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Sales - making the numbers work for you

 The sales cycle is pretty simple really.  It starts with a prospect, ends with a close, and starts again with the next opportunity.

So how do you make the numbers work for you?   First of all, you need to understand your own numbers.  You can benchmark against other sales people, against industry standards and all manner of other statistics, but if you don't know your own hit rates, and own them, you are lost.

Sales Managers put complex models together to measure sales people.   This is partly so that they are able to understand what is needed for success from each person.   Unfortunately, many sales people don't spend the time to understand the model, and do not buy into the numbers game.

Lets look at a simple example:

Target = R1.2 million of new sales per annum
Prospect pipeline = R3.6 million
Last years hit rate = 20% of pipeline
20% of pipeline = R720 000

Taking this into account, there are two possible scenarios:
  • Improve the hit rate to 33%
  • Grow the pipeline to R6 million
Then you have to dig deeper into your sales methods.
  • How do you build your prospect list?
    • Phoning, referrals, existing clients
  • What is your follow up process once you have delivered the proposal?
    • Phone calls, chasing the close
    • Keeping the signatory in the loop on industry issues, sending articles, newsletters
    • Entertaining, lunches, rugby box seats, etc
What works, what doesn't?

Improve the hit rate
  • How many opportunities are on your pipeline
  • Where do they come from
  • Talk to your sales successes - ask them why they bought from you and would they do so again
  • Analyse where your sales have come from in the past
  • Does your current pipeline reflect past success ie if 50% of last years sales were in the mining industry, how much of your current pipeline is in the same industry
  • How many sales did you bring in last year to hit your target and what was your hit rate on number of deals
  • How many calls (visits/presentations/meetings/entertainment) did you make to bring in the deals / prospects last year
  • Are you doing the same amount to bring in a higher target, or have you just upped your prices?
The list is endless, but you can't do the same to bring in more, and you need to look objectively at what worked and what didn't

Grow the Pipeline
  • Ask for referrals from your current clients, prospects and new signers
  • Network externally, sales is not a 9 to 5 job, you need to belong to associations, sports clubs, etc
  • Network on social media, use LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, comment on articles, build a presence
  • Network within your own business, build relationships with your colleagues and the broader group you might be a part of
  • Network with your clients, retain and build the relationship after you have the sale, you should speak to your existing clients regularly, even when they are not buying, make them feel appreciated
When you are committed to making numbers work for you, setting achievable goals and objectives (in addition to your company's targets) is critical.   Then share them, because that ups your commitment.   So if your current pipeline is R3.6 on January 1st, set a goal of R3.8 for February 1st, and aim to achieve that goal, then set the next one.

Design a spreadsheet that tracks successes, and reset goals monthly if you are ahead or behind.

One of the sayings I have always believed is "People do what managers measure", it is also true that people do what they measure for themselves.

The Sales Cycle

Links, References and Notes



Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source


twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

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