That’s what Ravi asked me the other day. And the truth is, everyone wants to know.
Here’s my biggest suggestion … use the news! That’s the secret sauce for sales success.
I’m frequently asked what I’m looking for when I’m reading the newspaper, trade journal or websites. Basically, I’m looking for any event that might create opportunities. They could be inside the firm (new strategic alliance, rapid growth, expansion to Mexico) or outside the company (new legislation, acts of God, collapse of a competitor).
These events have cascading effects throughout an organization, causing many decisions to be revisited, new priorities to emerge and new needs to come to the forefront.
For example, anytime two organizations collide due to a merger or acquisition, much opportunity is created. Here are just a few of the areas where your products or expertise could be required:
- Sales: Sales training on new product lines, channel conflict, compensation discrepancies, SFA/CRM systems integration
- Marketing: Rebranding of products, new collateral required, revision of go-to-market strategies, new product launches, PR support, new advertising campaign.
- Information Technology: Planning, prioritization of projects, massive system integration issues in just about every conceivable area, new technology acquisition.
- Human Resources: Teambuilding, compensation issues, legal problems, downsizing/outplacement assistance, evaluating personnel, employee benefits coordination.
- Leadership: Alignment around shared vision, strategic planning and teambuilding at executive, business unit and department level.
Sometimes poor financial performance creates opportunities for your product or service – especially if it’s the second quarter in a row. While some companies put an all-out ban on spending when their numbers are down, others search for solutions to get them out of their slump.
HR may need help with lay-offs. Marketing needs new ideas. Sales needs training. Any product or service that improves operational efficiency and drive costs out of the system will always be of interest to corporate decision makers.
Personally I’ve always found struggling companies to be good prospects. Leadership desperately needs new ideas. Plus, they’re extremely receptive to products or services that help them achieve critical business objectives.
Companies experiencing rapid growth need help too. Extra bodies are needed to handle a wide range of projects; they can’t hire fast enough to keep up with demands. Processes are haphazard, labor-intensive and costly. Systems are being outgrown virtually overnight.
Companies stuck at the status quo also need assistance. Wall Street demands growth. Leadership teams are under extensive pressure to deliver results or face replacement.
Finally when companies bring in new executives there are always opportunities. New leaders make changes – and they often need outside assistance and ideas to accomplish their goals.
As you can see, all these newsworthy events create opportunities for you. When you really learn how to leverage them, you’ll see your sales cycle shrink accordingly.
For more insights, check out my 2-minute video tip at: http://tinyurl.com/speedupsales