Insthinktive

Sales PipeLYING Management (a fun poem for all sales leaders)

October 4, 2017

Sales PipeLYING Management

My boss called me in just the other day

“There are a couple of things I need to say

I could tell I was in for a frosty reception

I knew she was on to my pipeline deception

 

We have had these discussions many times in the past

About the accuracy of your sales forecast

But, the situation is getting out of hand

And I really need to understand

 

Your sales pipeline numbers always look fantastic

But your actual results, well they are often drastic

I know it’s an impossible game we play

To predict with accuracy which way a deal will sway

 

That’s it I said, with complete assurance

So I like to be optimistic as my insurance

I cannot predict I am no fortune teller

And I’m just like every other hard-pressed seller

 

Oh no, she said with a serious tone

The responsibility is all your own

You ignore the steps we have in our process

Building pipeline doesn’t happen by osmosis

 

Let’s take an example, here’s some we can view

Let’s look at a sales opportunity or two

Here is one, you have predicted to close

Where you get that conclusion, heaven knows

 

Well I spoke to him yesterday and we really connected

He praised the proposal I had perfected

We talked for an hour and built great rapport

That deal’s in the bag, of that I am sure

 

But what is his title? What role does he play?

Eh? I’m not quite sure, he just didn’t say.

Who else is involved in the final decision?

She looked at me now with some derision

 

None that I know of, he said he would decide

And going over his head, would injure his pride

So what about budget, have they money to spend?

I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to offend

 

What about pain, what are we trying to solve?

What compelling problems does it involve?

And has he confirmed it is a priority?

Or is he another one of your silent majority?

 

What are the barriers to closing the deal?

My face was red now, I couldn’t conceal

What plans have you made to close by next month?

Which foot are you on, the back or the front?

 

Deep down I knew I was Sales PipeLying

My numbers were weak, not for lack of trying

But I wanted to project a positive picture

And following process, I wished I was stricter

 

From the day I was born, I could talk and not listen

Sales I was told, was my destined position

I have always loved the sound of my own voice

When I sold you listened, you had no choice

 

They talked about process, about science v art

The showed me the stats on a colourful chart

Winners had structure, like day followed night

I said, it’s all just corporate shite

 

But now reality was starting to dawn

She was the Queen and me the pawn

Her move or my next would determine my fate

I had to assure her before it was too late

 

One month and I’ll faithfully follow the plan

I’ll embrace the process, be a different man

I’ll listen, I’ll learn, I’ll probe and I’ll question

I’ll take onboard every single suggestion

 

The impact was instant, I started to win

I married the process to my passion within

I learned all the steps, I built up momentum

I made some mistakes, you cannot prevent them

 

One month was enough to show I was focused

And this sales process stuff is not hocus pocus

I’m building a pipeline with substance not hope

And even my sales manager believes I can cope

 

So, no more pipelying, this stuff is for real

I follow proven steps to win every deal

I’m happier, energised a smile on my face

Selling is my destiny, I’ve found my place

Ronan Kilroy Insthinktive Sales Leadership Ltd. 04 October 2017

This is NOT how you should start your sales day

September 21, 2017

Successful Salespeople Sell IMPACT

September 19, 2017

How To Clean Up Your Sales Pipeline – Part Three

September 6, 2017

How To Clean Up Your Sales Pipeline – Part Two

September 5, 2017

How To Clean Up Your Sales Pipeline – Part One

September 1, 2017

Sales Leaders Focus On One Sales Activity

August 24, 2017

Sales Leaders Focus On THE WINS

August 23, 2017

Keep Your Mindset Focused On Solutions

August 21, 2017

What Irritates Your Buyer’s Most – An Exercise

August 15, 2017

What is a Sales Pipeline Management Process?

August 8, 2017

How To Write Winning Sales Proposals

July 26, 2017

A Sales Leader’s Two Hour Weekly Review

July 25, 2017

How Sales Leaders Can Analyse Their Competition

June 30, 2017

Insthinktive Thinking

 

Analyse Your Competition

 

Who sets the price for your product or service in your marketplace? Your competition. You are now living in a globally competitive environment. And competition isn’t always obvious. Just ask Walmart. 5 years ago did they see Amazon as a serious competitor to them? In 2017 they may have had concerns, but when Amazon bought Wholefoods, the whole competitive landscape changed overnight. All 5 leading US grocery retailers share values dropped by an average of 5%. Overnight.

The analysts recognised what those Top 5 retailers recognised. Amazon was a completely different sort of competitive threat. It has a massive technological advantage over its rivals. 50% of US consumers already shop online with Amazon, now they had a company whom they clearly trusted offering them another option.

