Recently I was reviewing several account relationships and the current sales process with each account. While involved in this exercise I was careful to watch for certain triggers calling for my immediate actions to keep the accounts moving toward the commitment phrase.
Essentially there are five signals I look for during any account review. These signals will create reasons for a customer call or additional research about the customer. So here are the five signals for you to review on your accounts…
Five Signals for Sales Process Actions
- Missing Information – Yes, this one is obvious. If you have a account record or special information tracking sheet with blanks – you have missing information. The more critical a piece of information is the more urgency is attached to the need to uncover this data. Names of contacts, decision makers, influencers, users, coaches, blockers, product lines, locations, divisions, etc. This list can be very long or short depending upon the size of your average sale and the length of the sales process or anticipated contract. The most important thing is to know your customer better than they know themselves.
- Uncertainty about Information – This one has a few contributing factors. First, your “gut” or the little voice inside your head begins to question the accuracy of some information. Second, conflicting information given by different sources in your sales process. Third, public information (newspapers, Google, trade publications, press releases) have conflicting information or changes from your initial information source. The key here is to start a dialogue with people inside the customers organization to get the real answer.
- Any Uncontacted Buying Influencers – Here we are looking for names and positions of people who could influence the direction of the sale. Influencers come in different forms, locations, titles and power. However, in the business to business sales arena, these are the people who make or break a sales process. If you miss contacting a critical influencer, they will show up to block or slow your sales process at some point prior to closing or gaining commitment to move forward with the project. Make it a regular or routine step to identify all the people who will be involved in the evaluation phrase of the sales process – it will improve your odds for success.
- Any Buying Influence New to a Job – This one is huge. Watch for any new people hired or transferred into a critical position of influence to your sales process. The entire direction of your sales process could change based upon this new player coming into the process. Early in my sales career I lost a very large account the day before the contract was to be signed due to a new player coming in at the 11th hour who possessed more power than the current decision maker. If I had known about this new player and set a separate interview with him prior to the contract closing commitment, then I may have been able to change the outcome.
- Reorganization – Any time a reorganization is announced or happens at a customer’s organization it is an immediate signal for you to schedule multiple appointments with the current known players in the process. You must assess the impact of any changes and the impact upon your sales process. A reorganization can have a positive or negative impact upon your success. A positive impact could be combining divisions or departments where you are already involved as a partner, or a key influencer or decision maker who is your champion takes over a new area you are targeting for growth. Negative impact is your champion is removed or transferred leaving you to start over regarding finding someone to support your efforts inside the customer’s company. Or, in some cases a reorganization will consolidate authority at some central location far away and leave your main contacts powerless or having no to little buying authority.
There you have the five signals that trigger immediate action in your sales process. Watch for these signals all the time since they have the power to make or break your sales success.