11 Mar Are Your Sales People Creating Enough Opportunities?
Harry was young for a Country Sales Head. Hard work wasn’t the only positive that had propelled him quickly up through the ranks. He was charismatic, assertive, convincing and resilient. Above all, he could lead people. Now with a team of 60, to manage commercial air conditioning sales of a European major, Harry had drawn up ambitious plans. His plans were running into unexpected headwinds. His ‘mentoring sessions’ as Harry called his sales reviews were becoming a discouraging routine. Month after month, the boys, were coming up with variations of the same sob story – “I am missing my numbers as some promised orders didn’t materialize” or “I am working my heart out on our current portfolio but incremental sales are just not happening”.
Harry wondered how he could get his team to go beyond ‘order taking’. He knew what gets measured gets managed. How to measure sales efforts in ways that effectively encash opportunities of today and create opportunities for tomorrow?
Are you one of those sales managers who never experienced “end of period” blues? Most sales managers are not so lucky. Nor are quarterly, midyear and annual reviews, eagerly awaited events. Sales reviews often end with a rhetorical question that goes unanswered – “Why are all those long hours and big money we invested not showing up on the sales graph?” There are three fundamental challenges in managing sales efforts
- Analysing and monitoring sales efforts is not easy – In a manufacturing unit, for a given input of raw materials, run through a predefined process you can almost always predict the quantum of output with certainty. If only sales could be managed like that!
- Opportunity creation has to become part of Salesperson’s efforts – Heinz Goldmann, the founder of Mercuri International, described a Salesperson as one who can “make a sale happen when there would have been none without him or her”. Recent surveys on the future of sales warn that ‘order takers’ and ‘explainers’ will dinosaur. Heinz Goldmann said it 5 decades ago.
- Sales effort should focus on building Customer base for future – Sales efforts should include building a Customer base for future results, rather than merely create opportunities for today, and serve firmed up enquiries received from Customers. This calls for managing Customers and opportunities – together.
Does the tool you use – Sales Funnel, Hot/Cold/Warm classification or a good sales automation CRM, help you to do the above? If you couldn’t say a firm ‘Yes’, that brings up the critical gap in your management of sales effort.
Mercuri offers a tool for salespeople to overcome these challenges. Like an oil exploration platform or a satellite launch platform are places where all resources converge to strike and mine oil or execute a perfect lift off, the Mercuri Sales Platform™ is where all efforts converge to explore, identify and extract the potential opportunity available in an industry.
To this end, the Sales Platform™ breaks down your Customer base into 4 categories:
- Universe of Prospects – Comprising all potential Customers identified for targeting
- Market Platform – Defined prospects not yet really worked upon
- Working Platform – Worked on prospects not yet buying
- Buying Platform – Buying customers
The Sales Platform™ Advantage
- Understand the pipeline better – This framework brings visibility to sales efforts. It makes it possible to measure efforts from ‘creating an opportunity’ to ‘converting an opportunity into an order’.
- Make monitoring stage specific – Sales Platform™ helps in monitoring the number of Customers in each of the four categories or ‘boxes’ at any point of time. The composition of these boxes is dynamic and will keep changing all the time. And that is regardless of whether you make any conscious efforts to change it. You can however, influence the composition to your advantage. That’s provided you make an effort to become consciously competent at it.
- Optimize your sales effort – Monitoring the Sales Platform on real time basis periodically, say every week, can help you optimally channel the direction of your sales efforts. The number and type of sales visits, proposals and follow up and reference management can all be optimally chosen today to create results for the future.
- Group and manage prospects and Customers basis their interest in us – Sales Platform™ also enables us to divide the pipeline of prospects and Customers into six blocks, on the basis of how interested they are in us. It captures the sales life cycle as well
Never heard of us Heard of us Visited by us Inclined to buy from us Loyal Customers Past Customers
Prospects and Customers in the 4 colored blocks should be managed proactively. It is in these blocks that