Every company has people whose sales competencies are not fully developed. Perhaps their salespeople don't find enough new opportunities. Maybe they don't ask for referrals often enough. It's possible that opportunities languish in the pipeline for too long. There are a number of reasons for results like these, from weaknesses that prevent your salespeople from performing as desired, to sales management's ineffective motivation, setting of expectations, coaching and accountability.
There are short periods of time when you can cause those underdeveloped competencies to temporarily appear developed. Al Williams, author of All You Can Do is All You Can Do, said, "You can do anything for 30 Days". For instance, if you are frustrated over the lack of new business, a focused new business effort can serve as a band-aid and cause a temporary change in behavior and results. Let's assume that you want to significantly increase the number of new opportunities in the pipeline. Schedule a one, two, three, or five-day blitz where the only activities that will take place are those that will generate new opportunities. Have all of your salespeople come in off the road and pretend they are on vacation but instead of hitting the beaches on some warm, sunny island, put them on the phones. Have them call prospects they failed to sell, prospects with whom they failed to get appointments, prospects they never called on before, and customers/clients who can refer them to new prospects, etc.
Micro manage this blitz, give out awards if you see fit, and make sure the entire company is focused on the goal. Make sure that all of your employees support the focused sales effort by not distracting the salespeople from what they need to do over this short period of time.
Remember, this strategy is only a band-aid, it doesn't solve the underlying problems and, like any rubber band, will return to it's original state as soon as the pressure is released.
My company, Objective Management Group, is running such a blitz this week as our coaches focus their efforts on identifying potential, quality resellers for our assessments. If you know a sales expert, trainer, guru or author; or someone whose expertise is in HR, assessments or management consulting, and you think we should talk to them, drop me an email with their contact information or have them fill out this form.
(c) 2008 Dave Kurlan