When sales are flooding in, it’s common in business not to concern yourself too much with your sales pipeline. But when times are hard, you look to your sales pipeline as a source of comfort, reassurance and hopefully some quick wins.
But what do you do if your sales pipeline is dried up?
There’s only one thing that you can do in this situation, and that’s to start again. You need to start the process of identifying who to target. Which lead sources can you use and who can you qualify as hot prospects? You then need to begin learning about the solutions they seek and how you can help them with your products and services.
Some quick tips on building your sales pipeline;
- Source leads, ensuring you do it appropriately and compliantly. Match the leads to your ‘ideal customer profile’ as much as possible.
- Qualify leads using criteria which will help you categorise prospects into segments. For example, you may have some more urgent than others or want to select different contact methods for each segments.
- Design the activity and milestones for your sales pipeline. For example, will you use the phone or email, or do you want to meet face to face? What does success look like at each milestone?
- Begin your sales activity – think about which sales approach you use and why. When we say sales approach, we mean are you transactional or consultative, is the focus more on inbound or outbound, have your team been trained a consistent way to approach sales?
- Record your activity and outcomes so that you can spot trends and understand conversion rates. We’d advise you use a CRM for this, but you can always start with a spreadsheet until it becomes too big to manage.
- Remove any blockages or obstacles which limit your sales pipeline success. Make sure you understand what it is which prevents success.
- Seek training and coaching to help you improve conversion rates. It’s sometimes easier for a third party to see the opportunities and help you to maximise them.
- If you manage a team of people, make sure you understand variances in sales pipeline performance so that you can help and support.
Recording activity shows you how hard you try, whereas conversion rates show you how good you are when you try.
Founder of Momentum South West, Rachael Howourth, delivered a talk at the Like Minds Ideas Festival in Exeter. The talk lasts for 20 minutes and covers some key points to specifically help you grow your sales pipeline.
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If you follow our news, you’ll know we celebrated becoming a Limited Company last week. And now we have even more news. We’re joined by a fabulous and highly experienced Business Manager.
“Chuffed to bits is putting it mildly”
What exactly will Sarah be doing?
So, what does our future growth look like?
- Do you train a subject we don’t yet offer?
- Do you coach in a way that gets outstanding results?
- Do you just want to have a chat about how you can get involved in creating Momentum for the South West?
A new team at RGM
Momentum South West are delighted to be training RGM, Rebecca Garrett Media. This exciting new partnership supports the continued growth of the Account Management team. This week alone, RGM has welcomed 3 new staff to the business.
RGM work with some of the biggest media brands in the UK, including Cosmopolitan, ITV and Mumsnet and it’s vital that all customer facing staff understand how to offer highly targeted and effective media campaigns, as well as provide an unrivalled customer service.
An exciting training partnership
Rachael Howourth of Momentum South West has joined the RGM team this week to cover a variety of topics. The training was designed to help get the new recruits off to a flying start. Topics such as How to Understand Your Customer, Overcoming Challenges and Delivering Customer Value and ROI.
The training has been very practical and interactive. The team have been encouraged to share best practise and learn from each other, ensuring that all of their previous experience will benefit the RGM wider team, and of course their customers.
If you’d like to find out more about joining the RGM team, get in touch with Rebecca here.
To book a free consultation with Momentum South West, you can select a convenient date and time here. Alternatively, call Rachael directly on 07980 910316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or is it Momentum gains Business Development?
We are delighted to welcome Paul Taylor to Momentum South West as our Business Development Manager. Paul will work in collaboration with us, and as a Freelance Business Development professional, he brings a great deal of experience.
What will Paul be doing as part of our Business Development Team?
He’ll be building relationships with business leaders and HR professionals all over the South West. Paul will ask about training requirements and explore whether there is a need for coaching or mentoring amongst the staff. He will then be able to match clients with our range of training courses and coaching programmes.
Paul will share our calendar of events, which include open training courses on sales, leadership and personal effectiveness. He will also co-ordinate anyone who’d like to book a free consultation to discuss a tailored strategy session or coaching programme.
Want to know more about Business Development or Momentum South West?
Would you like to become a Business Development Manager for Momentum South West? Please get in touch to discuss the opportunity for us to collaborate.
If you’re in Sales Leadership, you’ve probably heard the saying “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”
It’s very true. You can’t manage what you can’t see. As a leader who’s expected to deliver results, sales managers and business owners need to make sure they carefully select some meaningful KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
But before too long, you find you have 50 things to manage, some of which your CRM can’t produce reports on any more. And how many of them were once requested by the Finance Director who now doesn’t need to know anymore? Not to mention your sales team are increasingly aware that the number of plates they’re expected to spin is growing, which is confusing and causes the side-effects of another famous saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”
So I’m going to try and help you streamline your KPIs to just the things which make a difference to the performance of your sales team.
What are the main benefits of having KPIs?
- It’s easier to spot trends and opportunities for growth
- They highlight capability issues in your team so you can adopt the right training
- They also highlight variances in the drive and determination of your team
- It gives you a transparent platform for recognising great performance, and offering rewards
- You’ll feel more in control with consistent KPI tracking
Activity – Volume (or how hard do the team try?)
How many calls or meetings do your sales team do?
You’ll need this by each individual as well as for the team as a whole. You’ll also want to be able to look at specific weeks or months to spot trends over time. Think about showing results as a comparison to the average for the team, or the average for the month. Also think about setting a benchmark to help you make incremental gains over time.
Make sure that every individual inputs accurately into your CRM system – salespeople are notoriously bad at this so look out for errors.
Activity – Duration (or how engaging do your customers find your sales team?)
How much time do your sales team spend engaged in customer conversations?
If you have people who sell on the phone, you’ll need a telecoms provider who can report on the number of minutes spent on calls. Think about how long a call needs to be before it qualifies as an engaging call – 10 seconds is likely a ‘no thank you’, 3 minutes is enough for the customer to have been asked a few questions, 10 minutes is a good conversation and any longer than that is a really good sign you’re making great connections with customers.
Think about how long it takes to wait in a call tree. Consider staff who call their friends to grow their call time! (I’ve seen this done many times).
Conversion (or how good at selling are your team?)
How likely are your sales team to convert a sale?
This is a great metric for helping you to identify training needs. Maybe your entire team don’t need a refresher training course on consultative selling – it may just be one person. Either way, this will help you address performance variance where training is the cause.
Depending on the stages of your sales process, you may need to break down the tracking of conversion rates. For example, if you have an appointment maker who works on the phone, their sale is to sell the appointment. The person who does the appointment is responsible for the sale. You’ll want to know whether they convert in one appointment or two. Or does it take a follow up phone call to get the sale over the line?
You’ll need to track conversions for each salesperson, plus think about what the benchmark needs to be i.e. is it a comparison to each other or the team average?
Do you have different conversion rate benchmarks for different products? You’ve probably got some products which are far easier to sell that others. Think about how you might differentiate between the products and services that your sales team are responsible for.
Average Value of a Sale
Do you have sales staff who excel in high value sales? But others who only sell what’s on offer? Or they ask for a discount?
This metric can help you understand which of your sales people can sell multiple products in one sale. Plus you might identify pricing issues or skill issues. Again think about the benchmark you’re using – it should probably be a comparison to the team average.
Every business should measure how satisfied their customers are. It’s no good having sales people who can convert sales at high values if the customer is telling you that they found the sales experience disappointing.
Do you actively seek customer feedback? Where do you record it? Do you measure feedback given against the individual salesperson or is it general?
Think about how you use Online Reviews and whether customers willingly offer you Referrals to their family and friends.
It’s easy to over-complicate this part with hefty surveys and competitions. My advice is keep it simple. Could it be as straightforward as asking the manager to put in 5 random customer service calls per month to gain some insightful feedback?
Pulling it all together
If you’re unsure about how to create some meaningful reports, ask your accountant to help you. You’ll also need to make sure your CRM system offers you the ability to input the necessary numbers, as well as an easy suite of reports to extract the information you need from the back end.
The most important thing to do when compiling and tracking KPIs is to get buy-in from your sales team. Explain to them why you’re looking to track their performance figures, explain the required performance levels and comparisons and get their feedback. They probably know your CRM better than you do (as they’re using it everyday), and it’s highly likely they know how to play the system so make sure you think about fairness and consistency.
If you intend to use KPIs in your team’s Personal Objectives, and I’d always advise you do, then get HR involved so they can help draw up the most appropriate paperwork for you.
Thanks for reading – hope it was useful.
If you’d like some advice on Sales Strategy, then Momentum South West can help. We work with clients to build a sales strategy for them which delivers growth for their business. We consult every step of the way and can train out new strategies to staff. Our sales training and coaching gets five star reviews so if it’s an increase in sales results that you’re looking for, get in touch here.
We offer a free consultation too, so let’s make a start.
Rachael Howourth of Momentum South West shares the story of the first 6 months in business.
Why did you start the business Momentum South West?
I’d dreamt for years of running my own business and I’d always known that if I did, it would be a consultancy of some kind. Working in Sales and Leadership for 20 years in a large corporate business has taught me a huge amount about how to be successful in business. I’ve sold to many different types of customers and managed many different types of staff – I’ve definitely lived and breathed the business world.
But the main reason the business began when it did is because that’s when my confidence level had reached a point where I thought I had enough to offer. I’d been working with a business, just giving some advice and support, and the new strategies I’d advised on had delivered an uplift in business results of over 50%. That’s when I realised I had skills that I could really use to help others’ succeed.
How’s it going so far?
