Just four weeks to go until the end of Q3, and there is still time to hit your quota – or even surge through it: Not only do you have the opportunity to do that, but you can also lay some strong foundations for that all-important Q4.
Here then are two tips, which should help you …
Very few frontline sales professionals, and very few companies conduct regular review meetings with their customers, and those that do, typically arrange them at the start of a new year or trading period: So this is a wonderful opportunity to steal a march on the competition, and in all probability, gain some incremental business that is not currently sitting in the pipeline!
The reality is that obtaining continual feedback against a set of established criteria is vital if an organization is to retain its existing top clients and seek to improve its standing and the quality of its service levels to them.
There Are At Least Seven Benefits Of Regular Feedback….
- Feedback reveals your customer’s current and future plans.
- Seeing your business from your customer’s point of view allows you to answer the question “would you do business with you?” – if not why not?
- Feedback allows you to tailor your service levels so that you enjoy maximum customer satisfaction at a minimum cost.
- If you don’t ask you’ll never know how you are doing until it’s too late! Feedback is magnified by the ‘ice berg factor’ making it more critical than it originally appears.
- Feedback can reveal what your competition are doing helping you to be a consistently strong contender.
- Gaining a reputation for wanting to hear feedback can actually make money for you.
This will depend entirely on the importance of the account and revenue levels being achieved – or anticipated. At least annually, but I conduct a QBR (Quarterly Review Meeting) with all of my most important clients.
Assessing the Feedback You Receive
If the feedback you have been receiving to-date has not been useful ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I ask enough questions?
- Do I ask the right questions?
- Do I communicate effectively about why I am asking the questions?
- Do I ask the right people?
- Do I know how to use the data I collect?
- Am I organized to respond to the information?
- Do I value and trust the information I receive?
What Do You Do With The Results?
- Communicate them upwards and sideways in company, so that everyone is aware.
- Act immediately on vital issues
- Feedback and confirm remedial actions
- Confirm satisfactory resolve
The Account Review Process –
- Is a non-threatening meeting
- It is a fact finding session not a sales event in the short term.
But It is highly likely that during this meeting you will uncover additional short, medium and long term opportunities.
My second tip for finishing the quarter strongly is to get inside – really inside – your pipeline.
Concentrate 80% of your time on identifying and working on those opportunities that you know can close – be rigorous; be brutal and be realistic!
There are two escalating pressures in today’s marketplace that are creating a need for a more disciplined approach towards sales opportunities:
- The need to be more specialized and individualized in dealing with clients because we can no longer afford to treat all situations in the same way.
- The reality of competition – Often to increase market share, you must do so at the direct expense of the competition. The competitive intensity of the sales environment is escalating with the globalization of the economy.
These are the main “drivers” behind the demand that organizations adopt methodologies and processes to manage these issues.
By utilizing a rigorous and formal opportunity assessment, we are aiming to achieve two sets of objectives:
- Determine which sales opportunities should be pursued at the direct expense of others
- Given resource limitations, decide where and on what basis resource should be allocated to a sales opportunity
- Determine whether our company is over-investing or under-investing in a sales opportunity
- Enhance forecast accuracy
- Use “proven” criteria to reduce the cost of sales
- Identify, quantify and categorize opportunity assessment criteria
- Increase “Hit-Rate” (Win – Loss ratios) by avoiding unsuitable business
- Discover where we and our competition stand with a customer
- Gain a complete and accurate view of a sales situation prior to writing a sales plan to win
- Calculate the probability of winning or losing a deal early in the sales process
All sales professionals claim to be permanently time constrained – we always have limited time and resources with which to achieve our targets. Therefore we can be involved in only so many accounts or sales situations before we begin to lose our ability to manage what is taking place. At that point, we lose control and the competition takes control.
We can only control and manage what we understand and that is the real value of continuous and rigorous assessment of our pipelines.
What are you waiting for? Good luck!