Wayne explains that there is significant waste in most sales organisation. Recent research indicates that salespeople spend 60% of their time on non-selling activities.
He suggests that the sales process must address a number of questions to determine if we are adding value to the relationship we have with the customer and presenting something that is specific to the customer’s needs. If not by definition the activity will be wasted. Wayne details what some of these questions are and how they should be applied.
This is one for sales professionals, sales leaders, CSO’s, CEO’s and CFO’s who are striving to improve sales productivity, reduce waste and grow profitable revenue.
Wayne Moloney is a leading business strategist specialising in sales and business development. Wayne has a very specific specialisation in ‘lean selling’.
John: Wayne, in your mind, what are the sort of things we need to do to identify the waste? What are the areas of waste you see in a sales process?
Wayne: You know, it’s really interesting: recent research has indicated that salespeople spend as much as 60% of their time not selling.
John: And that frightens me, that sort of statistic. But it’s true, I’ve seen it!
Wayne: Absolutely, and it must frighten the sales managers and it must frighten the sales people.
John: As a salesperson if I’m spending 60% of my time not achieving anything… that’s a problem, isn’t it?
Wayne: Yes. So, it really comes down to how do you increase the amount of time that you can spend selling? Because that’s where the value is being generated. It really comes down to identifying as part of the sales process – and I use the term “process” again because this is all about having a replicable process – is having a set of questions that allows you to determine; “are you actually adding value to the customer and are you adding value to your own sales process?” Things like; “is it a real opportunity that you’re working on? “
Wayne: That’s absolutely critical.
John: The old qualification question.
Wayne: Qualification question, absolutely. We then need to look at; “are we actually adding value to the relationship we have with the customer?” “Are we presenting something that is specific to the customer’s needs?” To do that we need to have gone through a good qualification process and a good questioning process.
John: Good discovery.
Wayne: Discovery! Understand what it is that the customer’s problem is. Do they have a problem that needs to be fixed? Are they looking to grow their business? How can you fit in and help with that?
John: And nothing to do with product, right? This is all about being the trusted advisor again.
Wayne: Absolutely, a trusted advisor is absolutely critical in any relationship that you’re developing there. So, any area that you’re reducing time—even as simple as using technology. The amount of times that I see people will try and insist on having a face-to-face meeting when potentially a video meeting or a Skype call or something like that will be all that’s necessary. The customer will respect you more if you’re not wasting their time.
John: I see a lot of salespeople reinventing the wheel as well. They’ll create new marketing material, which should be somebody else’s role, or they’ll go and create a brand new proposal when there’s probably more materials they could extract and use and so on; lots of areas of waste.
Wayne: You’re talking about a process again, John, and that’s exactly what it’s about. The more you can have a process in place that is replicable – and again, I use the term “replicable” – the less waste that you have in that sales process. So therefore the 60% I mentioned before needs to be brought back to ideally something like 20%, because you’ll never get it to zero. But if you could spend 40% more of your time on the actual sale then how much more effective are you going to be?
John: And we’re not talking about becoming rote though, are we? We’re still talking about being very specific to the customer, getting a trusted advisor to the customer, and adapting what we’re putting together for the customer, specific to the needs of every single customer.
Wayne: Treating the customer as if they’re the only customer is really important, because that way the customer sees you as value in that relationship. If they see you as value in the relationship then they’re more inclined to spend time with you, giving you a greater opportunity to work with them and provide a solution to their problem.
John: Just make sure we’re doing everything in our power to create value on every interaction with the customer, and eliminate replicating stuff and doing stuff over again, and making sure there is an end result in sight – qualifying properly.
Wayne: Back to the simplicity of lean: value, reduce waste.
John: Thanks, Wayne! Great advice!
Wayne: Thanks, John!
John: Look forward to our next discussion.
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