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May 29, 2014
As most success VAR sales managers know, sales success has a lot to do with consistency. Whether it’s performing repetitive prospecting to properly attract and nurture prospects, adhering to the proposal strategies that have proven to deliver results, or conforming to a tried-and-true sales process, there’s a certain degree of discipline required to succeed in sales.
Yet, while most sales organizations say they understand the importance of consistency, the challenge they often face is salespeople who think that spontaneous, creative, off-the-cuff thinking—as opposed to a disciplined, process-oriented approach—gives them a better chance of being successful.
Unfortunately, that self-belief often wreaks havoc on a VAR’s business results.
After all, if VAR sales leaders and business owners are willing to enable the “spontaneous is better” philosophy, it typically means they aren’t entirely comfortable with the sales process themselves, or they lack the time needed to make it better. Pair that with the poor preparation that typically comes with a haphazard sales approach, and you’ve got a recipe for the kind of prospecting apathy that yields these two misguided sales beliefs:
1. “I’ll just wing cold calling today — I do much better when I’m speaking off-the-cuff.”
No, your sales reps don’t need to use telemarketing scripts to be successful. But they do need a well-planned outline that includes key talking points and highlights the trigger events prospects in their target market might be dealing with. Those things improve call relevancy and increase appointment-setting rates. Without a prospecting plan, the opposite happens—appointment-setting rates and prospecting motivation begin to plummet, and suddenly you have no new opportunities in the pipeline.
Ultimately, creating and adhering to a set prospecting plan can improve a sales rep’s confidence and success rate, and those things will proportionately increase the amount of time they’re willing to spend prospecting. So, don’t let reps wing it. Instead, encourage them to plan their prospecting efforts and work with them to refine their talking points.
2. “I know it’s not in the CRM, but I’m working a ton of leads.”
Yes, inputting activities and opportunities into a CRM system is time-consuming. In fact, entering call logs and prospect interactions, documenting new opportunities and moving current opportunities to new sales stages in CRM can cost a sales rep up to an hour a day and decrease their call volume by more than 50 percent. For many reps, that doesn’t seem like time well-spent.
But this information is critical. It gives you, the sales leader, the data you need to identify where reps need coaching and training, and determine if your sales process isn’t producing. Make sure your reps understand how important it is by acknowledging the time they invest in documenting activities. Be clear on what documentation you expect (activities, notes, future tasks, etc.), then visibly use the CRM data to monitor opportunities and improve reps’ skills. You’ll improve sales consistency, reduce your sales cycle and increase your win rate.
The bottom line is that there’s a big difference between enabling your salespeople to “do what they were hired to do” and giving them complete autonomy to “do what they want to do.”
Salespeople need the consistency of processes and planning to perform at their peak. If they can clearly see the benefits of buying into those things, they’ll be more willing to commit to them and your sales performance will improve drastically as a result.
Kendra Lee is a top IT seller, prospect attraction expert, author of the award winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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