Improving your Sales and Marketing Performance

November 25, 2014 Leave a reply

I suppose the first point to make is that we can all improve our sales and marketing performance but clearly some businesses are winning at the moment and many others are struggling. What you were doing a few years ago to win new business and new clients is no longer enough and probably isn’t working anyhow. You noticed that I said “new” and this is important as clients will come and go, enlarge, divest, merge, be acquired so you will always experience some natural shrinkage but new business is the lifeblood of any business. The 80/20 rule applies here, you need 20% of new clients.

So clients used to come to you or you employed someone to “generate leads” but now these clients have procurement departments, tenders, and on-line auctions. Things have changed and these new buyers seem to be armed with all sorts of knowledge and questions and scoring ratios. The internet seems to have changed your world forever and there are competitors offering your services cheaper and cheaper and they’re not even based in the UK. What can you do to change the tide and understand better what you should/must do next.

The fact is that inbound marketing alongside targeted marketing of decision-makers can help your business receive more qualified sales leads and more cost effectively than hiring a cold caller. Your business can use CRM effectively to drive these qualified leads through the sales funnel and measure your sales performance objectively. How many times have I heard “we don’t really use our CRM system to do that, it’s more a contact database”.

By properly integrating sales and marketing you can improve your sales and marketing performance?

  • Has your compelling sales proposition become less compelling?
  • Have you ever had an independent sales and marketing review of your business?
  • Do you want theory or do you want someone to implement?
  • Is cold calling and all those emails getting you results?
  • Jefferson Sales has been advising Sales Directors, General Managers and Managing Directors for over 10 years on sales issues. We have assisted with sales strategy, customer and market segmentation, developing buyer personas and compelling sales propositions, implementing effective sales processes and systems including CRM, commission and incentive structures, selecting sales people, and performance managing sales teams. This sort of external expertise is available and has been widely used by our clients.

    Contact us to learn more about our services. We can tailor what we do for your exact needs.

How do you become a Sales Led Organisation

November 17, 2014 Leave a reply

When talking to many Company Directors about their sales journey a number of issues become evident. Two of those greatest issues are selling solutions rather than products or services and becoming a marketing or sales-led organisation rather than technical or operational-led.

They need to move fast from a product or service company to a solution company that listens to client needs and reacts by providing solutions to these challenges. This means that they have to start building buyer profiles and understanding their clients’ roles and objectives. Now they can compete on value rather than price. They also need to assess whether they have the right sales people who can adapt to this approach.

The second point is that the whole company needs to be in charge of marketing and sales not just the sales or marketing people.

Companies need to engage with customers “pulling” rather than just “pushing” and create a dialogue rather than a monologue. This means a shift in culture, a shift in how sales and marketing is viewed as a separate and distinct function or discipline and a process for capturing and disseminating information from across the business.

Utilising and optimising sales tools and technology to automate and capture these touch points between the company and its clients or potential clients becomes the only way in which a company can truly collaborate and analyse customer engagement.

Whether it be inbound marketing initiatives, full utilisation of CRM systems, and creating a culture of “We’re all sales now” there are ways to assist this transition and implement the appropriate systems.

Jefferson Sales has been helping Company Directors transform their sales organisation since 2005.

Why hire a part-time Sales Manager?

November 15, 2011 Leave a reply

In today’s economic climate it is even more important to keep your focus on sales and the steady growth of your business. As competitors find it difficult and scale back there will be more opportunities for you, if they don’t make it then there will be more customers for you. As the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

For many businesses they don’t have the need, the budget, or the desire to take the risk of hiring a full-time Sales Director or Manager to manage the Sales team. The reality is that your best Sales person is not necessarily the best person to move into this role as the Sales team gets bigger or more geographically dispersed. After all inevitably he or she will be spending less time “selling” and more time “managing”. This is not good news when Sales are harder.

What we have been doing over the last three years is providing interim and part time Sales Directors to performance manage the Sales teams in client companies and we really believe this is a long term solution for companies not able to hire full time Sales Management. The benefits are numerous:

  • More cost effective paying for 1-2 days per week rather than 5 days
  • Less intrusive for the Sales team so they become more independent
  • Reduce the need for management to get involved in Sales performance
  • Real experience of managing, developing, building and motivating successful sales people
  • Flexible resource that can be turned on or off as needed
  • Sales team learn new skills from experienced Sales Directors
  • Consolidate and streamline Sales reporting and pipeline management
  • Meeting and call shadowing to improve presentation, communication, and negotiation skills
  • Proper coaching and mentoring of Sales team
  • Assistance in identifying poor performers and Sales people in the wrong job
  • Making sure that motivation and incentives reflect the Sales market-place
  • Helping with strategic direction of company and growth objectives
  • Using executive Global 500 network to assist with Sales

We have helped all sorts of Business to Business companies; some on a project basis getting them in better shape for sale or merger; some to assist the Managing Director start a new business or reorganise a function; some with start up funding but no Sales management structure, and many others to improve Sales systems, Sales processes and the performance of their Sales People.

