There are four best practices that you can implement now to improve the way you manage your sales (or business development) activity:
- Measure activity. Measure results.
- Hold your team (or yourself) accountable
- Set up a pipeline and monitor it
- Prepare for each sales call in advance
1. Measure activity. Measure results.
Measure activity. Measuring and monitoring raises performance…period! In general, the best activity to track is the number of sales meetings that are set up for the coming weeks. Set a target number of meetings you’d like to get each week and ensure you hit that goal. If you or your sales people are having trouble getting those meetings, measure “touchpoints” – those are attempts (phone calls, emails, networking conversations, etc.) to get a prospect meeting.
Measure results. Measure year-to-date sales on a frequent basis (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) so that you and your sales people know how much they have left to sell in the quarter or year. You also want to measure pipeline/funnel value (the total value of active opportunities) and keep those numbers front and centre in your minds.
2. Hold your team (or yourself) accountable
Now that you’ve decided on your metrics, you need to hold yourself and your team accountable to hitting those numbers. Find someone you trust such as a colleague, co-worker, or friend to meet with on a regular basis to keep your feet to the fire.
3. Set up a pipeline and monitor it
Ensure you and your team have enough active opportunities on-the-go at a time. When analyzing your pipeline ask yourself:
- When is the next active step booked in your and your prospect’s calendar to advance this sale?
- How did the last meeting end? What is the prospective customer expecting?
- What is your next step? What do you need to do to prepare for the next meeting?
- What, if any, are the obstacles you face in closing this deal?
- What about competition?
4. Prepare for each sales call in advance
In order to prepare for an upcoming sales call ask yourself these questions:
- What is your sales call objective? In other words, what do you want to have happen at the end of this meeting?
- How are you planning to open the meeting and lay out the agenda?
- What questions have you prepared to engage the prospect (which will depend on the step of the sales cycle they are in)?
- What will you do if the prospect throws a lot of information at you and you can’t keep up?
- How will you explain the ways in which you might be able to help this prospect’s company?
- What is your plan to advance the sale and get a next step?