Companies Rush to Get This One Thing in Place for their Sales Teams Before January

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 01, 2016 @ 06:12 AM

baseball-scorecard.jpg

I've been writing about the importance of having a milestone-centric sales process for a decade and Objective Management Group's (OMG) data is showing that companies - and their salespeople - have finally begun to make some serious progress in this area.  Ten years ago, only 9% of the sales population was following a formal, structured sales process.  Today, that number has crept up to 32%.  

Over the past few years, the majority of calls and emails I have received about sales process have been from companies asking for help buiding a sales process that their salespeople will actually follow and, more importantly, one that will work.  But that's changing too.

Over the past few months, the majority of the calls and emails coming in have been to get help building predictive scorecards.  Yesterday alone I spoke with the CEO's from 3 companies about building and slotting scorecards into their existing sales processes.

Why the sudden rage over scorecards?  

Eariler his year I wrote about scorecards a couple of times.  In February I raved about Membrain's built-in scorecard and in October I wrote about scorecards as the key to a predictive pipeline.

So the question is: Is this hype or is the scorecard a true game changer?

I don't know how many scorecards the experts on my team have built for our clients, but my personal clients tell me that the scorecard I built for them has changed their world.  Their win rates are way up, their sales cycles are shorter, their salespeople are more confident about the opportunities they have decided to pursue, and they have more time and resources to devote to those opportunities.

In short, scorecards are the scientific way to transition from going after every opportunity and hoping to close a small percentage of them, to identifying which opportunities to pursue and closing all of them.

Scorecards are a simple concept but they get tricky in the final stages.  You must be able to accurately:

  • Identify consistently predictive conditions
  • Weight them properly
  • Set the proper cut-off

If you fail to get each of those things just right, you'll have scorecards that won't work the way you hoped.  It's crucial to get all three variables right the first time.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, shorten the sales cycle, closing deals, win rates, scorecard

How Targeting Improves Win Rates and Shortens Sales Cycles

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 04:01 AM

archery-target.jpg

Now that we are nearly 3 weeks into the new year, have you changed anything with regard to goals, strategies or plans?  How about targets?  A few small tweaks to your targets can have a huge impact on revenue!

Targets are obvious but at the same time, misunderstood.  Of course I have the usual baseball analogy, which I'll skip along with the target analogies for golf, basketball, soccer, football and hockey.  The analogy that works best for today's topic is archery.  In sales, when we talk about targets, most people immediately think about revenue and profit targets, and sometimes product units and/or shipment targets.  However, today we will discuss the importance of having targets around your opportunities.  Please take a moment to review the image below:

Targets.jpg

Each opportunity is scored based on how perfectly it is aligned with your ideal prospect/customer/client. Of course, that requires that you have the ability to define and describe a perfect customer.  Can you?  That would be the first challenge.  The second challenge is to identify the criteria that would suggest and perhaps qualify that an opportunity is in alignment with your ideal. I suggest that companies choose from variables like the ten that follow:

  1. Prospect's Revenue range or minimum
  2. Prospect's Number of Employees range or minimum
  3. Contact person is the targeted Decision Maker
  4. Size of the opportunity
  5. Proximity to our sweet spot for application/deliverable/service/function/fit
  6. Opportunity can be leveraged
  7. Profit opportunity
  8. Probable Length of the Sales Cycle/Timing
  9. If there is Competition and/or Who the Competition is Likely to be
  10. Odds of Winning an Opportunity Like This

Each variable should be weighted according to importance, but to simplify the concept for this article, we will assign each criteria 10 points.  Then, your opportunities can be scored like this:

  1. 100 points
  2. 90 points
  3. 80 points
  4. 70 points
  5. 60 points
  6. 50 points
  7. 40 points
  8. 30 points
  9. 20 points
  10. 10 points
  11. 0 points

We don't score opportunities at Objective Management Group (OMG), but my sales consulting firm, Kurlan & Associates, scores every opportunity and does not pursue anything below a "D."

I even score my keynote speaking opportunities, but my criteria is quite different than the criteria for Kurlan clients or for that matter, the other speakers at Kurlan.  For instance, I turned down around 15 talks in 2015 for the following 10 reasons (in no particular order):

  1. The fee (a stipend - are you kidding me?)
  2. Time of the year (tough to commit to dates during snowstorm season)
  3. How difficult it is to travel to the destination (I hate long flights and connections.)
  4. Audience demographics (CEO's - great; Marketing people - fagetaboutit)
  5. Potential for additional business (always a good thing!)
  6. Days away from the office (Sorry Asia and the Pacific Rim!)
  7. Conflicts with any of my son's baseball or basketball games (a top priority for me)
  8. The topic they wish to have me speak about (Oh no - not that again!)
  9. The length of the talk (Longer is actually better.)
  10. The person who referred me to the organization or company (someone I don't want to disappoint?)

You'll find that sales cycles become shorter and win rates become better as you more effectively target ideal customers and hold salespeople accountable for executing on those targets.

Do you have a target that is interesting, novel, controversial or very predictive at your company?  We would love to hear about it in the comments below!

2 More Sales Experts weigh in on targeting here on the SpiroHQ Blog.

Several top sales experts, including me, weighed in with our review of 2015 progress and expectations for 2016 over at Dan McDade's PointClear Blog. It's a short article and worth a couple of minutes to check it out.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, shorten the sales cycle, sales targets, win rates

Enough Leads for the Sales Force? How to Convert Them More Quickly

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 @ 11:10 AM

Today I wrote an article for the Hubspot Blog around the concept of how marketers can help to shorten the sales cycle and close more sales.

If you presently get a lot of leads, simply read it without the marketing assumptions in place.  If you don't presently get a lot of leads, read both the marketing and sales assumptions.

Finally, if you have any interest in the November 3 event, you can use my discount code DK1103 to either attend the luncheon or pick up the live stream at no cost.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HubSpot, sales management, Sales Force, convert more sales, close more sales, marketing, Executive luncheon, shorten the sales cycle

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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