Expectations of a Sales Administration Team

Sales Administration Team

If you have ever been part of a sales team or you have managed a sales team you will understand how valuable a sales administration team is to the overall success of the sales organization.  Having strong administrative support and a clear set of guidelines and responsibilities is therefore paramount to the success of the administrators and the sales team members.  Shown below are 16 critical ways that a sales administration team can assist the sales organization.

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Expectations of a Sales Administration Team

  1. Maintain a high level of customer satisfaction with each of our clients.
  2. Support the sales team and assist them in reaching their sales goals.
  3. Provide accurate and timely response to the requests of the sales team for information requested to support sales efforts.
  4. Coordinate travel engagements for all sales people when requested.
  5. Assist the sales team in coordinating and managing the submission of expense reports on a monthly basis.
  6. Assist in the generation of estimates, estimate requests, agreements and routing sheets for the sales team.
  7. Assist in the capture, tracking and reporting of all leads that come into the company via marketing campaigns and miscellaneous sales activities.
  8. Support the VP of Business Development by accumulating data and reports that are used for territory management purposes.
  9. Act as the secretary on group sales calls, team meetings and conferences.
  10. Help coordinate and plan sales meetings and events and support efforts to do so.
  11. Learn products to the extent that you can converse with the sales team and clients regarding what the company’s product offering are.
  12. Coordinate follow up reports and information to assist the sales team in staying in touch with the customer base.  i.e. thank you note lists for new customers, birthday information, customer service follow up questions etc.
  13. Territory trip management.  Map trips for salespeople who are travelling to make presentations in their territories.
  14. Assist in maintaining accurate contact information and data in the company CRM.
  15. Assist in identifying and managing new leads or contacts in sales territories.
  16. Producing sales management reports to assist in managing the sales territory.

Sales Pipeline Management

How Healthy is your Sales Pipeline?

Selling Value Vs. Price

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

 

Do you have to “Lean In” to “Stand Out”?

Should you Lean In?

My wife has been raving about a book that she is reading entitled Lean In written by the Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg.  Knowing that she reads quite a few books, most of which she doesn’t comment on significantly, I was interested in learning what Sandberg had to say in Lean In.

Sandberg’s book focuses on two primary problems that woman face today.  The first  problem according to Sandberg is that “women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world”.  Sandberg states that any gains  that were made regarding how women were improving in their professional roles peaked in 2002 and since that date they have been trending downward.   The second problem that woman face noted by Sandberg is that “women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment” if they chose to stay in the workforce.  These types of hard choices could be similar to the stress and strain of leaving a crying child at home with a caregiver or nanny as the woman would leave to pursue her professional dreams.  For those women who chose to stay in the workplace Sandberg offers three tips for the woman that chose to stay in the workplace:  1)  Sit at the table 2)  Make your partner a real partner  3)  Don’t leave before you leave

 In lieu of writing a detailed description of these three tips you can check out this video or purchase the book to learn more.

 

While researching I found that there is a wide variety of opinions about the book.  I have included two reviews to provide you with a flavor of the types of responses that Sandberg is receiving from her supporters and critics.

Anne-Marie Slaughter praises the book in this NY Times article.  She believes that Sandberg correctly identifies a message that resonates with many females who have to compete in a modern workplace and face their own fears and insecurities while doing so.  She says:

Most important, Sandberg is willing to draw the curtain aside on her own insecurities. She describes the many times in her career when she was deeply unsure of herself, and the uncertainty that has never entirely gone away:

“I still face situations that I fear are beyond my capabilities. I still have days when I feel like a fraud. And I still sometimes find myself spoken over and discounted while men sitting next to me are not. But now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.”

Sandberg quotes other powerful women sharing their own insecurities, including a wonderful anecdote from Virginia Rometty, the first female chief executive officer of I.B.M. As Sandberg tells the story, Rometty was offered a “big job” early in her career, but she worried she might not have the proper experience. So she told the recruiter she would have to think it over. When she discussed the offer with her husband, he pointed out, “Do you think a man would ever have answered that question that way?” It all comes down to confidence, Sandberg suggests, and it is easier to be confident if you realize that your role models have plenty of doubts of their own.