Amazon had already been testing their Amazon Go shopping format. All customers need is to register their mobile phones. As they select products they are registered by the software and when the customer leaves (with no checkouts to slow them down) their mobile phone is charged for the grocery shopping. What impact could a technological advantage like that have on the grocery market? Watch this space.

In this session, you’ll learn;

  • How to create a SWOT analysis on your business.
  • How to analyse and rank your competition.
  • How to adjust your competitive strategy to reflect these elements.

Your SWOT Analysis

First you need to begin the process of conducting a business reality check. Now we’ll continue this process by conducting a simple SWOT analysis.

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT is a simple tool to help you identify your business. GRADE YOURSELF FROM 1 TO 5

 

STRENGTHS 1            2      3       4      5
Are you technically strong?
Are you financially strong?
Is your sales pipeline strong?
Are you sales processes strong?
Do you have a strong brand?
Do you have a strong team?
Do you have strong products/services?
Is your pricing competitive?
Are you innovative?
Are you responsive?
Are you good are data analysis?
Are you strong on New Product Development?
Do you have robust selling systems in place?
Are you strong on analysing the numbers?
How do you rate your marketing?
How do you rate your online presence?

These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself. Once you have, move to the next stage and analyse your weaknesses.

Weaknesses

Do you have weaknesses in your sales and marketing? If so specifically where are you weak?

Do you have weaknesses in your team? If so specifically where are you weak?

Do you have weaknesses your brand? If so specifically where are you weak?

Do you have weaknesses your finances?

Do you have weaknesses your Sales systems? Specifically where are you weak?

Other weaknesses?

Opportunities

What opportunities lie ahead for your business?

Are their new products and services you can sell?

Can you enter new markets?

Are their business trends that suit your business model better?

Is the legal environment becoming more favourable?

Are economic conditions more favourable?

Do you have a technical expertise that is transferrable to other products and services you could sell or market?

Are there new export markets you can explore?

Are their new channels of distribution you can explore, for example online channels?

Are there services you can productise?

Threats

Are there competitive threats you need to be aware of?

Are there legislative threats to your business model?

Are their technological threats to your products or services? (For example the book and music industries failed to foresee the threats of digital books and music downloads in time and missed out on potentially huge new markets…

Are there environmental threats to your industry, products or services?

Key Takeaway

Sales leadership requires a “reality check” on your business products and services. Using a SWOT analysis provides leadership with a simple and effective tool to help you analyse your strengths, weaknesses. Just as important, the opportunities available to you. Also by analysing any potential threats you create a more solid foundation for competing with your competition.

Competitor Analysis

Here is a simple action for you to take to commence your analysis of your competition. I suggest you analyse your Top 10 competitors. To make the process more manageable I suggest you work on one competitor per week. Even one hour on your competitor’s site could prove valuable.

However, in order for this to be as valuable as possible for you and your organisation, you must involve the team. Ensure both marketing and sales are involved in this. Many of the companies we work with do not have separate sales and marketing functions. No problem. Make sure you involve your sales team, both internal and external. If you have field staff, drivers, customer success managers, technicians, project managers they too can be involved in the process.

Ask them to analyse your competitors and score them on a number of key criteria that are important to your customers. It is an important distinction. It does not matter what is important to us. The customers ultimately will decide whether to choose you or not. So, you must either consult with them (which is highly recommended). Or if your internal team don’t have those relationships they can “think like a customer”. They are customers themselves. So what is important to them when they choose who they buy from?

Competitor A (GRADE YOURSELF FROM 1 TO 5

Criteria 1      2      3      4      5     
Product range
Product depth
Technical support
Sales team coverage
Marketing support
Customer service
Delivery
Technical specifications
Friendliness
Responsiveness
Price
Quality
Functionality
Reliability
Brand perception
Total Score (Maximum is 75)

Action

Once you have completed these assessments, combine the data from all of the team.

  1. Assess all responses and agree a competitive score for each of your main competitors.
  2. Rank all of your competitors based on their total scores.
  3. Now rank yourselves, honestly against your competitors. How does your score compare to theirs? Where are you strong? Where are you weak?

Can you spot an obvious Competitive Advantage?

Is there a clear Value Proposition emerging from the data?

Now complete your Action Plan.

What Action?          Why is it needed?           Who will do it?                  By When?

Need help with your sales strategy or planning? Contact Ronan directly coachronan@insthinktive.com.

Best regards

Ronan Kilroy

Ronan Kilroy | Insthinktive Sales Leadership Ltd. | Blanchardstown, | Dublin 15, | Office 01 8220523

www.insthinktive.com

More Sales, More Consistently, In Less Time

How Do I Run An Effective Sales Meeting?

June 22, 2017

How do I run an effective sales meeting?

