The question went something like this 'Why are we having difficulty selling our technology products?'
'That's a really good question.' I replied
'What type of person do you look for when recruiting a BD. AM or Sales role?' I asked.
Inevitably, each of the execs told me they recruited someone with a high level of technical ability, someone who understood the technology and could 'talk tech' with their target clients.
'That's what most technical companies do.' I said. 'Is that strategy really going to deliver the sales breakthrough you're looking for?'
'Please tell me more'. The execs excitedly exclaimed.
'I think its about the sales fundamentals. I said. 'After all, technology doesn't sell itself. It requires a professional with a high level of skill, focus and tenacity.'
'Would you like me to share my 5 secrets, on how you can increase engagement and sales performance?'
Now I had their attention!!...... Each of the senior execs invited me to share my secrets.
So here are my 5 secrets that I think technology companies tend to ignore.
Secret #1 - Call Targets
When I asked these senior execs about what call targets the set for Sales, BD or Account Managers, surprisingly, there was very little process around call targets. If you want to engage with the market and the decision makers you need a robust and targeted call plan.
Secret #2 - Quote Rates
I mentioned to these execs that they needed to ensure they had the right sales people calling on the right clients. So, unless your Sales team are quoting at least two out of three sales calls, then you need to ask yourself 'Am I getting value for money?'
Secret #3 - Sales Conversion Rates
Is your sales team merely dropping-in to see clients for coffee and attending those costly industry functions? If so, are they making a real contribution to your business? To help you measure whether you're getting value you need to monitor the conversion rate from the quotes your sales team generate.
Secret #4 - What Sales Revenue Should Be Generated ?
Did they, for instance, have sales people who sold at rock bottom prices without making any contribution to the bottom line? How did they calculate what revenue and contribution had to be generated to cover each sales persons TEC?
I recommended that the execs start measuring this without delay.
Secret# 5 - Its About Contribution
Sales leaders need to ensure they have an understanding of the margins and the bottom line generated by each individual - and the entire sales team. They need to understand which sales people are productive and which ones need further coaching and assistance to generate profits.
To a tee, each of the execs I spoke with invited me to talk to them more about getting the selling fundamentals right. After all.... technology doesn't sell itself