Client Story: Media – Cost
The Director of Sales had triple digit percentage growth targets and was missing them. The company sold on‐line advertising to businesses.
She said the reasons for her critical issue included:
- Conversion rate was very low because the team had ineffective sales processes, poor rapport building, poor influencing skills, poor questioning and closing skills.
- Because her sales people used a product focused sales approach they were not able to establish a value proposition and so there was both a high volume of and high level of discounting.
- The “sales processes” that were being followed were under the control of the buyers and with lack of questioning were therefore outside of her sales peoples’ influence. There was no consistent sales process and there were neither process milestones nor verifiable achievement of milestones. As a consequence forecasting was inaccurate.
- Morale was low and declining so staff turnover was high and sales activity was declining – her people were not spending the hours on the phone that they needed to in order to increase sales.
- The team leaders were new and young. Although keen they did not have the skills for effective coaching nor were they making the time to do it.
- In the past the Director of Sales had rolled out stand alone traditional sales training with minimal behaviour change or skill take up by the team and rapid extinction of any new behaviour that was taken up. Traditional training just did not cut it.
The Capabilities she said needed were:
- When in competitive situations the Director of Sales wanted her sales people to be able to draw upon the communication patterns of NLP to build rapport, relationships and become persuasive buyer influencers.
- She wanted her sales team to exert their influence skills while operating within a consistent sales framework that uncovered business value and sold benefits and value not products / features / functions. Rather than see the on‐line advertising as a cost her customers would see it as a high return investment in their business – so discounting would decline.
- She wanted her sales framework / process to provide some means for her sales people to control the sales process and through achievement of verifiable milestones accurately forecast the probability of closing and the close date.
- The Director of Sales also wanted any training on how to increase sales to “stick”. She wanted the classroom experience to leverage new learning technologies that would ensure new behaviours on the job.
- She also wanted team leaders to regularly coach the sales people to ensure new behaviours locked in on the job. She wanted the coaching to follow a consistent process that the front line sales staff would experience as useful and motivational.
- She wanted a business partner who would engage with her organisation and help her lock in changes and deliver measurable results through an integrated sales performance improvement project. She wanted a programme that would address sales management, sales coaching, sales process, sales skills, remuneration, rewards and recognition.
The Director of Sales said that if she could develop these capabilities she could increase sales and achieve her triple digit growth plans. Onirik helped her develop these capabilities quickly.
The results were fast and impressive. Team leaders more than tripled the amount of time they spent coaching. Activity levels increased – sales people spent 36% more time on the telephone and made more prospect contacts. Conversion ratio increased by more than 50%. Through less discounting and more cross sell and up sell the average transaction value increased by 42%. The project achieved a payback period of less than three months.
The Director of Sales said one of the best consequences of the sales performance improvement project was that productivity and effectiveness jumped so much that she could achieve her increased sales target with a smaller team. She was able to significantly reduce the sales team through natural attrition and still make target while delivering a higher return on sales expense.
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