I love my job. My primary responsibility is to create LEADS. In my career, I’ve created a few hundred thousand quality leads to be distributed across an array of sales teams. With numbers of this scale, the main issue that kills me is not necessarily the lead source, cost per lead, OR lead quality. It’s that “Susie” closes her leads at “18%” and “Jimmy” closes his at “8%”. Mentally, I see “n” number of Jimmy’s missed opportunities floating away in the smoke of burning money —WTF!
I live in a world of facts, specific metrics, blended averages and trends. Given that the laws of large numbers suggest reasonable equity in quality and distribution across all the Sales Reps, it is extraordinarily painful to realize the amount of money burned with the conversion rate delta from Jimmy to Susie. It’s painful enough when you have only 2 reps, but what if you had 1 Susie’s and 3 Jimmy’s or 5 Susie’s and 30 Jimmy’s?
Which begs the question – should Sales Reps sell via ART or SCIENCE?
In some organizations, 80% of the revenue is created by only 20% of the sales team. If you want to achieve the next level of scalability, I feel you need to master the SCIENCE in order to raise all the boats. And when I mean YOU, I mean Reps AND Managers AND Executives.
- Executives must budget for and recognize that giving their Managers the right tools will allow them to monitor, correct, leverage and be held accountable for the results.
- Managers must study the space they are selling in and put together a best practices selling process to use in the tools that all the Reps will follow.
- The Reps must use the tools and follow the process – even if flawed – so Managers can monitor the measuring points, view those metrics objectively and make changes to the process as needed to drive improvements across the entire sales team.
Think of it this way.
- What if you could leverage some of “Susie’s Art” and mass produce it as a Science. True, you can’t convert 100% of it, but
- What “Jimmy Sales Rep” out there wouldn’t want to drop the way he does it exchange for the successes Susie has?
- What Manager wouldn’t want to close the gap between his Susie’s and Jimmy’s to make his numbers better?
- What Executive wouldn’t fork over the short money (Often the daily price of a cup of coffee for that same Rep) for the tools that would easily pay itself off by closing that gap alone?
By the way, did you notice the word – Process. Right away this screams science. It’s a documented, repeatable way to generally get the same results within the laws of large numbers.
Don’t have one? Are you afraid of the term? Don’t like being “boxed in by the man”? Do you think you’re too small an organization to have one?
You want to scale? You want to succeed? Then “sales process”, “opportunity workflow”, “lead management”, or any similar term has to be part of your vocabulary. Don’t let the term make you cringe. Any good sales manager wants his team to have the right sales best practices. It often starts with process.
If you have a sales process, do you monitor the results? Do you leverage the peaks? Do you remedy the valleys? It’s not just about where your wins come from, it’s about where do you lose deals. Where is one rep winning where the other reps are losing? How can you correct that? Is your best Sales Rep still running strong? Are your weaker Sales Reps getting stronger? Are you reaping the benefits?
Documented or not, I guarantee you have a sales process. At Landslide CRM (insert shameless plug to ourInteractive Demo that explains more), we come across, uncover and shape real sales processes and opportunity workflow all the time. Don’t be afraid of process, leverage it. Find empowerment and freedom through the structure. A successful CRM that provides that structure and process doesn’t have to be complicated to be powerful. And make sure you are collecting as much data as you can by leveraging the use of custom fields to your specific selling needs so you will have a factual, metrics based, picture of what’s going on in your organization. You can always go back and report on what you’ve collected later … but you can never make decisions on information you’ve never collected.
In the end:
- Jimmy will be closing a lot more like Susie.
- Managers will be able to help more Jimmy’s along and make their numbers.
- Executives will not only see a return on the monies invests, but also the time to put that “Science” in place.
- Your Lead Generation Team won’t be watching their budget go up in smoke.
Which to you prefer … Selling as an Art or a Science? Leave your comments below and share this conversation with others.