Jonathan Farrington interviews Colleen Francis, Founder and President, Engage Selling
- Why did you decide to write Nonstop Sales Boom now?
Over the last few years, I’ve seen an increasing trend that is impacting most businesses I work with. Time and time again, prospects and clients will say to me, “We don’t need you or any consulting help. We’re having our best month or best quarter ever.” Of course I’m happy for their success, but all too often, a quarter or two later, we speak again and they say “Now we’re having our worst quarter ever, can you help us?” They are struggling but they didn’t see it coming and couldn’t prevent it.
I saw it impacting individual sales reps and sales leaders who were often making the wrong decision to try to ensure this quarter’s numbers at the sacrifice of next.
What surprised me most was that number of businesses that assume this is just assumed this was the way it is – a normal part of operations.
- Why are boom and bust cycles so prevalent?
Everyone loves that adage: “80% of the revenue from 20% of the sales reps” but think about how dangerous that is.
The best organizations know that they must and hire right and fire fast. Inconsistent sales performance ultimately points to poor sales leadership. Even if you hit the target at the end of the year, but your sales performance fluctuates wildly from quarter to quarter, that type of sales whiplash won’t be tolerated.
- What can businesses due to prevent this sales bust?
Sellers need to look at their job as more than just moving leads to close. They need to look at the entire client lifecycle. In Nonstop Sales Boom, there are 4 states of engagement in Sales Radar™:
- Attraction; everything you’re doing to attract net new prospects or buyers into your community.
- Participation; all those things you’re doing to qualify the buyer to get them to buy from you and on-boarded quickly. The faster they can get clients participating fully in implementation and usage of the product, the more opportunities they have to grow.
- Growth; what you are doing to enhance value to you and your client. It’s not just about selling them more product, but more services, expanding the relationship to include more decision-makers.
- Leverage; when your clients are advocating on your behalf and becoming that secret sales force, through testimonials and references that are feeding back into the process as net new clients.
In the book, I introduce Sales Radar™ to help sellers visualize and implement this way of looking the client lifecycle.
- What is one practical thing sales leaders can do right now?
It all starts with metrics. You can’t execute on a sales plan or Sales Radar™ without the metrics. Yes, there’s always a way to improve the performance of your metrics – people say “It’s not about the quantity of calls, it’s about the quality.” But on the other hand, if you make too few great calls, you’re still not hitting your number, because there are some realities wrapped up in the numbers. The data is critical.
Top Sales leaders focus on the leading performance indicators that get you to a sale: how many contacts do we need? How many leads do we need etc, and the conversion ratios of each stage of their pipeline. Poor Sales leaders only focus on the lagging indicator of success – the sale. If you only focus on lagging indicators, you forget that you need to make calls and fill the pipeline.
- How do you think the sales landscape looks like in the next 5 years and what can sales organizations do to change?
Buyers are gaining power at an alarming pace. They have access to more information, more reviews, more products than ever before. Over the next 5 years we’re going to see customers taking more and more power, and demanding a more unbalanced relationship in their favor. I see that organizations are going to have to let go of the linear sales process or sales funnel that they enforce, and they have to embrace this notion that our jobs are to facilitate a buying process. There’s just far too much choice out there for buyers to not want to take control. We can’t force buyers into the sales process anymore.
- Where can I find out more about the four phases, Sales Radar and creating a Nonstop Sales Boom?
I’ve made sure that Nonstop Sales Boom not only details these important concepts but also provides the practical steps to putting into action, whether you are a seller or a sales leader. You can read more at www.SalesBoomBook.com. And of course, I’d love to hear your feedback and questions – send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
This is an abridged version – you can listen to the full audio version of this interview here: