Posts Tagged ‘Sales Cycle’

Managing the Bigger Sales Picture

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

Selling is one of those professions in which the gauge of success is assumed obvious. Selling more product is a sure way for a salesperson to get recognition and financial reward. It’s no surprise then that an industry has arisen around teaching salespeople to sell more effectively. If salespeople or sales managers are looking for sales education, then it’s easy to get it. There are an abundance sales gurus ready to teach their own spins on selling, with a plethora of books, videos, programs and systems to back them up. But only a few have come up with the ground breaking thinking that reshapes the way people sell – they can be counted on the fingers on one hand.

I see one flaw in most sales training. The focus is on getting things right in the selling experience in a single opportunity. How to listen? How to ask questions? Making sure they are the right questions. Sure, this is important – direct conversation with the customer is the essence of selling. But a salesperson has more than one opportunity to sell. They can have a large number of ongoing deals that a vying for their time – I know cases where a salesperson had over one hundred open sales opportunities. That has to present a huge challenge for resource management especially in creating as much time for direct customer interface as possible.

Continue Reading

More About The Sales Cycle

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

In a post a few weeks ago (you can find it here), I talked about the confusion that salespeople and sales managers are having with defining their sales cycles. I hope this post can clear that up a bit.

The sales cycle is all about time, and as time is the most precious resource the salesperson has, time management (as it applies to sales opportunity management) is essential to successful selling.

Sales cycle is one of the most commonly used terms in sales, but often misunderstood. The sales cycle is simply the length of time the salesperson takes to sell something. The sales opportunity has a beginning and an end. The time in between determines the sales cycle.

Continue Reading

What is the start of the sale cycle?

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

I saw this discussion on the AA-ISP site just recently. It’s an ongoing issue with salespeople and managers, and especially so since metrics have gained so much dominance in the sales process.

The real problem is that unless you have a consistent, realistic estimation of when the sales opportunity begins, the sales cycle starts, or your favourite expression for this event, you can’t do any reliable analytics on the how long it takes to sell something. And getting the whole team to abide by the same definition is very difficult.

Back to the AA-ISP forum. The question was this:

“What do you consider the start of the sales cycle? For instance, we have a Sales Development Team and Account Executive Team. Our Sales Development Team will outbound call/email out to a pool of ~10,000 potential prospects (cold) and schedule demos for our Account Executive team. Would you consider the sales cycle to have started at first contact? when the demo is scheduled? or when the Account Executive holds the demo?”

Continue Reading

Any Salespeople For Tennis?

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

I played tennis when I was a kid. I liked it a lot. I preferred one-on-one sports to team stuff. I don’t play now, but I watch the big stars playing, mostly because my wife loves those guys.

I once wrote about the important of statistics in baseball, with a view to applying that way of doing things to sales. Indeed, metrics have now become one of the hottest topics in selling. Tennis is a sport wrapped up in stats too. One number that has always interested me describes the importance of the first serve in the game.

Novak Djojovic wins 87% of his service games (where he serves first against his opponent.) So if you want to beat him you had better be prepared to break his serve. The thing is, advanced players can do lots of sneaky stuff with that first serve, and their opponent usually doesn’t know what’s coming. The opponent has to take a defensive position. A good first serve can determine the positional and strategic flow of the game – in favor of the player who made it.

Continue Reading

HBR Article On The Move To Inside Sales

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

Following in the theme of my last post, I ran across the results of a survey done by Harvard Business Review on the move from outside to inside sales. You can find it here.

The writers surveyed over a hundred companies in high tech and business services. Over fifty percent say they are moving from an outside (field) sales to an inside sales model.

I found a few of the other conclusions interesting.

Inside sales is the favourite among early growth stage companies – it’s cheaper to get your message over to more potential customers.

Field sales is more effective for complex sales with long sales cycles, and inside sales better for Cloud delivered standardized package sales.

Reasons for the movement from outside to inside sales models were thought to be:

Continue Reading

Are Outside Salespeople Quaking In Their Boots…

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

First what is an outside salesperson. It must be the opposite of an inside salesperson, right?

Yes – according to Ken Drogue the expert in the field of inside sales:

Ken says:

“The most pragmatic definition of Inside Sales is simple: inside sales is remote sales. It has been called virtual sales, professional sales done remotely, or one of my recent favorites “sales in the cloud.” Where outside sales or traditional field sales is done face-to-face.”

So, really the difference between “in- and out- side sales” is the amount of time you spend face to face with the customer.

Continue Reading

The TASC Top 10 – Number 1 You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology 1 Comment

We’ve been researching and studying and analyzing the sales process and methodology for a long time. Back in 1999, our CRM was called MODE and consisted of three modules: FIND for marketing; TASC for sales; and CARE for after-sales support and service. TASC was an acronym for Territory, Account, Sales cycle, and Contact, and it incorporated the ASPEC technology, although it wasn’t called ASPEC then.

It was, as I said, 1999, and CRM was in its infancy, not really understood as a software tool by most businesses. We wrote a series of ten vignettes illustrating various situations where CRM would solve some business problem and published them as the TASC 10. They are still relevant today, and sixteen years later, here is Number 1 – You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

Continue Reading

The Other Side of the Selling Equation

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

From Wikipedia: In mathematics, an equation is an equality containing one or more variables. Solving the equation consists of determining which values of the variables make the equality true.

Your sales equation might look like this: good price + right product + favorable terms + good relationship – competition = win. And like Wikipedia says, determining the values is what will result in that win.

On the opposite side of the opportunity, the buyer’s equation might look like this: need + budget + authority + product + trust – hype = buy. And the buyer has the same problem of establishing the values of his variables before he chooses.

Continue Reading

Setting Priorities: How Do You Spend Your Selling Day?

Written by on . Posted in Sales Productivity, Time Management No Comments

When I did my research for this article, trying to see what statistics are available about how sales professionals spend their time, I got some very useless information. Things like “24% of the salesperson’s time is spent on generating leads and researching accounts.” How is that useful information? First, is 24% of my time working at this too much? What is the right amount of time? And why do they bundle generating leads and researching accounts? These are very different activities with very different goals and skills.

There was a lot more of these statistics that seem, on a quick read, like valuable information. But when you stop and think about it, what benefit is it to you in your selling or sales management role? I did find some good advice, though.

Continue Reading

3 Ways To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

Full disclosure: that title is deceptive. Intentionally so. It implies that I am going to show you some surefire ways to shorten your sales cycles and get to the win faster. Well, I am going to show you those surefire ways, but they won’t lead to a win. Shortening the sales cycle never does.

First, we need to understand what the sales cycle is, and what it isn’t. Here’s what it isn’t – yours. Here’s what it is – your reaction to the customer’s buying cycle.

That means your sales exists at the customer’s whim. It starts when he wants it, it ends when he’s ready, it changes as his situation does. The customer makes the rules and you need to obey them.

Continue Reading

Social Network