How do I run an effective sales meeting Ronan? It is a question I get asked every single week. And it is definitely a major challenge in small companies. The reality is that most small companies hold operational meetings and not sales meetings. You must hold a weekly sales review in order to be an effective sales leader.

The challenge is to find a format that actually engages people. And in my experience, it is rare that sales meetings are engaging. But this should be. Many sales meetings are run as if they were war rooms. There is a lot of testosterone, a lot of finger pointing and very little in the way of motivation and learning.

In a previous life, I worked with a boss who spent most of his time shouting and screaming and criticising. He was oblivious to the impact this is having on team morale. He genuinely believed that this is what.results. He did not see the link between high turnover levels of the sales team and his attitude towards them.

Here is how I propose you should run weekly sales review. I stress review and not meeting. I do this because I believe it should be short, energetic, engaging and should avoid detail. You can reserve the detailed analyses for your one-to-one conversations with your salespeople or your monthly in-depth sales audits.

The format below is based on a 30-minute weekly review. Before I introduce you to the format I have to stress the importance of making this habit your weekly non-negotiable. I would be a liar if I did not admit far too many times in the past I did not make it a non-negotiable. I allowed other internal meetings or external sales meetings to run the diary and frequently cancelled or postponed meetings. Subconsciously, I was sending out the message that the weekly sales review was just not as important as these are the readings. In truth, it is in my view the most important meeting of the sales leaders week. It is why it needs to be made are nonnegotiable.

The 30-minute weekly sales review format

Step 1

Each individual salesperson gets a total of three minutes to run through

-Their wins this week. Always start with the wins. Always start with positives. And remember a win isn’t always a sale. A win could be a member of the team has just secured an appointment with a key prospect. A win could be the member of the team has just sold a new product to an existing customer.

-Their numbers this week. Ideally, the numbers have been distributed in advance of the meeting. And the main focus is on brevity and simplicity. What were their weekly sales activity goals? And what were their actual results against these goals?

If you have a team of five salespeople it should take no more on 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 2

Next, you focus on where people are stuck/their challenges are. This part of the sales meeting will never be the same. It is the part of the sales meeting were now as a team focus on problem-solving.

Each team member highlights the key challenge they’ve had in the week. The chair of the meeting nominates the the greatest challenge and for the next 10 minutes as a group, you brainstorm ideas to solve those challenges and problems.

Remember, if there are no obvious challenges you can also use this opportunity for some sales coaching. For example, you could spend 10 minutes discussing how to overcome objections.

Step 3

Next, you get your team to talk about their top three priorities for the upcoming week. There many benefits to this phase.

-It encourages the team to focus on their priorities

-The team get to learn about other team members priorities. So now we have shared understanding.

-The sales leader has an opportunity to coach team members what the real priorities are.

Here at Insthinktive Sales Leadership we characterise priorities in two ways

1) Bad things happen when we don’t do these things. These are the types of priorities that everybody finds it easy to identify. A classic example is, if we don’t send that tender by Friday at 12 PM we will be excluded from the process. The bad things will happen we miss that deadline. That’s easy.

2) Good things happen when we do these things. Well, these are the harder things to put into our week, for example, we all know that learning and education is a good thing. If we learn more we improve our skill base we become more valuable, and in selling, we become a lot more successful. However, how many sales teams have “learning” in their diaries for the upcoming week? Learning is a good thing, good things happen when we learn. It is a priority.

Below is a visual the captures the three parts of the sales review.

Weekly Sales Review Visual

Now it’s up to you. Make it a weekly non-negotiable. Follow the process. It works, I have seen it work in dozens of organisations to great effect.

WARNING!!

Getting this weekly sales review down to 30 minutes every week will take time. Give yourself at least 12 weeks to get the team familiarised with the structure. The patient over this 12 week period. You may find at the first attempt takes 50 to 60 minutes. That’s okay, keep working at it. Keep reinforcing to the team but they need to come prepared. But if they do come prepared it will become much more effective an enjoyable process.

Also, don’t be afraid to have a little bit of fun with the process. You can use an alarm and time people. This can be a little bit of fun as well. After all, selling is supposed to be enjoyable.

Finally, don’t allow yourself or others the slip through the net. Avoid the “I can’t make this Friday’s meeting Ronan, I will be travelling”. Yes, there will be circumstances but this is unavoidable. In my experience, the exceptions become the rule and very quickly weekly sales review gets forgotten about.

What Insthinktive Does

June 17, 2017

Insthinktive Sales Leadership Ltd. Works with high growth SME’s to help them generate More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time.

Here is what clients say.

“Ronan, when you are here we get things done. These sessions are when we get to execute. Without these sessions, we wouldn’t make the progress” Anthony Denby Woodfit Acoustics.

