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Stephen Wise Blog

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Stephen Wise Sales Funnel

How to Improve Sales Revenue in Your Company

A typical business goal is to execute the sales strategy and increase revenue by X% over the period. The sales process is an ongoing operational activity and is usually not suited to being treated like a formal project. However, the sales process needs to be managed and there are similarities between managing a sales process and managing a project.

A sales process needs:

  • Management of key milestones and timing
  • Identification and assignment of people to assist
  • Encouragement of teamwork at client site and internally
  • Risk identification and mitigation planning
  • Tracking and reporting of selected metrics
  • Feedback/improvement loop

Management of key milestones and timing in the sales process

I recommend every sales team to work with an expert project manager to develop a template of tasks and estimated timing which gets stored in a central library. At the earliest reasonable time, the template should be fired-up and customised to suit the opportunity. That is, tailor it to needs by modifying the tasks that need to be accomplished, the estimated durations, and dependencies.

This plan, will guide all stakeholders to manage expectations and keep everyone on track for what needs to happen next.

Identification and assignment of resources within the organization to assist with the presentation

Once an opportunity has been identified, team members need to be called on for assistance in various parts of the proposal. It is important that the sales person ensure that everyone has time to take on the work, understands how to do the work, and understands when and how to report that the work is completed or that some sort of issue has caused work to slow down or stop.

The sales person may not have the authority to prioritise everyone’s time and therefore it is important to keep the lines of communication open.

Risk identification and mitigation planning

Sales people are able to identify unique risks because they are the closest to understanding the client’s expressed needs. These insights are extremely relevant. Combined with their own experience dealing with other customers, sales people can see risks that no one else can. Positive risks, those that have upside potential lead to new items in the sales funnel. Negative risks, those that can push a deal off the rails should not be pushed under the carpet.

The (negative) risks, should be identified and reviewed. Each risk has a likelihood/ probability of occurring and severity/impact on the sale should it occur. The sales person’s team and management should periodically develop and review tactics to reduce the probability and lesson the severity of impact, should it occur.

Tracking and reporting of selected metrics back to the team and management

Peter Drucker, has been paraphrased, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. The selection of appropriate measures and metrics is a cornerstone of sales management. Most sales people are keenly aware at all times of the status of their metrics and how much they are exceeded or failing short of their objectives.

In addition to short-term results, frequently communicating a sales dashboard may be more beneficial then you thought. The benefit is to improve organizational alignment with the sales strategy. Having visibility to the sales dashboard could be the trigger to makes those changes

Feedback/improvement loop

Deals get won. Deals get lost. The salesperson will obtain lots of knowledge about the client or at least they should. Knowledge represents a significant asset for most businesses. Left unmanaged knowledge tends to quickly fade. When deals are lost, it is important to learn from the process. Are there changes that can be made to the sales process? A lessons learned process and central repository for the post-mortem will help the next sales rep and also help when it comes time to review the process for a complete over hall or investment in technology to automate parts of the process.

Stephen D Wise

Stephen Wise Integration Professionals

Dramatically Improve Traction

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$1 B Annualized Cost Savings from United Technologies Merger

United Technologies has proposed a merger and acquisition of Raytheon for a combined company valued at more than $100 billion. The architects of the deal have analyzed the strategic rationale. One of the quantified success metrics they announced is synergy of economies of scale leading eventually to $1 billion in annual cost savings.

Unfortunately, deal track records are not so good. According to The Art of M&A (Reed, Lajoux, and Nesvold), 55% of all mergers fail to deliver on the financial promise announced when the merger was initiated.

Why do 55% of all mergers fail to deliver?

Most assume that ensuring the deal success is the domain of the advisors, accountants, lawyers, and bankers. However, once the deal closes, management is left to deliver on the expectations and promises. I am convinced that the single biggest factor of merger failures is the lack-of a CEO sponsored Integration Program lead by a Project Manager.

Why is that?

Most post-merger activities run behind schedule. I believe a root cause is managers are assigned many of the activities as “business-as-usual” (BAU) work. Managers already have a day job and reporting structure so management of the resourcing, risks, issues, and decision making that was present during the pre-close phase has largely evaporated.

There is a high-level of uncertainty on any project and M&A is no different. It is critical that the leadership team responsible for crafting the deal remain involved. The teams responsible for progress and benefits delivery can get easily mired in firefighting and in-fighting. Sometimes this can be blamed on “culture-clash” but regardless of the label it is up to leadership to quickly identify and make key decisions for the team.

How do I fix that?

A Project Manager will assure there is a process to engage, manage and communicate to stakeholders the changes to the timeline, unresolved issues, new risks, and most important, ensure timely decision making.

In the case of the new Raytheon Technologies, the advisors, accountants, lawyers, and bankers have put together an impressive transaction overview. You can check out the announcement package here. Hopefully, in coming days we will also see demonstration of a strong Project Manager working closely with the CEO to successfully deliver on the annualized benefits everyone is so excited about.

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

Dramatically Improve Traction

https://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com

 
Trudeau I'm Sorry

I'm Sorry

Trudeau I'm Sorry Apology

Bob Dylan demonstrates everything we need to know about a bad apology. He really is not sorry.

One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later), Bob Dylan

"I didn't mean to treat you so bad. You don't have to take it so personal. I didn't mean to make you so sad. You just happened to be there, that's all."

The Canadian Prime Minister took a page from Dylan’s sorry songbook when an allegation arose that twenty years earlier, he had inappropriately touched a female reporter.

Trudeau advised us his behaviour was appropriate; it was her perception that was off -

Justin Trudeau

“I think the essence of this is people can experience interactions differently and part of the lesson we need to learn in this moment of collective awakening … people in many cases, women, experience interactions in professional contexts and other contexts differently than men.”

When a child does something wrong and we teach them to apologise to their brother or friend – they will go on to tell you the reason they apologised is they were told too. This is a missed opportunity for growth if we take this attitude into adulthood.

A good apology could show the other party you really care for their interests and help you both to move on.

Don’t be like a child.

or Trudeau.

and not like Dylan.

5 Elements for an Effective Apology:

    1. Be really clear you are sorry
    2. Say what you regret
    3. Explain how you should’ve behaved
    4. Demonstrate your empathy by acknowledging the full impact of your actions
    5. Ask for forgiveness

It can be intimidating to take responsibility with an effective apology. We learned in childhood to “Do the right thing”. I want everyone to remind themselves that doing the right thing is only the tip of the iceberg. An effective apology is extremely empowering for both parties.

Go ahead. Try it. Feel free to provide feedback or examples of really big apologies and whether the sorry was successful or not.

 

Stephen Wise
President
Integration Professionals

I dramatically improve traction in complex initiatives

 

American in Paris

Focus on Outcomes

Traction Tips

A weekly action idea to improve traction on your important initiatives by Stephen Wise.

  The new and wonderful musical, An American in Paris, is doing the rounds. It weaves multiple love stories with a Jazz and Ballet fusion leading to true love outcomes.  

Milo falls for Jerry, who's in love with Lise, who is engaged to Henri. Lise shares mutual affection with Henri but falls in love with Jerry. Jerry's friend Adam is also falling for Lise. Lise the ballerina, is oblivious she is the focal point of all the story lines. Despite the complications, true love wins out in the end. In the opening scenes of the musical Jerry sets his strategy to find and win Lise. However he gets lost, becomes indecisive, and is distracted by other interests. Has this ever happened to you in business? Getting lost in the details, uncertainty over the correct next step, or being distracted by new opportunities? Unfortunately, I see it every day. So, here is my guaranteed formula for success. 1. Focus on driving the outcomes 2. Accept Uncertainty 3. Agile Mindset

Focus on outcomes

Craft a hi-level plan. List the activities required to achieve the desired outcomes.

Accept Uncertainty

Accept uncertainty. Our ability to achieve goals proscribed in the plan can vary significantly.

Agile Mindset

Re-work your plan frequently.  Consider changes in the environment and your leanings along the way. Switch around your priorities. re-evaluate desired outcomes to reflect new realities.

Weekly Traction Action

Fuse the improvisation of Jazz with the perfection of Ballet to manage your corporate outcomes. Your weekly action: 1. Ensure all your desired outcomes have an accessible, hi-level, end to end plan. 2. Schedule regular times to evaluate whether you are on track and make course corrections to get back on track. I recommend or implement these actions all the time on client initiatives. Hopefully, it will work to improve outcomes for you too.

I love Email

Please send me an email and tell me about if you have success or trouble with this action. I’m always interested to see what can happen out in the wild.  

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

https://IntegrationProfessionals.com

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