So far in 2017, I have had numerous conversations with businesses owners and professionals about their Sales Pipeline, Prospect Portfolio and Opportunity Frameworks. It always surprises me that those who complain the most about them not being as strong as they want them to be, really haven’t given it much thought or investigated to see why.
I often see that the businesses that start scratching their heads during the first quarter of the year, have not really thought about their market, products/services, or their clients and prospects in much detail. In all fairness, just doing this might not put them ahead of the game with some competitors, but it could at the very least keep them on a level playing field.
Having conducted a brief review for some of them, I have seen that even though we know that planning ahead is important, many of them have taken their eye off of the basics of business development. Many firms are also (and quite rightly), embracing Technology and Social Media to help boost sales pipelines and assist their sales people in doing their jobs.
Ignore this at your peril, as I am a firm believer that as businesses continue to develop and invest in sales technology, they must ensure they combine this with tried and tested sales methodologies in order to achieve their targets for 2017. Many have forgotten that business is more likely to happen when you are;
- Having good conversations with prospects and current clients
- Investing in building long-term relationships
- Managing, Training and Coaching those in sales positions, to do their jobs
This must of course be backed by a robust sales strategy, and key to this is the investment in building good, strong, trusting relationships between prospects and clients.
I have certainly seen that many, innovative businesses are not only investing in sales technology as you would expect, but also investing in their people and are reaping the rewards. This is of course great news for the old school ‘salesperson’ (who I personally feel will never be fully replaced by technology) and for clients who like the personal touch of talking with a person Face 2 Face or on the telephone. Many experts predict that those organisations who invest in both technological sales development as well as the personal communication skills of their staff, will be the most successful in the long run.
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