Formula for Sales Success

by Chip Doyle, Guest Author

In Sandler’s training program he outlined a “Formula for Success” containing 10 actions salespeople should take to be successful. At least 3 of those actions are relevant to sales managers, entrepreneurs and CEO’s.

  1. Work a prospecting system (or any type of integrated lead generation program)
  2. Have a system for selling (questioning and qualifying)
  3. Know WHEN to use product knowledge (use a sales template or sales stages)

When I meet new people, they often ask “So Chip, what is the secret to sales?” as if I can answer that in some concise pithy way. But if they threatened me with bodily harm, I’d probably say prospecting, qualifying and sales template! Since salespeople aren’t supposed to be in the office, it is challenging to hold them accountable without knowledge of all three of these systems. Sure you can measure revenue but that is a lagging indicator. Sort of like driving a car by looking at the rear view mirror. Entrepreneurs that use these three systems to forecast future sales can identify which salespeople are successful well before the revenue comes in.

Few companies that I encounter have all three systems in place. That may be a function of why they want to talk with me but my guess is that there aren’t many small or medium sized companies that track, manage and apply these three systems. It’s fairly easy to diagnose the impact to a company by referencing these three systems:

Without a prospecting system, salespeople are dependent on the company to generate their leads. Or the salespeople do one single type of prospecting but see limited results. If they have a scarcity of opportunities they are afraid to disqualify and spend whatever time necessary trying to close stale leads.

If the salespeople don’t know how to qualify, they are usually frantically working on proposals, estimates and presentations but have a low close ratio for all the work they do. The more time they work on unqualified proposals, the less time they have to prospect or generate their own leads.

And if a sales team lacks a sales template (almost every CRM system calls these “sales stages”) then sales cycles can stretch for months or even years. Usually it’s because the prospect takes control of the sales process. Since the salesperson doesn’t know what to do next they go along with whatever the prospect suggests and the seller provides unpaid consulting hoping for a decision eventually.

The 3 systems work together. Sure you will close some sales without using all 3 systems rigorously. But if you are a CEO or CFO and you are attempting to plan for cash flow and resources, you’ll want monthly updates on these three systems in order  to accurately forecast revenue.

Good Selling,

Chip

Chip Doyle and his associate Hilmon Sorey offer Sandler Sales Training at two locations in the SF Bay Area.

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