In the third installment in this series, we will discuss what needs to happen to Execute your plan to improve sales results in these tough times. The previous two columns have focused on:
- Getting the data on your current performance
- Using this data to map your sales process using Lean Process Mapping
- Finding the bottlenecks or constraints in your sales process
- Improving the #1 bottleneck and seeing the results that one step will produce
Discipline & Execution
Today our focus is on discipline and execution, so you can continue to improve your results.
Discipline is having the foresight and systems to commit time, people and resources to get the job done as effectively as possible. The challenge with having a disciplined approach to improving sales for many companies is that the people managing their sales process are simply not well suited to structure and they resist change. This is easy to understand, since many successful sales people tend to operate on their own, outside the company. In many cases, these people are promoted to manage sales, but their behavior rarely changes, and they still want to spend most of their time selling.
First Who, Then What.. is a principle developed by Jim Collins in Good to Great to show how growth companies successfully execute. In this case of improving sales results, it is critical that you have the right people in the right seats. So take an objective look at who is managing sales in your company and decide if he or she is the right one to add more discipline to your sales process, if not make the move now to find the right person, or if you are the owner or president, take on the job yourself.
Execution is all about sweating the details and being committed to continuously improving the key parts of your sales process, as well as evaluating your sales team members and helping them improve.
Let’s take another look at the process map we created of the Future State of your sales process and look for more opportunities for improvement.Future State
Last week we identified the first stage the constraint as the first opportunity for improvement. This stage is focused at converting Suspects to Prospects and it is typically one of the best places to start with improving your company’s sales results. You can see from the table what the results might be if this stage were improved from 10% to 15% efficiency, which is a 50% increase in results. If you improve the results of this stage and every other stage remains the same your total results could be improved dramatically, with the potential to increase bookings from 4 to 6. We also identified three tasks that could be taken to improve that stage.
Probably the most important of these tasks is to Assign one internal person to be responsible for this stage End to End, meaning this person is responsible for the entire process and will be measured on their results.
If you’re serious about successfully executing a plan to generate better results from your sales process, then you need to empower this person to: