But ... who’s going to do the work?

OK, we’re at the business end of your business. You’ve created an amazing Product, you’ve got a great Marketing campaign out there and now you’ve got a Sales funnel that knows what it takes to succeed in growth. There’s only on thing left – to do the Activity.

This is the crunch time. Armed with all of the preceding Elements of the Growtion Formula, Sales Activity (E14) is when you get someone to pick up the damn phone and sell!

This is so easy to get wrong. You need to have the measurements in place to ensure that none of your previous efforts are wasted. It’s critical to get the team in place – or roll your own sleeves up and get in the zone yourself – to make it all happen.

So many times, I’ve seen businesses work really hard to get themselves into this position then hand off the Activity to someone, or no one, the task of actually delivering Sales. It’s heartbreaking to watch good Products struggle to gain traction simply because the Sales effort is slapdash and poorly executed.

The list of things that contribute to poor Sales Activity can be bundled into three core areas;

  1. Lack of focus
  2. Lack of skill
  3. Lack of data

Lack of focus

Your Sales team should not be distracted by admin. Any notes that they need to take should be added directly to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system immediately after the call, meeting, webinar or email exchange. Most CRMs these days enable this to be really straightforward, to the point that they can record calls (provided these are never used externally it’s legal to record calls for internal use) and/or allow notes to be dictated on a mobile phone directly into an app.

Anything that creates ‘friction’ – that required the Sales team to have to think about processing information in a bespoke way for different contact channels – will slow growth. There is no excuse these days for enabling this – plus, it can easily become an excuse for poor target achievement.

Don’t do that to your business – focus on the focus. Spot what’s slowing down the efficient deployment of your Sales resources on the core task in hand and remove it. Your Product deserves this.

Lack of skill

It’s people. It’s always people. You need to ensure that you have a strong recruitment process that is aligned to your Product Concept and sifts out those that don’t believe what you believe.

Acquire team members on attitude first – that overcomes pretty much any knowledge deficit and will drive desire to learn the skills required.

I’ve rarely seen Sales teams succeed when they are recruited from the customer base that they’re targeting. A good example is trying to get ex-estate agents to sell to estate agents. The ex-estate agent will be imbued with a particular prejudice from their history that, in my experience, is highly unlikely to appeal to the vast majority of other estate agents. Trust is a critical part of every sale, people buy people, and you have to give your business the best chance of success in every deal by deploying the least prejudiced and most flexible individuals in your pursuit of profit.

Lack of data

“Measure it, manage it” is a cliché for a reason – it’s true.

You need to be able to see very quickly and very early if someone’s not pulling their weight. Again, attitude is key here. The person that’s not succeeding because they don’t have the skills yet needs to show improvement over time. There will be a list of reasons that they might give you for their lack of wins. If you’re training them correctly – and you must – then there should be nowhere to hide.

You need to be able to lay your hand on an analysis of Activity levels for each member of the squad within three clicks. Your CRM is critical here, again. If yours does not do this then change it, now.

(I always recommend Nutshell, not because I am paid anything for it (I am not) but because it’s got everything an SME needs for a really reasonable price.)

There are others out there which are just as good, for sure. But never underestimate the ability of humans to create excuses for why they haven’t done what they promised they would do. Get a machine to check. And don’t compromise your business through lack of data.

So here goes! Get stuck in, provide that platform for Sales Success (E15) and get growing.