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Focus your energy – get the most out of new sales

I’ve had so many conversations recently about the challenges clients have with their sales teams. It’s very easy to become reliant on returning customers- even in fast-growing companies. But there are many ways you can reassess your sales structure to make winning new sales less complicated and more efficient. 

New sales are intrinsic to your company’s long term plan, as well as helping it grow. But winning them should not cost you the earth.  Sales teams can often become bulky and inefficient – inefficient, as described by Justin Roff-Marsh as meaning that if you double your sales team, you will not double your revenue. Many sales process can actively encourage you and your team to waste efforts. Restructuring your sales can be massively helped by refocusing on exactly what success means for your sales team. 

Sales should not be a set back 

Sales can’t be the only step in your business growth journey, but it should be a step, not a setback. It needs to be a move forward, and if it is not doing that for you, it isn’t a success.  I’ve seen so many companies feeling like the sales function is not so much driving the organisation to the moon as dragging them down or costing money. I chatted with Justin Roff-Marsh on The Melting Pot in the original lead up to his trip to the UK (postponed by the lockdown his UK workshop is now taking place on 26 May.) He affirmed increasing sales is not a growth strategy: “If it is a fundamental component of the growth formula, then you’ve probably got something wrong ….if your business isn’t growing without sales, it may not be a sales problem. It may be a design problem with your product, or a problem with your delivery.” This is beyond important we need to be moving forward in a structured but dynamic way in all areas. 

Change how you look at sales 

Looking at ways we can make sales more of an asset to our growth strategy, we need to change the way we see the role of sales. Justin’s methodology based on his book The Machine is full of radical sales ideas that just make sense. Let’s forget we ever invented “qualified leads” – why do we sanction the art of only chasing potential customers who are ALREADY planning to buy? Your sales team should be about reaching out to people in your market who are NOT already intending to buy. Justin points out that we often lose track of where the skill is in selling: “The role of a salesperson is to go and find people who aren’t planning on spending money with you and convince them to.” 

People already planning to buy are not the focus of the sales team. If sales comes down to processing a payment, it does not need to be done by your most expensive people, and it would really be a waste of time for your start sellers. I am by no means saying that this easy- the exact opposite- I know it’s hard work that I know you that your star sellers will be A-Players with real talent. But make sure you’re making the most of it by helping them focus on the right customers. Justin Roff-Marsh adds that top sellers should not have a double-digit percentage win rate. He’s an expert in the area and knows that the best sales teams should be aiming high and working hard- but in the right areas.

The right targets 

It’s often that your current system may be overcomplicating sales and preventing you from focusing on the right area. You should not measure your sales team on revenue (retuning sales are not their wins). They should focus on new sales and as little else as possible (not admin, not “qualified leads”). This will be a difficult process, but this reimaging sales purpose can help you restructure to be more efficient. A good step in this direction is making Sales Director’s targets focussed on Net New Customers. 

Focus sales efforts 

I’ve run a 22 person field sales team, and I completely understand that finding an efficient focus can be exhausting – but that’s where Justin’s methodology can be invaluable. Use a proven set of steps to re-order the process one step at a time to overhaul your approach generally. 

The other area that Justin and I agree on is the importance of transparency. How valuable are all of those sales meetings expensed around the country? Justin thinks people should be on the phone and not in the field. I agree entirely with him; I’ve managed a field sales team and spent most of my time trying to work out what they were actually doing. Here’s hoping we can move past this as we adjust to a post-pandemic workplace – do you really need a mobile sales team?

Building, restructuring or rebuilding a sales team will be hard work. But so is trying to keep hold of and lead a company with a sales team that’s wasting its own energy. Funnel your energy into a methodology that allows you to gain more from your efforts. If you would like to learn the possess directly from Justin Roff- Marsh, you can attend his UK workshop on 26 May.

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