Frequently, there are two main pitfalls that even experienced salespeople can fall into in terms of activities. First, they simply aren’t doing enough. What’s enough? Enough telephone calls to make appointments, enough face-to-face calls, enough calls that involve or influence the decision-makers. In general, the more focused sales activity salespeople generate, the greater the number of sales opportunities they can create.
But let’s be clear, we can all be busy fools; quality trumps quantity every day of the week.
Poor Quality Activity: Second, but equally important, salespeople often aren’t clear about how to identify the prospects most likely to have a genuine need for their product or service. Without an objective way to priorities which prospects to contact first and/or an efficient strategy for contacting them, salespeople are doomed to waste a large percentage of their time.
Another huge dilemma for many salespeople is how to divide their time between servicing existing clients and generating new business from new prospects. Existing clients frequently make requests for service that could be dealt with by support staff. But salespeople, who lack a disciplined, future-orientated plan for generating new contacts and sales, often find themselves spending more time attending to “urgent” tasks for existing accounts instead.
A common approach among salespeople can be summarized in the saying “If you throw enough mud against the wall, some of it is bound to stick” This approach is exhausting, demoralizing, extremely unproductive, and very expensive in the long term.
Speed of Relaying Customer Information: Marketing now provides another interesting dimension to activity management. Apart from product or service knowledge, salespeople require knowledge about prospects, clients, and market trends. Therefore, if the information those salespeople require is not relayed in an efficient manner, their face-to-face selling activities are dramatically reduced.
Harder Rather Than Smarter: In the book Emerson’s Essays, there is a section on “Law of Compensation” which can be summarized simply as “give more, get more.” This is what most salespeople try to do, so they end up working harder when they could be working smarter.
This begs the question, are your sales activities deciding your strategy or is your strategy deciding your sales activities?
The “Sales Holy Grail?” – Sustained sales growth achieved efficiently, reliably and by design.