encourage you to ask them at the ASK Justin Hitt Blog it doesn't cost you anything.

Warmest regards,

Justin Hitt
+1 (276) 254-8747

Ps. One question asked lately is "How can I hire you to help us increase customer retention and revenues? " While I have a lot going on, I'm available for small assignments -- you have two choices (1) if you sell or market to executives then visit -- (2) if you want to turn business relationships into profits then visit -- both sites have more details.

Double Sales Force Productivity Without Spending A Single Dollar In Sales Training

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

It's the dream of sales managers to increase sales force productivity on their limited sales training budget. If only there was a way wake up one morning with a sales team twice as productive as it was the week before, without expensive sales force automation.

Performance management requires insights that build a powerful salesforce. In the next few pages, you'll discover proven strategies that increases sales force productivity without spending another dollar in sales training.

The sad but fortunate truth is that your salesforce already knows what it needs to be more productive. It's not a matter of inspiration, but instead perspiration to reach new levels of sales productivity. Use this checklist to discover new ways to supercharge your tired team.

  1. How are you executing sales performance management?

    Most sales managers hit one side or another on this; either they collect too little or too many metrics. The balance lay in collecting "in process" measures that demonstrate prospects likelihood to purchases. These measures assist forecasting, don't require a lot of effort on the part of individual sales people, and tend to be more accurate since they are action based.

  2. Where is sales force automation improving lead generation?

    It's important sales people do some cold calling, as it's an excellent opportunity to identify key selling points and finding the right decision maker. However, if sales people spend more time prospecting than executing appointments, then they are wasting valuable resources. Start with simple automation like outsourcing telemarketing, using buyer profiles to target direct mail campaigns, and work from a more response based marketing platform. Use software to focus and balance tasks across the appropriate individuals.

  3. How can sales presentations focus on plus selling with add-ons?

    This means each sales person assumes the sale and is now presenting to determine which additional services the client desires for their specific needs. A highly qualified prospect is required for this to improve sales productivity, especially since the assumption of the meeting is that the buyer will purchase from someone, so what value do they gain purchasing from you. Use this method in markets where solutions seem similar and where you can add to delivered value with low cost services.

  4. How are you monitoring your established sales funnel?

    Selling is a methodical systematic process from qualification to close. If you aren't monitoring, or even have a sales funnel you are missing a huge boost in sales force productivity. First, sales funnel management makes selling a clear start-to-finish process, outlined in a simple way even new sales people can follow. Second, monitoring an established sales funnel is a performance management tool that lets you identify top performers and those who need help.

  5. Are your sales meetings focused and to the point?

    Many sales managers think they are motivating sales people with long unformatted meetings with training, exercises, and feedback. While this does wonders for your ego, how can you expect a sales force to be productive if they are sitting in front of you? Sales meetings that focus on one or two key areas, reward successes, address any problems, and then put sales people back in the field are best. If you want to motivate, do it as a separate event outside of work, as a reward for performance. The most successful and productive sales people get their motivation outside of work -- and your effort to motivate this is just an irritating waste of time.

  6. How do you identify and share best practices in a way that make your achievers a star?

    You can significantly improve sales productivity by sharing best practices of top performers. For best results, highlight success not saying, "This is what you must do too" but instead showing that results are possible even in the toughest market. This also motivates achievers by recognizing their successes. You can have stars in each area of selling, not just in volume. Be sure to identify best practices in prospecting, presenting, and closing. Beware; don't make them "Rock Stars," even your best performers need to be aware that they can still make mistakes and learn.

  7. Are you using response based prospecting?

    When a prospect "raises their hand" for details about a specific solution, they are at least 6 times more qualified than a cold contact. Response based prospecting is an ideal way to warm mailing lists, reactivate old customers, and attract prospective customers without tying up individuals sales people in the lead generation process. The methods and mediums available for this productivity boosting approach are too numerous to mention here, the key improvement is that you are offering something of value at every interaction point, that only qualified buyers will want, and tie the response into your sales force automation system.

  8. How are you using self-set quotas?

    To meet the company's financial numbers you may have a base quota for a certain period, however, sales people are more likely to reach numbers they set. In your monthly individual one-on-one selling evaluation, help each sales person set a quota based on their individual goals and objectives. This takes just 5 minutes and helps identify areas sales people can improve. Equate these quotas back to activity, skills required, personal goals, and individual responsibility.

  9. How are you qualifying leads before they reach your salesforce?

    For every minute your sales people spend with unqualified buyers, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to replace that wasted time. This is because every appointment is an investment in hours of prospecting. The better leads can be qualified before they get to the sales person, the less likely they are to meet with individuals who aren't ready and willing to purchase now. The best most profitable way to better qualify leads is to use the "Lead Qualification Funnel Method" outlined in the July 2006 issue of Strategic Relations Journal.

  10. How are sales people using the selling basics?

    The foundation of mastering any activity is to understand the basics -- the grounding principles of achievement -- for your salesforce this means prospecting, presenting, and closing sales. Many "experienced" sales people resist refining their skills, thinking there is some "new" technique "out there" that will improve their abilities. They often can't look past their own ignorance to increase sales productivity. Use mentoring programs that connect experience sales people with new rookies, using a clear training plan that covers the basics. Often more experienced sales people will remind themselves of those things they did to get where they are today. When a salesforce improves on the selling basics, they increase sales productivity in all areas, especially in the application of advanced techniques.

Stop dreaming, there are things you can do to improve your sales productivity. It's critical to revisit this checklist periodically in your own performance management activities to introduce new ways to improve sales force productivity , some of which you'll adopt in regular practice. If you do these things, one day you'll wake up to a more productive sales team without spending a dollar more in sales training!

© 2006 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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