As someone successful in sales, you’ve probably spent years perfecting your strategy. But picture this: you’re having roughly three meetings a day, then suddenly there’s no more follow-ups, no next steps, and no sales.
Just about everyone in sales has had that stomach-sick moment where they realise the usual process and tactics are no longer working. The key to continuing your success is changing course and re-evaluating your strategy when it’s no longer working. Doing this will help you continually make progress and avoid a bad quarter or year.
Identifying the moment.
Nothing ever stays the same. As a salesperson, it’s vital that you recognise when your usual tactics aren’t getting the expected results and then pivot.
When I think back to my first sales job, I was so hungry for success. My goal was to make sales and lots of them. I looked forward to putting up impressive numbers on a whiteboard and being at the top of the leaderboard on-call stats. My strategy was to make as many calls as possible, and that was the number my manager and I tracked.
When the deals went rolling through, I realised I was going about it all wrong. Well, sales is definitely a numbers game; I’d been looking at all the wrong numbers. You can make calls until you’re blue in the face and still get nowhere, or you can change how you play the game. It didn’t take long for me to realise I needed to start identifying higher quality prospects so that my calls were more likely to lead to sales.
I became much more selective and researched each prospect to make sure they met my ideal client profile. I then determined whether they were ready for a sales call or needed more nurturing.
By becoming more selective, I saved time and improved my win rate massively. Before I even approached a potential client, I knew they could afford my offering. And by digging a little deeper before each call meant I always had access to the right decision-maker who had the authority to say ‘yes’ to what I was putting on the table.
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and go down the same path even when you’re not getting the results you want. That’s why you need to have the self-awareness to take stock of your techniques, be honest with yourself about the level of success you are or aren’t reaching, and make changes.
These steps can help you evaluate your process:
Map out your sales strategy:
Start off by breaking down your sales process into stages. After writing down your process, go through each step. Ask yourself how is each stage working for you. Are you still getting the same results today as you were when you first started? Carefully consider how you could tweak this stage to make it more successful. Do this with every step periodically to ensure your sales process keeps up with your requirements.
Set clear objectives.
Holding yourself accountable is a lot simpler when you have clear, measurable objectives. We know it can be challenging – defining clear goals takes time and effort, and many people struggle with the idea that being too specific will set them up for failure.
Though you may feel this way, studies at the Harvard Business School have found that employees who make small wins against larger goals were much more engaged and successful. You can take advantage of this by setting a large goal for yourself and breaking it down into monthly or weekly targets.
If your annual goal is to deliver 200 proposals, figure out how many proposals you need to do per month. At the end of every month, you can see if you’ve achieved your monthly goal then evaluate that against your annual target. Making these small incremental wins helps to give you a stronger sense of progression and satisfaction in your work.
Be brutally honest with yourself.
Re-evaluating your sales strategy requires a lot of self-awareness and even more honesty. This is where most of us fail – making excuses or rationalising our lack of success at a particular step.
Use a CRM to track your activities for each of your sales process steps. This forces you to be honest about your results and helps you to identify your weak points better. It’s one thing to say that you feel like business is good; it’s another thing to know it’s good.
It takes courage to be honest with yourself and a lot of bravery to change your strategy. However, self-assessment is the key to career growth. It provides insight into your skills, knowledge, and competencies.
No sales strategy is entirely foolproof, and no strategy can be effective forever. The moment that you realise one of the steps in your process isn’t working, it’s time to make a change. Constantly evolving your tactics or help keep you on top of your game and ahead of your competitors.
Published: 24th May 2021