Sales Pursuits with No Fruit for the Labor

By Bob Beck CEO Sales Builders
How many sales pursuits do you or your sales team engage in each year with no fruit for your labor? What do you think the average is across all Business to Business industries?
As you ponder those two questions, let’s define what a sales pursuit is: a perceived opportunity that a sales person invests time, money, and resources in trying to sell. These sales pursuits have met some qualification criteria, are typically new opportunities (not existing clients) and the rep has engaged the prospect at some level via on the phone or in person. What we are not referring to is a cold call with a single conversation, a reply to a marketing campaign, trade show follow-up or a blind inquiry.
So now, what do you think the percentage of sales pursuits that are invested in annually with no results are? Some of these sales pursuits can go on for months and sometimes years. We actually had a client that had been pursuing an account for 5 years and had spent over $250,000 in expenses. After a 60-minute review of all the activity, it became very clear to everyone involved they had less than a 1% chance of winning the deal. They were dealing with the wrong person, had no reason to change, had no budget, and were partners with their main competitor!
The percent across all industries we have found ranges from 70% at the very lowest to a high of 90%. That is staggering. There are some sales executives that aren’t sure what the percentage is, which is a bit shocking.
Let’s break down what this is costing you as a rep or as an organization. As a rep, your most valuable asset is your time. If we just focus on the low end of this percentage (70%), think about how much more you would sell, how much bigger your bank account would be if you invested that wasted 70% into prospecting and aligning yourself with prospects that were actually going to do something, like buy your offering! Stop and think where you would be in life if you wasted 70% of your money, or 70% of your time sleeping, or wasting 70% of anything!
From an organizational standpoint it costs you:
· Profits- because money is being wasted on T&E with opportunities that don’t happen
· Misuse of company resources that drain morale and productivity
· Sales turnover because they get frustrated and move onto the next company
· Revenue because sales don’t close
· Forecasting accuracy, which can effort your stock price or at least your credibility
· Time- as one of a million examples, how often are you investing time, money and resources to respond to RFP’s that never bear fruit?
· Efficiency throughout the organization
The overall costs from unrealized revenue from sales pursuits is tremendous. If you aren’t looking at this, measuring this percentage and the costs, you might have a blind spot in your business. You can change this percentage and recoup the money that is wasted year after year on this huge issue by investing more into your sales force. An effective sales approach in 2018/2019 is not the same as it might have been in 2007!
We are often asked: Why is the percentage of sales pursuits that end up with no fruit for the labor so high? There are many reasons for this, some include:
· Little control of the sales pursuit itself
· Sales people are putting themselves in a subservient position with the prospect
· There is not enough or no real collaboration between sales and the prospect
· Sales doesn’t engage the decision maker early enough in the sales cycle
· The qualification process being followed has too many gaps in it
· Sales is not relating to the people they are selling to
· Sales reps are mostly mimicking the marketing materials
· There is more of a “make it up as you go” sales approach rather than a results orientated process that is followed and measured
· The culture of the organization condones that a 70-90% failure rate is acceptable
· Sales team is not valued nor acting like trusted advisors to prospects
The full list of reasons is very long, but these are some of the typical issues we change for organizations to impact that troubling percentage. It only makes logical sense and is prudent for your business to address these issues head on. It’s time to change the percentage of sales pursuits that net positive results to your advantage. Regardless what your market is, or your products are, investing in your sales team to address the above issues will show you an immediate ROI.
If you would like to learn more about how for 17 years, in 10 countries, we have effectively impacted these and many other issues that hamper individual and organizational growth, please contact us at: http://www.salesbuilders.com 404 822 9082
Sales Builders is a dedicated professional development firm that offers organizational assessment, training, coaching and consulting all geared to help organizations transform, thrive, and expand. We’re architects of change and builders of consistency. We’re pioneers of innovation and masters in sales transformation.
Bob Beck https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_edit_profile

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Sales Pursuits with NO Fruit for the Labor

Sales Pursuits with NO Fruit for the Labor
By Bob Beck CEO Sales Builders
How many sales pursuits do you or your sales team engage in each year with no fruit for your labor? What do you think the average is across all Business to Business industries?
As you ponder those two questions, let’s define what a sales pursuit is: a perceived opportunity that a sales person invests time, money, and resources in trying to sell. These sales pursuits have met some qualification criteria, are typically new opportunities (not existing clients) and the rep has engaged the prospect at some level via on the phone or in person. What we are not referring to is a cold call with a single conversation, a reply to a marketing campaign, trade show follow-up or a blind inquiry.
So now, what do you think the percentage of sales pursuits that are invested in annually with no results are? Some of these sales pursuits can go on for months and sometimes years. We actually had a client that had been pursuing an account for 5 years and had spent over $250,000 in expenses. After a 60-minute review of all the activity, it became very clear to everyone involved they had less than a 1% chance of winning the deal. They were dealing with the wrong person, had no reason to change, had no budget, and were partners with their main competitor!
The percent across all industries we have found ranges from 70% at the very lowest to a high of 90%. That is staggering. There are some sales executives that aren’t sure what the percentage is, which is a bit shocking.
Let’s break down what this is costing you as a rep or as an organization. As a rep, your most valuable asset is your time. If we just focus on the low end of this percentage (70%), think about how much more you would sell, how much bigger your bank account would be if you invested that wasted 70% into prospecting and aligning yourself with prospects that were actually going to do something, like buy your offering! Stop and think where you would be in life if you wasted 70% of your money, or 70% of your time sleeping, or wasting 70% of anything!
From an organizational standpoint it costs you:
· Profits- because money is being wasted on T&E with opportunities that don’t happen
· Misuse of company resources that drain morale and productivity
· Sales turnover because they get frustrated and move onto the next company
· Revenue because sales don’t close
· Forecasting accuracy, which can effort your stock price or at least your credibility
· Time- as one of a million examples, how often are you investing time, money and resources to respond to RFP’s that never bear fruit?
· Efficiency throughout the organization
The overall costs from unrealized revenue from sales pursuits is tremendous. If you aren’t looking at this, measuring this percentage and the costs, you might have a blind spot in your business. You can change this percentage and recoup the money that is wasted year after year on this huge issue by investing more into your sales force. An effective sales approach in 2018/2019 is not the same as it might have been in 2007!
We are often asked: Why is the percentage of sales pursuits that end up with no fruit for the labor so high? There are many reasons for this, some include:
· Little control of the sales pursuit itself
· Sales people are putting themselves in a subservient position with the prospect
· There is not enough or no real collaboration between sales and the prospect
· Sales doesn’t engage the decision maker early enough in the sales cycle
· The qualification process being followed has too many gaps in it
· Sales is not relating to the people they are selling to
· Sales reps are mostly mimicking the marketing materials
· There is more of a “make it up as you go” sales approach rather than a results orientated process that is followed and measured
· The culture of the organization condones that a 70-90% failure rate is acceptable
· Sales team is not valued nor acting like trusted advisors to prospects
The full list of reasons is very long, but these are some of the typical issues we change for organizations to impact that troubling percentage. It only makes logical sense and is prudent for your business to address these issues head on. It’s time to change the percentage of sales pursuits that net positive results to your advantage. Regardless what your market is, or your products are, investing in your sales team to address the above issues will show you an immediate ROI.
If you would like to learn more about how for 17 years, in 10 countries, we have effectively impacted these and many other issues that hamper individual and organizational growth, please contact us at: http://www.salesbuilders.com 404 822 9082
Sales Builders is a dedicated professional development firm that offers organizational assessment, training, coaching and consulting all geared to help organizations transform, thrive, and expand. We’re architects of change and builders of consistency. We’re pioneers of innovation and masters in sales transformation.
Bob Beck https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_edit_profile

Selling Abundance “Time to Come Alive”

By Bob Beck
Two simple questions: Are you consistently exceeding your sales numbers? If not, Why not?
A recent Gallup poll survey found that 71 percent of American workers were “not fully engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their jobs. Think about what this means; 2/3 of people don’t like what they do most of the time. What do you think these percentages would look like if just applied to B to B sales people?
Most sales people might feel they are fully engaged and must be to have any kind of success. If you are one of the ones that fall into this category, think about how many times you are calling “the” decision maker early in your sales pursuit. Are you fully qualifying all aspects of an opportunity by asking direct questions before fully engaging in a sales pursuit or are you just going along with the prospect’s “make it as they go” evaluation process? Are you stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing things you don’t like to do?
Prospects and clients ask for things from sales people all the time. That might include their time, travel to meeting, provide demos, fill out RFPs, proposals, etc. Most sales people dutifully reply and provide what is asked for with the hopes that if they are responsive enough the prospect will buy from them. From our many workshops around the world we find 70-90 percent of the time, sales pursuits end up with no fruit for the labor. The biggest competitor by far is status quo.
Even if we take the bottom end of that number, that is discouraging, creates unhappiness, confidence issues and stress. CNN recently reported: A decade of research in the business world proves happiness raises sales outcomes by 37 percent.
Time to come Alive:
Where is it written that clients and prospects get whatever they ask for, when they ask for it, and your job in sales is to be subservient and comply? I don’t know anyone that is happy in a subservient position. You deserve more than just a yes or no at the end of a long stressful sales cycle.
Sales should be a collaborative engagement between people trying to solve a business issue. The relationship should be based on mutual respect that has a big dose of give and take as part of it. I’m guessing you don’t have too many personal relationships that are one sided, that have you in some dysfunctional subservient position. If you do, I’m sure it doesn’t make you happy. It’s time to come alive, and learn to be professionally assertive, ask for what you need and want. Aren’t you happiest when you are collaborating with people trying to help them? Think about what your percentage of wins were last year when you had a collaborative relationship based on mutual respect, vs. the sales pursuits you didn’t. If you are happy, feel good about what you are doing, not only are you 37 percent more productive, you will receive more recognition and income. What a tremendous difference it makes for you and your organization.
Everyone wants more happiness. Most sales people want to sell more, be more productive and more satisfaction in their roles. If you don’t know how to consistently create collaborative relationships based on mutual respect let us help. Sales Builders offers a tactical results-oriented process, that has shown unsurpassed results around the world. It’s time to come alive, be happy and more productive.
http://www.SalesBuilders.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/salesbuilders/