Others are reading the book and thinking that “Lean In” might highlight the correct statistics but come to the wrong conclusion.  For example, James Allworth of the Harvard Business Review would suggest that women have, despite their feelings of insecurity in the workplace, been getting it right all along by NOT leaning in.  Allworth quotes:

Early on in the book, Sandberg quotes Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and one of the first woman to serve as president of an Ivy League university: “My generation fought so hard to give all of you choices. We believe in choices. But choosing to leave the workforce was not the choice we thought so many of you would make.” “So what happened?” asks Sandberg, before listing a number of reasons why it’s still incredibly tough for women to make it to the top. I don’t dispute any of them. But I want to posit that there’s another reason why so many women have chosen alternative paths, and it’s not because it’s difficult: it’s because that in terms of what generates sustained long term happiness in our lives, careers are a long way from the be all and end all, and women have simply done a better job of recognizing it.

See James Allworth’s complete article from the Harvard Business Review.

I believe that this book identifies the struggle  that working wives and mothers wrestle with every day as they step out of their homes and chose to engage in the work force.  Will this book draw polarizing comments?  Certainly,  but, if this book and the arguments surrounding it will help women (and men)  make better decisions regarding the choices that they make regarding the balance between work and family life, then I say more power to “Lean In”.   Read the book and decide for yourself.

 

Bryan Flanagan describes the B.E.S.T. personality profiles

Bryan Knows Personalities

Bryan Flanagan understands that competitive advantage in business is gained by investing in people.  He also understands that to be successful as a salesperson, sales manager or sales executive you must understand your personality style and the personality style of others.  My experience has taught me the exact same thing.  In this video Bryan Flanagan lays out the framework of the BEST personality profiles.  BEST is an acronym that stands for:

  1. Bold

  2. Expressive

  3. Sympathetic

  4. Technical

Laugh and learn as you watch Brian Flanagan explain these four different types of personalities.  Continue reading below for more details about the B.E.S.T. personality types.

To learn more about Bryan and his training company click on the following link: Brian Flanagan

The Four Personality types:

BOLD

The BOLD type uses a style of communications that is most often direct. The BOLD type likes the bottom line and works at making things practical. Consequently, the BOLD type‛s conversation is short, to the point, and sometimes can be blunt. In addition, the BOLD type sometimes likes to be combative because s/he likes challenges. In other words, the BOLD is stimulated by the adventure of a “heated” discussion. This discussion can end up with the BOLD intimidating others into silence.  The BOLD type is a divergent thinker and because of this, is sometimes accused of not listening. That is, the BOLD is thinking of a rebuttal while you are talking. However, this same quality makes the BOLD type a good problem-solver.

The BOLD type‛s communication style reflects a need to be independent, free, practical, and domineering. While the BOLD is good at visualizing the big picture, details of how to make it happen are sometimes a problem.

Expressive

The EXPRESSIVE type personality uses a style of communications that reflects a need to be involved with people. In other words, the EXPRESSIVE type likes to talk and is good at it. To the EXPRESSIVE type, persuading others is stimulating. Consequently, the EXPRESSIVE type is a good presenter by nature because of her/his ability to relate to people. In fact, research indicates that EXPRESSIVE types have a natural ability to understand the emotional state of others and researchers think this ability is actually a kind of human intelligence. Another characteristic of the EXPRESSIVE type is that they often talk with word pictures and in emotional terms. They like to communicate a positive and optimistic message.  The EXPRESSIVE type is driven by a need to influence others, be popular, and to gain public recognition. Their communication abilities make them good salespeople, teachers, presenter, politicians, and actors. The EXPRESSIVE type, of all the personality types, is the natural communicator.

Sympathetic

The SYMPATHETIC type is a quiet and calm communicator. In fact, they like to listen more than talk. They make good counselors because of the ability to be a good listener. The present a very sincere image when they communicate and are like the EXPRESSIVE type, people oriented.  However, their low key approach displays less enthusiasm in conversation. The SYMPATHETIC type is a team player and loyal. Consequently, their conversation reflects a need to be a part of the group. They like for relationships to be friendly and cordial and are actually turned off by aggressive communicators. Because SYMPATHETIC types like routine, their conversations often give support to little or no change in the organization. They need to feel appreciated and given time to adjust before being asked to make changes in their work habits.

