Does this sound familiar? “We’ll need to talk internally, and then we’ll get back to you.”
Let me guess, you hear this right after you’ve finished your software demo and are trying to schedule another call. Am I right?
Keeping deals flowing through the pipeline is critical for you to hit quota and for your company to realize its revenue goals. However, preventing deals from stalling out and prospects from disappearing isn’t easy.
Too often, the prospect takes control of the sales process, and all communication ends up being on their terms, making it easier for them to procrastinate or opt-out of the deal completely.
To prevent this from happening, you need to know how to keep control of YOUR sales cycle and how to determine when it’s time to walk away.
Lately I’ve noticed a trend that I’m frustrated and concerned by…….people not doing what they say they’re going to do in the time frame in which they said they would do it in.
This isn’t just a professional issue, like the company I’m trying to do business with that says they’re going to follow up and doesn’t. It’s also happening in my personal life like with the guy I’ve been getting my mulch from for over 15 years who said he’d be here Monday or Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday and he’s still not here.
WARNING - If you found my last sports-related blog post 2 weeks ago boring and something you couldn’t relate to, I’m sorry, but I’m back with more leadership lessons from Big 12 Football.
Yesterday, Lincoln Riley, Head Football Coach at SEC-bound (not bitter) Oklahoma Sooners, announced that he was leaving OU for USC with NO warning, NO discussion, and NO explanation.
I started using #ownyourownshit about 5 or 6 years ago when I was in an environment where there were a lot of excuses flying around. The reality was, those individuals, the ones with all the excuses, could have controlled a lot more than they were taking responsibility for.
The majority of complaints I hear from sales reps revolve around things that they can control and either choose not to, don't know they need to, or don’t know how. Not knowing what the right thing to do is doesn’t absolve you from owning your own shit. If you are unsure of what the right thing to do is… ask someone who does know. When you choose not to take control of the things you can control and then outcomes don’t happen the way you want…..well #ownyourownshit.
"My 2nd favorite word is No!" That's what my former employee James was famous for saying. It's great when your prospect does you the favor of saying no, but most times their actions and words will sound more like, maybe. That puts the pressure on you to decide when a maybe is really a no. The trick is to be confident about when to pull the plug on a prospect and move 'em out. If you're not making forward progress with each call, email, or meeting then you need to stop and ask yourself, what are the chances this will close? Your confidence might wain at any time during the sales cycle from a cold outreach conversation to after you've sent a contract with Ts and Cs. You need to be able to identify the red flags that might pop up along the way and then take appropriate action to get the deal back on track or decide it's time to move on.
“Do the right things and the right things will happen.”
- Kristie Jones
I share this with founders, sales leaders, and reps on a regular basis. I truly believe that if each and every person does what they know to be the right thing then the universe will conspire to make sure the right things will happen. Things like financial security, success, promotions, work/life balance, and much more.
What’s the catch, you ask? Doing the right thing requires #Discipline!
“Chose Discomfort Over Resentment”
- Brené Brown
These are awkward times. You and your sales reps are still working from home. You’re being asked to think about equality and how that might change your leadership style. You and your team are under a lot of pressure to hit the revised (or not) revenue targets you’ve been given. AND the end of the quarter is just days away.
I worked for a CFO once who would regularly say, “That sounds like a broken process.” I got tired of hearing that, not because he was wrong, but because he was right.
I often get calls from Founders or Sales Leaders asking if I will come in and evaluate their sales reps. because they aren’t sure they’ve got the right players on the team. I gently say to them that I’d be happy to interview each rep., and provide feedback, but only after I’ve had a chance to evaluate their sales process. Most of the time I find the people aren’t broken, their sales process is. Without a formal sales process and KPI around it reps. will flounder and sales leaders will be frustrated and clean pipelines will be a fantasy.
I’m on a quest to help companies create an accountability culture. I believe a lack of accountability is affecting many company's ability to grow revenue, keep customers, and retain high performing employees. My quest to understand why creating a culture of accountability is so difficult led me to a place I didn’t expect - the realization that accountability is very closely tied to vulnerability.
As 2018 began to fade and 2019 was on the horizon, I realized that I was in need of a new "Word of the Year". I've never been a New Years Resolutioner, rather I enjoy using a word to help me stay focused. 2018's word was "Authentic". It had served me well, although I knew not everyone in my life had been a fan. As I thought about the challenges I had faced with my clients in 2018, I quickly realized that DISCIPLINE was going to be 2019's word.
Would you get in the car to drive to a place you've never been without directions, GPS, or Waze? Of course not. So why do so many companies think they can get to the "next level" without metrics, goals, or KPI's?
I'm seeing Sales teams without revenue goals, Marketing teams without monthly lead, MQL, or SQL targets, and Customer Success teams without renewal or up-sell goals. It's baffling. How do your employees know when they leave work each day if they have had a successful or unsuccessful day? How does the company know if they are on track to reach their revenue target for the year?