Salvaging a Sales Person Who Is Struggling

We have a person who is helping us with sales. He’s opening a lot of doors, but not closing much. We like this person a lot and would like to see him succeed. What should we do?

Thoughts of the Day: Sales is a multi-disciplined job. Look for bad habits that are getting in the way. Consider if fears are holding your sales person back. Think about the kind of training you’re willing to invest in. Use a formula to figure out what to expect.

Continue reading


A formula for building up sales


We haven’t had good experience turning things over to salespeople. We give them leads and they don’t turn that into business. Later on we find out that they didn’t do a good job on following up. Or they followed up but couldn’t turn the lead into a sale. Not sure how to better manage this.

Thoughts of the day: Your job includes managing both salespeople and sales activities. Make sure that you have the right people in place doing the right job. Save time and effort by knowing the profile of who you want to sell to. Get salespeople involved in the effort so that they place greater value on the leads. Check out the ROI on sales activities.

Continue reading


Think like a detective when it comes to sales


When it comes to selling, I’m figuring out that I have to think like a detective and not a typical salesperson. Do you have any suggestions on how to best do that?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Decide on who is your best customer, then go get more of them. Work through a list of best customer suspects. Figure out where your targets hang out. Find out if you really are talking to qualified suspects. Have a way to circle back to the suspects who don’t seem to fit initially. Get prospects to turn themselves into clients.

Continue reading


Teamwork leads to better sales

One of our sales guys has a habit of not following through with customers. He does a great job opening doors, but he’s terrible at going back to ask for repeat business or referrals. What should we do?

Thoughts of the Day: Make sure you understand the new normal for your customers and appeal to that. Use a team approach to meet the total needs of the company. Lower the company’s risk by involving multiple players. Set goals for each participant that helps individuals play to their strengths.

The pace of business is constantly speeding up. 24/7/365 connectivity is the norm. Information is everywhere, and so are interruptions. Busy people are trying to get their jobs done. If you have someone on your team who can break through the clutter, make the most of them!

Expand the volume of what this sales person is good, ask them to focus on making connections and have others follow up. Opening doors to lots of prospects should be highly valuable to your company, so long as there’s a way to insure that someone else follows up to move the sales process forward.

Recognize that different sales stages require different attitudes and behaviors as well as skills. Sometime sales calls for a tough skin and fearlessness, other times it requires empathetic listening and relationship development. On the backend, sales requires writing skills, and negotiation and closing skills. Learn what each member of your sales team does well; figure out who does best at each stage in the sales process. Build a complimentary sales team.

Set up a team approach to sales. Have different people to research target accounts, approach the targets, gathers information about prospect needs, documenting the company’s offer in a proposal, and someone does the closing. Make sure there is someone to take over to negotiate the contract, to insure implementation goes smoothly. Don’t forget to circle back to ensure customer satisfaction.

One person owning an account, beginning to end, is risky for a company. If that person leaves, the client may leave, too. It’s better to have a network of relationships between your company and your clients. Involve several people in the sales process. Streamline your processes to ensure that prospects and clients are well managed at every stage.

People in the office can do research, answer questions, get out proposals, and provide customer and prospect support. People out on the road can meet face to face to gather insights on what the client environment is like, to explain complex concepts to customers and prospects and to go eyeball to eyeball when it’s time to make a final decision. Consider inviting your customer to visit your office in order to show that your company has the ability to service long term needs.

Build a top team of performers by helping individuals play to their strengths in a complimentary way. Set goals to meet the company’s overall needs for growth, retention and profit. Figure out what that means in terms of new signings, renewals, referrals to folks who don’t yet know about your company, etc.

Make sure that your sales team is up for meeting the goals you set. Ask the team to work up the details of how they think they can best meet the overall goals. Ask the sales team to be forthright it they have concerns regarding hitting the goals you’ve set. Brainstorm solutions with the group, in order to build confidence that the goals are doable. Be clear what the overall team has to accomplish, and what that means in terms of each team member’s responsibility.

Regularly evaluate each person’s contribution to hitting the total company goals. For example, opening a ton of doors is good, but only if those are the right kind of leads for your company. Missing the mark by spending time nurturing prospects that won’t value what your company offers can be a waste of time for everyone.

If you’re going to build a team approach to selling, make sure your compensation plan rewards team goals. Have a bonus that rewards everyone for achieving the master goal. Or, distribute profits based on total company performance. Make it clear that superstars are only valuable if they can contribute to a winning team performance.

Looking for a good book? Smart Sales Manager: The Ultimate Playbook for Building and Running a High-Performance Inside Sales Team, by Josiane Chriqui Feigon.


Don’t Hope for the Best, Plan for It


Trying to figure out what we can really count on for sales this year. Struggling with optimistic estimates and timing. People get excited when they talk to new prospects, and we’ve lost our share of “sure winners” we were certain we’d get. If we do close on a project, saying it’s sold doesn’t mean we can invoice it right away. It can take months between invoicing and when we get paid, and we don’t even have the client signed yet, meaning we can’t bank on anything. How can we possibly plan for growth under these circumstances?

Thoughts of the Day: A robust sales function is essential to the growth and development of every company. Not everything you expect to sell will close, that’s where probabilities come into play. Figuring out how to focus on the likely closers, instead of wasting time on the sexy ones will help everyone feel more successful. It’s a matter of dividing the sales job into smaller buckets and then tackling each one separately. Having more than enough possibilities allows your company to choose the best.

Continue reading