Technical

The TECHNICAL type of personality has a style of communicating which is characterized by order, detail, and logic. They function best in organizations that follow procedures and will communicate their displeasure if things are not orderly. The TECHNICAL type focuses on the details of a task because they are convergent thinkers. They must see the big picture is small parts or steps before moving on. TECHNICAL types work well with numbers, systematic procedures, and precise tasks.  TECHNICAL types are sometimes accused of being perfectionists and may overlook the human aspect of accomplishing a task. They like to follow procedures because it takes risk out of the environment for them. Their communication style is structured and has definite points. Note takers by nature, the TECHNICAL type strive to work and live in an orderly environment.

You can learn more about the BEST Instruments Profile at http://bestinstruments.net/index.htm

As Brian said, grow in the following ways to achieve success both professionally in sales and personally:  Grow yourself, Grow your relationships and Grow as a learner.

For a great book by Bryan Flanagan consider his book for new salespeople.

 Sell Value Vs. Price

 Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

Sales Pipeline Management

 

How sustainable is your company’s competitive advantage?

The competitive advantages that you have today in your businesses might not be able to sustain the growth and profitability for your business tomorrow?

This is a shocking and frightening truth that each entrepreneur, business owner, company president, and salesperson has to face daily. What brought you to the table today might not get you in the room tomorrow.  Rita McGrath of the Columbia business school has some sobering thoughts regarding how competitive advantage is changing and might possibly no longer exist.

One of the key concepts that she will be presenting in her forthcoming book is the idea that in the past, companies primarily faced competition from within the industries that they were in.  For example, Chevrolet expected competition from Ford and visa versa.  Both Chevrolet and Ford were constantly working to sustain a competitive advantage over the other as well as other auto makers within the industry. McGrath asks the question, what would have happened if both Chevrolet and Ford faced competition companies from outside their industry such as  Virgin Airlines?  McGrath points out that times have changed and that this type of competitive landscape is now a norm.  No longer do companies have to face competition from within their industry only, they have to compete now with companies that were in other arenas and outside of their industries. With this dramatic shift from competing only within one industry to now competing within arenas, companies will have to adapt new strategies to compete because their competitive advantages are more temporary and fluid today than they were even a decade ago.  McGrath says that all is not lost and that she has a plan for helping companies re-engineer their strategies for remaining competitive and profitable in the days and years ahead.

Rita McGrath is an expert on strategy in volatile and uncertain environments. She works with senior leadership teams to help them create an entrepreneurial mindset, drive growth and recognize when and how to disengage. In addition to her popular speaking engagements, she works in partnership with companies who seek to accelerate their competitive effectiveness.

For more information from Rita visit competitive advantage

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Posted in Business Strategy by Mack Powers. 2 Comments

Understanding Pre Approach – Don’t throw in the towel too soon!

Dont throw in towel small

Pre Approach – Don’t Throw in the Towel

Pre Approach is vital to the success of sales professionals.  The earlier that a sales person begins to collect, analyze and understand information about their customers, the better their chances of selling products and services to those customers.  Pre approach will not only better position you to win business with your client but it will also be the foundation upon which you build a strategy and sales plan to best serve and provide for that customer.  In today’s highly competitive sales environment, the artful collection and understanding of pre approach information can be the margin of difference between you and your competitors regarding who will win the trust and favor of your prospects and customers and who won’t.  There is one critical idea to consider regarding the pre approach process that every sales person should consider and that is this, “During the investigative process, don’t become discouraged too easily when you discover that some of the information that you learn about your client  doesn’t seem to fit the profile that you were expecting for the question(s) that you are asking.  In doing so, many sales people have thrown in the towel too early and missed an opportunity to build a strong relationship with a new customer.

