Entrepreneurs that are big on ambition and small on staff become singularly focused on the top line, the bottom line, and most of the lines in between! The empire that will emerge in the foreseeable future must make payroll again within the next two weeks. That reality means sales must keep coming. Whether it is the boss primarily, the duly appointed sales leader, or the overextended sales team, no one sings unless the cash register rings. Or more practically for business-to-business environments, the sales process must proceed to the point where additional business results from consistently successful sales efforts. That takes work. Ultimately, talk is cheap. Commitments count. Prospects who are really customers are what matter.
The 3 P’s
All sales planning and preparation fundamentally depends on a process. As badly as entrepreneurs want to delegate this function, effective leaders can only distance themselves from business development for certain periods. When payables start running close to receivables, then it is not one of those times. Sales professionals are notorious for being overly optimistic. They are supposed to be. But, talk is cheap. Lost opportunities are extremely expensive.
Successful entrepreneurs demand sales discipline when achieving growth targets! Consequently, accountability to the process is paramount. All sales efforts continuously trade time for opportunity. The more time spent on poor prospects, the less opportunity for paying prospects, also known as customers! Talk is cheap, but the time spent engaged in it soon becomes costly. Only results matter. Consequently, prioritize time toward prospects likely to deliver commitments. Successful entrepreneurs must enforce this!
Why do commitments count? Clearly, prospecting activities require connecting with targets that may not result in business. Princesses have to kiss many frogs before finding the prince. While that metaphor is true, please do not kiss the frog, take him home, make him breakfast, and beg him for another date. It is still a frog! Successful sales require discernment and efficiency. Prize those traits.
To develop discernment and efficiency, successful sales professionals must quickly and persistently practice trial and error. To recognize opportunities that lead to commitments, the sales team deliberately and expediently attacks the marketplace. Yes, it is difficult. It is also necessary. Where a sales team is involved, fast learning requires communicating and sharing best practices. Tools help. Attitude succeeds. Teamwork matters for organizational success. The entrepreneur leading the enterprise values the time, efficiency and teamwork. As market-facing contributors, successful sales professionals must value time and cooperation, as well.
Success depends on efficiently securing sales commitments. Communally, sales professionals must spend the most time on activities yielding the greatest return. Particularly, in entrepreneurial enterprises every effort must point toward specific business development results. Sales professionals must measure and manage critical goals. Preparation is essential. So, is efficient harvesting. Regardless of the organization’s size, effective sales professionals must make commitments to their skills, and their results. Value all time investments. Commitments count. Close deals. Grow! Win!
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond