Staying Ahead Of Change In Sales

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Staying Ahead Of Change In Sales

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Sales is the front line of business, and being on the front line means we’re in a battle every day. In a battle for the attention of our prospects, and in a battle against our competition.

Too many salespeople wait for their environment to change before they do, and as a result they always feel like they’re reacting instead of being the one prospects seek out.

The problem is that few of us were ever taught how to assess what was working and what wasn’t early enough to change our results. On the battlefield, we needed to be able to take the initiative on change if we wanted to bring everyone home, and it’s a process that works in sales.

To learn how the best take the time to debrief what’s happening and take the initiative on change, we sat down with Kyle Sharpe, president of Health Care Logistics and former sergeant in the US Marines. He showed us how he transferred the debriefing process he used with his team to his company’s salespeople, and how it helps them stay ahead of the rate of change in their industry!

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T-Trigger: Kyle says this system begins with setting aside the time every month to strategically look at the metrics you’re tracking. If it’s not an appointment on your calendar, you will find something else to do, so it’s critical this be a set appointment you treat with the same accountability you would a meeting with a buyer.

In that meeting with yourself, look at the metrics that indicate success in your sales cycle, from the amount of leads you generate to your outreach activity to your pipeline movement to your proposals sent and deals closed. This will tell you where you need to make micro-adjustments in the coming weeks to affect massive change in the coming months and year.

Much like the military’s meticulous approach to monitoring, this monthly ritual ensures a continuous pulse check on performance.

R-Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, Kyle outlines four key components to ensure a systematic and repeatable assessment of results. First, look at the metrics you assessed in the trigger portion of this system and ask, “How did we get here?” Try to reconstruct the wins, losses, mistakes and innovations that created those metrics, whether they’re positive or negative.

Second, look at any area of your metrics where you exceeded your goals. Ask, “If it was my responsibility to train the rest of my team how to exceed that goal as well, what would I have to teach them?” Get that process out of your head and into the hands of your leadership or training department.

Third, examine what in your sales process that you started doing that is worth continuing. Too often, Kyle shared, salespeople begin new initiatives and after they reach or exceed their goals, forget what they did that made them successful. Capture what’s working so that you can ensure you continue it.

Fourth, look at those areas of your metrics and your sales process that are not leading you to success. Ask if it’s worth continuing those things or if your company would be better off if you stopped or replaced what wasn’t working with a new process.

I-Improvable: To make this system improvable, Kyle suggests looking at the changes you’re seeing in the marketplace with budgets and competitors. Too often salespeople will wait for the environment to change before they do, but by building a market assessment into your monthly review, you’ll be able to make the changes today that will affect sales in the long term.

M-Measurable: To measure the results of your monthly check-in, Kyle says to look outside your own pipeline and instead examine the bigger picture. Measure the growth or decrease in potential market size for what you sell, and how much of it you’re currently addressing. Only then can you build a realistic picture for how you’re doing in your pipeline velocity. If the market has grown, then your conversion metrics around demos, meetings and quotes will shift as well.

Staying ahead of the rate of change isn’t hard if you don’t leave hope to chance.

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