Your Sales Can Only Be As Fast As Your Slowest Link. Do You Know Yours?
By Andy Paul June 25, 2012
It is imperative for sellers in today’s fast-paced competitive markets to focus on the speed of their selling to create value for their customers, quickly build trust and credibility as well as truly differentiate themselves from their competition.
Taking advantage of the treasure trove of information available on the Internet your sales leads and prospects today are substantially pre-educated about your products and services (as well as your competitors’) when they are inserted into your sales funnel. The quantity of information your prospects require at that point to make their purchase decision is substantially smaller than if they entered your funnel at the top. Most importantly, they have the expectation now, which is usually not met by the seller, that they can obtain the information they need to make their purchase decision in a shorter period of time than usual.
Are Your Sales Processes Optimized?
“Efforts to optimize work processes in order to more quickly respond to customers will become increasingly important, says (Lawrence Byrd), an Avaya executive, who points to a widening gap in customer loyalty where the younger generation is typically more fickle and bombarded with choices.”
But maximizing responsiveness can only be achieved with effective sales processes that are continually measured, analyzed and improved. This is called Selling with Maximum Impact in the Least Time. If you are Selling with Maximum Impact then your sales objective is to empower your prospects and customers with the information they need to compress their buying cycles.
“Noting that businesses are only as fast as their slowest link, (Lawrence) Byrd, director of collaboration solutions at Avaya, said it was important for organizations to look at how they can speed up their business because ‘speed depends on the slowest link’, he said. ‘It’s no point having a car as fast as a Ferrari, if your tires are flat. What’s key is to fix the bottlenecks,’ Byrd said.”
What Are Your Sales Bottlenecks?
What is the slowest link in your sales process? Do you know? Or are you just guessing?
Ask yourself some of the following questions:
1. Do you have a written sales process for sales lead follow-up? (Our surveys show that fewer than 20% of sales teams do.)
2. Do you have a flowchart that shows how many sets of hands a sales lead passes through before it is placed in the hands of a salesperson who will follow-up with a phone call? (Same as above.)
3. How long does it take, on average, to follow-up on a sales lead from the time it is received until a knowledgable salesperson talks to the prospect? (It takes longer than you are guessing.)
4. Is the person who follows up on your sales leads A) an entry-level person (like the now ubiquitous Business Development Rep (BDR)) or B) a salesperson who really understands your products, services and customers? (Hint: A is not the right answer. Any sales interaction that does not create value for the customer is a waste of their time and yours; i.e., a bottleneck.)
5. Do you have a written sales policy manual that includes definitions and descriptions of all of your core sales processes? (Our assessments show that only 17% of company’s have taken this step. Ignorance is bliss I guess.)
6. Do you have established responsiveness metrics for your company’s core sales processes? (No? Then how do you know if they are optimized?)
7. How often are your critical sales processes and their associated responsiveness metrics analyzed, evaluated and improved? (Our assessments show that 50% of companies never review their sales processes. Every company has sales bottlenecks. Most just choose to ignore them.)
If you don’t have satisfactory answers for each of these questions then it’s a guarantee that your sales processes are not optimized. And, most importantly, you are leaving valuable revenue opportunities on the table.
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A frequent speaker, Andy conducts workshops and consults with B2B sales teams of all sizes and shapes to teach them how to sell more by selling faster. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, “The Speed of Selling.” Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our blog!
© Andy Paul 2012