Not sure who said this, but I think it is very appropriate to sales management: “The 70 percent solution is often good enough.” Often we fiddle so long with dreaming up perfection that we neglect to get started.
Here is how I see it playing out in sales management:
1. Spend too much time finding the right lead. Ultimately, most leads are made the same. They all need to be qualified and prioritized based on the prospects needs and ability to buy. Of course, in order to do that it all boils down to making initial contact.
2. Spend too much time preparing to contact. Don’t get me wrong knowing a little about your contact before you barrel in with a call is helpful. However, usually you need only to grab one or two interesting facts or common ground to start a conversation, not ever intimate detail of their life.
3. Spend too much effort “grading” and “scoring” leads. I know this is probably sacrilegious considering the popularity of the discussion, but really what is the lift. My experience is consistent. You get a lot more impact focusing on the basics of making contact and improving with repetition than you do with any fancy scoring system.
4. Spend too much effort getting prepared to measure. This is a big distraction in my experience. Systems are easy and fun to build. Everyone thinks that sales is 100% logical. I can build a process that will guarantee sales to drop or we have to get the measurements right to improve. Track the number of calls you make and the results–then get more sophisticated.
Sometimes it is better to “Just Do It!”
In sales, that means:
1. Get the next lead. No cherry picking. No sorting. No prioritization. Much of that will naturally evolve in a properly worked sales pipeline. Just grab the next lead on the pile and go.
2. Make contact. This doesn’t always have to be a phone call, but reach out and talk to this person. The Internet and social media is making that first contact easier and easier (i.e., connect on Twitter, Linkedin, etc.)
3. Annotate the action. Done consistently, this will put robust data in your hands to support measurement, prioritization, and grading. Know you made a contact or attempt and the result is going to give you more value in increasing sales performance than any other external process or grading system.
4. Grab the next lead. That’s right get on to the next lead now. This simple four step sales process will produce focus, data, and volume–all the makings of great sales results.
Let the grading and analysis of your efforts naturally reveal itself, as you execute. Avoid over thinking your plan and start executing. The ability to repeatedly execute and adjust based on the immediate feedback that gives you will always put you ahead of the competition.
(photo: Grant MacDonald)