A repeatable, systematic and measurable Sales Process and Sales Pipeline Management Process delivers More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time. So that is our focus.

  • Design a world class Sales Process, around how you clients buy
  • Implement a world class Sales Pipeline Management Process, to improve forecasting, increase conversion rates and shorten sales cycles.
  • Create an internal Sales Operating System (Our PRESENT SOS) to capture and teach best practice.

You Get Results Like

  • More sales
  • Higher sales conversion rates
  • Huge time savings (by eliminating old practices)
  • Greater coordination and communication amongst your team
  • Accurate Sales Forecasting
  • Higher average revenues per sale
  • Shorter lead times

We believe we have the right programme, tools and coaching approaches for you. If that sounds like something you’d like to talk more about contact Ronan on coachronan@insthinktive.com or phone Ronan on 086 7732201.

sign-up-btn

Listening – The Selling Instinct

Clarity – A Sales Person’s non-negotiable

Targeting The Right Key Accounts

Building Your Target List Of Sweet Spot Clients

Create Your Sales Activity Plan

Define Your Sales Pipeline Management Process

Define Your Prospect’s Buying Process

Profile Your Sweet Spot Client

PRESENT The Sales Acceleration Model – An Introduction

An Introduction To Sales Clarity On A Page

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Accountability To The Sales Process

October 22, 2015

A sales process. Do you have one? Do you need one? (the answer is an unequivocal yes).

Do you hold your team accountable to it? (the answer is mostly No!!)

In my work with clients we spend roughly 20% designing a world class sales process and 80% enforcing the sales process. The use of enforcing is deliberate because it is all about accountability.

Clearly the reason for having a sales process is to generate More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time. It’s that simple and it works. The research clearly proves that those with a dynamic sales process outperform those without by up to 50%. That is the best reason in the world to hold yourself and your team accountable to the process.

What is accountability?

It is what I refer to as the weekly sales pipeline audit.

It’s simple and effective..

  1. Check the opportunity stage
  2. Check if there is a next action scheduled
  3. Check that the next action is aligned to the sales process
  4. Check that all previous actions were aligned to the sales process

For example let’s assume your opportunity is at 50% stage and this is your proposal or quotation stage.

A dynamic sales process will ensure that in order to justify this rating your sales person will have confirmed a number of steps with your buyer

  • They are the Key Decision Maker
  • All of the stakeholders are known
  • There is a clear need we can address
  • There is a clear Value Proposition and Business Case agreed
  • The impact of our solution has been agreed and where possible is measurable
  • All known objections / barriers have been identified
  • The competition have been identified
  • The solution aligns with an organisational priority or goal

Accountability means that if these steps have not been confirmed the sales process is not being followed correctly.

Now as a leader you get to coach, align and hold accountable those who don’t play by the rules..

Being a sales leader can be tough. Having a team without accountability is so much tougher.

Best regards;

Ronan

Click To Learn More About Our SalesPro Playbook

Call me on +353(86) 7732201

Email me on coachronan@insthinktive.com

Website http://www.insthinktive.com

“More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time”

How To Coach Sales People – Diary Of A Sales Leader

August 18, 2015

When I first became a sales coach I recognised a critical step for all who manage sales teams. You must apply measures and metrics first in order to identify a coaching programme for your team.

When I trained as an Executive Coach this was the part I struggled with most. How do I baseline client performance? How do I measure improvement? How do I show a demonstrable ROI for our work together? How do I help people improve and learn? 

There are two parts to the sales coaching process. The qualitative and the quantitative. In this article I will focus on how you can leverage the quantitative to improve the qualitative.

Sales Coaching By Numbers

As a sales coach it is much easier to do this and I call it sales coaching by numbers. I say it is easier but the first challenge is to find the numbers you can measure performance with. In my experience working with hundreds of SME’s in Ireland and the UK a common challenge is that there are no real numbers to begin with.

Step One Analyse the sales numbers

If you are dealing with an inside sales team then analyse performance. Let’s take an example. John makes 100 outbound calls and connects with 15 decision makers (15%) and sets up 2 demonstrations (2%).

Comparing John’s performance to Alison who is also on the team you can quickly see a difference in performance. Alison connects with 30 decision makers (30%) and sets up 4 Demonstrations (4%).

As a COACH you want to help John improve his performance. As a COACH you know that allowing John to find solutions himself will greatly improve any coaching conversation you have. So you need a framework or a conversational model.

Step Two- Use COACH

At Insthinktive we developed a very simple coaching conversation model… COACH

Clarify ;

What is the real challenge or issue? Dig deep to get to the heart of the issue?

