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?
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
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
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
promotes a 7-step sales system that starts with gaining the prospect’s
trust and establishing a verbal agreement covering:
- How much
time the sales person and prospect will spend together initially
- What they want to accomplish
- 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.
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:
many phone calls were made?
- Highlights of significant
- How many appointments were made?
of those meetings – and the step in the sales cycle
many appointments are pending?
- List of common objections
- 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: ·
long is the sales cycle?
- How much is the average sale?
long do customers stay?
- How many customers are retained?
long does it take to get an appointment?
- How many
appointments does it take to close the deal?
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,
- Issues they are facing
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
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.
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