|I worked with a company in the print production industry that was having a tough time recruiting new business. I was given the assignment of interviewing some of their reps and managers to learn what they were doing in order to determine what had to change.
My interviews revealed some interesting information. Reps were very discouraged, and some even admitted that they wanted to leave their jobs. Managers were frustrated, too, because they were losing major accounts and could not seem to attract new business.
The problem? Salespeople were devoting too much time (more than half of their day) answering customer service questions and problems. Reps were spending most of their time with existing customers on production deadlines, and the rest of their day playing catch-up on other tasks.
As a result, the sales team as a whole was negative and in a state of panic. Internal issues aside, reps and managers had to increase sales and manage time more effectively.
In this specific situation, the sales team complained of “too many production problems to deal with first” as the reason they failed to get enough appointments. How are you structuring or not structuring -- your day properly? Examine your own sales activity closely to get back on track.
The main reason salespeople don’t win new accounts is because they’re not prospecting on a daily basis. I also find that some reps have no idea how to accurately project and monitor their sales figures. In order for you to succeed, you’ll have to do the following:
First, visualize the sales process and where your prospects are in the pipeline. Are you talking to enough people to meet your quota?
Second, cold call every day -- without fail. Even if you have a busy schedule, you can set aside time either earlier or later in the day for calls.
Third, evaluate where your prospects are in the pipeline and determine what has to change. Do you have enough deals ready to close? If not, what skills can you work on sharpening?
These strategies will help you dramatically:
- Improve time management
- Decrease overall sales-related stress
The print production firm we worked with made more cold calls and took a closer look at their sales process. As a result, they made sales despite the internal struggles. You can, too!
The bottom line: Don’t spend too much time on customer service or internal issues. If you don’t prospect for new business on a daily basis, you won’t be able to sustain your long-term sales goals.