This is an interesting question because most people will tell you to track sales results. Okay, it is true you need to track sales results to keep score on your progress and sales skills development. However, this a “lagging” indicator meaning it is after the fact and tells you nothing about the future.
Others will tell you to track activities necessary for sales results. Again, this is something you may need to track – especially if you are selling small or one call impulse purchases. Tracking things like number of phone calls, contact with decision makers, appointments with decision makers, presentations to decision makers and sales closed. These are great for transactional selling – making a sale – rather than gaining an account.
So what should a B2B sales person track? How about this…
Yes, tracking the future opportunities and sales objectives is what the best B2B sales people do. They want to know the difference between what they did in sales and what they COULD HAVE DONE. This is what separates the great sales person from the good sales person. They want to know what could have been sold if they brought their “A” game everyday.
The best B2B Sales people use future tracking tools. This includes things such as…
- Sales Funnels – I have seen large sales funnels filled with sticky notes showing prospects – targeted accounts, interviewing key players, discovery of issues and needs, presentation of solutions, and commitments to action, and signed contracts with budget approvals and checks written.
- Sales Pipelines – Another version of the sales funnel, this one is based upon sales objectives or opportunities and the sales process. The key to consistent sales success is keeping the pipeline full in all phases of the sales process. By keeping it full, there are no “dry” periods or roller coaster results due to “shortages” in the flow of business. This is an outstanding tool for tracking forecasts.
- Targeted Accounts – What percentage of targeted accounts are moving into the sales funnel or sales pipeline? A key indicator of the level of sales success is finding and winning more “ideal customer” accounts.
- Call Plans – This is a tool used by the best sales people to plan each sales call or contact. To have a business purpose rather than just dropping by to “build a relationship!” Without a business purpose for a sales call – the sales person is only “winging it” and really has no plan – only hoping for something to come up.
- Account Plans – This a formalized annual event (some do it quarterly) to forecast what can be done with each existing account in the sales portfolio. Growth areas are identified, areas where competitors are taking marketshare, and product / service mix is measured. Thinking about each customer or targeted account is first step to organizing a strategy for developing the business with each customer.
- Sales Objectives or Sales Opportunities – Here the sales person identifies what is the target sell for each customer or prospect. It is a form of organizing your thoughts about “who” to focus your sales efforts upon; who could and should be the decision maker; and whether to bundle or unbundle an offering. The “sales targets” are used to forecast probabilities of sales results as the objective moves through the sales process or sales funnel. This action can create forecasts that are highly accurate and reliable for both purchasing and manufacturing to use for scheduling.
The real question at this point is – How many of the above points are you using today? If you are not using any of the tools, then you have a lot of work ahead of you – if you want to be great in selling. Take the time to plan your future because in reality – you are creating your future if you use the tools above.
If you are still not sure how to use the above tools, call me at 901-757-4434. We can set up either a sales development session or I can coach you through any of the methods that fit your sales model.