Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ISO Sales Mojo

During challenging economic times the executive suite often becomes obsessed with any methodology, technique or best practice that may improve sales efficiency.

That fixation fuels lots of activity. Management consultants churn out how-to books at a pace that would put prodigious author Nora Roberts to shame. Sales coaches and trainers organize Webinars to peddle their services. And professional organizations – in an attempt to remain relevant to its membership – organize roundtable discussions and events.

I arrived yesterday at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner, Virginia searching for the magic that would stimulate Strategic Communications Group’s (Strategic) sales mojo. We’ve been fortunate to have signed on with a number of exceptional new clients this year. Yet, the number of new business opportunities coming down the path has cratered in the past six months like no time in our 15 year history. It’s a bit unnerving, to say the least.

A roundtable discussion hosted by the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) National Capital Chapter brought together three speakers who I thought might provide an in-the-trenches view of sales success in today’s market. Their thoughts, advice and tips were right on target.

Here’s a recap of the most relevant comments organized by speaker:

Cliff Sink

There is no magic formula when it comes to sales metrics. They will be unique to each company.

What most people think of marketing is actually marketing communications. The role of marketing leadership is to understand customers, the company’s value proposition and expectations of the sales cycle.

A famous line from every sales person is, “This deal can open up a new market for us.” Be careful not to enter a market of one.

Alba Aleman

Merely measuring tactical sales activities like number of calls or meetings proved ineffective. It created an inaccurate view of the health of the pipeline. Today, we measure each sales rep on outcomes, including quality opportunities, win ratios and sales quotas.

Sales don’t own profitability of a contract. That’s the role of operations management, supported by the executive team.

Jerry Marterella
Market Accel

There are two types of sales pipelines, healthy and unhealthy. And like accounts receivables, pipelines age.

Prospecting for new business is a fly wheel that is always turning. It’s an ongoing activity because timing when the customer has a need is an uncontrollable aspect.

Each company has to uncover its colossal distinction which it ten supports with credibility, coherency and clarity. These are the components of effective messaging.

Never hire a sales person just for their rolodex. They need to bring the business development skills. And, always remember, hire slow/manage easy – hire fast/manage hard.

1 comment:

David Geraghty said...

I believe "dialogue marketing" it is the new driver for sustainability. First and foremost it establishes clear understanding about how your business will contribute to the success of their business.

Does your solution improve efficiency, increase their resources, or bring unique expertise that enhance overall performance.

What results do you deliver and how does your client measure your contributions?

Once you establish a dialogue you gain a strategic advantage as well as an authentic partnership in profitability. Let's face it, if we exploit customers we will not last. If we fail to improve their bottom line we lack sustainability. And if we are revenue focused we can't claim to be client centered.

Win Win means if we put a buck in your pocket we earn a buck as well. That, I believe is the best transaction and affirmation for ACCOUNTABILITY.

Dave Geraghtyu