Revving Up Your Sales Engine
This Will Chang The Way You Grow Sales Today
- How important is finding more qualified buyers and closing more deals to you at this stage of your companies Life cycle?
- Are you willing to all at once shake up the way your company does business in order to grow sales and profits together more aggressively?
Savvy leaders are fast to point out that more sales don’t necessarily mean more profits. It’s easy to say that, “you got to spend money to make money,” but usually those who say this aren’t the ones responsible for opening up their wallets. Armchair quarterbacking business leaders is certainly everyone’s prerogative though. A problem for business leaders is we get too busy to do some important things we know need to get done in order to grow sales and profits. We also don’t always have enough capacity in our organization. A bigger problem is leaders think they have a sales process in place but is it really working? Another major problem is leaders mistakenly think they have to put 1 sales component in place at a time before other components can begin. Wrong, set your sights on revving up your Sales Engine and build your Sales Engine all at once to truly achieve all the parts working together. Empower 2 or 3 people to focus on growth and lead your organization to the next paradigm level by building a stronger, comprehensive Sales Engine. Remember, just because you and or your company do good marketing and sales efforts some of the time isn’t justifiable as having great sales processes or moving slower to shake up the system. How much business are competitors taking if you don’t get more aggressive, get more leads, and plug those leads in to your revved up Sales Engine to close more deals? The more competitors take from you today the stronger they become. Do something about it right now.
I coined the phrase, “CPR saves lives but C-R-P (consistent-repeatable-processes) saves and grows businesses,” because too many leaders falsely claim they’re currently doing most of the “right things to grow.” Unless you have measurable C-R-P for all your business development components, you’re leaving too much room for competitors to jeopardize your future.
Measurable C-R-P in sales operations is the #1 growth issue I found while working with numerous industries and thousands of people around the world. Leaders and their managers who let pride or just “good excuses” stand in the way of shaking up their go-to-market approach grossly misjudge and misunderstand C-R-P.
Evaluate yourself and your company with this quick tool below. If you answer no to 4 or more of these questions you should consider revving up your Sales Engine now. If you answer no to 8 or more of these questions you need to build a stronger Sales Engine immediately. If so, I suggest learning more about Renaissance Methodology, Theory of Accelerance, Modes-to-Market Analysis, C-R-P and Overcoming The 15 Categories of Rejection to sell substantially more.
Leadership Sales Strength Evaluation
Answer these 12 questions to analyze your strength to grow aggressively:
- Do you have a written and comprehensive revenue growth plan as an intricate part of your written strategic plan for the next 12, 24 and 36 months?
- Do you understand what budget is necessary to maintain resources and capacity to grow sales and profits (your cost to acquire clients)?
- Do you know how many buyers exist and do you have the (Buyers Data) at least 70% of your exact buyers identified (meaning their names, rank, location, cell number, home or office number, email address, social media connections and some decision-making data about them)?
- Do you utilize Buyers Data and have this data contained safely in your contact record management system (CRM) as a core competency?
- Do you have a dual content strategy to message buyers and train employees with superior branding and thought leadership?
- Do you correspond with buyers in a coordinated and simultaneous way using what I call the formula for success, 7 Modes-to-Market, in order to measurably generate more leads daily/weekly?
- Do you have a coordinated schedule and metric goal for the 7 Modes-to-Market to be deployed?
- Do you have enough set meetings each week with qualified buyers?
- Do you have a Timely Follow-Up system to lessen the amount of deals that slip through the cracks?
- Do your meetings with buyers succeed as often as you would like?
- Do you do all your marketing and sales using measurable C-R-P?
- Do you have daily & weekly scoring capability to manage these efforts with all the people involved and hold them accountable?
Rather you have a Sales Engine, need to build one or rev up your existing Sales Engine, use this formula to substantially grow revenues and profits within 18 to 24 months. It’s possible to double your size too. If you’re a startup then now is the time to get your Sales Engine in place and don’t make excuses to wait or expect just you or just 1 person to do it all. If you’re a mature business then now is the time to dedicate resources to leads and follow-up and separate resources to sales. Be willing to accept help and spread the responsibilities of building the Sales Engine. You don’t see a 1 or 2 person pit crew doing all the work in professional car racing!
The following 9-component formula is derived from Renaissance Methodology.
Some or maybe all of these components may be in place already in your organization in some way, but the key to turn up the engine’s horsepower is to synchronize these 9-components and use measurable C-R-P. Having the components work together is real synergy, not just a buzzword!
My firm C-Level Global specializes in building these Sales Engines with at least these 9-components and sometimes as many as 14-components in more sophisticated selling systems.
Take a brief look at the 9 vital components of a thriving Sales Engine.
