Track Leading Indicators to B2B Sales Success

One of the most interesting topics about goal setting and achieving greater results in upcoming quarters is to be tracking specific indicators. Now the truth is – most b2b sales people (and sales management) – are only tracking lagging indicators. Thus, a lack of predictability of achieving any form of serious growth goals and objectives.

Most people are tracking their sales results and possibly their gross margin data, however, these are all lagging indicators. Meaning these data is found in the history statements of what you have done and there is no way to change the past.

Leading indicators are those specific guides or triggers – usually related to your sales process – which then followed lead to certain levels of success. And, tracking your leading indicators every day will lead to greater success and sales results.

I first discovered these leading indicators back in the late 80’s when I was still doing activity based sales (the traditional model of selling). It was a simple system for tracking my personal results. I basically tracked five things – 4 leading and 1 lagging indicator.

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Are You Lowering Your Hunter Instinct?

I’m having more discussions recently with b2b sales people about how they have no time to find new business opportunities.

Personally, I find this an excuse used often since most sales managers – who have no time – can relate to the lack of time for doing anything else. Thus, the sales managers accept this excuse as a real reason.

Well, again, I feel it is an excuse. An excuse that can limit our sales growth and if you are currently losing a number of customers due to downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, or worst to bankruptcy, then you will have a even larger issue very soon. You will be unable to hit your numbers and people will notice.

So, what should you be doing?

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Two Methods for Using Business Letters

Got some questions from sales people asking about how they should use business letters or direct mail in their sales process?

This is a great question at this time since most b2b sales people think the only thing working today is email. Email is a great tool for immediate responses after you have made contact with a customer or an existing customer who uses the email as an electronic delivery service and a paperless “green thing.”

Email is great for transacting current business, yet, it is not easy to use for prospects or people within companies you have not done business with in the past. In fact, the CAN-SPAM Act has made it a very expensive legal issue to use unsolicited email to individuals or companies. It can cost you up to $10,000 per emailed account – so beware of sending out unsolicited emails.

Business development or prospecting can be very effective using the old direct mail process. Today, direct mail is making a comeback since most people are not using it properly. In fact, it is pretty simple and there are only two true methods in my opinion to use direct mail.

These two methods are…

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10 Things to Learn at Your Prospects Website

So you have found a list of potential customers or a book of list or some other source of prospect leads, what do you do now?

The first thing is to compare the companies on the list to your ideal customer profile and the preferred market or vertical markets who are better suited for your products and services. Discard any companies on the list that are questionable based upon your criteria. If they are larger, public companies, then check them out against sources such as a Hoovers or Dun & Bradstreet (I know D&B owns Hoovers but they keep them separate) or some other independent business research service.

Now for the fun part, it is time for you to check out the prospect companies website. A simple AND difficult process – depends if a company is less than sharing of their information on the web. More often you will find a treasure chest of information on these websites. In fact, there are 12 things that I look for on these sites – and you should look for them also. Here are the big twelve…

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Segment or Rank both Customers and Prospects for B2B Sales Success

I get a very questions from B2B Sales people about the ranking of accounts including prospects. This is a fundamental exercise for B2B sales people and it is based off the Ideal Customer Profile. Every existing account and prospect should be classified or ranked according to some standard. The standard is determined by either the company or the sales person.

Here’s how it works. You refer to the Ideal Customer Profile and review what the best customers traits. What sales level do they attain every year, quarter or month. How often do they purchase? Is it daily, weekly, monthly or once a year? How many product lines or SKUs do they purchase? These are simple analysis that every sales person should know well.

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