What’s the weakest link in your business development process? What, if changed, would give you the best odds of getting the most business from current customers and new prospects?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone. With their heads down and putting out fires, business owners and senior executives sometimes have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. When their eyes are on the horizon chasing a vision, they sometimes can’t make out the trees for the forest. Here are some trees to look for in your forest:

1. Your Target Market: Do you have an absolutely crystal clear idea of who the members of your target markets are? If so, you know their “profile”: location, gross annual revenues, number of employees, buying cycles, and other information relevant to why they buy and how. You might even recognize them if they sat next to you at your kids’ soccer match.

2. Your Lists: Do you have lists that reflect those profiles? Do they have all of the information you need to promote to your target markets, including e-mails? Can you access them easily for marketing purposes? If not, do you have processes in place to get the information you need, such as calling or post-card programs?

3. Your Leads: Are you getting leads that are truly qualified or are your salespeople wasting valuable time calling on individuals or companies that don’t match your customer profile? Are they gaining access to decision makers or being kept out by the gatekeepers? Are you finding it difficult to even identify the appropriate decision maker within a prospect company?

4. Your Face-to-Face Appointments and Next Meetings: Do you know how many appointments your salespeople need to make a sale? Are they getting enough appointments with qualified prospects and enough second and third meetings to get the sale? Can you really track the progress your salespeople are making so you know where they need help?

Key Point: Tracking means knowing not just what goes in one end of the sales
funnel and what comes out the other end. It means knowing where your people need coaching to move through the process. Do you have all of the metrics you need to manage your sales reps?

Are they good at getting first appointments but not seconds? Do they take prospects right up to the close but not get the deal? New software is available that can help you see into the funnel. It’s probably the most important advance in sales force effectiveness in the past 25 years, but few sales managers are taking advantage of it. Let us know if you’d like to learn more.

5. Your Sales Process: Many companies don’t have a formal sales process. Too often they believe that selling is an art, not a science. But they’re wrong. We’ve helped hundreds of salespeople and business developers at all skill levels improve their performance with the right training.

A. Is your process transactional or consultative? Does it create value for your prospects and customers or just present the value you think your product or service delivers?

B. Is it strong or weak? Does it help your people make sales out of the good leads they get before those leads get away?

C. Is it by design or accident? If your best salesperson left, could you get a replacement up to speed quickly or would you just “hire and hope” a new person could get the job done? Can you replicate the process your top producers use to stay on top?

Key Point: The behaviors of the best salespeople in the business-to-business marketplace are the same, no matter the product or service, no matter the industry. And they can be learned with the right training in consultative selling. Yes, we can provide that training, which our clients have found to be an excellent investment for years of future sales.

We can help you find and fix the weak links in your business development process before they snap. Just call or e-mail us now to learn how.


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