100% Sales Results

By Bob Beck:
100% Sales Results for 2018: Stop Doing What’s Not Working
Suggesting to stop doing what’s not working is as profound as suggesting, if you want change you have to change. Starting a new year is always a great time to assess what is working and what’s not. Too often we see organizations and individuals that just keep doing the same things repeatedly, regardless of the results? Let’s take 3 minutes and just review a 3-step process that might make 2018 your best year ever.
Step 1: Take Inventory of your actions and results.
What’s working?
What didn’t work last year?
How much time, energy, money, and resources were spent on things where no results were realized?
Why weren’t the results you wanted or needed realized?
One example;
What didn’t work? We still see organizations/professional sales reps that are investing lots of time, money, energy, and resources in sales pursuits that are only bearing fruit, IE results, 20% of the time.
How much time…? 80%! Sales people across the globe agree their most valuable asset is time. Organizations we work with tell us the sales reps are some of their most expensive employees. Taking both these at face value, why or even how can we keep investing in sales pursuits that we aren’t getting results from?
Why weren’t the results you wanted or needed realized? There are always multiple reasons for the above issue. Some include:
Weak or inconsistent qualification process
Decision makers are not engaged early enough in the sales cycle
There is little or no control of the sales cycle
Sales reps aren’t viewed as trusted advisors and aren’t relating to the people they are selling to
There is an outdated or ineffective sales process being followed
Pipeline for new prospects is inadequate so reps pursue any opportunity
Reps are not professionally trained on how to create robust pipelines for new business
Step2: Create a defined and detailed action plan.
Defining and identifying issues is a meaningless step if you don’t have a plan to address the issues. Most organizations are changing. The markets you sell in are changing, so it is only logical you might consider doing some things differently if you want your results to change. As in our example: How do you specifically plan to address the seven bullet points?
Step 3: Take Action! What’s the point if you aren’t willing to take specific action? A good action plan, has a start date, measurements established so adjustments can be made, and the details of the expected results from each action you take. At the beginning of every year there are lots of people that make a resolution for losing weight. How many people do you think achieve their goal? How many people do you think have a detailed plan of action, with measurements and then make the proper adjustments to their caloric intake or exercise routes?
The realization and identification process is very simple. Addressing the issues is a bit more challenging. For 18 years Sales Builders http://www.Salesbuilders.com has been helping organizations and individuals transition and transform. In 2017 we had a client credit us with $25,000,000 of revenue they would not have realized without our partnership. Call us and we would be happy to put you in touch with them and several more clients so they can tell you their story themselves. Let’s work together in 2018 to ensure it is your best year ever.