Options;

What solutions are available to solve this challenge or issue? Ask for at least three options.

Action;

What is the option that is most likely to succeed. And why? What is the next action?

Critique;

What are the limitations of this option? What are the barriers to success? What can get in the way of progress? What resources will you need?

Hold Accountable;

What have we agreed? The problem. The Option and the Action. Who will do what, and by when? When do we touch base on progress?

Using COACH as a model for the coaching conversation here is an example conversation flow

Clarify

Coach; John I’ve noticed that your connection rates are lower on average than the team’s are you aware of that? You have a 15% connection rate and our best performer is averaging 30%.

John “Yes I’m not sure why though. I’m making the calls but finding it hard to get through”

Coach;What do you think the challenge is yourself?

John “I’m not getting through to the right people, maybe I’m not clear on who I should be talking to”.

Coach;Who are the key people you should be targeting?

John “I guess if I look at some of the other team they have had success by starting with the most senior people in an organisation. I’ve always focused on trying to get to talk to the end users”.

Coach;Is that it or is there something else?

John “No I think that is the main challenge, I guess I am a little intimidated by focusing at Director level, they are harder to talk to”.

Coach;Okay so you may be targeting the wrong people and it is due to a lack of confidence that you will succeed if you go higher?

Options

Coach;So if you are going to change this what are your options?

John Well firstly I need to get the names of the actual Decision Makers.

Secondly I need to work on a script that gives me confidence to talk to these people. And one that gets me past the gatekeepers.

Coach;What else?

John “I could talk to other team members and see what they are doing that is working better and learn”.

Action

Coach; OK so what actions do you need to take?

John “I need to assess my contact list and research LinkedIn to research the names of those I really need to be speaking to”.

Coach; And?

John “I need to develop a new script or approach for my calls. I think it is best to talk to some other team members first and get some insights”.

Critique

Coach; Ok that sounds great but what could stop this from happening?

John “Time. I’m so busy making calls that I don’t have the time to research more”.

Coach; Is that really the issue or is it a case of not prioritising properly?

John “Maybe I need to just block some time out weekly to make sure it gets done. I can also invest in a couple of coffees and spend some time with the other team members to get a feel for how they work” .

Hold Accountable

Coach; Ok so let’s get specific, if we could agree a 30 day improvement goal for you. What would be realistic as a connection rate 30 days from now assuming you have completed the actions agreed?

John “I think I could improve from 15% to 20% in 30 days. No I am sure I could”.

Coach; Ok how can I help you with this? What support do you need from me?

John “Maybe you could help me a little with identifying the right people and building a list”.

Also I would appreciate your feedback on my scripts/call maps.

Coach; No problem so when should we touch base and review progress?

John “How about in one week. By then I’ll have my actions completed and I should be seeing some results”.

Now I know paper doesn’t refuse ink, and this conversation flow may look a little too simplistic, but do not succumb to this thought. Try COACH yourself. Focus on asking the questions only. Avoid giving answers. Use the numbers as your guide to begin the conversation and just see how the conversation can be steered towards a really engaging coaching conversation.

Key Takeaways

Use sales coaching through numbers as your starting point for developing coaching programmes for your team. Use the COACH conversation model and you have a simple and effective way to transform a conversation.

Call Ronan on 086 7732201

coachronan@insthinktive.com

Selling Micro Moments – Effectiveness One

August 13, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Superpowers. Really?

August 6, 2015

As a Sales Leader you are constantly striving to get the best out of your team and yourself. But do you really have any “Superpowers”? Really?

This is a relatively new term to me and maybe because it’s origins are from US based organisations and I’m just a repressed Irish cynic, it makes me a little uncomfortable.

When I read the job descriptions for sales people these days some of them read like nobody from this planet could fill these positions. Organisations are no longer looking for sales people, they want rock stars.. They want sales people with Superpowers.

Here is my challenge. I have never met anyone with Superpowers. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any. Am I mixing in the wrong circles? Am I deficient in some way? Or are we creating levels of expectations that are simply unrealistic?

When I put on my COACH hat what I see everyday are people who have unrealistic expectations of what they think they should/could be. They fail to recognise their innate talents and strengths (not superpowers). These expectations actually serve as a barrier for many of them. They don’t motivate them, they don’t empower them. They stifle them. They hold them back.

When we look for people with “Superpowers” are we sending out the wrong message? Are we creating expectations that sales people simply can’t live up to?

Yes we want people to develop strengths and be the best that they can be in their sales roles.

Yes we want top performers.

Yes we want winners.

But do you need Superpowers to achieve any of these goals. Do you need to be a Rock Star?

Or can you be normal and develop into a top performer with a great team, coach and sales process?

