The 3 Legs of Sales Success
Success in sales, as with many endeavors, comes from one’s ability to balance and blend core fundamentals with evolving methodologies and tools available for better execution. As we are a profession enamored by all things new, after all “maybe that new tool or app will help me do something I am not doing well”, it important to focus on maintaining that balance. While not wanting to discourage anyone from stretching and trying new things, it is important to remember to make a real and consistent effort to include, improve and execute the fundamentals. As Michael Jordan once said:
“…You have to monitor your fundamentals constantly because the only thing that changes will be your attention to them”
While the framework for the fundamentals are process and quality of execution, the key fundamentals that we need to continuous focus on regardless of methodology or approach are:
- Size of Sale
- Volume of Sales
- Price integrity
Size of Sale – Refers to the specific size of the order, specifically in two forms. One is the result of the type of prospects you pursue; if you are selling a product measured in units, the larger the target company, the more units they will require. Since in most instances, the effort required to sell a $50 million dollar/40 employee company is often not that different than selling a $100 million/100 employee company. Why not focus on the larger end of the scale? A variation on this is a recent example from a company I worked with. They found that of the three batteries they sold, the mid-range one was the best product/value for the price, for both the customers and them, but people tended to opt for the entry level battery. They discontinued offering the bottom end, their unit sales did not decline, and their revenue and margins increased.
It is no different if you are selling services, if you target companies that can ‘consume’ more of what you sell, you will sell more by avoiding those who consume less. Since the time you have to make the sales does not change, why not target those opportunities that can give you size or scale. You can always go down stream once you have sold the ideal size first.
Volume of Sales – this is different than the first point, it pertains to how many sales you get irrespective of size. If right now you are doing four deals a month, and were to increase that to 4 ½ deals per month, you would move to 54 sales a year, which is a 12% increase. Even if you have a long cycle, big tickets, or only six sales a year, try to increase it to 7 sales. It may not sound like much but over time it will help your progress tremendously.
This involves better use of time, primarily through the discipline of disqualifying those opportunities that will not close now, they may close a year from now or even in the summer, just not now. This is where your process gives you the confidence to say no, rather than spending time to try and get a yes where one does not exist. Like the old gold rush 49ers, the quicker they got rid of the sand and stones, the quicker they got to the gold, increasing their daily take. Get rid of the crap in your pipeline, and you’ll work with more gold.
Price Integrity – as straight forward as it gets, the less we concede the more we succeed. Resist the temptation to “give a good price to get in”, because you will never recover.
As you evaluate your opportunities, it is important to consider how any or all of the above can be leveraged to deliver better and consistent results, and how misalignment can be detrimental to success.
By combining the above with new tools and methodologies and improving execution on a continuing basis, you will sell more to more of the right people; merely adopting a methodology without incorporating the three elements above is not enough. You may want to start by targeting one, or better yet explore opportunities that allow you to move the dial on all three. We use a simple matrix allowing clients to plot opportunities based on these elements with the added element of time. This allows them to visualize and focus on the right number of highest value opportunities sold at full price.
Everything we do in sales should have a positive impact on one or all of those three fundamentals. It is when we take our eyes off these fundamentals that the effort ends up being greater than the results. Make these thee fundamentals part of every planning session, be that annual, quarterly, or daily; and when you feel a bit of a lull in your sales, step back, review these three, and a simple recalibration should get you back on track.
Tibor Shanto – Principal – Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., is a speaker, author of an award winning book, and sales professional development leader, and recently recognized as one of The Top 10 Social Sellers. Called a brilliant sales tactician, Tibor works with sales teams to increase sales by driving execution via the right combination strategy, tools, metrics, and tactical execution of the sales process.