To clarify, pre approach is the step in the sales cycle that will come after a potential client has been qualified as being a good match for your company’s products and services and before the initial meeting with the client.  Pre Approach is the work of identifying the driving forces and perspectives at work in the customer’s organization (or personally) and becoming familiar with the customer’s goals. During the initial meeting with the client, the salesperson will confirm the accuracy of the pre approach information that he has obtained and continue the effort in learning more about his clients business so that he might be able to bring the proper resources and solutions to meet and exceed the client’s goals and demands.

Generally, pre approach is a business to business sales process step that doesn’t apply to a retails sales environment.  However, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a pre approach phase in a business to consumer or retail sale.  What is similar is the idea that in both types of sales environments is that the sales professional needs to be thinking and analyzing how to construct a strategy to understand the client’s needs and how he/she will position their companies’ products and services to meet those needs.

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

This past weekend, I headed to a motorcycle store to return some merchandise that I had previously purchased.  After returning the item, I decided to stroll through the maze of shiny iron and chrome “horses” that were sprawled across the showroom.  As I wandered through dreaming of an adventure on one of these steeds, I was approached by one of the sales people from the store.  Note:  When you aren’t afforded the luxury of doing your homework prior to meeting a client, as in retail sales, you have to do your pre approach post haste.  In retail sales, pre approach might also be considered qualification of the prospect.  Either way, be thinking what can I learn to understand the client’s needs and how will I be able to present my companies’ value proposition to that prospect.

In my previous post Using Pre Approach to Establish yourself as a Sales Professional,  I described (bullet point #3) that one key pre approach metric would be to determine:  “What are the drivers for the decision maker/s that I will be talking with: quality, price, delivery, technical support during the sales process,  or all of the above?”  In this retail motorcycle store, the sales management had taught the sales staff that one of the key drivers (or maybe the only key driver ) was “whether the prospect was a current owner of their product”.  This is always a great piece of information to know, but it isn’t by itself a driver that should be considered a deal breaker if the client prospect doesn’t specifically meet the profiled answer to this question.  Let me explain.

After talking about how cool and exciting the bikes were and about how much my life would be improved if I were to own one, the salesperson quickly asked a “typical” qualification or sales strategy question. He wanted to know about my current use of this type of product.  Mr. Powers, he said, what kind of motorcycle do you currently own? I explained that I didn’t currently own a motorcycle.  When I told him that I didn’t currently own a motorcycle, I could clearly see his countenance change from one of energy and optimism to one of being deflated and discouraged.   Within 30 seconds of his learning this fact regarding this one metric, this salesperson ushered me gently towards and then out the front door so that he could find the next, more qualified, customer.   What was so disappointing was that he started wonderfully to gather information that would have been great pre approach and qualification but then, he fell miserably short by inaccurately interpreting the information that I had supplied him.    This sales person should have asked more questions about my current and past usage of this product instead of assuming that because I didn’t have a motorcycle today, that I wasn’t a good prospect for one tomorrow.  What other questions could he have asked and what difference could they have made?

Question 1:         Even though you currently down own a motorcycle have you ever owned a motorcycle?  My answer:  Yes, I have owned FOUR.  I was and am a great prospect to own another motorcycle!

Question 2:         What types of motorcycles have you owned?  My answer:  I have owned three Honda’s and one BMW motorcycle.  By the way, did I mention that this event took place in a Honda Motorcycle dealership showroom?   Bingo.  I had previously owned three of this sales person’s product.  I was pretty darned brand loyal to the Honda motorcycle yet he never found that out because he stopped too soon in his pre approach research and analysis.

In B2B and B2C selling, take the time to learn the answers to all critical pre approach drivers.  Don’t be discouraged if during the investigative process you learn something that might seem like a roadblock or a dead end.  The reason… If you don’t get the answer that you wanted, the problem could be that you asked the question improperly or that you didn’t ask additional questions to get the full understanding of the answer to the question.  Therefore, press on and get the answers to as many of the strategy pre approach questions that you have before making a disqualifying decision regarding this prospect.   With the additional information that you gain by asking more and better questions, you might find yourself understanding your prospective client’s goals and solving problems for a truly loyal customer of your product.   Doing so will be a great benefit to both you and your new brand loyal customer.

