It’s that time of year we make New Year’s resolutions. We set goals in our personal lives and for our businesses. In the spirit of “Zeroing In” I recommend stopping the "sales insanity", and define a sales process that works for your market of today. Let’s face it; the way buyers are buying today has changed from this time a year ago. And remember... "it's not about how you want to sell, but helping your buyers buy , the way they want to buy" ( nosmoke-ism)
Post Series: voice of customer
- 1.Fix Sales: Knowing Buyer’s Journey is like Creating a GPS for Your Sales Process
- 2.Fix Sales Problems With The Power in the “Voice of the Customer”
- 3.Leverage Customer Voice into “Explosive Sales Growth”
- 4.Who Owns the Voice of Your Market and Voice of Your Customer? ..Hint (not sales!)
- 5.Voice of Market Identifies “Roundabouts” in your Sales Process
- 6.Voice of the Market Identifies Key Buying Triggers
- 7.Increase Sales: Key Buying Seasons Surface in “Voice of Market” Work
- 8.“Voice of the Customer” Increases Profits…Lesson from a Christmas Ham
- 9.Voice of Customer Finds “Sales Secret Weapons”
- 10.Voice of Customer: Understanding the Entire Iceberg of Purchase Decisions Today
- 11.Improve Sales Productivity With Voice of the Customer Research
- 12.What is The Biggest Threat to Customer Voice Research? (It may surprise you!)
- 13.Give Salespeople More Time to Sell With Voice of The Customer Research
- 14.Customer Voice Research Identifies Content Buyers Need Today
- 15.Identify Purchase Influencers with VOC
- 16.The End Of The Greatest Show On Earth and What We Can Learn About Training
- 17.Voice of Customer Identifies New Markets and New Product Applications
- 18.17 Benefits Of Voice Of Customer
Each year sales reps hit the streets armed with their new goals and striving to hit their numbers. The sad reality is close to 80% will not hit plan. Why? There are many reasons but the leading cause is they are using dated value propositions. Your sales team is saying what they have said for years and it does not resonate with buyers today. In this post I will share how to leverage the voice of the customer to improve sales productivity by understanding your customers today.
I read an excellent report: The State of Sales Productivity report. This repost is the result of the authors surveying a number of sales leaders to understand how they plan to achieve their new sales goals. 56% of sales representatives are expected to hit a sales growth goal of 20% higher than last year. What gives me pause is close to 80% of those same teams failed to hit their number in the last sales calendar year. How can VP’s of Sales and Marketing change this trend?
In my last few posts I have been sharing the dramatic sales increases companies can realize once they capture the voice of their customers and markets today. As I have shared the key part of that thought is the word “today”.
With voice of the customer / market work you will understand:
Why your buyers buy from you and why they don’t?
What is your buyers buying process today?
What criteria do your buyers need today to make buying decisions?
With this information you will create a repeatable sales process that mirrors how your buyers are buying today, and create new sales tools that proactively provide the key buying criteria.
Once you create this for your sales team we must conduct sales training to insure your salespeople understand the sales process and are aware of the new sales tools, where to find them, and how and when to use them.
Voice of the customer work improves your sales teams’ overall productivity!
What percent of the time are your salespeople actually presenting and selling customers?
I have seen some teams where sales spend less than 20% of their time actually selling. In the report mentioned above they found salespeople spend 32% of their time selling. Having been the president for two companies and CEO for one, this is the kind of data that drives me nuts!
What are my salespeople doing most of the time?
- Searching for data and content to help them sell, 30% of the time
- If they can’t find it they are creating their own content (that should really scare you)
- Updating CRM and reports
- Administrative duties
- Customer service functions
Sales spends as much time selling as they do searching for meaningful content and or creating their own sales tools.
That’s a broken unproductive sales model.
In this report 79% of sales leaders plan to hit their numbers by improving sales productivity.
62% said they plan to increase head count.
What if sales were spending 60% of their time selling this year?
*30% of the time selling as they have been
* And 30% more time selling because they are trained in the right sales process and where the right content tools can be found
In a recent post I share one company I helped that sold training. We conducted customer win loss interviews; mapped how the buyers were buying today and identified the HR managers had experienced a shift, a roundabout in the sales funnel where sales stalled and spun out of the funnel. HR managers now needed to get budget approval from the CFO and or CEO. (Something that was not the case prior). We listened for places in the sales funnel where sales experienced roundabouts and created tools to keep the sales on track to a close. We created content. We developed a very short slide deck to help the HR manager win budget for our training. We adjusted the sales process and introduced the instructor earlier in the process. We conducted sales training and shared the new sales process with our team, the slide deck for HR managers and other key content to be used in the trust building early funnel activities as well as case studies to be used after our quote. Within months we experienced a 200% sales increase.
Was our process perfect out of the gate? No, but we were experienced significantly improved sales close rates. I coached sales to adopt the new sales process and challenged them when I saw they shifted back to old sales tools or created their own.
We kept listing to our buyers, adjusting and experimenting with content until we consistently realized our sales objectives. This took a focused effort for over 12 months and after 12 months are team was breaking monthly sales records.
What percent of the time are your salespeople selling today?
How does your team measure sales productivity?
Do you track team and individual close rates for example?
To close this report also shared that 80% organizational leaders felt creating meaningful content and helping sales find it was a top priority.
However only 35% of those surveyed had a plan to do so.
Let me help your team improve sales productivity and not have to keep hiring more people.
Spend the time capturing the voice of your customer. Once you understand how your buyers buy, the journey they take, and the criteria they must have you will be able to create a repeatable sales process and sales tools that help your buyers buy. Your process will be a GPS system that takes your team, step by step to closing more sales.
I would appreciate your feedback…
What would be a good reason not to do this and set your sales team up to hit their numbers this year?
Understanding your customers and markets creates a foundation for a sales business development plan that creates sales velocity for your organization.