We are always focused on sales cycles. Are they optimized? Are they taking too long? Can they be improved? How many calls should they take? Are we doing things that make the sales cycle take longer than necessary? For example, the sales cycle can be shortened in direct proportion to how high your salespeople call in the company.
If we are have begun a sales development program, you won't see results from top line revenue until 6 months plus the length of the sales cycle have passed.
I have a couple of things to discuss today relative to sales cycle.
1) Even articles have a sales cycle. I wrote this article around Christmas of 2007. I just learned that it was nominated for article of the month for June of 2009 - an 18 month sales cycle. For all the time that passed it might have well been a major account! Anyway, as long as it was nominated, would you be kind enough to vote for it?
2) I was talking with Ed Kleinman, our director of channel development here at Objective Management Group. He pointed out something, relative to sales cycle, that I hadn't realized and it's really important. Here's what he said:
I have come to the realization that most top executives, whose companies have been struggling to survive, have overlooked that we have already reached the end of the 2nd calendar quarter. Our network of sales development experts are reporting that there is still a sizable group of frozen, numb executives who still haven't realized how important it is to focus on their sales organizations. They must make sure they have people in place who can help the company thrive in this economic climate. Have they forgotten where the revenue must come from? Are they waiting for the world around them to change before they change? Are they stuck thinking that now is not the time to do anything?
NOW IS THE TIME!
Suppose you evaluated your sales team to identify who will generate a return from a development initiative, who won't, and replace those who won't be able to improve and produce? It would take a few weeks and you would already be at the end of the second calendar quarter.
The money you save from thinning (do more with less) can be reinvested in your remaining salespeople - those who will step up and learn how to sell in this new, extremely resistant economy. Your B players become A's from training, development, coaching, mentoring , and improved accountability. But, by the time these folks produce at the pace needed to thrive, you may be looking at the end of the 4thquarter - if you're lucky! Yes, they will grow and improve. They will survive and thrive. Your company will return to its successful ways and more, but any start you make today, won't help until the end of the year.
The longer you wait and do nothing, the longer your flat or declining revenue continues. This is the real world. Can you afford to wait until next year to do something or are you finally fed up with what you have? What you are doing now is not working, so NOW IS THE TIME to make moves that will insure that next year with the right systems, processes, and people in place, will be a great year.
TIME is no longer on your side. If you do nothing, you will find yourself in a position that will take even longer to get to the survival stage, before returning to the thriving stage. CAN YOU WAIT? Don't think too long, because the 3rd quarter is just four weeks away.
Assess your sales organization, hire the right people to replace those who won't get it done. Develop the sales organization by providing them with superior training and coaching to help them be more proactive, persistant and resistance-proof - skills they'll need in this economy.
There isn't much time - you know how it flies. Commit to using your sales force to generate company changing revenue today.
(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan