Some sales management styles are like the proverbial swan gliding across the lake with your sales pipeline and forecast completely under control. On the other hand there is the style more akin to a duck paddling as hard as it can to keep the MD appeased whilst managing a pipeline the sounds like something out of Jackanory, thanks to the ingenuity of your sales team who present their forecast with such conviction, that even you almost believe it!
They seem to be busy enough – attending meetings, keeping their appointments up (by visiting anyone who will see them?), submitting proposals (are they well qualified?) and hopefully winning deals…… (although probably not as many as you’d like – or need). And what about marketing? How does being measured on how many emails they send out, how many twitter followers they have or how many people “click through” to the web site help you do your number?? And then there is the fire fighting that goes on post-sale! Again, it’s up to you to pour oil on the troubled waters and cover for the rest of the organisation that didn’t deliver what the customer expected (or thought they had bought?)
And even if you are making your number, all that happens is the bar gets raised for next year. Can you really be expected to keep pulling a rabbit out of the hat EVERY year end??
Operating within a dysfunctional process for finding and winning customers is not only very stressful for all involved, but is also very inefficient and costly. However, when you are in the middle of the battle, it is not that easy to clear enough space to work out where the key problems lie – let alone start to resolve them.
A conventional solution is to “get an independent consultancy in” – you know, the ones who borrow your watch to tell you the time and charge you a packet for the privilege. Consulting projects like this invariably take a significant length of time, starting with an assessment of the problem, which at a minimum will take days and in large organisations, will take weeks, possibly months. The process is being “done to you”, not leveraging the expertise that lies within your organisation and seldom does it really secure the buy-in of the team on the ground, which after all, are the real experts here.
After the failure of many very large and high-profile consultancy led projects that have cost a fortune, delivered little and still left the organisations none the wiser as to how to really address the problems, organisations are rethinking their approach.
The power of an approach which brings together your own experts from across all aspects of the sales and marketing process to collaborate on a sales improvement plan which you understand intimately and have a vested interest in making work, is not only massively more cost effective but also ensures the ownership and buy-in of the whole team collaborating in the end to end process.
So, why bring in the suits to charge you the earth for borrowing your watch, when you actually have the expertise and ability to work out the time for yourself? Perhaps it is time to try another way.