Just in case you’ve never watched any of the Terminator films let me give you a quick rundown. Big computer (Skynet) goes mad, tries to kill off mankind but is thwarted by plucky Americans and/or killer robots sent back from the future. I bet if you haven’t watched the films you’ll be scheduling a trip to Blockbuster on your way home tonight. I certainly hope so.
So what’s the connection with sales? Well our heroes had worked out all they needed to do in order to save the day was destroy this big computer and everything would be all oojar cum spiff but sadly they had a nasty surprise coming their way in the final film of the trilogy: there was no super computer; Skynet was the Internet and was actually made up of millions of small computers dotted around the world. Major bummer when you only have a couple of sticks of dynamite in your pack.
So back to sales then. I find time and time again that leadership teams feel they can solve their business development woes by the equivalent of killing Skynet: strategic reviews and sweeping initiatives. The poor old client-facing types have a grand unveiling of yet another BD initiative followed by the usual dismal drift into obscurity: “one more BD white elephant”. The answer is not doing big things but the exact opposite: taking care of the ground level details.
So what should you do? Well here are the top three components that I believe will help to create a strong foundation on which you can construct your grand business development edifice: –
- Sales meetings: not talking shops and not informal gatherings but rather they are structured, highly controlled and very focused on inching individual prospects closer to a sale and making sure our clients are being cared for consistently.
- CRM: without a widely adopted CRM system you will not be able to manage large numbers of prospects efficiently and neither will you have the necessary management information to run the sales meetings. Oh, and “adopted” means utterly depended upon by the way.
- Pipeline: almost everybody in sales reckons they run a pipeline model but when you look at it the thing actually turns out to be list of companies they’ like to do business with. A real pipeline model is a finely tuned people-focused instrument that enables you to partition your prospects, monitor their conversion into clients and ensure that your time, money and resources are all focused on the targets where the best results are to be gained. A world apart from the traditional “pipeline”.
So the Big Sales Myth has been blown away: there is no BD equivalent of Skynet so best not go chasing around killing people and blowing things up looking for it. The answer to your problems is to spend some time (and NO money) getting some simple things in place.
Hasta lo vista baby!