"Time goes on. So whatever you're going to do, do it. Do it now. Don't wait"
--Robert De Niro
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma"
We are now deep into the Dog Days of August, with Labor Day just up ahead lurking around the corner, right past a couple of more weekends, a few days on the beach and binge reading that pile of books that still sit locked in your iPad. It's also at this time, every single summer and at the end of every Christmas-New Year break, that we also deeply recognize the high value of creating very effective time management especially in the real world of Sales.
I've spent most of August working from the New Hampshire beach or the Vermont hills rather than doing the daily Boston commute, which is vacation enough for me. And, I am also increasingly aware, this being a summer of a record number of business and sales planning sessions with our customers, of the one fundamental common thread among every single customer. Maybe, it's just me, maybe it's the times, and maybe it's just the simple fundamentals of business, but whatever the reason, the rally cry of this summer, and most probably all of 2017 so far has been....
Jack, we just need to sell more stuff !
Most companies are doing pretty well. Other than the craziness and stupidity of Washington politics and the unrelenting fear of terrorism, business managers, in general, are reasonably confident about where they are and where they're going.
Expenses are in control, productivity in general is up, cash is okay, and, as a result, everyone is now focused to the productivity of the top line. "We just need to sell more stuff" is what I consistently hear this summer from our customers who sell software, toys, chemicals, pianos and financial services just to name a few markets from this summer's sessions.
Nothing is more time bound than Sales. Sure, there are dates locked in stone for engineering's next release and for the updating of the company's HR policies and the redo of that troublesome ERP software. All of us clearly understand those critical dates. Having said that, all of the importance of those dates, in the reality of our own businesses, rests on the shoulders of our salespeople to achieve their quota numbers.
You ask any professional salesperson, that singularly simple question of "How are you doing against your quota plan?, and they will know exactly...
- where they are on that day or week,
- what needs to be done in the next 15 or 30 days to get to quota that month,
- and the exact numbers between whenever "now" is and the end of the year.
I've been out running on the beach most mornings at dawn. Same beach, same starting and stopping place, but the track each day and every week changes due to the changing rhythm of the tides. In June, the sun was up at 5:00, today at 6:00, and the tides have shifted 1,000 feet in a month's time. All hard boundaries of the rhythms of the seasons. All unstoppable, just like the rhythms of our businesses and our daily and monthly sales challenges.
I can't stop the tides
- I can't stop the tides, and I can't stop the end-of-the-month sales cycles, so in the real world of Sales, we need to measure days, weeks and months and stop thinking about quarters.
Forget what the company's business plan and the board members are measuring since I hear all the time, "Well, we just measure sales performance for the quarter". One, the reason that that is being measured that way is that some senior exec didn't want to put themselves under the pressure of being measured against monthly sales objectives in a business of complex sales. I get that. More importantly, everyone and everything else in the company is being measured on a monthly basis so Sales needs to get in line and measure up monthly. Anything else is artificial!
I can only control Activities, not Objectives or Results!
Most importantly, if you're not measuring against monthly quota plans, then you're also not creating monthly activity plans. As a salesperson, as a manager, and as the CEO, neither you or I can "control" results of any kind.
All we can control is the activities and the plans that get to those agreed on results, so unless results-like Quota-are defined in specific short term objectives-like monthly sales metrics-then I can't build short and mid term Activities to achieve those objectives. No monthly activitiy plans, no consistent results...except by luck.
Always cascade through that simple formula of "Activities get me to Objectives which get me to Results", and I guarantee that you will create a new sense of urgency in your selling and maybe in your company's customer culture about selling value and not products.
In Sales, there only 1 Simple Thing I can sellFinally, spend the majority of your daily time each week, every month focusing of The 1 Simple Thing
"What's the value I can bring to this prospect, this customer at this time, and in the future"
If you want to be effective selling against the limitations of your time and the reality of your quota plan, then simply stop selling your products and services !
One, not enough people may really care, so the math will not work. Most importantly, you need to put yourself on the other side of the table and consistently message, discover, validate and prove that you have something better than the easy alternative and your real direct competitor which is "doing nothing"...at this time.
The only way that you get there within your timeline and at your price point is by focusing and selling the business value of your products and services to your prospect's specific business drivers and objectives, and to your buyer's personal objectives. You can do it any other way you want, but it will simply take longer, and the risk percentage of not being able to close on your time schedule is more than 50%.
Have a great sales day today!!! Not a great beach day, so I will spend the rest of the day selling stuff.
If you want to dive deeply into the proven concepts above and get deep into the crankcase oil of understanding how to execute on these practices. attend our upcoming Sales Management Boot Camp on October 1st-3rd, and we will bring you through guaranteed tactics to improve the productivity of your sales team by 25% in 12 months.
As a Sales Manager, at any level, if you need to create more sales and amp up the productivity of your entire sales team, attend our annual Sales Management Boot Camp on October 1st!
These always-sold-out, highly unique experiences have received hundreds of very positive testimonials. Click on below, and then give me a call or text to 617-504-4222 or email me at jack@derbymanagement to answer any of your questions .