Sales leaders are in a constant search for a larger number of better qualified leads and more new business. The hunt for a better way, a more effective sales technique, a killer sales script, better meetings, an improved sales process is never ending.
So numerous times sales managers and reps are asking themselves “If I changed X, would it help?” A better question would be “If I changed X, would the sales juice be worth the squeeze?” Would the reward be worth the effort?
Every sales organization and sales rep has limited time and money. There is a return on investment equation on every change, be it tweaking a sales script, cold calling, modifying your target list profile or trying new strategies in managing your sales pipeline help or hurt? And, is it worth it to even try?
A Sales Cost Far Greater Than Time or Money
There is a far greater cost to getting the squeeze equation right than a lot of time and big bucks. That cost is opportunity cost. Everything you do you do at the expense of something else. Choose to try something new in an area that is unlikely to make a big difference and you neglect improving something that will help. Try new things but don’t transfer the lessons learned to the sales team, your team will make those mistakes over and over again at the cost of new business.
Are New Sales Tactics or Strategies Worth the Squeeze? Some Questions to Help.
Have previous sales process initiatives improved your results relative to the competition?
Here is where it gets uncomfortable. Everyone is working hard and doing their best to improve. If you can look at your past history and see that changes you have made have vaulted you ahead of your competition or peers, that should give you more confidence in your judgment. However, if your sales team results have been relatively stagnant for a period of years, or if you are a sales representative that has not increased earnings in say the last 3 years, then you need to take a second look at the change equation.
If previous “improvements” in sales tactics have really not helped, you may have to look into the mirror first and challenge your thinking before jumping into yet another change initiative that is unlikely to work.
If your sales tweak or change doesn’t work, what is the worst case scenario?
Some changes, if they don’t work out, don’t cost you much. Maybe some time and a bruised ego. But other changes can cost you substantially if your assumptions prove incorrect. If there is exposure to a costly negative result, think of ways to test on a limited scale before rolling the dice on a jackpot.
If your sales initiative is a bust, do you capture the lessons learned and teach them to your sales team?
Anybody that is consistently a top sales producer or successful sales manager can share numerous mistakes, bone headed assumptions and “good ideas” that just plain flopped. Trying something new that doesn’t work at an acceptable cost is never a problem, if, if, if, lessons can be learned from it and not repeated.
The lack of sales juice can be worth the squeeze if a valuable lesson can be learned that is not repeated by your sales team. Engaging in no-probability and low-probability sales behaviors is costly.
There is an old saying about the salesperson that has been selling for 10 years and has one years’ experience. Failure to learn from mistakes holds you and your sales team back.
If your new sales tactic works, is the reward worth the effort?
This is the flip side of the risk equation. Some things, even if they “work,” simply are not worth the effort. Example: I get a lot of calls about sales scripts. Many times I have to deliver the bad news that improving their sales scripts is not the best use of their time or will make no difference in results. Why? Well, if you are calling a lousy list, haphazardly, without follow-up, and have too many small accounts that churn frequently, better scripts are not going to help you and not where you should be investing your limited time.
If your new selling technique works, would you with some degree of confidence know that and then be able to act on it?
You try something new and it works first time. Great. Doesn’t mean that you should have confidence that it will work again and again and again. Likewise, just because you try something multiple times and it hasn’t worked yet should not necessarily lead you to the conclusion that it is not the right thing to do.
How many times do you squeeze before deciding whether it was worth it? Answering that question correctly requires a basic knowledge of probability theory and the laws of randomness, sales experience and sound judgment.
Here is a clue. If you have a history of changing things frequently… scripts, call process, approach to first meetings, managing your pipeline, yada yada yada and relatively speaking you haven’t been moving the needle relative to your competition or your peers, I would bet that you bop around and try new things haphazardly without giving the effort sufficient time to really decide whether it is helping you or not.
So, will the sales juice be worth the squeeze?
Be honest with yourself about whether your sales behaviors and decisions have substantively moved the needle relative to your competition or your fellow sales reps.
Get a handle on the potential reward if it works. What impact will it have on the bottom line?
Accurately assess the worst case scenario. If something is going to take too long or cost a lot before you know whether it works, you may not want to roll it out to a hundred person sales team and just keep your fingers crossed. The cost might be too great. Think of ways to evaluate the improvement and limiting the downside risk.
Do you and your sales organization learn lessons from missteps and communicate them to the team so that they are not made again?
Hope this article has helped you to squeeze in the right places and reap plenty of sales juice.