No one would doubt that B2B customers are shopping and buying differently today. Thanks to the internet, customers move more quickly along the buying process armed with increased knowledge and more choices. Now that more than half of 2014 is behind us, what needs to change for your team to have better than a 50% chance of meeting the sales goals set for this year?
The sales pipeline may seem ominous, but it doesn't have to be. The fundamentals remain the same: 1) find more customers, 2) keep the ones you want, and 3) increase sales revenue. Perhaps your company has many years of success, but a different approach and a better system in place to monitor activities and results they bring could be necessary for continued growth.
Here are a few basic questions to consider in evaluating your odds for future success.
How well is your current system telling you:
- Your quote-to-sales conversion ratio?
- Your sales pipeline?
- The typical length of your sales cycle?
- The potential value of a sales territory?
- Your loss reasons on a missed sale?
- How well your sales reps are following your sales process?
- How often sales reps communicate with a key customer?
Effectiveness begins with this information being in front of each member of your sales team daily. From there, it's up to each sales rep to drive their own daily activities and make better decisions as to where and how they spend their time. This is a key to their success, as well as yours.
Spreadsheets, listing the status of opportunities, may work for your "A" reps that have the customer/prospect follow-up discipline in their DNA. However, your "B" and "C" reps will not develop the same discipline without the behavioral change of having this level of detail in front of them hourly, with monitoring and coaching.
Answering these questions, and driving best practice behaviors along your sales and marketing process is what you should be expecting a technology system to do for you. For continued growth you require a one data-truth within the company that keeps everyone in sales, marketing, and service on the same page with prospects and customers.
With three months left in 2014 it is not too late to see results yet this year, or begin planning for the year ahead.
---Bob Sullivan, InfoGrow