For me the answer is yes, yes and yes. Lionel Messi may indeed have a Superpower, (however I suspect it his relentless practice and discipline that have contributed more to his success than his “Superpower”).

Ask Roy Keane if he has a “Superpower” I suspect he might laugh at you.

Let’s not strive for Superpowers. Let’s strive for something a little more meaningful. Be great, be real, be you.

Best regards;

Ronan

Click To Learn More About Our SalesPro Playbook

Call me on +353(86) 7732201

Email me on coachronan@insthinktive.com

Website http://www.insthinktive.com

“More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time”

 

Selling Micro Moments – Do You Really Need More Leads?

July 30, 2015

Selling Micro Moments – 5 Prospecting Email Must Do’s

July 22, 2015

Selling Micro Moments – Emotions And Selling

July 13, 2015

Selling Micro Moments – How To Profile Your Sweet Spot

July 10, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – I have a Sales Process, we use a CRM

June 30, 2015

If only I could get €1 for every time I hear this. It would pay for my holiday every year..

Those of you who work with me or know will also know I am a keen advocate of CRM systems. I see them as a powerful sales enablement tool. But of themselves they do not constitute a sales process. In fact before you implement a CRM system you need to map out your sales process. And before you map out your sales process you have to map out your buyer’s process.
Are you all processed out? I’m not surprised but if you have a CRM that does not mean you have a sales process. And if you think you do you may need to rethink your approach.

The Sales Process Simplified
Let’s try to simplify what I believe to be a sales process. Here is what it is not…
It is not YOUR process. You can’t determine what your sales process is. Your customer does. How?
Well your customer and how they buy is the building block to every sales process. When you understand how they buy, you can understand how you should sell to them.
Does your CRM system understand how your customer buys? No. Actually a better question is to ask yourself “do you truly understand how your customer buys or procures”.

PROCURES
Here is a simple model for a buying process. Now the first thing to remember is that it is only a model. It is rare that you can find a one size fits all approach. And procurement like most business processes is rarely linear.
Problem Definition
Research Solutions
Onboard Potential Partner
Clarify Preferences
Understanding Impacts
ROI Evaluations
Satisfaction and Evaluation

P – Problem Definition;

This is the critical point in the Buyer’s process. A problem has arisen. A challenge needs to be overcome. Your key action is to determine what the key triggers are for buyer’s that suddenly drive them to source a solution.
For example you may be a technology organisation and you find that a key trigger for your buyers is a strategic decision to reduce costs and improve organisation responsiveness by eliminating administration personnel and introducing more technology.

R – Research Solutions
Here your prospects begin to research the marketplace for options. And their first port of call will be Google. Do you provide enough information on your website to guide your prospect to the next stage? Are you capturing information on who is viewing your website and what they are reading or downloading?
O – Onboard Potential Partner
In this stage the buyer is looking to talk to potential partners/suppliers. If they reach out to you how do you respond? Remember that 78% of sales go to the first respondent. Remember too that 40% of web leads are NOT responded to…and in 48 hours they will have forgotten they ever contacted you in the first place.
C – Clarify Preferences
At this stage of the process your buyer is now narrowing their focus on a few potential partners/suppliers. And drawing up a more detailed specification of requirements and goals. How do you ensure you are part of this process?
U – Understanding impacts
A logical extension of the Clarify Preferences is to understand the impact a decision to use your product or service will have on the business. Remember impact is determined by the client not you.
R – ROI Evaluations
Remember that throughout the buying process there can be a committee of stakeholders involved. Typically ROI analysis takes place later in the buying process and it will involve Finance and Procurement. But be mindful that ROI and what is valued is determined by your prospect. And if there are a committee of decision makers they may have very different definitions of ROI to them.
E is Engage And Entrust
This is the supplier selection phase. The use of Entrust is deliberate. All of the analysis and evaluation will count for nothing if you are not trusted and seen as a trusted advisor. Remember trusted advisors are 69% more likely to succeed. How do you position yourself as a trusted advisor?
S – Satisfaction and Evaluation
In this phase you have won the business and you are delivering your product or service. What will your buyer actions be to measure performance? How will you engage with them and ensure you deliver to their expectations?

Now simply by just reviewing these phases I hope you have come to the realisation that you may have a sales process that is simply not fit for purpose.
That’s okay because over 90% of organisations don’t have one either. But herein lies the opportunity for you to leave your competition behind.

Design Your Sales Process Around PROCURES

So put the CRM system aside for some time and get back to basics. How can you design a sales process that matches how your prospect PROCURES?

Here’s what I suggest.
Get out your whiteboard or buy some SmartWallPaint (they are a client and deserve a plug) do the following
R – Research Solutions
Write down the triggers that cause your prospects to realise they have a problem and need to get it solved. What content or steps can you create/take to ensure that you are on their radar?

