clock-in-handsWhen I begin a sales training, the first thing I do is ask the audience if they’ve ever called a prospect just to check in.  Typically, about half the room will raise a hand, and then I tell the other half of the audience they’re liars – because we’ve all done it.    

It nags at us. We haven’t heard from our prospect in a week or two and we’re just dying to pick up the phone and “check in” to see how things are going. But to help our customers make better decisions faster, we need to start making every interaction count – check in calls are just a waste of time.  

Rather than looking at outcome-based KPIs to measure the effectiveness of a sales team, I look at the process and methodology taken to get to that outcome. One way of doing so is to look at the sales cycle in terms of minutes and hours of actual selling time, rather than looking it as a time lapse from the first cold call to the deal close.    

When analyzing that actual selling time, I look at a few different things in order to measure the effectiveness of a sales process:

How many touches does it take to close a deal?  

There’s this quote from Jeff Bezos I’ve always loved. It goes, “We don’t make money when we sell things; we make money when we help people make purchase decisions.”    

And that’s what all sales people are really trying to do, right? When you look at the list of activities you undertook to sell to the customer, do they all support that?    

By looking at the customer record, you can see what interactions to get rid of, and managers can see what training is needed in order to minimize the time wasting.  

What is the quality and effectiveness of each of those touches?  

Do you, as a sales person, have the right information and product knowledge that will give the customer the ability to make good decisions quickly?  Customers give us their time, and if we don’t bring something of value every time, they’re simply going to stop giving us their time.    

Instead of those check in calls, you can use a product like Sidekick to know when to call with new information about the product at the moment they’re thinking about it, information that may help them in their decision making process, or something that is relevant in their industry.  They’ll eventually begin to associate that value with you.  

How quickly are you able to respond to customers?  

Buyers have less and less time to deal with salespeople, yet they still have to make good decisions.  If you’re a salesperson who responds quickly with the answers the customer needs to move forward in the buying process, you’re going to stand out.  

By looking at the customer record, we can analyze how many times the customer had a question that couldn’t be answered right away, or how many times they had to repeat their requirements to a new face.  You want to minimize those wasted interactions by increasing product knowledge and by hiring salespeople who can help customers make better decisions, more quickly.    

How do you use the information about the length of your sales cycle?  Do you use that information?     

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Originally published Feb 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated September 23 2014

Topics:

Sales Process