How Not to Be Second In Sales

How to Stop Being the Second Best in Sales?

Usain Bolt, 30 years old Jamaican sprinter, is regarded as the fastest man on the planet. He is a nine-time Olympic gold medalist as well as holds the world’s record. According to him, there is a simple rule when you run a distance – as faster you run, as faster you reach the finish line. Being an entrepreneur or the sales representative means that you will always take part in the competition, too. As the experienced business consultants and sports lovers, we can see the parallels between the experience while running a distance and running a business.

As soon as you stand up in the same starting line with competitors, your secret of success can be an absolutely unique service or a niche market, a hard work, the best team or a well-organized sales process. But when Usain Bolt has been asked about how to be the world’s fastest human, he just simply replied: “I don’t want to be the second best”. So, if you have already made the decision to run a business, your choice is clear – you have to be the first one.

How Not to be Second in Sales - Finish Line

Speed up your sales process to be the first one

The time plays an equally important role in both cases: while running a distance as well as running a business. As business sales process means the specific, step-by-step actions made in order to close a deal, too long sales cycles prevent you from making the sales. Unfortunately, there are no precise rules, no clear diagrams or methodologies how exactly you should be doing things. However, there are three TOP negative factors (or we would rather say – mistakes) that might delay the closing process:

  1. Poor follow-up

One of the most frequent mistake sales reps make is the poor planning and lack of initiative. At first, sales reps usually think about their own sales steps instead of prospects. It means that sales team cannot control what is going on with a prospect after their sales steps have been carried out.

Let’s take a typical sales step within a Sales Pipeline named “Commercial offer”. The most common mistake made by sales reps is to send an offer to the clients and just do nothing by expecting to receive a positive response/feedback sometime later. Unfortunately, on the basis of various studies, the clients do not read an offer for the 10+ times by spending lots of time in order to make a final decision. At this case, the sales reps just simply lose the speed as well as chances to be the first one and sell while your prospect is possibly dealing with competitor.

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  1. Delayed evaluation

Each step and the whole sales cycle should be measured by time in order to immediately improve it. Just try to remember how time-consuming the qualification and closing stages are. In order to run faster, sales reps should determine the longest time spent at each stage of a sales process. Furthermore, only these steps which sales reps are able to measure by time should be set in your Sales Pipeline.

  1. Pending deals

Indeed, according to experts, the most of sales reps’ time each day is spent on hardly-closed deals. It means that these deals are suspended or marked as pending ones with many explanation tags within your Sales Pipeline. However, if you do not want to be second best again, get rid of it! Your sales reps should start to follow the approach “No more pending deals in my Sales Pipeline!” by focusing on the end results and enabled-to-close deals.

Empower your CRM software to be the first one

Client relationship management system (CRM) has proven very effective for many sales actions, but it is not enough to simply have it. No doubts – it is an advantage. But if sales reps spend much more time by receiving lower-than-expected results, it is time to reconsider your sales process management tool. The robust sales software solution is like your running shoes. You should feel comfortable by using it and the most important – it should help you to win! So, try to count how long it takes for your sales reps to answer the following questions:

  • How long does the opportunity stay in this step?
  • When the opportunity has been moved into this step and how long does it take in the previous one?
  • Which opportunity hasn’t been moved to the next stage today/this week/this month?
  • How long does it take to close an opportunity? Does it fit into your sales cycle timing?
  • What are the bottlenecks of your spent time?
  • What kinds of deals are pending by needing a quick attention?

If it takes just a few minutes to understand and answer it, it means you are already further in the sales run race compared with your competitors. Though it takes much longer, probably you need to spend more time in order to reconsider your current sales tools. To achieve best-in-class productivity, sales reps have to realize the need for a really easy to use and understandable CRM tool.

Old Sales Pipeline

Follow the best examples to be the first one

Here at Teamgate we have had a normal practice to prepare the various sales reports for the sales team, managers, board, investors, etc. during these last few years. As all these reports are automated, it is easy to show the reached goals, the forecasts, the status of lead qualification, the sales funnels, the sales activities and even more different insights needed on a daily basis. Anyway, we have had one issue which couldn’t be solved during this time. Therefore, we have tried to solve and handled it manually by losing lots of valuable time. Finally, we have decided to set a TOP KPI on purpose to make our sales cycle extremely shorter.

During this time our sales reps have been trying to report sales director with the status of opportunities, explain every situation and so on. Believe us – when you are doing it every day it is so time-consuming task. Finally, we came up with a simple idea to detailed show the each opportunity and its movement in a time perspective. Since that time, we have started to focus more closely on the opportunities.

New Sales Movement Pipeline View

With this absolutely simple decision, we have made our sales cycle two-time faster within a couple of weeks. Finally, we started to focus on the minutes instead of days or even weeks.

How to Stop Being the Second in Sales - Photo Finish

Related: 7 CRM Best Practices for 2017

Be the first one who crosses the finish line

To be a number one in sales depends on many factors, but you can start by following these described tips. So, in short, you are welcome to start with:

  • Set up your Sales Pipeline in the way which your prospects would buy.
  • Make sure you are able to measure the time for each of your sales steps. Don’t forget to set the time duration for each step!
  • As your Sales Pipeline should be clear and clean, try to avoid the pending deals.
  • Review the movement of your Sales Pipeline. Install TV screen on your wall with a live streaming – it really helps!
  • Split your products or services in a different Sales Pipelines.
  • Don’t forget to set goals for win conversion and try to beat 9 out of 9 record!

A free personal presentation: Learn how to win 9 out of 9 deals

Join Teamgate CRM Senior Sales Manager Amber Gintare for a free personal presentation and learn the best practices how to improve your sales process and to close more deals, faster.

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Marijus Andrijauskas

Marijus is the CEO at Teamgate. He's a Lithuanian native but always on the move - he works between Teamgate's offices in London and Vilnius.
Marijus is all about building new products and turning them into businesses. An expert in Cloud Computing and SaaS products, writing his deep insights on everything he thinks of worth mentioning.