As sales managers, we are always looking for the same thing – increased revenue. So, here’s a question for you: How do you get a 10% increase in effort to result in a 67% return on investment? Sounds pretty attractive, doesn’t it?
Let’s start with the first step – your sales people must put in 10% more effort. But we have all tried that approach and we know that only gets us so far. But for those sales people (and their managers) who really DO want to improve and increase their revenue – the ones who hunger for success and eagerly want to know, how DO they get to that 67% increase? Here’s your coaching approach.
Your sales people will need to begin by putting in 10% more effort in prospecting. That means increasing their efforts in asking for introductions, meeting with centers of influence, and turning association meetings into new suspects. It does not mean they have to cold-call more; so, you can eliminate that objection from their thinking.
After that, the steps for getting to that 67% increase are sort of simple; they just take consistent and persistent application. Your sales people don’t have to invent a whole new way of doing things, they just need to improve on the things they are already doing by just 10%. Here is the list of things they need to improve and you need to coach:
Effort: 10% more effort will result in 10% more appointments – even if they don’t improve your skills.
Phone Skills: If they improve their phone skills by 10% they will convert 10% more contacts to appointments.
Qualifying Skills: Help them improve their qualifying skills by 10% and now they pick up 10% more opportunities.
Conversion Rates: Even if your sales people simply maintain their current conversion of opportunities to presentations and maintain their current closing ratio, they will increase their results simply because they have added more to their pipeline dramatically over 12 months.
Increase Average Sale: If you can help them increase their revenue per sale by just 10%: instead of $10,000 deals, they get $11,000 deals. That makes a significant impact over the course of the year.
Here are two coaching tips to handle any push back you get from your sales people about the increase in prospecting effort:
1) Getting Names: Make sure that they understand that you are not talking about cold-calling. Sure you can help brainstorm ways they can get more names like networking, LinkedIn, clubs they belong to, etc. The key here is that they still have to pick up the phone and call them. Just increase their effort to get names and make sure you track it!
2) No Time Myth: This will help you to eliminate the “I don’t have time” excuse. Here is what you explain to your sales people who come to you with that problem: “We all know that if you attempt to call ten people a day, you will NOT talk to 8 of them. So… the question becomes, “How long does it take you to NOT talk to 8 people?” And the answer is…?”
I guarantee you that if your sales people increase their effort, you help them improve their skills, and increase their average size deal by just a mere 10%, you WILL end up with a significant multiple of 10% improvement that is closer to that 67% we began talking about. But they have to increase the effort and you have to be persistent and consistent with your coaching.