This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).
From Chapter 4 – Metrics around objections and closing
Objections can’t really be measured as a metric in the sales process, but I do encourage clients of mine to track the objections they get. This can take place in the notes of a contact or in some other section of the CRM system, in notes to the proposal if this is possible, or in some central database available and accessible to all salespeople.
All of these places are OK; the best is the last since capturing objections will allow all salespeople to see what their peers have been up against in the past and to prepare for the next time the objections comes up.
In the case of the individual salesperson or product line, if a similar objection keeps coming up, this is a good reason to consider strategies for addressing it before the proposal is written, perhaps during qualification or needs analysis. This is discussed extensively in my first book, Mastering Your Sales Process, and is called Front Loading.
Front Loading means addressing parts of the process, those that normally happen later, at an earlier point in the process. Done correctly, this makes it more likely that time will be saved by discovering that the deal is destined to fail or to ensure that it will not by addressing concerns early rather than late.
For example, when a question comes up about a proposal, it is an objection. When the same question comes up before the proposal is written, it is just a question. To the extent that salespeople can anticipate objections or questions, they can encourage them to be addressed early. That is when the conversation is still cooperative, as opposed to the somewhat confrontational tone that some prospects (and salespeople) take when attacking or defending the specifics of a written proposal or price quotation (You can read a blog post about this idea here).
The closing of a deal is usually tracked as a function of the proposal or quote: Did it close and was it successful? Metrics related to this were discussed in the section on proposals, so we won’t go over them again here.
The sales process was defined in the previous chapter as “the right things for the salesperson do be doing,” but that the right things are identified is not enough. We have now identified metrics from tracking salespeople doing these activities, which is the perfect point of departure from which sales managers can do their work. This is the point!
If the goal is to get past managing only the end result of the sales process, someone needs to know what the salespeople are doing as they work their way through it, to hold them accountable for those sales activities, and to support them to either a higher level of performance or push them out the door if an adequate level of performance can’t be reached. The process and the metrics just discussed are the right vehicle for reaching this goal, but someone has to drive!
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!