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Posted in Sales Strategy by Mack Powers. 2 Comments

Managing Your Sales Portfolio… Like Warren Buffett

Manage your sales portfolio like Warren Buffett

You probably haven’t heard the term sales portfolio much in your sales training.  However, as a salesperson have you ever considered that managing your sales territory and clients is analogous to what an investment portfolio manager does when managing the assets of his/her investing clients.  Let me explain, what if you considered the company that you work for as your investors and the customers that you sell your products and services to as the companies that you are investing in on behalf of your company (the investors).

Successful salespeople have a fundamental understanding of business success, and they understand that certain business principles such as the one just described, readily apply in the sales environment.  One of these great parallels between business and sales is the similarity between an investment portfolio manager and a professional salesperson’s sales portfolio.

Salespeople often refer to their list of potential clients and deals as a “sales pipeline”.  While an investment portfolio will track and monitor all of the investments held by an investment company, a sales pipeline tracks and monitors all business pursuits, activities and efforts which are the assets and product of work that the sales person produces on behalf of their employer or the principals that they represent.  In this sense, a sales pipeline easily translates into a sales portfolio.

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

Like investment portfolios, successful salespeople will learn to recognize risk and reward within their portfolios.  Some businesses may require more work and finesse but will bring a higher return.  Other sales leads may require minimal work and may yield a large number of small sales but the low investment required will still justify the smaller revenues generated or the lower margins. Finally and regretfully,  in some cases, a well-organized sales portfolio may show that certain companies and clients require more work and yet they rarely yield returns that justify the amount of investment required to nurture, develop and manage them.  The astute salesman, with the guidance of senior level management should carefully evaluate all activities within their sales portfolio’s to determine where to invest time and resources to generate the highest returns (revenues and profits).  You won’t succeed in sales if you can’t do this effectively!  Great salespeople have an intuitive ability to understand this risk reward relationship regarding their pipeline.

In short, manage your sales pipeline intelligently.  View the pipeline as more of a sales portfolio, and do not be afraid to integrate successful strategies from the investment industry into your sales techniques.  In the end, you will see some great results.

How to increase revenue and calculate the sales growth rate

Sales Growth Rate

Sales Growth Rate

How successful has your business been in terms of realizing a year over year sales growth rate.  The revenue or sales growth rate is one of the key metrics that you should consider when evaluating your business success either as a business owner or a salesperson.  This post will explore two things.  First, how to drive sales growth.  Second, how to calculate the sales growth rate!

What are the 5 Key Ways to grow revenue:

  1. Does your business have a PLAN to grow revenue?  If not, see what Proctor and Gambles CEO says about how to develop a plan to win in business.
  2. A.G. Lafely is an expert on building outrageously successful businesses and brands.  He is the most successful CEO that you might not have ever heard of.  See his six questions to determine if your company has a sound business strategy.
  3. Define the 4 Key Market Segments where you will compete
  4. Improve your companies Value Proposition
  5. If you are building a business based that is in a competitive market, make sure that you tool your sales organization to Sell Value vs. Price.  By selling value, you increase sales and gross profit margin.  Both are critical for growing your business.
  6. Bonus:  Create Fans instead of Customers with your business

 

How to calculate the Sales Growth Rate

(Current Sales – Previous Sales)/Previous Sales x 100  =  % Growth Rate

In this case the numbers were positive because MORE was sold in the current year than the previous year.  However if you had sold more in the previous year than current year then the growth rate formula would have yielded a NEGATIVE % growth rate…. and that is not a trend that you would want to see continue.

Shown below is a 5 Step guide to calculating the growth rate.

Step 1    Write down your sales revenue for the current year (or period).  For example:  Sales for the current year are $ 2,000,000.

Step 2    Write down your sales revenue for the previous year (or period).  For example:  Sales for the previous year were $ 1,000,000.

Step 3    Subtract previous years’ sales (step 2) from the current years’ sales (step 1) i.e.  $ 2,000,000 – $ 1,000,000 = $ 1,000,000

Step 4    Divide the results from step 3 by the amount of sales in the previous year (step 2).

