Error free sales. Part 1
Dear colleagues! This article would be useful for Sales and Department Managers.
For B2B sales I make use of a russian CRM. In this article I will tell you about the errors I’ve encountered during 3 years of my company’s existence (of errors I’ve encountered during my 3 year tenure as a CEO).
Mistake #1. Didn’t use segmentation of my clients and strategy development for each of them.
Before the company saw the light of day we created a list of potential clients, who may be interested in having a website developed. Only 10% of that list became our clients. Looking back on it, we could’ve done better.
Mistake #2. Neglected development of detailed sales guides and prepare instruments before hiring sales personnel.
During the initial stage we hired 2 student workers and 1 experienced sales employee, but had to dissolve the department in 3 months because we only managed to score 3 sales with a summed up budget of $500 out of 1000 calls and more than a hundred meetings.
Mistake #3. I didn’t know better so I hired minimum wage personnel and tolerated lack of results for several months and in one case - for more than a year.
There’s a theory that a sales specialist has to have a fixed $200 or higher salary, which I do not support. I’ll explain: in case, said fixed salary is paid even if there’s no result. Sales specialists are a unique type of people who should be autonomous, capable of setting goals for themselves, sharing those goals during daily meetings of Sales department and reach those goals in time and to the highest standard.
I’ve been interviewing about 20 candidates recently; most of them were willing to leave bigger companies. While asked what their reasoning were, most replied: ‘my salary got reduced’. When i asked why, they replied ‘because of the financial crisis, it gets more difficult to sell things’. Make of it what you want, but we decided against hiring those candidates.
Mistake #4. Without priorities a lot of my time went down the drain that is routine tasks at the cost of strategic planning.
In a smaller company besides CEO responsibilities I have to fill many roles, including that of a Sales manager. With time being an issue and a lot of incoming requests, I have lost many clients because I haven’t payed enough attention to them. A lot of incoming requests will fall flat, but they still need attention and processing. In my experience such potential clients return to us on their own and bring long-term, quality projects along with them. I find that business operates safer in long-term relations rather than within one-time projects.
Mistake #5. During my time as an employee I was fond of and interested in chatting with my colleagues; one can say that it grew into friendship. Same practice I implemented when I became an employer.
Your goal as an employee of a Sales department is close to company’s goal: bring money in. In most cases it’s up to You whether you succeed or fail. Working among your partners or colleagues you are a member of a team and your attitude should be in accordance with that. Friendly relationships in business and within Sales department are unacceptable. What happens when an athlete is underperforming in a team? He’s instructed to a fill in a different role or replaced by a better athlete.
Let’s sum it up:
purchase funnel is useless unless you have no Sales guidelines
most belarusians care about their salary, not their work results
your time is not limitless, manage it properly!
This is not a complete list of mistakes made along the way, stay tuned for more!