Sales Revenue Growth: Why Accelerating Sales isn’t the Answer
Most often the idea of revenue growth gets tied up with somehow accelerating the sales process. I’d like to suggest that accelerating sales has reached a point of diminishing returns. Here’s why.
Transportation and communication advances have done a good job of taking latency out of the sales process, and in doing so they have accelerated it. But the latest advances in both transportation and communication have been hit or miss largely because they are also asynchronous and they don’t resemble face-to-face meetings in which people discuss things and come to decisions. So email, fax machines, instant messaging and so on all leave the ball in the customer’s court to be whacked back when and if the customer has some response.
Moving From a Sales Process to a Purchase Process
In this vein the sales process we all knew has become a purchase process in which we, the vendor, lack control and customers have not been automated. They still make mental calculations on which their decisions are based. We haven’t taken any latency out of the purchase process and accelerating that might be nearly impossible. Still there are things we can do to achieve the “moral equivalent” of acceleration.
A Tale of Two Pipelines
Consider for a moment a pipeline, not the metaphorical sales pipe but the plumbing kind. In fact let’s think of two. The first is the thinner one but both can provide the same rate of throughput if the thinner one has a faster flow rate. There are equations for this, but for now, please trust me.
In sales we’ve more or less always considered the thin pipeline model and tried to accelerate flow. Efforts to make the pipe fatter have usually run into trouble for one reason — the more deals in the pipe (i.e. the fatter it is), the more data there is to crunch and over time that becomes difficult. If all you have is your brain to do the crunching, there is (sadly) a practical limit to how fat your pipeline can be.
But what if you could make the pipeline fatter without the hassle of data management? Technically you can do this two ways, but only one is worth trying. If you just put more leads into the pipe, it will get fatter at the top but without enhancing the probabilities of success, you will simply work harder. The trick is to put better quality leads into the pipeline thus making it fatter along its whole course and not just at the beginning before all the time wasters are eliminated.
To do this, you need a way to weigh and score leads without personally doing all the number crunching so that you keep more quality leads in the pipeline. This amounts to comparing your sales history with your existing leads. You can learn a lot from your past successes so why not take advantage of all the historic data you have in your CRM or SFA system?
As the quarter rolls on, very often we see sales groups narrow down their focus to the few deals that they promise, promise, promise will close on time and at the predicted revenue level. Ha! This narrowing introduces a great deal of risk into the sales equation. Instead, why not find ways to keep as many deals in play as possible throughout the quarter?
Using this modern technology will enable you to maintain a larger portfolio of higher quality deals. With more and better deals in the pipeline, thanks to scoring and predicting accurately, you can get the fatter pipeline that you want that leads to the enhanced revenue generation you need without taxing your brain. And the end of quarter surprises might turn out to be more positive than not.
Image Credit(s): thomashawk