This is part five in a series of posts entitled The No Excuses Guide to Selling Without a Sales Manager (part one). You can read part two, Choosing Your Sales Goals and Accountabilities, part three, Building Your Sales Activity Plan, and part four, Reviewing Your Own Sales Pipeline by choosing any of these links.
A good sales manager will not only help work through your pipeline to ensure that the actions you are taking are going to produce the results that you need; a good sales manager will also review individual opportunities with you to ensure that you are taking the right steps to win individual opportunities.
Without a sales manager, you will need to spend some time thinking about how you are pursuing opportunities, the actions you are taking, and whether what you are doing is going to result in your winning your dream client.
You will need to be thoughtful, and you will need to make your own adjustments.
Following Your Road Map
In part three, Building Your Sales Activity Plan, we discussed the need to tie the actions you take with your prospective clients to your actual sales process (you did reverse-engineer your sales process, didn’t you?).
The very first place to start an opportunity review is the sales process. The questions you ask and answer here should help you determine whether you are taking the actions necessary to win your dream client opportunity and ensure that you are stacking the deck as heavily in your favor as possible.
Some questions to consider include:
Is this opportunity really in the stage of the sales process that I believe it is in?
Have I completed all the tasks that should come before the next stage, or do I need to go back over some ground before I am really prepared to move forward?
What future commitments to do I need?
How do I best prepare for my next meeting or interaction? What do I need to do to be able to earn a commitment?
Asking and answering questions like these takes time and effort. But the results make all the difference in the world. The time you spend thinking about what comes next massively improves the future actions you take and increases your odds of winning.
Planning What’s Next
It’s important to follow your sales process. But your sales process isn’t the only consideration. The sales process informs us of what we know we need to do to win, but it doesn’t always perfectly align with our prospective dream clients need from us as salespeople.
Making sure that your future actions are aligned with your client’s needs improves your ability to create value for them at every stage of their buying process—and it makes it more likely that you advance your opportunity from target to close.
Some questions to consider:
Have I created the necessary value prior to this point for my prospective client to feel confident moving forward?
Is my dream client’s buying stage aligned with where I believe we are in the sales process?
Do I know what they need next? How can I best create the value that I need to create at this stage of their process?
A Little Bit More
If you had a sales manager, they would likely choose to complete opportunity reviews on a range of opportunities. They would choose high value deals. They would choose high profile deals. They would surely choose must win deals. But from time to time, they would choose opportunities at varying stages of the sales process.
A good sales manager will look for learning opportunities for both of you. They would find opportunities that allow them to learn how they might best help you succeed. And they would look for opportunities to create a learning opportunity that you could apply across all of your deals.
Without a sales manager, you are going to have to do this work yourself. You will have to invest some of your limited time reviewing your opportunities, asking and answering the questions that help you sharpen your skills—and ensure that you win. Ask and answer those questions.
Tune into tomorrow for part six.