Are You Asking Yourself These Questions? Pt 3
“The mirror will tell us everything we need to know.”
This will be the final of our 3-part series on Inspecting What You Expect, in which we have looked at similar questions from 3 different roles within a commercial organization. If you missed part 1 “The business executive” or part 2 “the sales manager” you can read them using these respective links: Are you asking yourself these questions? Part 1 or Are you asking yourself these questions? Part 2.
This week’s focus is on the Sales Manager and taking a look once again at:
- What is “done right”? – 1st we must know what done right even looks like and clearly articulate it so that it can be tracked against without any miscommunication
- How fast is “done fast”? – said differently, is my time prioritized to actions that will get the job “done right”?
- How cost-effective is it? – are we working harder or smarter, and do we understand why?
Now that you know what we do & how we do it at a high-level, let’s go deep into this week’s role in focus – the sales rep.
1. Do I prioritize my time efficiently?
Everyone knows the saying, “Time is money”, so why do so many people not value their time when we all know everyone wants to make more money? More times than not it’s because they simply don’t know how to do so, or where to start. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to get started:
Sales Rep – Am I playing to my strengths and maximizing my time towards them? Have I distributed my time to take full advantage of the best times to do different activities?
Positive – You’re super comfortable with managing sales opportunities once they’re created but struggle with prospecting and filling up the pipeline. Utilize other resources such as inside sales reps, events and other internal resources to get the most out of the areas that you struggle with.
Negative – You’re super comfortable with managing sales opportunities but struggle with prospecting. Instead of focusing your day around the times that your prospects are more likely to be reached, you focus your time around your current opportunities. Assigning certain tasks to specific times allows you to better organize and enhance productivity.
A great exercise in understanding how efficient you and your processes are is over the course of a typical week, track how much time you spend doing certain activities. Whatever time you could shave off of non-selling activities and add to your selling activities is a percentage that when multiplied by your weekly revenue, would produce the money left on the table. For example:
Weekly selling hours – 20 hours
Weekly admin hours – 10 hours
If could shave 5 hours off of admin and move to selling…
25 hours / 20 hours = 125% time spent selling comparatively. If you are bringing in $5,000 of weekly revenue that now becomes $6,250. That multiplied by your commission percentage is what you are leaving on the table.
2. Do I have a “why” behind the time?
The most successful individuals in sales have numerous talents that they lean on during the sales process. One trait that is often cited is not just the process of time blocking and having great time-management but a very succinct reason for the allocation of that time.
Sales Rep – Do I have a prescriptive strategy for how to prospect, discover, negotiate and close new customers? Why are conversion rates higher from one sales stage to another, and lower for others? What could be driving those differences as it relates to my time and how I’m spending it in each stage?
Positive – When a prospect comes through a discovery call, I then have a feel for how “real” this opportunity is to close and prioritize my time allocated to it accordingly. Not every prospect is treated equally, but rather they are treated fairly based on the information I have at hand throughout discovery.
Negative – When I have a prospect in the funnel, I treat them the same since the end results I am trying to achieve is a closed-won deal.
Manage your time in a way that produces the end results that you want. If your marketing team produces a ton of low-level leads, spend your prospecting time becoming hyper-personalized on the C-Suite. No sense in wasting time trying to get more low-level leads that don’t convert at as high of a rate. Maximize your time around your strengths and greatest areas of opportunity.
3. Do I know what success looks like?
Based on prior company success at closing deals there should be certain metrics to base your success off of. Having company and industry benchmarks to work off of will enable you to understand what is working and where improvements need to be made.
Sales Rep – What does success look like to me and is that in line with the company, my managers and my peer’s success criteria?
Positive – Based on past customer journeys I have a clear understanding of distinct milestones that need to be achieved in a typical buying cycle. Additionally, I know clear indications that the buying process is off course and how to inch it back into alignment.
Negative – There is no defined path to onboarding a new client. Therefore, every prospect and buying cycle is treated individually and done based on feel and experience of knowing when something is off. Instead of comparing the signals gathered against your current benchmarks to guide your next actions.
4. Am I measuring myself?
Sales Rep – What metrics does the company use to determine success? Do I know where I stack up compared to company peers? Are there other metrics that I should be measuring myself against to improve performance?
Positive – If it is not already presented during a team call, every week during your 1on1 with your manager you ask to understand what metrics the company is tracking against and how other team members are performing, as well as the sales reps who are performing the best across the company. Ask why and understand exactly what is driving their success. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Negative – Having had prior success with a certain method indicates future success. Not inspecting why that method led to success and if there are adjustments needed in new economic climates.
A deep understanding of how top performers are achieving results is a great way to achieve higher levels of success. Once a high-level view is achieved, you can then ask high-performing reps and team members to share their processes and keys to success. Adjusting those to fit into your area of expertise should lead to increased results.
5. Are my processes efficient?
Here we go again with the age-old saying, “time is money”. The more time you can spend selling, the more money you will make. Administrative work, research of prospects and time organization are all part of sales, but the ability to reduce wasted time in these areas will lead to larger commission checks.
Sales Rep – Has the organization equipped me with processes to help me be as efficient as possible? If not, have I addressed the issues with the proper chain of command to have them addressed?
Positive – You keep having to wait a full business week for the legal team to make certain decisions on redlines that have come up fairly consistently with net new clients over the past 6 months. You block off time with the legal team to discuss the issue and bring it to your manager to see if this issue can be added to contracts moving forward.
Negative – Uploading opportunities into your CRM and cleaning up data on key accounts consumes on average two hours of your day. You assume this is the cost of doing business and continue on without bringing potential solutions to your manager such as hiring an outside vendor like Wrk to clean and deduplicate the CRM or a more streamlined process within your CRM.
Stop wasting your time. Ask yourself why. Start Inspecting What You Expect.
Use the examples we’ve provided over the last 3 weeks and start there. If that doesn’t work, give us a shout, we’d love to learn from your situation and help you become more efficient with your team, which will inherently make you more money.
Let’s get to work.
Prescriptive Profits #10