$ 1,000,000/$ 1,000,000 = 1.0

Step 5   Multiply the product in Step 4 x 100 to come up with the percent growth or 100%

100% represents the year over year growth percentage that your company experienced from the previous year to the current year.

 

 

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

How Healthy is your Sales Pipeline?

Selling Value Vs. Price

What to expect from your sales team

 

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Posted in Business by the numbers by Mack Powers. 1 Comment

How to be a better salesperson – Learn from an expert

what sales can learn from marketing

Have you ever considered that you can learn how to be a better salesperson from a marketing person?  Many times salespeople think that the only way that they can learn about how to be a better salesperson is by listening to sales managers, sales vice presidents or other successful sales people.  It is true that you can and should learn much about sales from sales professionals in those roles. However, many times sales people neglect the wisdom and insight that can be learned about sales from marketing professionals.

Many sales people consider sales as simply: “the delivery of a presentation that someone else has told them give.  This “delivery” is sometimes referred to as a sales pitch, a sales demonstration, or a sales presentation.  The reality is that there is more work involved in the sales process than the pitch.

I like how succinctly Dawn Westerberg has summed up the dynamics of  how to be a salesperson and the sales process in her “Secret to successful marketing in 36 words”.  Dawn’s 36 words are as follows:

  1. Identify your ideal target market.
  2. Demonstrate you understand the problem(s) your ideal target market faces.
  3. Present your solution.
  4. Share the results (success) of your solution.
  5. Explain what makes you different.
  6. Provide a meaningful call to action.

According to Dawn, you can see that step 3 is the sales presentation. Some also refer to this as “the offer”.  It is sandwiched between a significant amount of work both before and after that step.  Prior to making the presentation are you confident that you have clearly identified the target market?  Are you sitting in front of the right person at the right time?  I have seen countless sales calls where a salesperson wasted time selling to someone who wasn’t a qualified prospect for their solution.  Why, because they were only trained to give the pitch to “x” number of people a day. You’ve probably been there and done that yourself.  Have you completed steps 1 and 2 prior to giving the presentation?  Are you and your client both clear that you are there with a viable solution to a pressing need that he has.  Then proceed with the presentation.  Afterward, share the results of what will be better for your client when they engage with you and your team.  Explain why your offering is unique in the market place.  If you aren’t unique, then why should they do business with you?  Finally, what is the call to action?  What are you asking them to do?  It could be to sign on the dotted line or simply to proceed with the next step in the sales process.  Either way, you are one step closer to your goal of conducting profitable business that will benefit both you and your client.  Use Dawn’s 36 word summary as a guide for you in all of your sales and marketing endeavors. Doing so will benefit you and your customers.

See the original article from Dawn Westerberg regarding “how to be a salesperson

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

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Posted in Sales Skills Selling Skills by Mack Powers. 3 Comments

4 Key market segmentation metrics

4 market segmentation metrics chart

4 Key Market Segmentation Metrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market segmentation is a very simple principle to understand.  Understanding the 4 Key market segmentation metrics listed below is something that you and your company must understand in order to generate sales and maintain a healthy sales pipeline.  Before we identify and clarify these 4 key market segmentation metrics, lets review what market segmentation is.  Market segmentation is the act of subdividing the market into a group or groups of people who have similar needs within the group, but dissimilar needs across the groups.  Another way to state this would be that everyone in group A is similar to everyone else in group A but everyone in group A is different to everyone in group B.  The same would be true also for group B.  Everyone in group B is similar to everyone else in group B but everyone in group B, is different from everyone in group A.

In order to clearly define market segments for your products and services it is important to divide your potential prospective customers into groups and then decide which companies within those groups would be the best fit for your product.   You also might determine after defining the market segments and comparing those segments to previous sales history data that the ideal customer is one who can belong to two or more of the of the groups.  Okay, what are some ways that we can define the groups?

