4 Ways To Identify And Correct The Bottleneck Effect In Sales

Successful businesses are masters of productivity – if you want to mimic the masters you must identify the bottleneck effect that is standing in the way of your sales team’s productivity. And we aren’t talking about busy work “productivity.” We are referring to the kind of productivity you want to see from your sales team: closed deals and smart sales analysis.

We’ve outlined four indicators of a jammed up bottleneck and laid out a plan for clearing it. Use this post to spot opportunities and clear the path for increased sales productivity – the kind of productivity that actually matters. Say goodbye to the bottleneck effect forever.

Warm leads are left to cool off

Not all of your leads will lead to sales, thats a fact of business, but not being ready to buy and not going to buy are two very different things. A commission-driven sales team can easily overlook the warm “isn’t ready to buy” lead when they are in hot pursuit of sales. Instead of letting the “not ready to buy” lead go cold, be sure you have a lead-nurturing campaign ready and in-place. A lead-nurturing campaign allows a lead to sit comfortably on the back-burner without letting the connection go cold. By instituting easy to execute follow-up plans, like drip marketing campaigns, you position your sales team to step back in when the buying time is right.

For example, at Base, not only do we use lead scoring, which we wrote about last week, but we also utilize educational sales content to stay in touch with our customers and prospects – even ones who aren’t ready to buy. Some examples of this are ebooks and webinars that alert us to where someone may be in the buying process. If someone is at the phase where they might be ready to choose a CRM for example, they may be interested in our CRM Software Evaluation Template. For us, it’s important to engage our customers and prospects no matter where they are in the buying process.

The most common title in your CRM is Office Administrator

Admins are solid gold. Everyone should be aware of that particular business fundamental. Admins warm up execs and have the kind of contact information any sales rep can benefit from. Yet, admins generally aren’t operating with the kind of budgets and decision-making authority you need to see a project through. Sales professionals must push past the first introduction to a company and find out who holds the purse strings and who makes the final calls. Win the trust of the admin, but when it comes to serious sales pitches, be sure you are targeting the decision maker not the gate-keeper.

Tom Searcy, a contributor at Inc.com offers 6 ways to reach top decision makers.

In-person proposals don’t produce

Every industry (and business) varies on the expected close-rate ratio for sales proposals, but if your business isn’t closing at least 25% of the deals you meet face-to-face on, you can be sure its time to make some adjustments. In-person proposals are high investment ventures and should be reserved for the most qualified candidates. If you are sending your best sales staff out to meet with prospects and they still aren’t closing deals its time to evaluate your pricing and pitch.

Quoteroller, a partner of Base that allows you to make customized sales proposals offers some good refresher tips on rocking your next sales presentation.  Tom Searcy and Henry DeVries offer some candid recommendations for closing final sales presentations.

Silence stymies sales

Salespeople have an instinct for which deals they won and which ones were clearly lost and occasionally they experience the feeling of getting it wrong. Pushing a sales to completion can be a bureaucratic affair and if your sales rep walks out of a meeting sure that they’ve won the deal, don’t let silence discourage them. Silence can indicate barriers as innocuous as overlapping vacation times or distracting in-house initiatives. Have a persistent follow-up plan for companies that keep quiet after a sales meeting. That is often all it takes to see a sales through. I wrote a while ago how to make the perfect sales followup.

We were recently named one of 18 Sales blogs to follow in 2014 by Sales Engine!

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