Tag: sales strategy (page 1 of 2)

Death of Account Management by Andy Preston

In this insightful article, Andy Preston from Manchester highlights the pitfalls of trying to run an account management strategy. He argues that they are now dead in the water. There is a new paradigm with new roles to generate sales and new business. He cites the three key roles within the new sales department, set out below.

The key point for me is the understanding that it takes different types of people to run these different roles. If you understand the role, then you will find the right people to fill them. Good luck…

1) The first one is ‘New Business’. This is where the individual brings in new, fresh business from prospects that don’t currently spend money with you. Using a variety of prospecting methods, the ‘warmest’ this role gets is trying to win back a lost (or lapsed) customer. Otherwise it’s all about bring it in from scratch!

2) The second role is ‘Account Development’. The main function of this role is about bringing in more business from existing accounts – i.e people who are ALREADY spending money with you. This role is about getting those clients to spend more – whether that’s increasing order value or order frequency, taking business off your competition that may be active in those accounts, or finding new ‘buying points’ in those accounts (and getting them to spend with you), that’s the focus of the Account Development role.

In other words, it’s like having a ‘New Business’ focus within your existing accounts, and therefore requires a different skillset to the ‘new business’ role, and most definitely a different skill-set to the old ‘Account Management’ role!

3) The third role is what he refers to as ‘Account Servicing’ or ‘Customer Service’ – in effect the focus of this role is to keep the customer spending with you, deal with any complains, problems or queries, and ‘service’ their account.

Here is the link to Andy Preston and Death of Account Management

DISC Personality Assessment

Personality Assessments – DISC 

 

Organisations are made up of individuals, each of whom is unique. Gender, age, experience, skills, aptitudes, upbringing and so on. They each have strengths, limitations, motivational needs and have their own individual preference as to how they wish to be treated.

 

Seek to understand and be understood

 

If we can understand ourselves more, then we can enhance the way that we interact with those around us.

The DISC Personality Assessment helps us to decode the language of behaviour, the way we interact with one another and within groups.  What does DISC mean? It is an acronym made up of the first letter of each of the main personality traits.

 

  • D    = Dominance
  • I      = Influence
  • S    = Steadiness
  • C    = Compliance.

 

In less than 20 minutes the assessment provides an accurate insight into how you behave at work, answering questions such as: what are your strengths and limitations? How do you communicate? What motivates you? How can you enhance your value in the work place?

 

DISC – what it means  –  have a look at how it works here.

 

How does it work?

 

Research has shown that behavioural characteristics can be grouped together in four major areas called personality styles or traits. People with similar personality profiles tend to exhibit specific behavioural characteristics common to that profile.

Knowing who you are, what motivates you and almost as important, what demotivates you, is the foundation of a successful and fulfilled life. It means you can play to your strengths and work around your limitations.

Once you know how you would like to be treated, it gets even better.  Once you have a full grasp of your own self-image, you can then start to discern how others might think, act and feel.

After years of research we have concluded that the best determinant of personality traits or styles is the DISC personality assessment.

 

What do I need to do?

 

It is a simple online personality test comprising 28 questions. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

Our DISC personality assessment gives you the means to motivate, stimulate and encourage people in your organisation by raising people’s self-awareness, self-esteem and confidence.

 

What are the benefits of assessing personality or temperament?

 

Here are the key benefits:

  • Makes a good team great by building mutual understanding
  • Increases motivation as each person is treated uniquely
  • Improves communication and trust
  • Becomes a powerful force for change
  • Turns around underperforming teams
  • Enhances personal and team courage – breaks down the blame culture

 

Does it show ‘good’ and ‘bad’ qualities?

 

No. It provides an understanding of how a person prefers to behave at work and the characteristics they will demonstrate. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers or ‘good’ or ‘bad’ qualities.

 

If you want to know more about how the Business CoPilot DISC Personality Assessment can help you or your team call us now on 0117 317 8147 or email me at robh@businesscopilot.co.uk. If you wish to purchase an assessment, the cost is £133.50 plus VAT.

Sales strategy – 5 things being a sales manager taught me

Sales strategy that delivers profits, pride and performance.

Being a sales manager is so rewarding. It’s one of those roles that really has everything.

Sales strategy, business coachingAs It’s your responsibility to deliver the sales strategy you get to see all sides. The externals, which includes clients and supply chain. And the internals as you are the link between the client and the product or service delivery team.

In summary it means working with good people, good clients, with good marketing support, delivering good products and making the business strategy a reality.

Aligning clients needs with the firms ability to satisfy or delight the client is a win win win scenario and one that sales managers everywhere seek to make happen frequently and regularly.

But it doesn’t always go so smoothly. That’s the problem. There are irritations along the way that if not treated become festering sores that in turn could become life threatening. That’s when the sales strategy starts to unravel.

Sales strategy - 5 things being a senior sales manager taught meHere are the 5 things that need to be in place if the sales manager is going to deliver the sales strategy.

