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How to get to $10 million in sales

Learn the “make or break” tips and pitfalls from three experts who’ve been built sales organizations before. And why hiring an experienced sales person might be the worst thing an entrepreneur can do. To watch interviews with these experts, watch our videocast [link] or add at www.annonaspeaks.com

When is it time to grow?

Sooner than you may think.

It can be difficult for a business owner or CEO experienced in operations to see that it is time to build sales. Instead of investing more in operations, these CEOs should pour resources into building more revenue through sales, says Sherean Malekzadeh Allen, CEO of New Thought Marketing. Another tip off is a cycle of getting lots of business at once, fulfilling that business, then not having more sales in the pipeline. Hiring a sales person will keep projects and sales coming in more consistently.

What do businesses need to reach to$10M?

Need #1: A Repeatable Sales System Often CEOs see their sales team as a magic solution. But sales reps need a solid, repeatable sales system, with processes and support, to succeed. Lissa Versteegh, President of Georgia Sales Development , promotes a 7-step sales system that starts with gaining the prospect’s trust and establishing a verbal agreement covering:

  1. How much time the sales person and prospect will spend together initially
  2. What they want to accomplish
  3. That at the end of the initial time together, they will agree whether it is a good fit. With this verbal agreement the sales person becomes more of a consultant to the prospect.

The next step is to qualify the prospect. This includes asking the right questions to identify and quantify the pain, and find out what budget and resources are available. More than money, the prospect must also have adequate time, energy and other resources to dedicate. The sales person also has to understand how the prospect’s company makes decisions, and if there are deal breakers, or other decision makers. Once the sale is made, post sales activity aims to prevent losing the new customer to competition or to the incumbent.

Need #2: The Right People Good management will keep the growing sales team on track. But the business owner, often focused on bottom line revenue, may not be the right manager. So look to hire a sales manager or sales consultant to manage the sales team. A sales manager should get weekly sales reports that provide both hard data and insights to potential road blocks, including:

  • How many phone calls were made?
  • Highlights of significant conversations?
  • How many appointments were made?
  • Highlights of those meetings – and the step in the sales cycle
  • How many appointments are pending?
  • List of common objections from prospects
  • Other things management should know

At smaller companies, sales managers should be able to build – not just manage – successful sales teams. This is a key distinction. Someone who succeeds at a large company with established sales processes may fail in an entrepreneurial environment where those systems need to be developed. When hiring a sales person, look not only for excellent communication skills, but also the ability to read other people and mirror the way a prospect likes to communicate.

Need #3: The Right Data Use the first year of building a sales programteam to gather a baseline of information, including: ·

  • How long is the sales cycle?
  • How much is the average sale?
  • How long do customers stay?
  • How many customers are retained?
  • How long does it take to get an appointment?
  • How many appointments does it take to close the deal?

Tracking these answer help fine tune your sales efforts. AndBesides, any good potential sales person will ask these questions. That’s how they determine how long it will take to make the money they want. Until the first sales begin to come in, consider developing a competitive compensation plan.

A growing sales team will also need detailed information on its top 20 prospects, including:

  • The industry lingo
  • Issues they are facing
  • Information on their vertical market
  • Key players at the company Armed with this level of detail, sales people can more effectively network for access to the prospect.

Plus they’ll feel that they’ve earned the right to have the prospect’s business – an attitudes which more often results in making the sale, explains Kent Gregoire, President and CEO of TAB Metro Atlanta

Pitfalls to Avoid

It will take time to see the first influx of revenue from hiring a sales team, from 2 to 6 months or more. So, the CEO has to prepare for that, financially and emotionally.

Hiring friends, may be unavoidable if a company can’t offer competitive compensation and other resources. But, it can be difficult to manage and set expectations from friends.

Finally, as companies grow they may develop their sales, marketing, and service fulfillmentoperations departments separately. Take care to make sure the customer has one integrated experience from the company – not three.


How to get to $10 Million in Sales

Multimillion Dollar Deal

Using your financials as your crystal ball

 
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