In this issue ....
A salesman’s worst nightmare is the administration of a CRM and the paperwork he/she assumes follows. The truth is no company runs well without a handle on the sales opportunities. While it is hard enough to schedule production and deliver it. The predicting of Sales is certainly the most difficult task of the two. Most resistance to CRM's is the discipline it takes to use it to its true potential and most CRMs feel like major overkill. So is there something simpler?
In custom integration, opportunities rarely just happen out of the blue. The process of client engagement, discovery, scoping and design/proposal often takes weeks if not months. So, what is the best way to track opportunities? And, what should we really know about each of them?
A simple log can tell us a lot about what might happen. You might include:
Enter name of client below
Date of first meeting
Date given to design
Date design complete
Date proposal presented
Estimated Project Total
Wish factor (1-9)
Even with several salespeople, this is not a lot to information to track. Weekly review of the activity with notes is a good practice.
But there may be more strategic information needed. See in many organizations, there is not a proposal reviewer, so each salesman is essentially out for a pass.
The proposal reviewer is a checker. Checks for profit, solid design, specifying of products we support or have in stock, for timing fit into the master schedule, so on and so forth. Leaving out this step in the process will yield lesser results.
So, what strategic information could be collected. You might want to know the following:
GROSS MARGIN % B4 Labor Costs
LABORS HOURS ESTIMATED
CYCLE TIME FROM MEET TO CLOSE
Every proposal must meet a profitability standard. And the hours estimated is key (it should follow a desired labor mix higher than 30%; multiple the hours times your typical billing rate to spot check the mix). Also, seeing the pattern of terms for deposits and subsequent payments might surprise you and your people. Keep the number of terms, you use to a minimum for everyone’s sanity. Cycle time from 1st meeting to close is important to know. How long does the typical deal take to close? In Excel this calculates for you based on the 1st met and close dates.
What you learn from the opportunities you create can be transformational, if you let it be.
Use a simple worksheet like this one and you will influence the pace and selection of your projects in a much more effective manner. Good managing and Good selling!