1. Get and keep good people who make or deliver the service. It makes a huge difference. How many great meals are ruined by sloppy, indifferent, incorrect or late delivery? Strive to get it right first time so that the relationship account is always in credit. When or if a withdrawal needs to be made then there is some value in the account.

2. Get and keep good clients. Not all clients are the same. Strive to hold on to the good and divest the poor. Build strong bonds at all levels with the good clients. Make them feel valued across the organisation. Let your competitors have the poor ones. You can be generous here. Actively guide the poor clients over to them. But hold on to the good ones with all your might. They are the ones that generate most of your long term profit.

3. Get the best marketing support possible. Make sure it either sells or eases the sales process. Sales people need collateral to sell, not for any other reason. Make sure that the brochures, website, email campaigns even the stationery all aid the sales process.

4. Get the very best product or service that you can deliver. Embed continual improvement in every aspect of service design, innovate, copy, mimic, benchmark to make sure that what you are selling delights the clients and gives pride to the firm.

5. Get a realistic business strategy in place. Implement it well and measure those performance metrics that impact the strategy directly. Make changes quickly. Embed the good. Keep the plan’s delivery in the public eye.

Those are the 5 things that being an international sales manager taught me when delivering the sales strategy. If they were all firing in sync then my life was more focused on generating more and higher profit new business. Done poorly and I spent my time firefighting, politicking, scoring points and seeking my own teams agenda.

Do these 5 things well and your sales manager will be deliver the strategy:

1. Get and keep good people

2. Get and keep good clients.

3. Get the best marketing support.

4. Get the very best product or service that you can deliver.

5. Get a realistic business strategy in place.

Call me on 0117 317 8147 if you want to talk through your organisations performance in these five areas and deliver the sales strategy.

Click here to go to our sales strategy training page

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Yes, I know it is a bit clichéd. But we have sound evidence that most small firms do not plan well enough to ensure that they grow in a way that is sustainable and profitable.

Personally I have no problem with a one page business plan that resembles an action list rather than the deep, structured formal plan. It reflects where they are and  most probably the variability in the environment in which they are seeking to operate.

Anyhow, back to the evidence. We asked 35 people to complete a Gap Analysis of what they need to strengthen the most. The response was a need to have a plan and have goals and objectives to make the plan happen.

If you want to add your insights to the research, do feel free. Business strategy assessment.

Strategic Sales Management

Strategic sales management is the management task of designing, implementing and measuring the organisations sales capability. It covers a myriad of aspects of business including customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, customer retention and managing the interlock with the marketing process.

What I have found is that many organisations, large or small,do well in many areas of sales such as developing a customer pathway, managing the clients expectations and doing what they think needs to be done to generate customer loyalty.

But where most seem to fall down is in not having the deep understanding of their clients needs and wants. They don’t have in place the relationships with their customers with their equivalent senior management team, their peers or subordinates that generates that deep understanding of what makes them tick. Perhaps it is understandable as it takes time and a level of skill to generate the information and an efficient CRM process to store it.

But if it is done well, then these deeper and stronger relationship bonds will add real value in developing increased sales opportunities and in times of need when things go pop.

Get to know your customers, record the information and use it and see the benefits flow over time. What do you think?

Strategic Sales Management = understand your audience

Pinch points in the sales process

Getting the customer to buy is tough. There are so many opportunities along the sales pathway for them to opt out. Why make it harder than it needs be?

Business Coaching BristolWhen the customer engages with the organisation they in effect “touch” them. They become touch points. So when the customer phones to place the order that is a touch point. Or when the customer goes on line to check the stock availability or to determine delivery costs, these are touch points. Each touch point with the customer can become a pinch point.

A few months back I was doing some strategic sales management consulting with a firm in London. They sold technical products that required detailed order taking over the phone. The pinch point was with the incoming tele-sales staff. Neither spoke English well enough to understand the complexities of the customers needs. I could hear the frustrations of the callers trying to explain what their issues were so they could place the order.

I spoke with the Sales Manager who shrugged his shoulders and said that “they did get a lot of complaints about it”. 

We can lower the numbers who opt out at each stage by looking closely at what the customer is being asked to do and ensuring it is as complex as necessary and as simple as possible. By doing so we will increase the conversion rates that in turn enhances the margins downstream.

The ONE Thing book review

I cannot recall how many times I have started my blog posts with something along the lines of “Being in business is hard” or “Being successful in business demands intense focus”. So I was intrigued when I come across a book that promises to help.

The One ThingIt is the One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan that has the expansive text on the front cover “The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results”.

In essence I liked the book, it is easy to read and has some nuggets to take away. It uses a formula based on what they call the Focusing Question. Using solid theory such as the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule, they expound how to make the most of your time. Good stuff.

But I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. I reflected and concluded that it ultimately doesn’t work, not because there is anything wrong with the initial premise, the logical thought processes etc, but it doesn’t  work as it starts with an incorrect assumption. The assumption they make is that by knowing what I need to focus on as single mindedly as they make out, I can then JDI – just do it. If I was an automaton, then fine, but I am not. I am a fallible, inconsistent, unpredictable human being and this kind of artificially induced rigour doesn’t work as a game changing model of behaviour.