O – Onboard Potential Partner
How do you ensure that you are selected as a potential partner?

C – Clarify Preferences
What steps can you take to help prospects draw up a specification with you?

U – Understanding impacts
What content can you create to educate your prospects through this stage?

R – ROI Evaluations
What evidence can you produce to substantiate your claims that you deliver value for money?

E is Engage And Entrust
What do you do throughout the engagement process that positions you as trusted advisors?

S – Satisfaction and Evaluation
What will you do to ensure great execution and customer service is delivered?

Brainstorm ideas for content creation and nurturing steps to move your prospects through each phase.
Remember to that you are likely to be dealing with multiple stakeholders/decision makers. Make sure you have content that nurtures all.

Hopefully by now you have realised that the CRM is NOT the sales process. When you have all the above done you are ready to leverage your CRM. But that’s another story. Keep watching and I’ll show you how.

More Sales. More Consistently. In Less Time.

Contact Ronan at coachronan@insthinktive.com or 086 7732201

Ice Cube Testimonial

June 29, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Targets Good, Performance Goals Better

June 15, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Process First, Decision Maker Second

May 26, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Key Account Mapping Best Practice

May 19, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – 7 Behaviours That Alienate Your Team

May 7, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Focus One

May 5, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Do You Need Big Goals?

April 30, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Know Your Lifetime Value

April 28, 2015

Diary Of A Sales Leader – Become A Blockhead

April 25, 2015

I’m a Blockhead and I’m proud……

When I was 23 years old I moved to London and from the comfort of an FMCG sales role, where my clients were already in place, and my journey plan was done for me.

To a role that had few customers, a lot of potential and no structure.

I was Mr Reactive. I had a notepad and a head full of ideas, thoughts and problems.

I had no system. No process for dealing with all of the stuff I needed to do daily.

Inevitably for me the consequence was that I found myself focusing on the easy low value tasks.. They were quick to deal with and I felt a sense of accomplishment ……. for about 10 minutes.

But I failed to do the High Priority tasks… Like

– Planning
– Preparation
– Prospecting

I had great intentions, but lousy habits.

So how did I overcome this? I became a Blockhead…

I developed the daily and weekly habit of making appointments with myself.

For example I knew that prospecting was important…..in fact the most important task… but it never got done…..

My solution?

I blocked out times on Wednesdays and Thursdays to do just that – prospect

I simply started with one 90 minute block of time for those two days.

And it had an immediate impact.

Yes it did lead to more sales for me but the impact that mattered most to me was

– I felt a sense of purpose again

– I felt a greater level of control over my own destiny. I was determining my success as a salesman and I wasn’t getting hassled to do it!!

– I felt like I was claiming back my week

Oh and I can’t actually forget just how much time it actually saved me

– Travel time
– Preparation time
– Panic time..

Making appointments with myself weekly became my non-negotiable.

And it can become yours too.

This is about you as the Sales Leader taking charge of your business, and your time.

Become A Blockhead;

Block book time weekly for your 3 to 4 Priorities. Put it in your diary as time for YOU. And stick to YOUR schedule.

Let everyone in your team know this is your strategic time.

Your Entrepreneurial time. Your sales development time

And stick to your appointments with yourself.

This will be challenging.Because if you are generally not selfish enough with your time you will give away freely.

That’s good for others and bad for you.

So now you need to change that habit.

Be selfish.

Yes selfish and be proud that you have become a little bit more selfish over the one thing in life you cannot store…. time.

Start small initially. One appointment with yourself the first couple of weeks is enough. Then gradually add other appointments.. Y

ou’ll get better results because you will develop the new habit slowly. And effectively.

How long did it take to develop this discipline?

Honestly I am still working on this every week. And expect to be doing so for the rest of my working life.

But when I hit a roadblock I always get on track, by focusing on the huge benefits being a blockhead can deliver…

Key Takeaway

Take your NO.1 sales priority (I’d guess for most it is prospecting) and schedule in an appointment with yourself to do it next week.

Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable to that appointment. Treat it at the same level of importance you would a Management Meeting or a New Client Meeting.

Because in short it is as important as these…

Simple but not easy….

Diary Of A Sales Leader -10 things Sales Leaders do before they start their day

April 23, 2015

Here are some simple and really things you can do before you go to the office, or make your first sales call…

Now I know you are like everyone else and that there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.. It is the single greatest challenge sales leaders face too.

Well you know what, you’ll never get everything done and that’s ok… nobody ever does.. And that’s a key point. Yes be focused and yes use some of the tactics below to help you do that…

But NO, don’t stress about what you haven’t been doing.. it’s wasted energy and if you are like me and everyone I work with that energy can be put to much better uses …… like getting more sales in..