It’s going really great. I’ve now got clients using each of my offerings; strategy, training and coaching. Some of my clients are really successful businesses who are investing in keeping it that way, and some are micro SMEs.
I’ve got so many ideas for the future but I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground for now. I’ve built a few Training Courses which are my bread and butter; these are ASPIRE Consultative Selling, Negotiation Skills, Leadership Skills and Coaching Skills.
What’s been the hardest part?
The hardest part during the last 6 months has been the time it’s taken to align all of the necessary parts of the business. I’m making sure it’s a brand I’m building and that it becomes easily recognisable, as well as builds loyalty. The marketing activity takes a long time. I know I could now give it to a professional to handle, but they can’t think about my business the way I do. I’ve learnt how to build a website, how to rank on Google using SEO tactics, how to engage in email marketing, how to blog, how to optimise photos, how to start and market a You Tube channel, how to use Instagram for business. The list goes on….
What have you enjoyed the most about the first 6 months in business?
I’ve enjoyed the feedback from clients. Reviews have been left on my Facebook page, Google and sent to me in emails and the positivity has been overwhelming. I did some workshops for Natwest Plc which had amazing feedback and some of my coaching clients are enjoying results they’d only previously dreamt of. It makes me feel incredibly proud and excited for the future. If I can achieve that in the first 6 months in business, who knows what I can do for Momentum South West in 5 years.
The other thing I really enjoy is public speaking. I’ve done quite a few breakfast seminars where I speak on a chosen topic for the benefit of the audience. I like doing it and it always opens up new client opportunities.
Where’s it all heading?
I do have a vision. It’s a vision for 2 years time, maybe longer. I plan to expand the Training Course offering by bringing in different Trainers who are experienced in sectors which compliment my specialisms of Sales and Leadership. I also intent to bring in a customer relationship manager and and digital marketing exec.
But the really big dream….is to open a Coaching Retreat. A place of solace where the big hitters from the city can escape to Devon to invest in their own personal development. I hope for it to be a beautiful barn in the country somewhere, with accommodation and facilities done to the highest standard.
To book Rachael to speak at your breakfast seminar or to discuss your business requirements in relation to Sales and Leadership growth, call her directly on 07980 910316.
Or email email@example.com
So you want to know how to be a better salesperson?
I’m going to share some tips to help you not just to be a better salesperson, but to be a salesperson that your customers will love.
It’s commonly debated whether the skills for being a super-duper salesperson can be learned, or are they just part of your very being. What do you think? Do you often wonder what it will take for you to be a better salesperson? On a day when you can’t seem to close a single deal, it feels like you’re pushing treacle uphill and nothing is ever going to ‘go right’ for you again. But then you get that amazing call that says “yes, we’d like to go ahead” and all is well in your world again. Balance is restored. And target is achieved (those words we just love to hear)
So here’s my tips, in no particular order;
- Know your customer and be genuinely interested in them. If you sound like you’re going through the motions, the customer will pick up on it.
- Seek to solve their problems – nobody buys anything because you did a great presentation. It’s got to be the right solution for the customer.
- Tailor your communication style to suit your customers’ preference
- Be a great listener – sales people are known for talking, but it’s listening which will make you successful.
- Don’t pitch at every customer you engage with – gain agreement that there’s a problem which needs solving first. Understand timescales and customer appetite before moving in to your pitch.
- Build knowledge and credibility in your own market sector, but also that of your customer. You really must ‘know your stuff’.
- Always be prepared and highly organised. Update your CRM, track your pipeline, know your numbers. And don’t slack on your paperwork.
- Do what you say you’ll do. Following up is vital, breaking a promise to a customer will lose you the sale and your reputation.
- Behave with integrity at all times. This is a biggie – never compromise your personal values. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- Build a trusting relationship. The decision to buy is made with emotion, rather than logic. You must position yourself in a place of trust and credibility, especially if you intend to develop future cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
- NEVER EVER make a sale if your instinct tells you it’s not in the interests of the customer. If that means missing target, so be it.
Sales is fun – enjoy it!
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ASPIRE is the Consultative Sales Training Course that will turn your sales results around….for the long term.
Hello, I’m Rachael Howourth, the founder of Momentum South West. I’ve been in sales for 20 years and I know what it takes to be successful. And more importantly for you, I know how to win new customers, to retain and grow existing customers and how to built advocacy.
Momentum South West provide training, coaching and consultancy services to businesses and individuals across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. We’re proud to work with some fabulous clients and to have received 5 star reviews for our work.
In this blog, I’m going to share a little bit about each stage of the ASPIRE Consultative Sales Training Course. So here’s a series of videos to introduce our approach to sales.
Hopefully those short videos explained a little about each stage of the ASPIRE Consultative Sales Training Course. We’d love to speak to you about rolling it out in your business. Investing in your sales team is critical if you want your results to improve and grow.
Consultative Sales Training Courses are running in your area – get in touch.
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