Tag Archives: sales

The Difference between Sales Process & Sales Tactics

SalesProcessMany people don’t understand the distinctions between strategy, process and tactics.

A strategy is an overall plan to achieve specific, generally long-term, goals. It’s an approach, a broad, general roadmap, a way to go about doing business.  A strategy defines how an organization intends to get from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future, perhaps three to five years out.  Pursuing Whales to grow revenue is a strategy.  Going global is a strategy. Penetrating a specific industry is a strategy. Increasing visibility to raise awareness about a product or service is a strategy. A strategy may include time frames but typically they are ‘end point’ dates.

A sales process is repeatable plan.  It outlines milestones involved in bringing on new clients, moving the prospects from “Stranger” to “Raving Fan”, for example.  It defines what is needed along the way to move from one point to the next. A sales process will also help you determine how likely you are to close a particular deal. It is in some regards, independent of the people who implement it.  Obviously people are involved in the process but if it is laid out well, it mitigates the reliance on a Rock Star salesperson.  A primary principle of  Whale Hunting: Land Big Deals, Transform Your Company states, “Success is 90% process and 10% magic”.  Once proven, people can be taught to implement the sales process.

The steps in a sample sales process might be as follows:

  1. Qualify
  2. 1st meeting
  3. Proof
  4. 2nd meeting
  5. Proposal
  6. Close
  7. Intake

Sales tactics, on the other hand are day-to-day activities individual team members execute in service of the strategy that has been laid out.  Tactics outline what will be done.  They are measurable and can be assigned to specific individuals. They are observable and trackable.  A tactical plan (made up of a series of tactics) may cover a time frame of six to 18 months.

Let’s say a company decides to implement pursuing large firms as a strategy to achieve aggressive revenue growth targets.  The company will likely have already set specific revenue targets and due dates.  Here are some sample tactics for the various roles in the firm

  • CEO: Schedule an in-house workshop to introduce Whale Hunting to the entire company
  • Sales Specialist/Assistant: Spend an hour a day researching and compiling dossiers on selected Whales
  • Sales Manager: Recommend three whales to approach to CEO
  • Salesperson: Contact a key decision maker at the prospective whale to schedule an initial meeting within 5 days of receiving a completed dossier
  • Subject Matter Expert: Make a list of Good-to-Great questions for an upcoming meeting with a prospective whale

Defining and communicating a strategy throughout an organization helps align the staff and focus its attention on what’s important. Tactics help people find their place in and get engaged with the strategy. Tactics give staff personal accountability, ‘skin in the game’, that can be measured and rewarded.

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How to Network to Improve Your Networth

Networking is a great business-building practice.

The problem is that many people confuse networking with prospecting.

Prospecting is an activity you do when you’re looking for leads and customers or clients. You tend to have sales conversations with them.

This is very off-putting at a networking event. Most people there aren’t looking to buy anything on the spot and sales conversations are just plain annoying in those venues.

Here are my three best tips for profitable networking:

1)      Be helpful.

Find out what people need and offer solutions, tips, advice, resources. It’s best not to try to engage them in a sales conversation on the spot even if you’re a good resource for them. If you think they are truly a hot lead who is interested in what  you do, ask them if it’s ok for you to connect after the event. Then schedule a sales meeting with them later.

2)      Be a connector.

Introduce people to each other that might not know each other but should. They will appreciate you for being selfless and interested in their needs.

3)      Act like you’re the host/ess.

Some people avoid networking because they are shy and hate meeting and talking with strangers. When you put on your ‘host’ hat, you’ll feel more confident. You’ll be free to approach other people who look uncomfortable and engage them in conversation.  As the hostess, you’ll always be on the lookout for someone who needs to be included. So don’t stay in conversation with one person the entire night. Reach out to as many people as possible with the intent to have them feel more welcome and comfortable.

Do these simple tips and you’ll feel like a champ and other people will enjoy networking with you.

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3 Questions You MUST Ask to Keep Your Job or Clients and Make More Money

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of responding to all of the urgent requests you get.  If that’s all you do, you could be putting your livelihood at risk.

Early in my career, I worked at the worldwide headquarters for Kraft Foods as the Corporate Recruiter.  The VP of HR gave everyone in the department a token for our desks to remind us how to stay focused.

It displayed 3 simple questions…

1. What’s my job?
You must be clear about what’s expected of you.  How are you supposed to spend your time and energy?  What are you supposed to do?

People (bosses, employees, clients and vendors) make assumptions about what’s supposed to be done.  They often assume that the other person has the same understanding that they do.  This is not always the case.  It’s critical that you confirm your understanding of your job with your boss or clients.

Be clear. Write down your understanding. Have the review your document and then discuss it.

2. What counts?
Once you have the clarity, the next step is setting priorities. I remember hearing a story about a new senior manager at Apple asking her Director boss if her job was to get things done or make people happy.  She knew technically what she was supposed to do – oversee the implementation of all software development projects.  She just needed clarity about HOW to go about making that happen.

If trade-offs have to happen, make sure you’re clear about what criteria will be used to make those trade-offs.

3. How am I doing?
This is a great question to ask yourself AND the people you’re delivering your service to.  You know if your slacking or not.

You may not know though how well your boss or client think you’re doing.

Better to check in periodically than risk being blinded-sided by the sudden disclosure you’re not measuring up.  People are sometimes reluctant to offer negative feedback. So they may just put up with being unhappy until they can’t stand it anymore.  Then they fire you when you don’t measure up to their (uncommunicated) standards.

Don’t be caught by surprise.  Assess your performance constantly and get feedback from people important to your success to make sure you stay on track.

How to Position Yourself for the Economic Recovery in 3 Simple Steps

The economy is showing signs of recovering.  It may be a slow rebound but there are things you MUST be doing now to make sure you participate in the recovery when it comes.

I talk to many business owners who are either hunkered down themselves waiting for the economic ‘storm’ to blow over or they’re trying to sell their products or services to those who are hunkered down.  Either way, not much is happening in the small business world.  Even the executives I speak to in corporations are still being a bit cautious about the investments they’re making in people, products and services.

1. Improve systems

Now is the time to make sure your internal engine is running properly.  Evaluate your sales, production, service delivery and administrative processes.  Determine how well they are functioning.  Do this even if you are the only person in your ‘company’. Ask yourself and your team if you have one where breakdowns happen. Who’s not getting the info they need?  What’s taking too long to happen?  What can be automated or streamlined? What needs to be documented so others can carry out the task when a transition occurs?

I helped one of my clients and his team eliminate the breakdowns between the office and field functions.  Right after that, his business exploded.  While we didn’t work directly on sales, he confided to me that if we hadn’t fixed his process breakdowns, they would have not been able to handle the onslaught of work and would have looked like “complete idiots”.  Save yourself from that potential business-killing embarrassment.

Improving systems improves your profitability.

2. Improve you

When you’re trimming expenses, it’s tempting to cut training.  Large and small companies often make the mistake of eliminating training when budgets are tight because the ROI on training seems slower and in some cases, hard to measure.  Yet, It’s during times of trouble that you MUST make sure everyone is functioning at their optimal level…including you!

You and your staff are your company’s most valuable possession. You might have some trademarked or patented processes. But even still, you and your people are carrying them out. No people or ineffective people, no profits.

Times are changing.  Even when the economy recovers, nothing will be quite the same again.  Make sure you and your team are mentally ready with the skills and attitudes that will carry you through the next iteration of the global economy. Invest now and position yourself to trounce the competition.

3. Improve sales

When you do the first two things, it’s likely that your sales will increase on their own.  However, here are a few tips for increasing sales even more.  Get feedback from clients about what you’re offering them and they need now.  Make sure you’ve adjusted to the current environment.  Consider flexible payment terms.  Cater to a different (hungrier or higher-income) crowd. Offer new products, programs and services. Talk to more people.  If you’re not having a number of sales conversations every day, you’re leaving money on the table.

Focusing on these three simple steps will help position you well for the recovery. Don’t sit around moping.  I’m sure you heard the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” when you were growing up.  Implementing these steps is one way you can help yourself. Get to work!

How Strong Is YOUR Will to Survive?

While the economy is showing signs of recovery, many business owners are still being cautious about their investing and spending. Last year was a real challenge for many.

As a business yourself, you may be experiencing the results of this with reduced revenues for your own business.

DeadDandelionLast week, while I was gardening, I noticed how persistently the weeds were continuing to grow in spite of my efforts to spray the life out of them.  (On a spiritual level, it bothers me to kill anything but in the case of crickets in my house and weeds in my yard, I make an exception).

Anyway, I noticed that even after the poison had taken effect and the bulk of the plants were brown and decaying, the seeding process seemed to get stronger than ever.  Have you observed that?

It made me wonder if my business owner friends were being as tenacious about their marketing and sales efforts as these weeds were about their own survival and propagation.

Sales, after all are the most critical aspect of having a thriving enterprise.  And even in a slow economy, we can’t afford to just sit a back and wait for the storm to blow over.  Companies that choose that option likely won’t be around to enjoy the recovery when it’s in full swing.

So, last week as a reminder for the topic of this edition’s article, I snipped off some unopened buds from one of my victims.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in my office a few days later and found that these unopened …and detached…buds had continued their maturation process and produced seed ready to fall to the earth and begin life anew!

How persistent are you?

Are you acting like your life depends upon your ability to press forward even when you’ve been poisoned by the economy…crippled by being cut off from that which sustains you…denied the things you believe are most important to your success?

If this is true for you, even just a tad, WAKE UP!

You are in more control than you think.  The key is, you have to TAKE that control. Get on the phone. Connect with people. Add value to your community.  Invest in your business. Invest in yourself.  Do what you know works. Try something new.  Stay focused on your purpose. Take decisive action.

Not out of desperation, but out of a keen sense of survival and will.  Allow yourself to be guided to new opportunities and act on them when they arrive.

Here’s a quote I found helpful.

Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence.” Denis Waitley

Take it to heart and plant your seed everywhere it belongs.