Now Research has shown that the most effective leaders are simply better prepared. Preparation saves valuable time.

You know this but life tends to get in the way and we spend less time preparing and more time doing… But that needs to change and here are some simple things to make your new daily non-negotiables

So before you rush headlong in to the office, and the interruptions and endless emails. Why not take some time out over a coffee before you go to the office or your first call and do some of these simple things

1)   Write down your quarterly priorities and goals

Yes write your Top 3 priorities and goals out briefly. Or if I’m honest I no longer write them, I simply review them daily. This is a simple and effective way to reinforce what truly matters. What must be done first and always.

2)   Review your tasks for today, and prioritise

Often the simple things are the most effective.

Write or review your tasks (if you really want to save time you’ll leverage a time management tool like Things) Quickly isolate the most important tasks and give them priority. You’ll start your day with these.

3)   Schedule time in your day for the top 3 tasks

It is pretty pointless deciding what the your priorities and then not taking out your diary and scheduling the time to actually do this.

This really is the most effective strategy I’ve ever learned. Plan time there and then for completing your Top 3. Simply open your calendar and schedule an appointment with yourself.

4)   Send agendas for all meetings the next day

Most busy sales leaders complain about the number of non-sales related meetings that they have to attend. Not only are they unproductive, they can be extremely boring and repetitive. And often there is no time between meetings to sort out your thoughts.

In order to tackle this, write out your own agendas and send them in advance. Signal the priorities you want to focus on. And put strict timelines on meeting start and finish times.

Now I know you are going to say yeah but Ronan these meetings never stick to the time allocated, stuff happens, people start talking and inevitably they overrun. I just don’t buy this anymore. You can’t afford to stay neutral on this subject. You have to voice your opinions and you have to be prepared to challenge this mindset that ” the meeting finishes when it finishes”..

Meetings are about decision making and they overrun mostly because people come under prepared. As a sales leader you can directly influence this but it requires a lot of discipline.

For example even in sales meetings before you get in to the meat and bones of your discussions you can simply say

“Louise it’s 2pm now, shall we try to wrap this meeting up at around 2.50pm? we can spend 10 minutes agreeing any actions we need to focus on and be finished by 3pm. Does that work for you? ”  

5)   Cancel all non essential meetings that day

If you are scheduled to attend a meeting, that has no fixed purpose. No stated agenda, and no set times. Ask yourself do you really need to attend it? Be focused, and think Top 3 priorities.

Will you generate a better result for your and your business, by cancelling the meeting and focusing on value creating activities, like spending time with your team or your customers and prospects?

6)   Make a list of the most important calls you need to make that day  

I find this to be a very useful action. Now if you are a highly effective sales leader you’ll be using a CRM tool, and your calls will be mapped out for you. But remember your day isn’t also about business. Schedule time to make calls to your spouse, your partner etc. They can often be the most important ones to make..

7)   Plan your breaks for the day  

Research proves that working in 90 minute blocks and taking a break, boosts productivity by up to 70%. Your brain simply needs the break. So take two minutes and schedule in some well needed breaks. Yes get out your diary and put in the times you intend to take 10 minutes out for a walk or a break..

8)   Sort out all of your paperwork  

If you are attending meetings then chances are you’ll need documents. If you are like us at insthinktive, you probably travel paperless. However even PDF’s need to be sorted and collated in advance of your meetings.

Take the time to sort everything so you can focus on the sales meeting, and not trying to locate an important document your client or prospect needs to see.

9)   Respond to all emails that require less than a minute of your time  

You’ve already made great strides, and you haven’t even got to your office or first sales meeting yet.

Well become super effective. Scan your emails for 15 minutes. Sort the important from the not so important. Deal with those emails that take less than a minute in quick succession.

Those that require more thought simply leave them aside for more consideration later in your day..

This is a great tactic because you don’t want to use up all of your energy getting bogged down in administration. Leaving that until later in the day allows you more time to focus on what’s really important.

10) Resolve to focus on solutions throughout your day  

Finally, relax and enjoy your coffee, knowing that you are way ahead of the field. This is a great opportunity to get your mindset right

Simply take a few minutes and focus on having a great day. Focus on the solutions, not the problems that lie ahead. Focus on ensuring you maintain your positive energy throughout the day.   It’s your day, you decide whether it will be a good one or not…

Key Takeaway;

Take one or two ideas from these 10 (not all 10…!!! take it slowly) , and make them your new daily non-negotiables. ( And Remember to track your progress. What impact are these small changes having on your effectiveness that day. Do more of these, and start eliminating a couple of habits that are getting in the way of your day. (