Some of you may be saying, “We have sales growth.” You do, I’m sure. But is it consistent? Are you able to predict it? Is it at the same level as you predicted when you budgeted last year? Are you able to offset unexpected revenue losses from accounts or drops in rates? I hear this year that total revenue is falling because …?. This is a problem that I have heard of many times. The reality is that while new sales are on target with the budget, they aren’t on target due to your adjusted budget deficits.
Adverse changes in budgeted revenue and expenses require that you INCREASE your budgeted amount for new business. Where else will the revenue come from? You can reduce the number of people who support your sales but then, who will do the actual work? Your already overworked, underpaid staff?
It is easy to get creative with expenses, your accounting, or cut costs. This solves the immediate problem. It is hard, but it is the right thing to focus on new business sales. This is your #1 job – ALWAYS.
Here’s the core message for this month: CMBMQHM. This is the secret to predictable, consistent sales growth.
CMB = Close more businesses.
You must keep an eye on the opportunities that come into your company. You must ensure that they are qualified and that you don’t waste your time, energy, or resources “quoting” businesses that you have no chance to win. It’s a no-win situation. 2) Make sure the prospect is motivated to purchase your product or service. These two factors alone will make it easier to build CMB. 3) Your involvement is key.
MQ = More Quickly.
It’s pretty simple. But, the process of getting there isn’t so simple. You need to challenge your beliefs about the sales cycle. 2) Question the beliefs and thoughts of your sales team about sales cycles. In my time in life insurance, I was told that a typical estate planning case would take between 9 and 12 months. My first estate planning case took twelve months. A speaker suggested a method of setting expectations for the closing process. This usually takes between 90 and 120 days. What obstacles must we overcome in order to achieve that timeframe? 3) You define the expectations. This reduces the sales cycle. A shorter sales cycle allows your sales team to work on more deals.
HM = Higher Margins
Yes, I know. I’m back in business 101. This concept is often overlooked by managers and sales teams unless compensation is solely based on margin. Even then, 25% of a deal to a salesperson is better than 33%. They don’t consider the margins you need to keep the business afloat. The key to success is YOU and your involvement in managing and monitoring the sales. It is essential to consider not only the “markup” on the product/service but also the time, money, and effort that went into the sale. Is the business viable at the established price point? You must preserve the margins.
Here’s the problem. Your sales team would close more business if they were more proficient at prospecting. You’d see a shorter sales cycle if they were good at MQ, which is closing more business faster. You wouldn’t have to worry about the bottom line revenues if they were already proficient at HM – higher margins – and you wouldn’t use excuses for not meeting the budget.