Companies don’t fail because individuals in the company want to fail. Companies fail because employees don’t know what the rules are. Companies that are guided by strong boundaries thrive by developing prospects and driving revenue. Companies loosely run, fail. Here are the ten things you need to do to ensure your company is successful:
1. Provide strong direction in sales lead management regarding market definition, offer dynamics and media mix, then reinforce that direction with strong sponsorship of appropriate activities and campaigns. As basic as it sounds, we work with companies every day that do not actually follow-through on this.
2. Get strategically involved in the marketing and sales planning process. You will be surprised at how much impact you can have.
3. Make sure that each and every prospect or customer “touch” meets strict standards that support the direction you have provided.
4. Stick to your guns. Once you’ve made a plan, don’t change it based on a subtle market change or limited market research.
5. Hold marketing accountable for quality and value; make the sales force accountable for quality feedback and results.
6. Insist on regular, weekly reports. In most B2B companies the senior management team could and should review the status of every opportunity (their environment, what they’re doing, their pain, who they’re talking to). It would take just a couple of hours each week.
7. The sales force is driven by the “three C’s”: control, credit and compensation. Ironically, great prospect development programs are initially viewed as a threat by sales because of the “three C’s”. That is why you hear the following feedback on leads:
“No telemarketer can talk to the decision-makers I have to reach.”
“I was already in that account and already talked to that decision-maker.”
“The leads are really not worth what you are paying for them, just get me some names and I will engage the prospects.”
These are not destructive, conscious objections. They are a natural reaction to the historical state of affairs and, as such, need to be addressed transparently and aggressively. Eventually, great sales people become great consumers of quality prospect development.
8. Insist on training. Start with the basics. Insist on self-education and participation in local and national events. This is a high payoff activity.
9. Set realistic expectations regarding timeframes and deliverables. Everything takes longer than you think. Quick solutions may make you happy for the moment, but you will eventually pay a price. Don’t shoot the messenger who is trying to do the right thing and not the expedient thing.
10. Check your ego at the door. If something clearly isn’t working, cut your losses, make the changes and move on.