Grab a ten-year-old and they can remind you of this important math concept: Any number multiplied by zero, is zero.
Somehow, however, many adults in the sales industry seem to have forgotten this basic concept. We’ve invested in sales technologies and tools and training that promise to increase efficiency, but don’t seem to move the needle when it comes to results. We get our salespeople doing more STUFF, but if it’s all the wrong stuff, it’s precisely the same as multiplying by zero. The result is zero.
Three ways your sales team is multiplying by zero
Collectively, our industry pours billions of dollars per year into attempting to make our sales forces more effective. And we are failing. Year after year for almost an entire decade, our effectiveness has declined, according to research from CSO Insights.
This, despite the fact that we have new gadgets and gizmos every year that promise to make us more efficient. We have auto callers that allow our teams to make more efficient use of their calling time. We use email automation tools to send out millions of sequenced emails. We have CRM plug-ins that keep track of our salespeople’s every activity.
These represent hundreds of opportunities to multiply by zero. Here are three ways your team is guilty.
- They’re making more phone calls per hour, but often to the wrong prospects. This results in low average sales, high loss rates, and lots of wasted time.
- They’re having more conversations that turn prospects off of the sale. Tools that free up time for more conversations are great, if the conversations are effective, but if your salespeople don’t have the right skills to have valuable conversations, it won’t do them much good.
- They’re engaging in more activities, but they’re the wrong activities. Email automation tools and technologies that automatically log salesperson activities can prod salespeople into doing more… but if the activities they engage in don’t move the prospect toward the next milestone or stage, then they’re also not going to move the needle. Your salespeople will be more busy, without being more productive.
I’ll bet if you think about it, you can name many more ways your salespeople are multiplying by zero. And I’m here to tell you that you probably don’t even know all of the ways they’re doing it.
How not to multiply by zero
In math, if you want to not multiply by zero, then you have to find a number that’s not zero. In sales, it works the same way. In order to make your investments in training, enablement, and technology pay off, you have to identify the activities and behaviors that are not zero… and then multiply by them.
Sounds simple. Of course it’s not.
In order to identify productive activities and behaviors, you have to understand what moves good quality prospects further along the buying process. And in order to understand what moves them along the process, you have to have good data. Reality check: Information about the number of daily activities each salesperson logs does not equal good data.
To get good data, effective sales organizations start with a sales strategy rooted in a deep understanding of the buyer. They operationalize the strategy with a clear, actionable, and dynamic sales process. And then they place that process into the daily workflow of each and every salesperson in the organization (using a tool like Membrain).
An effective sales process includes not only stages, but within each stage, it will contain milestones and activities tied to each milestone to guide salespeople through each stage of the process while simultaneously collecting data about the salesperson’s activities–not just the number of activities, but whether they are the right activities in the right order, with the right people, in the right accounts.
With your data organized in this way, it becomes easy to identify which activities and behaviors move prospects closer to the next milestone, and to identify which important behaviors salespeople are skipping or not doing enough of. You can also use the data to drill down and discover whether a behavior or skill (or lack thereof) is undermining a salesperson’s effectiveness.
Armed with this information, you can invest in training, enablement, and process improvements that genuinely move the needle. In other words, you can find your not-zeroes, and multiply by them.
What about you? How many zeroes are you multiplying by?
Contact us if you want to eliminate the zeroes and make your team actually more effective.