Sales Process is Vital – Michael Bosworth nailed it
In the heart of Silicon Valley many years ago, Mike Bosworth delivered his views on the structure of business selling, in his usual entertaining style, to an audience of software sales executives. As author of “Solution Selling” he had staked out an elegant sales process that business solutions companies could use to increase sales success. One slide from his deck still sticks in memory:
Question: “What is the average tenure of a sales Exec/manager?”
Answer: “22 Months”
The next slide, somewhat tongue in cheek, was:
Question: “What is the average tenure of a CEO?”
Answer: “44 Months”
The point of this comparison is that sales failure is often blamed on a manager or VP – and things often work out that way. However the top gun – let’s assume it is the CEO, can only play that card once. Then a second period of failure will lead to his/her departure. However, people and their capabilities are only part of the problem – the tools and the processes are also critical, and they can be inspected in simple doable ways to forecast failures, identify causes, and fix them faster with the team you have.
Small businesses have a particular challenge – the CEO is often the founder or owner, and cannot afford to endure 2 full cycles of sales failure – never mind 22 months x2. Even 12 months x2 is enough to kill most small businesses. The leaders have a vision for success, and they want to succeed. In my experience this means finding out each month what is working, what is not working – and making plans to succeed with the team in place, or make team changes rapidly with a clear set of new assignments and/or new goals.
As it happens, Mike Bosworth nailed it. A lot of selling success is NOT about having the best sales people on the planet. It is driven by having a process for managing sales time to increase effectiveness, reducing stalled deals and lost deals. It is also about competitive differentiation, and market targeting choices, product choices, and partner choices. Small business owners need a model for success, with dependable questions they can ask their sales people, support people and their customers to find out if they are on the path to success, and make course corrections before a year (or worse, 22 months…) of selling time is proven to be unsuccessful.
This blog is for small business owners and managers, aimed at the needs of “sales-focused professionals” to work with prospects and grow revenues. Topics we plan to cover include:
– The 4 foundations of revenue growth
– Success story – Changing sales roles without changing people
– 200 sales conversations – only 24 hours in the day
– Ask different questions – seeing Stalled Deals before they stall
Our aim is to pass along tips you can use to grow your small business, sharing a world of tested ideas about sales, positioning and product management strategies.
And – there’s more! Some Big Deal sales humour – the Mainframe video: