Too many sales professionals are doing what they’ve always done – but expecting new
results. I think that’s the street definition of insanity, by most books.
So what’s a Sales Manager to do? Here is a “Trifecta” ticket that can get your team to
the winners circle.
Create a Prospect Profile
One of the easiest, and most often overlooked, ways to manage clients and prospects is
to rank them as A, B, or C contacts depending on their type and level of business
(potential or realized) with your company.
- “A” contacts are your best resources. They are the folks that you have a
relationship with or who are close to becoming clients. Remind them how
important they are to you and how important you are to them by paying
attention to them on a regular basis. Build the relationships!
- “B” contacts are your potential “A” contacts. They are the clients that use
other vendors or a prospect that’s been sitting on the fence for awhile.
Focus on the cream of your “B” crop and strategize ways to pull them into
the “A” group.
- “C” contacts are your smaller or low potential clients and also your duds.
Look closely at this group. Many Sales reps focus on this group to bring in
new business, when it will most likely never happen – at least to the levels it
should. Manage the amount of time your sales people spend with “C” clients
and prospects. Knowing when to cut a contact loose provides returns far
beyond their potential business with your company.
Focus Sales Efforts
While you’re categorizing your clients and prospects, analyze where your sales reps are
spending their time. My guess is that you will find that 80% of their time is spent
calling on clients and prospects who give you less than 40 % of your business, your “C”
contacts and low-level “B” contacts. There are many reasons for this mistake. It’s what
“we’ve always done,” or “the only way to bring in new business,” or a simple lack of
understanding of what your true client potential is. It can also indicate that the sales
team needs training, coaching or more hands-on management.
Use a Consultative Selling Approach
Only when you know who your clients are, what their potential is, and where your reps
are spending their time, can you begin to sell to them. But forget the “foot in the door”
techniques of yesterday. If your reps are walking into clients’ businesses with a card in
hand and marketing literature in their briefcase, you might as well tell them to stay at
home. Clients have become savvier, closing the door on this tactical selling technique.
Working from the top-down in your firm, reps must be trained and managers must
remain committed to the Consultative Selling style that your “A” and “B” contacts
require. As a sales leader, you must coach and mentor your “players” in order to help
them grow as Sales Professionals instead of being Order Takers. Be warned, though –
everyone can’t make the shift. It’s possible that you’ll find some “C” reps on your team
that will have to find alternate opportunities.
This is just the tip of the sales strategies iceberg. But, if you will implement the 3 M’s:
- Manage and Mentor
then you can proceed to the ticket window to collect on your Trifecta!
— Jim Della Volpe, The Sales Coach
© Knowledgence Associates, 2011 / All Rights Reserved
The Sales Coach (www.the-salescoach.com) is a Training, Coaching and Sales Consulting
company serving Sales Managers and Sales Professionals.