One of our strategic partners for Gazelles Coaching [Rockefeller Habits] is Objective Management Group. Dave Kurlan, founder and CEO, attended the Growth Summit in New Orleans presenting to our group of Gazelles coaches powerful information on what to look for in assessing and improving sales performance. The middle of this month I will be visiting his offices to improve my sales knowledge and get a better understanding of how to assess sales people and utilize OMG’s tools and training to help my customer’s sales teams make leaps in their performance and assess sales talent better.
Dave recent blog Sales Cycles and Time - Is it Running Out? suggests that sales training to improve performance won’t affect top line sales revenue for six months, plus the length of your sales cycle. The problem he notes is that many CEO’s and owners are not even aware that the second quarter of this year is about to end [June 30th] and have not taken any action to right their ship and impact sales.
Here are some critical questions. In your business do you know what your sales cycle is? Learn the seven separate activities that define the sales cycle process. It’s important to recognize that the sales cycle begins with the prospecting process. This can be one of the longer portions of the cycle. In fact if you have a poor lead generation and marketing process you may have to weed through quite a few prospects to find those that are best qualified for your product or service. That may suggest you need to improve this portion of your sales cycle. Do your leads come to you pre-qualified? What’s your closing percentage on leads as opposed to qualified leads? Do you know what a healthy number for this would be? Do you know what percentage of your qualified leads you close?
If you are unaware of these numbers you need to take action immediately to improve and begin measuring your sales performance.
A good rule of thumb is about 20% of leads convert. Generally your closing ratio on qualified leads should be 40% or better. Many companies achieve much better results than this; however that’s because they’ve worked hard to define, quantify, document and continually innovate to improve their client acquisition system.
Here’s the most important thing to remember. You can’t ask too many questions about the numbers.
If you don’t know the answers to these questions you’re guessing.
If you’re guessing then you’re running your business by accident versus running it on purpose
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and what you don’t measure you don’t understand. “
If you’ve not begun now to work on your sales process and your sales team’s performance, you’re looking at 6 months plus before you’ll see any top line results to your revenue stream. That is of course unless the economy bounces back to what it was before 2008. Is that what you’re counting on? If you are I’d suggest you re-read #2 above again.