Recently I saw a posting on LinkedIn that shared these sales statistics. Having been in sales, managed sales teams and consulted with clients regarding their sales organizations, it struck a cord.
Common perceptions of most distributor sales organizations include:
- Not too effective at new account development
- Variably effective at account penetration
- Very good at account maintenance, nurturing, management and \”facilitating ordering\” (in essence, account managers)
- Not aggressive at project / quotation follow-up
- Challenged with \”long-term\” sales and especially when there is a complex selling environment (complex defined as multiple decision makers and influencers coupled with extended decision-making process)
Sales force automation, CRM and marketing automation systems can all help in this process but, as the sales statistics point out, the key is persistence.
And to achieve persistence it either needs to be:
- effectively managed
- systems need to be in place to support and facilitate a process
To accelerate growth within your company, consider:
- What is your quotation close ratio? by project? by customer? by salesperson?
- Why do you lose projects and customers? Yes, there may be many instances due to price. Perhaps sometimes due to credit (but do many customers know their credit limit or how how you are willing to go?). Perhaps it was supplier offering. Maybe you received an element of the project (i.e. gear rather than lighting). Or perhaps the customer didn\’t see the value?
- How many new customers your company, and each salesperson, opened in the past year? How do you define \”new\” customers? For a couple of clients we\’ve had to define new customers as those that did less than $5000 in two year\’s ago year (i.e. 2014) but more than $25,000 in the previous year (i.e. 2015) and placed a minimum of 10 orders (to eliminate cherry picking and large orders).
- Do outside salespeople have too many accounts?
- Are you compensating for small accounts that have no chance of growing? Or for too many accounts that they are not actively calling on (we call these compensation justification accounts)?
- Should you compensate more for new accounts once they begin to do more than $X?
- Are you managing for customer acquisition? Talking about it? Identifying accounts that meet your profile?
- Is sales management \”riding\” with salespeople to provide mentoring / coaching / feedback, sales training, a third party perspective regarding the account or thanking customers for their business?
- How many contacts do salespeople have within an account? Each new contact could represent additional billings as they may have their own projects or budgets?
And the onus for increasing sales should not be solely on the shoulders of sales. The best companies develop an integrative sales and marketing approach so suspects, prospects and customers are interacted with by sales and marketing on a regular basis through different mediums. Your sales organization is the human personification of your messaging process. They represent a version of relationship as well as the ability to confirm needs. Partner sales and marketing to optimize your efforts.
To grow you need either more from \”your regulars\” or need more regulars. Sales statistics show, persistence pays.