Reframing Perceptions

Reframing Perceptions
By Bob Beck
Every professional salesperson’s dream is that when opportunities occur everyone sees them for what they are. Sales people are offering solutions to business issues with the intent to help organizations and the individuals inside those organizations be more efficient, more productive and make their jobs easier. So why is the scenario of prospects recognizing opportunities that are presented to them or reps even having the chance to offer them opportunities, becoming more difficult?
At the end of the day, it’s all about perception. The most effective sales people today are very aware and understand they need to reframe the perception of their prospects. Prospects have been conditioned over the years and believe when a sales person calls on them their number one objective is to sell them something. Decision makers have no time for quota sales people to call on them just trying to sell them something.
Many sales people don’t help themselves much either. They act, sound, and come across like a quota sales person just trying to sell something. They do this by regurgitating the elevator pitch, the marketing literature or leaning on some ROI formula to sell.
To be consistently effective in this market reframing perceptions of what is and what could be is very important and is an effective approach for selling. Reframing perceptions opens every individual’s mind and enables them to see a circumstance, the opportunity, issues, in a different way. In other words, tackle challenges, leverage the opportunity, with better solutions, which lead to better performance and a more personally rewarding outcomes.
Decision makers need and want to be understood first and foremost. Effective selling demands you reframe the perceptions of the people you are calling on. They are expecting you to give them your “corporate commercial” with the objective of selling them something they may or may not need. A genuine trusted advisor understands this and takes the time to reframe their prospect’s perception before they offer them anything. In today’s world, you must have “prospect knowledge” and realize people buy because they feel understood not because they understand. To be fair to sales people, most companies today spend most of their training budget on product updates, enhancements, and new solution introductions. The objective is for sales people to go out and educate the market about these solutions. The thought is, if the rep does a good enough job of doing this people will buy. That is simply an outdated and not effective approach.
A sales professional’s ability to differentiate themselves and reframe perceptions is the key to success. You cannot feed into the perceptions of what your prospects have of you. We work extensively in our Transformational QPQ Workshops helping reps specifically and tactically learn how to do this effectively. (www.SalesBuilders.com) It is not always easy to break a stereotype and reframe someone’s perceived notions. Some pointers to get you started:
· Know about the role you are calling on, IE “Prospect knowledge”. What keeps them awake at night? What gets them promoted or fired? What are the common issues they are facing? Why do they have these issues?
· Don’t act like a stereotypical sales person. Phases like, “How are you today..” “Is now a good time..” I’m from X Corp and we…. “the commercial”
· Don’t be so positive you can help them. Even if you are 100% sure you have a solution to a business problem they have, you must let them come to the realization you might be able to help them.
· Be sincere. You must want to be purposeful and are interested in helping the person you are calling on. If your true objective is just to sell them something, then it will be very hard to reframe anyone’s perception.
There is much more to reframing perceptions and we would love to share it with you. Reach out to bbeck@salesbuilders.com so we can explore the possibilities.

Proactive vs. Reactive Selling

By: Bob Beck
To start off the new year it is always a good exercise to assess what is working for you, what’s not working and consider making the required changes that will bring you closer to achieving your goals. From the many sales strategy sessions, we were involved in during 2017, there is overwhelming evidence that shows: sales reps are applying a reactive style of selling and status quo remains the #1 competitor. Let’s make some adjustments to change that.
Beginning with definitions so we are all on the same page; Reactive: Is acting to a situation vs controlling it. Too many sales people that have a reactive mindset see themselves as powerless victims when deals go dark, delay or no decision is made (status quo). It’s always a shock when that happens, and we find ourselves at a loss not sure what to do. We all want to close deals as fast as possible, so we ask questions, listen to the answers, think we are building trust and some kind of positive relationship. We are in a hurry to show the product and think we are being seen as helpful. We will go at the prospect’s pace and their usually “make it up as they go” process, and with the hope the deal closes in a timely manner. If we blindly follow their make up as they go process, not knowing or seeing the entire picture, we now have a make it up as we go sales approach.
Proactive means-creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding. Being proactive minimizes potential negative outcomes and leverages potential positive ones. Being proactive helps you on your journey to becoming a trusted advisor.
A lot of sales people feel by being responsive they are being proactive-almost the opposite is true. That is much more reactive. It is very close to falling under the category of being subservient. You want prospects and clients to like you and buy from you, so you are very responsive to all their requests. You might feel by doing this you are being proactive. That would be wrong. By being proactive up front in a sales pursuit you will cut down the going dark situations and status quo outcomes dramatically.
The Transformational QPQ sales approach is all about creating relationships based on mutual respect by PROACTIVILY creating collaboration between yourself and the prospect or client.
What are we doing most of the time? A client/prospects asked us for something, we respond and WAIT for them to tell us what’s next & when. For the most part when we are reviewing sales pursuits, we review the two or three steps that have occurred in the pursuit and then maybe know what the next step will be. The dates are vague, and the rep rarely seems to know what or when the next several steps in the pursuit will occur. As an example: Lead came in from trade show, called and talked to the lead person (usually not the decision maker), went on site to meet prospect, demo scheduled for next month…
Before you totally engage in a sales pursuit, what should be asked every time: When would you like to have a decision made by? As you are trying to decide, what are the exact steps you are going to go through? Once you get that answer, then we need to put dates to each step. Or ask; What are the exact steps you are going to go through in your evaluation and then assign dates to each step. You now can build a collaborative road map with the prospect.
If they say, “Not sure?”
You’re not working with the right person!
Collaborate with them and create a plan with actions and dates, they can agree to.
If they can’t or won’t do that, then they might just be “kicking tires”.
By doing this they can:
Adhere to an agreed upon schedule
You can focus on and prepare for the next event
You now have the ability to reinforce a timeline
The no decision or status quo outcomes are dramatically reduced
Like everything else we are framing this required process, so it is good for the client or prospect: by having a timeline with dates you explain to the prospect you will make sure your calendar is clear, you will have the right resources at the right time for them and will be ready to give the best information you can, so they can make an informed decision.
There is much more we can discussion on this very important topic. Visit us at http://www.SalesBuilders.com