The Revenue Growth Plan
The Plan is where leadership makes the decision to shake up the organization and develop a stronger lead and sales process. A few champions are nominated to help execute the Plan and train others along the way. Business development strategies rather they be purely organic, inorganic or a combination of both, must be aligned with the available budget, resources, technology, management, and have specific metric goals for the company, team, and individuals to be visibly scored upon. This requires dedicated efforts from senior leadership and ownership. The voice of the marketplace needs to be continually included in this vision and goal setting so the growth plan is both realistic and innovative. The Plan dictates how visibility, accountability and performance goals will be set. Having the Plan just in the leadership’s mind (grey matter) is not acceptable. Everyone involved needs to have buy-in and understand the Plan.
Executing daily resources and protocol to identify the exact buyers (Buyer Data) is more complicated than it sounds. Perhaps this is why most businesses can’t truly produce even close to half of their buyers contact details in a CRM. The identification of your buyers and the accumulation of such valuable data should become a core competency for the business over time. Plus, buyers have changes on a daily basis (move, quit, fired, promoted, demoted, retire, etc.). There should be daily metric goals for all involved in selling and of course C-R-P to maintain accountability to this mission critical task involving Research. Your competition should be jealous and want your Buyer Data. So have it secured and backed up with a disaster recovery plan (DR plan).
The contact record management system (CRM) is where you store all your Buyer Data. Bottom line is there are many good CRMs on the market today. It matters less which you use and matters most if you have enforced protocols for the people and processes using CRMs. Store the accumulated daily research and use the CRM to manage sales efforts and pipeline reporting as well as timely Follow-Up. Acquire intimate details about the exact people in your audience such as their kid’s names, where they go to school, and other personal details to help build rapport because this is invaluable for closing deals. Remember this, “technology does not raise the bar, people raise the bar. Technology holds the bar in place so people can raise it even higher.” Ultimately, you need C-R-P that the entire team operates on to make your CRM worth the money you spend on it. This is a way to secure a major competitive advantage.
The “Content Machine” is an affectionate term I use to refer to the ongoing demands on our business to produce great collateral and training materials. Content is for both the market place to help entice them and the employees to empower them to make your company shine. Business leaders often outsource content generation and leave branding and thought leadership to outsiders. Generate at least a third of content internally from those with insight and expertise so the market perceives you as cutting edge and not just blasting out a bunch of, “yada yada yada.” Store all the content generated in a central repository online so all the key players can access, learn from it, and build upon it. Plus you get a bigger bang for you buck by reusing and resurfacing the content for multiple purposes. Use your Content Machine and your Research to deliver targeted messaging to the people that matter most. This is how you build a strong brand and can have people come to you more than just you chasing them.
Most businesses don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on their website. What’s most important is how you manage your Web Presence. This should be connected to your Content Machine so that you have original and fresh data regularly being pushed out to multiple web platforms with in your online presence. Your web sight is your online business card and your Web Presence is more of a comprehensive infrastructure for how the marketplace views you when they do their homework. When they do their homework it’s likely to be from their cell phone so make certain your Web Presence is mobile compatible. Also, explore a C-R-P plan of attack to penetrate the places your buyers are at most online. It’s wise to track and measure the lead results you gain so you know what Mode-to-Market they came from, especially if and where the leads come from your Web Presence. Spend conservatively and strategically based on results. Don’t go crazy on Web Presence spending though. You’ll have to be the judge of how crazy is measured using your Plan, return on investment (ROI) and budget limitations.
These are the actual touch points to the buyers that generate leads. Some call it, “where the rubber meets the road.” Essentially, this is your marketing effort. Note, your Web Presence is a Mode-to-Market, however, we separate it as an independent component because of its individual importance and special skill sets involved. Categorically Modes-to-Market are; cold calls, warm calls, follow-up calls, one-off emails, email campaigns, newsletters, webinars, hosted events, sponsored events, events attended, board of advisors, referral programs, channel partners, advertisements, commercials, videos, and social media to name some of the most common and important. The secret formula I’ve found for lead generation is having at least 7 Modes working in synch to tell a distinguished and credible story to your buyers. It’s challenging to pull off and especially to have your people on the same page executing these Modes, but the payoff is tremendous. Do it right and you will open many more doors to buyers than your previous strategies and tactics and at a reduced cost.
Sales Effectiveness is the actual selling and sales management; closing deals and gaining new and repeat customers or clients, whatever you prefer to call them. Developing best practices for selling is far underrated and usually not implemented to the fullest extent. Sure, there is often a few superstar sellers but there are usually more mediocre and under performing sellers. Sales Effectiveness relies on having clear individual goals, team goals and company key performance indicators (KPI) to achieve according to timely preset milestones set out in the Plan. Then Sales Effectiveness is about managing and holding people accountable while simultaneously coaching and mentoring the sales process very closely. Don’t just rely on the notion “your best sales people” are doing it right all of the time or that the best sales people can train or become managers for the team. The secret here is to have an expectation of a certain percentage for the sales conversions from first meetings with buyers to attended second meetings and or proposals. Be prepared to cut the bottom 30% to 40% of your team on a regular basis. Also, measure the win/loss ratio like a hawk. Seek out prospect/buyer feedback for both wins and losses. This data will guide you to both extremely high lead generation effectiveness and Sales Effectiveness. Plus your margins will benefit greatly.
