Too busy to improve your sales effectiveness? Here’s 4 easy steps to make you more efficient and effective

What’s the difference between a high pressure B2B sales job and spending 60 hours a week on a treadmill?
For many, the answer is – NOTHING!!

How many times do you try and get an appointment with a senior decision maker to be told they are too busy to meet with you?  Or even worse, after spending weeks, possibly months getting that precious slot in their hallowed diary, they go and cancel on you the day before.  No consideration to the fact that you could have constructed your diary around being in their neck of the woods on that specific day – invariably miles from your base office – and have probably pulled in people with specialist expertise to be there, or booked that non-refundable train ticket (to keep costs down – as per corporate remit).

The irony is, that if your value proposition is at all relevant or well-targeted to the organisation you are trying to meet, you are most likely trying to present something that will save them time, make them more efficient, take away a current problem, or at the very least enable them to tick yet another outstanding problem off their “to-do” list.

We had a similar situation just the other day with a major IT enterprise with an acknowledged issue around the reactive way they responded to bids.  When it came to managing bids, they always left it too late, always on the back foot, never able to marshal the right resources at the right time with the relevant knowledge, bidding without a win strategy or even having fully understood why they would (or probably wouldn’t) win, and running right up to the wire trying to find the information needed to answer all the mandatories.

The outcome of course is predictable.  An extremely high cost of sale, a low win rate and a disillusioned sales team who spend far too many evenings working towards deadlines and keeping their spirits up by eating cold pizza straight from the box.

So, to go back to the particular incident I was about to tell you about with this prospect – having eventually maneuvered around the organisation to identify the right contact and then after a persistent and targeted approach, getting them to agree to a meeting about how to build an effective bid capability, we were all ready to meet the very next day.

And then, came the punch line – “Sorry, will have to cancel tomorrow’s meeting.  We are too busy working on a bid”

My, how we laughed at the irony!!

They were too busy working on a bid, to find out how they could improve their processes for finding and winning customers and be more effective in their approach to winning a targeted and well-qualified sale.

Gatling_Gun_SalesmanThe old cartoon of the soldiers, too busy to see the Gatling gun salesman as they persisted fighting the battle with swords and arrows, came to mind.

However, we have all been there. Over the course of 14 years understanding the pain points of organisations to improve their sales effectiveness measurably, needless to say we have experienced this on a regular basis.

When getting a bid in on time or getting your organisation to approve a non-standard quote, is more difficult than going 10 rounds with the world heavy weight champion, then it’s time to take a step back to review the sales process.

Easier said than done I know – and to some extent the “I’m too busy answer” is understandable.  How do you free up the time to work out how to get off that treadmill and be more effective in your approach to Finding, Winning and Retaining customers when you are up to your eyes in doing the job?

Here’s a simple 4 point plan to sales effectiveness:

  1. Get all the stakeholders of the sales process together in one place for one day and enable the meeting through an impartial facilitator
  2. Use a proven benchmarking model which has been tried and tested by your peers to deliver improved sales performance in other enterprise organisations
  3. Quickly identify the performance gaps and define a realistic action plan to fix them, reviewing after 30 and 60 days
  4. Measure performance again at the end of 90 days to quantify the performance improvement

This approach has been deployed to great effect by many enterprise businesses that have applied Get To Great® Sales Performance Improvement to deliver a step change in finding, winning and retaining customers.  They have increased their ability to engage, qualify and close profitable sales as a direct result.

This proven and trusted framework for sales transformation is valuable to any business looking to tackle specific challenges such as improved lead generation, increasing its sales conversion rate, reducing the cost of sale, improving its bid management capability, or for continual improvement of its sales effectiveness.

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