  1. Geographic Segmentation – Geographic segmentation is used to identify business target markets based on where the businesses are located. Are the potential clients in the same zip code, city, county, state, country?  If you are a roofing contractor for example, you might decide that everyone in zip code 12345 is a good prospect for your business because of a recent hailstorm in that zip code.  However, everyone in zip code 67890 is not a good prospect because those residents have not had any hail in 8 years.
  2. Segmentation by Size – Size might be measured in terms of number of employees or in terms of annual sales.  You might be selling an ERP software solution with an implemented cost of $ 500,000.  Therefore, you might quickly rule out any business with sales less than $ 1,000,000 because you would know that a company that small would never benefit by a robust software solution of the magnitude of your product.
  3. Segmentation by Industry – Industry segmentation may be used by marketers who are selling products with specific appeal in certain industry segments. If you are a manufacturer of industrial automation equipment, you wouldn’t need to talk with companies who were in the hospitality industry.  You would select companies generally who manufacture or utilize industrial products in the manufacturing of their products.
  4. Business Need Segmentation – Segmentation based on business need allows marketers to identify and connect with businesses that span geographies, size and industry, but share a common need addressed by the marketer’s products or services.

In the above example, you might determine that the best customer is likely to be one who is geographically located in a particular state, they have revenues of greater than $ 10,000,000 and they are a manufacturer.  By segmenting and then strategically evaluating history and foretasted new opportunities, sales professionals and marketing professionals can more quickly and cost effectively increase revenue and cash flow at costs lower than they would without using market segmentation in their business strategy and business plans.  Understanding the 4 key market segmentation metrics will help you to target prospects for business growth.

Great Quotes by Peter Drucker

 

7 Reasons why Sales Pipeline Management is important to your business

sales funnel tubular

7 Reasons Why Sales Pipeline Management is Critical

Sales Pipeline Management is critical for the success of any company that relies on a sales team or sales channel to drive revenue growth.  Shown below are seven critical reasons why having an accurate sales pipeline management program in place is important to your company.  A sales pipeline management tool will:

  1. Provide a forecast that will highlight opportunities that you expect to close and when you will close them.  Provide a 30, 60 and 90 day (or beyond) revenue forecast for your company.  Knowing what you will be closing is critical to others within your business such as operations, accounting or manufacturing.  Also, a sales manager can decide what critical deals will require his immediate time commitment and oversight.
  2. Show you how to allocate resources to assist in closing business opportunities based upon the deals most likely to close.  See point 1.
  3. Show your management team which opportunities are real and which are just “wishful thinking”.  Experienced sales managers are able to apply a “sniff test” to deals that novice sales team members will bring them if they are identified in the pipeline.  Management will be able to adjust the sales pipeline accordingly after the evaluation and instruct sales team members about what is real and worthy of a further investment of time and wish deals should be punted.
  4. Indicate how likely you will be in achieving your budgets or targets?  If your annual sales goals per sales person is $ 2,000,000 and you are 6 months into your sales year, then you should expect sales revenues of $ 1,000,000 from each person on your team (unless your sales are weighted for seasonal adjustments).  If half and your sales team is at $ 500,000 instead of the $ 1,000,000 target then you might have a better idea of how likely you are of reaching the anticipated sales goals for the year.
  5. Provide you with the ability to consistently look at snapshots regarding sales projections.  Over time, you will build a level of confidence regarding how accurate the pipeline data actually is.  You might also learn that some sales team members have better data that is closer to actual revenue production than others.  This will provide coaching opportunities to help those who overestimate production.
  6. Assist you in tracking “deal flow” or “deal velocity” to determine if any opportunities are stuck.  If your normal sales cycle is a 120 period from the identification of the prospect until the day the deal is signed, then having a sales pipeline management program in place will quickly show you which deals aren’t progressing as they should.  For example, you should have generated a proposal by day 90 if you are expecting to have the signed order by day 120.
  7. Allow you to quickly determine which sales team members are performing and which aren’t.   Without a sales pipeline management tool such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system, then you will be waiting until the end of the quarter or the end of the year to determine how your sales team is performing.  With sales pipeline management, key metrics can be tracked on a more frequent basis.  This will allow your sales managers to more quickly identify and correct problems that exist for each of the sales team members.

It is my experience that effective and attentive sales pipeline management will dramatically impact the health of your sales revenue or your sales quota (if you are a sales person).

More about:  Sales Forecasting