Timely Follow-Up System
Timely Follow-Up with buyers is where the money is. There are some infamous statistics going around about the amount of times a salesperson Follows-Up a 2nd, 3rd, 4th time and so on. The jest of the stats is that many sales require some Follow-Up that you and your team miss out on. Also, there is a sales management fallacy that believes a single sales person can handle all their lead generation, Sales Effectiveness, Timely Follow-Up, proposal generation and closing. WRONG! The tasks for an individual seller grows exponentially due to every new prospect pursued keeps adding Follow-Up and more work along with it. A company must create Sales Effectiveness and a Timely Follow-Up system to help support individual sellers. This must be based on C-R-P that provides additional tactics and capacity to help sellers close deals. This should work in conjunction with the CRM and Modes-to-Market. Otherwise, massive amounts of money will slip through the cracks.
Score keeping is all about “evolving through metrics.” They say selling is a, “numbers game,” but I say, “selling is a numbers game governed by quality.” Meaning, you can’t just chase numbers, you have to track and spend your limited time, money and resources on quality leads. To do this you have to track your employees involved on a daily basis according to pre-determined goals and expectations (metrics) that are set forth from the start in the Plan. Individual Flash Reports measuring just the “mission critical” tasks that generate leads and sell must be measured daily at the individual employee level. This includes the newly identified leads in the Research component too. Team scoreboards are necessary to create natural competitiveness and inspire performance at every level. Finally, the Scorekeeping at the individual and team levels need to rollup into dashboards for leadership to govern according to the KPI set out in the Plan. May sound simple or like something you have, but check yourself before you wreck yourself. This is far from simple, but worth millions in profits and less than 20% of organizations have this working correctly. To achieve this superior level of organization and Score Keeping requires strong senior leadership, great managers, and a regimented calendared meeting process to govern all the moving parts and players involved. When done right, these 9-components of the Sales Engine will provide you succinct and powerful sales operations based on C-R-P that align to your budget, resources, and Growth Plan. Simply put, you’ll have more sales opportunities with targeted buyers daily and more sales plus more profits. My firm customizes and deploys Score Keeping tools that hold the 9-components in place.
Revving Up Your Sales Engine Conclusion
Too bad the majority of leaders can’t double sales and profits in less than 2 years. Also too bad many leaders falsely believe they have this type of Sales Engine in place when they really don’t. Unfortunately, most leaders won’t shake up the people and processes enough to simultaneously build these 9-components to work together. Take this fellow for example; a CEO of a privately held manufacturing and distribution company once said to me, “I-we already know what we need to do to grow but now is not the time.” Almost a year later I asked why he hadn’t found the time yet and he said, “well, we’ve dealt with some internal changes and the market is rocky too so we will get to major change early next year.” Then in March the following year at lunch I asked why he was still hesitating to shake up the people and processes to aggressively seize more revenues and he said, “It requires finesse so we will work on major sales change a little at a time.” I laughed loud and for nearly half a minute until it was obvious he was upset. I finally replied, “a little at a time is what you’ve been doing at best, so in other words you have more excuses to accept minimal gains and call it acceptable!” Needless to say that lunch was short. Fact is, so was his tenure as CEO. The Board of Directors ousted him before that summer began. The morale to the story of Revving Up Your Sales Engine is clear, “Be a Leader and Shake Things up.” Stop saying “WE…WE…WE are waiting for XYZ reasons.”
They really don’t teach this in sales college and there isn’t a CEO or entrepreneur school that can explain this like my proprietary methodology does and has proven successful through many implementations around the world.
Learn to call bullshit on yourself and others! Sure, don’t be belligerent but call it out. It is likely time to stop thinking you have the right Growth Plan and that you don’t have time now for critical changes that may upset some people. Growth by acquisition alone is not always sustainable unless you have superior sales operations with C-R-P to truly integrate people and processes. Unless you’re honed into these essential 9-components of this proprietary methodology, then it’s doubtful you’ll double sales and profits at all unless the market takes off and you get lucky or if you get a large contract (but be careful when large contracts dominate your revenue flow). Now is the best time to learn more about Renaissance Methodology, which creates C-R-P and builds this Sales Engine I explained. It creates and deploys at least 7 Modes-to-Market and uses The Theory of Accelerance to structure the people and processes on mission critical tasks daily, which generate more leads and close more deals, period. It all starts when you make the bold decision to shake it up and grow aggressively!