Please call us to discuss your challenge, it is more than likely that we have heard it all before and have examples of solutions we have provided to reassure you that we can help.

Sales Outsourcing

October 25, 2011 Leave a reply

Sections published in Independent Business – June 2006 Hertfordshire Edition

This article briefly explores the question of whether companies should outsource their sales function and/or look outside their organisation for support with sales.

There is definitely a lack of flexible and shared-cost sales expertise for small and medium sized businesses. If we need an accountant, solicitor, or IT specialist we are generally spoilt for choice, and can engage them usually on either an hourly or retention basis. With sales resource there is generally only the option to employ a sales person full-time or use a telemarketing/telesales operation.

Sales outsourcing is still relatively new but it is catching on as a flexible, pay-as-you-need, service. After all, if you feel comfortable outsourcing your finance function why wouldn’t you feel the same about outsourcing sales. The issues for both come down to “perceived control” and of course “trust”.

As many of you know, hiring sales people is not enough, they need to be managed and their activity and results properly monitored. (Some people can work independently and get on with it, others cannot, and you may not always find an individual who can sell and also be independent). If you’ve managed a large diverse sales team then you’re in a better position to do this than for example an already very busy Managing Director.

So why would you look outside your organisation or hire someone part-time? External perspectives on your business are valued, and introducing tried and tested methodologies can work for most business types, after all where would “management consultancy” be if this wasn’t true. However, there are a number of additional reasons why using an external sales consultant or “interim” makes sense:

  •           Broader industry/sector experience and executive network
  •           Independence and objectivity
  •           External perspective on your sales and marketing proposition
  •           Sales process methodologies
  •           Understanding of sales key performance metrics
  •           Been there, got the t-shirt in the sales discipline
  •           Clearer focus, enthusiasm and motivation – vested interest in performing well
  •           More senior sales expertise than you could afford full-time
  •           Cost – no fixed costs
  •           Flexibility – on a need basis

Generally sales people stick to one industry or sector and have a specialism and network that reflects this. Many sales management consultants have deliberately worked across industries and sectors to build up a more varied and layered experience which provides “out of the box” thinking and means they can work for different sorts of businesses. Independence and objectivity enable the consultant to make apolitical decisions and see things more clearly without historical factors or being caught in a silo. They can also be more critical about your sales and marketing proposition to customers and help you differentiate from competitors (what makes you different, what are you offering, why would I buy from your company?).

Sales process follows a defined set of stages within the qualification and close of a sale and can be implemented in any business with minimal tweaking. If you are not selling effectively it usually means there is a gap or breakdown in the sales process within your company. Do you have the right sales structures in place, do your sales people have the tools to be most effective, what customer relationship management system is used, how accurately do they forecast business coming in, how are they incentivised and motivated?

In many businesses the sales people are hired by the Managing Director and he or she does not know what sales people should do, how they should approach the sale or the customer, what are appropriate activity levels, what are the benchmarks, after all he or she just want them to “sell”. Often the sales people moved into a sales position from another area of the business and have had no formal sales training. By introducing key performance metrics and even formal sales reporting the Managing Director will be able to “performance manage” the sales function.

We all know we get a bit stale when we do the same thing day in day out. Also sales people do “burn out” and usually have 2-3 years of success before their sales dwindle. A fresh approach is needed and someone who works in your business for a fixed or ongoing part-time basis brings enthusiasm to the role and a clear focus. Consultants don’t take lunch breaks! Their attitude is very different from that of a full-time member of staff. If they don’t perform well you won’t ask them back and you won’t recommend them to other companies.

Many companies would prefer to have a great sales person 2 days a week than a mediocre one 5 days a week, and if we could afford them full-time all the better. However, the likelihood is that we might find it hard to handle that much business, and therefore a part-time “heavy hitter” works well.

So how much is it going to cost, and won’t it be more expensive than hiring someone full-time? The daily rate will certainly be more expensive than the cost of employing someone at first glance if you annualise it. However, did you factor in the following; pay as you need, no bonus to pay, no pension costs, no car costs, no training costs, no health cover, no computer, no mobile phone, no expense account, no recruitment or redundancy costs, no office space, no employer’s National Insurance (12.8%), and you don’t need to pay them for 30 days paid holiday and 10 days of average sick pay per year. You’ve probably worked it out for yourself!

Matt Jefferson is Managing Director of Jefferson Sales based in Hertfordshire and can be contacted by phone on 020 7096 2005. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management.

By providing an objective and independent view of your sales proposition and strategy for growth, sales processes and management systems, sales peoples’ ability and performance, business development and customer acquisition strategies, Jefferson Sales are able to see things clearly and ensure that you get the results you need.

Sorry, you can not to browse this website.

Because you are using an outdated version of MS Internet Explorer. For a better experience using websites, please upgrade to a modern web browser.

Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Internet Explorer Apple Safari Google Chrome