I did pick up some useful titbits and a few insights but to boil all the complexity of being a human in the complex environment we call business into ONE Thing just leaves me cold.

What do you think?

Social media in a B2B setting doesn’t work

Social media - is there any point?Let me clarify. B2B is business to business where one firm is looking to sell to another firm. B2C is business to consumer where the firm is seeking to engage with a consumer directly.

Social media is any on line promotional platform whereby firms seek to engage with other firms via platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc.

The goal in social media is to engage more with the personality than with products or services. It’s all about personal branding, ego and demonstrating who you are and not what you do or the benefit that you offer.

Social media in a B2B setting does not work

Why? Because businesses buy products or services. They are not interested in personality, personal branding or ego. They just want to buy a solution to a problem, to scratch their itch. They seek solutions by looking for the closest thing they can to a solution and then fine tune it when they have a few options. But they certainly wont be buying based on an on line personality.

Only the very smallest firms might buy through social media connections, and one could argue that is more a B2C transaction as they are in essence buying for themselves and not as an officer of the company.

4psSo my view is that if you want to sell to established businesses, focus more promoting what you do in terms that your audience understands. Make it clear what you are selling, the benefit the users get from using you and the process that you will use to make it happen.

Any thoughts?

 

Freebies are priceless

giftsWith the internet’s wealth of free content, we are all used to getting something for nothing. Whether it’s sharp insights from a blog, a song streamed through Spotify or a tutorial watched on YouTube, you can get most things for free somewhere on the internet (though quality might not always be guaranteed).

This culture of free access to information is not limited to the internet. Actually, giving something away for nothing (think loss-leaders and taster products) has been a tried-and-tested part of the sales process for a very long time.

But why, you might ask, should you waste valuable time giving your services away for nothing? You might have plenty of paying customers, but if you don’t have more in the pipeline, offering a freebie can provide a great boost.

You build trust

A free use of your services builds trust with the customer and gives them an opportunity to ask you any questions which might be preventing them from buying. They can experience first-hand your expertise and see exactly how the product works.

They get to try something new

Giving your customer the opportunity to experience your service for nothing offers the perfect excuse to step outside their comfort zone and try something new. The freebie offer is particularly useful for things which people are unsure about or don’t quite understand. Showing is far more effective than telling.

Start building a relationship

Most people understand that they will be required to give something, whether it’s their email address, feedback or something else of use to you, in return for their freebie. It also gives you and the customer an opportunity to see you’re the right fit for what they need.

Engage with a wider audience

Hand in hand with relationship building, the freebie gives the customer a chance to engage with you and vice versa. Eve

n if they don’t become a customer following their freebie, stay in touch using your newsletter and social media, in case future offerings will be better suited to them or their contacts.

Try it:
Perhaps you could offer a free consultation, if your business suits this concept, or hold an event to display your expertise in a certain field. Make sure you get at least an email address for anyone you meet with and keep in touch!

Practising what we preach: We offer a free 90-minute one to one meeting to gauge how well we’ll work together and what we can do to help you achieve your business goals. To see how well our freebie works, get in touch and book your one to one now, by emailing alexh@businesscopilot.co.uk or calling 0117 317 8147. 

When to speak – and when to listen

There are plenty of tales out there of sales pitches which for one reason or another, completely bombed. This one from the Harvard Business Review is one such example.

So, what can we learn from it? A quick summary of the situation: a consultant was referred to a potential client. The referrer gave him plenty of background – he felt prepared. The meeting was unexpectedly reduced to 20 minutes. The potential client complimented the consultant on a recent book, boosting his confidence and encouraging him to cut to the chase. The consultant explained what his approach would be and presented his view of the situation.

At first glance, it might not be clear whether this meeting went well or not. However, the consultant didn’t win the work, and the potential client was not impressed. But why?

Knowing when to speak and when to listen is key.

The consultant felt that he had a good grasp on the situation and could appropriately treat the problem. The potential client was not looking for an approximation of possible treatment, but to be listened to and understood, fully. The pitch was centred around “here’s what I can do for you”, rather than “what do you need?”

“I was listening to gather enough information so I could make a case to Dan that I could solve his problem. In other words, I was listening simply to empower my speaking.”

At Business CoPilot, we live by the mantra “treatment without diagnosis is malpractice”. It’s a saying which, had the consultant known it, might have prevented him from failing in the meeting. His was a botched diagnosis, coloured by what he wanted to gain from the meeting, and how he wanted to be perceived. He made no attempts to listen and react to the potential client, or to see things from his point of view.

“What would I do differently next time? I would sit in the chair I was offered and listen to Dan tell his story. Then I would ask him a number of questions to make sure I could see the situation with his eyes, analyze it from his point of view, and feel his emotions.”

And that is exactly what you get from a 1-to-1 with Business CoPilot.

Contact us now if you would like to start the diagnostic process. Call 0117 317 8147 or email alexh@businesscopilot.co.uk.

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