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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

Re-Frame Project Success for the Strategic Business

Project success is most often measured by answering two questions. (A) Did we meet the schedule goal? And (B) Did we meet the budget goal? A good indicator project success will improve over time is periodic review of the Time and Budget Dashboard by management. This approach is valid but not sufficient for framing project success over

 the long-term. 

Time and Budget Dashboard Integration Professionals Stephen Wise 

Time and Budget Dashboard[/caption] It is very common that once a project is closed, it falls off management reporting dashboards. This is a serious mistake! Strategic success is dependent on the outputs of the project, not the inputs of Time and Budget. The outputs / benefits of the project are measured after project close and take the dimensions of customer satisfaction and business success. It will take several months or quarters after the project is finished until customer satisfaction can be measured. It will take even longer until business success can be measured. By re-framing the measurement time-horizons for projects and their outputs, we can provide more effective visibility and accountability at the management level for the strategic success of projects. The re-frame is to include medium-term and long-term results as part of project tracking and reporting.

Team success

can be measured in the Short-term. That is Time, Budget and other metrics such as scope, quality, stakeholder engagement, and others.

Customer success

can be measured in the Medium-term. Customer success is the metrics that indicate how well the product is meeting actual needs and how well the product is providing customer net benefits.

Business/Strategy success

can be measured in the long-term. Business success is the metrics that indicate how well the overall strategy is benefiting the enterprise, such as market development and risk 

profile. 

Measurement Time Horizons Integration Professionals Stephen Wise 

Measurement Time Horizons[/caption] Organizations have made great strides implementing project methodology and management reporting on time and budget. However a systemic flaw is introduced by reporting only short-term project success measures. There is correlation between success in short-term and success in the long-term but there is more to the picture. We need to re-frame and extend the time horizon for tracking project success to include medium and long-term measures. By linking Customer (medium-term) and Business (long-term) actual measures to project reporting we will gain improved insights on the projects that have either advanced or held-back the realization of strategic objectives.

Stephen Wise 

http://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com/

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