HARDISON’S TIPS – THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2020 – Effective Sales Planning (Part Two)
Creating and maintaining your system is a matter of following several specific steps.
Here’s the process:
1. Create a list of the categories of information you’d like to have.
2. Working with one category at a time, brainstorm a list of all the pieces of information you’d like to have within that category.
3. Develop a system and some tools to help you collect that information.
4. Store it efficiently.
5. Use it regularly.
Begin listing the kinds of information you think will be most useful to you.
Think about your job and determine what kinds of information you’d like to have to help you deal effectively with your customers. Here’s a partial list that would fit most salespeople:
• Information about your customers and prospects.
• Information about your competitors.
• Information about the products, programs, and services you sell.
You may have a number of other categories, but this is a basic list with which you can begin.
Once you’ve categorized the kind of information you’d like, you can then:
Think about what information would be ideal to have in each category.
Start at the top and work down. Look at customers and prospects first. What, ideally, would you like to know about them? Some typical pieces of information would include information about the account’s total volume of the kind of products you sell, the dates of contracts that are coming up, the people from whom they are currently buying, and so forth.
All of that seems pretty basic. However, most salespeople have no systematic way of collecting and storing that information. So, while you may occasionally ask a certain customer for parts of it, you probably aren’t asking every customer for all the information. And, you’re probably not collecting it, storing it, and referring to it in a systematic, disciplined way.
Do you think your competitors know exactly how much potential is in each of their accounts? Do you think they know other pieces of useful information, for example, how many pieces of production equipment each customer has, and the manufacturer and year of purchase of each? Probably not.
If you collect good quantitative marketing information,
you’ll be better equipped to make strategic sales decisions and create effective plans. For example, you’ll know exactly who to talk to when the new piece of equipment from ABC manufacturer is finally introduced. And, you’ll know who is really ripe for some new cost-saving product that’s coming, or the new program your company is putting together.
You may currently be doing a so-so job of collecting information. It’s like golf. Anyone can hit a golf ball. But few can do it well. Anyone can get some information. Few salespeople do it well.
Step Three: Develop a system and some tools.
The single most effective tool is an account profile form. It’s an incredibly effective tool that generates and organizes some of the most powerful processes.
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