The solution to increasing sales can exist at any point in the sales process. The answer may be:
One of the key areas is managing pipeline, the sales that account managers and sales people forecast will happen, but often doesn’t. Making sure that pipeline forecasts are accurate and convert into real business is always a challenge for sales leaders. This is something that should be simple to do but in reality can be incredibly frustrating.
Three things that sales leaders, account managers and sales people can do that will bring about an immediate improvement in pipeline management are:
- First: Set Live Dates: agree with the customer a specific date when the customer will need your products and services. Then ask yourself the question:
Why is the Live Date important to the customer?
If the answer is because the product or service is needed to support a specific activity such as a product launch, manufacturing process, special event or promotion, then the Live Date is time critical. The customer will make a decision, if not, will the timing slip?
- Second: Establish Needs: meet with every stakeholder who can influence the buying decision and make sure you identify what they need. Once you have understood the needs of all the stakeholders you can create a business proposal designed to meet their needs and increase the likelihood of pipeline turning into business.
- Third: Identify Decision Factors and Buying Motives: these are the hard and soft criteria that each stakeholder will have. Decision factors are hard - these may be key dates, budgets, colours and sizes - factors that must be answered in your proposition. Buying motives are emotions - often illogical - that influence people to buy, such as status, service, image and personal reputation that your proposition should reflect.
So the next time you complete a pipeline review, just ask three questions:
- What is the Live Date?
- What are the needs of each stakeholder?
- What are the decision factors and buying motives of each stakeholder?
If you can answer these accurately, you will increase the probability of pipeline turning into business.
This is a brief insight in how to increase sales. Discover more about TLSA's Sales Training Courses.