06 May 3 sales planning tips to stop chasing the 25th Hour
From the Desk of Sales Director, TUV Motors
Our quarterly sales numbers have been less than encouraging for the second quarter in a row. What is of even greater concern is that our actual numbers are no where near the projections we had shared. We seem to have got not just the pipeline probabilities wrong, even the possibilities predicted have been wrong calls. We need to get our act together, quickly. Specifically I would like you all to work on the following priorities:
- Increase time invested in activities that will give results and cut down time spent on nonproductive stuff
- Design more dependable system of estimating our sales performance and likely gaps for the next half year
- All key account managers to plan and prioritize their sales efforts to maximize deal-wins
Please do reach out to me for any support you need
Are you able to decode the Sales Director’s message?
What drives you – Urgent, Important or Routine?
25th Hour was a 2002 American movie which received rave reviews. But to many salespeople, it is the never-never hour reserved for finishing the sales To Do list. Do you feel time impoverished? If you do, then a conscious effort to manage your time may help. Sloppy time management not only nibbles away time available for result oriented efforts, it also triggers panic. So, you end up chasing immediate conversions to the exclusion of all else. A classic case of Urgent overwhelming the Important! How do we fix this?
For starters, let’s look at 5 typical ways in which a salesperson spends his time:
|Way time is spent||Direct Selling Time
|Indirect Selling Time
|Enablers for Direct and Indirect Selling
|What it involves||Customer visits, Conference calls, Skype meetings and all kinds of face time with the Customer||Mails and
Waiting for/between meetings
Researching inputs for proposals
|Reports, sales logs
Internal conference calls
|Time for organizing self
Breaks for food and other needs
|Impact|| 1+2 – Call this A.
Sales results come from here
|3+4+5 – Call this B
Results may not come directly from B. But B is not fully avoidable. It’s compressible though.
Here is a surprise. Surveys have found the percentage of A to A+B is just about 8 – 15%!. If you want more time for A, then check and prune the time on B activities.
Targets help you focus
You will start to invest your time much better, if you have set yourself a clear-cut target for the period ahead, which ideally can be a half year. Target is but one half of the story. Do-ability and likely gap is the other, more important half that can tell you where to focus your time and efforts. The do-ability quotient of any given target is a function of 2 Ps – Possibility and Probability. Possibility is whether or not a given lead will result in a sales closure. Probability on the other hand is how likely it is that closure will happen. When possibility is positive in a given lead, then you can work out the probability of fruition. This is the multiplication product of (Enquiry value) X (Probability %). This can be done for all the months for the period ahead. The total arrived can be compared with the target set for the period to appreciate the likely gap, which you have to close with your efforts
Plan and prioritize your sales activity
Closing the estimated gap becomes easier if you prioritize usage of your time. One way of doing this will be to plan your sales routine. Here is how you can plan a typical week/fortnight of sales activity in two easy steps:
Step 1 – List all activities planned for the week/fortnight Customer wise and it might look like this
|Activity – Illustrative list||Customer A||Customer B||Customer C|
|1.||Cold calls/new enquiries||Completed||Completed||Completed|
|2.||Present offers||To do||Completed||Completed|
|5.||Rapport building with decision makers||Completed|
|6.||Organize offers for fully crystallized enquiries||To do|
|7.||Phone calls for taking appointments ahead|
Step 2 – Prioritize where you will invest your time based on
- Existing or new customers to whom offer has been submitted (Top of your priority list)
- Existing customers with rebuy possibility
- New prospects – Calls
- Gathering new prospects’ information
Going by this logic what could be a priority list for the table in Step 1? – Customer B, followed by Customer C and then Customer A, of course
Another good practice is reviewing the actual achievements against planned goals for the week/fortnight. That will hone your sales planning skills in a few short weeks
No more need for 25th hour
This is no cutting-edge science. It is common sense but not common practice. Three knowledge blocks of Mercuri come in useful in total sales planning – Sales Management, Time Management and Sales Platform. Plan and prioritize your sales activity so you might never need the 25th hour!