Redundancy. A painful process for anyone. Often it comes out of the blue with no warning.
So many businesses are reducing sales staff levels due to the pandemic, very often when an sales person is faced with redundancy they ask themselves “why me? What did I do wrong? I was bringing in revenue, hitting my numbers, I don’t get it”. I often hear “could I have done anything that would have helped save my job?”
Well it can be a head scratcher for sure. Sometimes the decision has been made nothing can be done. This can lead to those people affected going through a form of the bereavement cycle with phases of shock, denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance all playing their role.
My question is, can sales people actually do anything to help themselves from being considered for redundancy? Is there a way to make themselves more valuable? even dare I say indispensable when the axe is floating over their job?
The answer is yes. Evidence of activity.
As a sales person and a sales trainer I have worked with thousands of sales people, and in many cases they don’t measure how good they are above whether they are hitting their quota or targets. To me this is odd, for years when I was an employee; I was constantly measured in different areas of sales success. I would like to share with you some of these, as they can act as evidence and proof of what a sales person has achieved or not, and regardless of redundancy situations it is always great to measure and evidence our successes.
- Activity vs. Productivity
This metric looks at how effective a sales person is at covering their market and how well they are doing at getting in front of the right people.
Activity is simply outreach, an example market place has 3 thousand businesses, the sales person works out how many calls they need to make a day to cover the market, and they go for it. Call logs act as proof, and sales people can look at year on year activity and demonstrate how well they have done.
Productivity is the number of meetings or calls they have made where they get in front of the decision makers and have a sales conversation. By dividing the number of meetings by activity calls we can calculate a strike rate. 25 meetings from an outreach of 100 calls give a 25% strike rate. Nice metric to build on.
- Sales Conversion Rate
How many bookings/sales has the sales person made as a result of a productivity call or meeting? I am constantly baffled that so many sales people cannot tell you their overall conversion rate. If a sales person makes 10 productive calls/meetings in a week and 2 of those result in a booking or sales then the sales person has a 20% conversion rate. If the week after they do another 10 meetings and 3 book they are on a 30% conversion rate, and so on. At the end of the month they can do an average and track their progress.
- Conversion Rate by Client Type
Using the same metric as before, only this time broken down by new business/cold calls, existing clients, lapsed clients, non-regular clients whichever the business has.
By segmenting in this way, a sales person can show their targeted skills as a new business generator, or an account manager or even a rescue ranger sales person who can convert unhappy customers back to the business.
When a sales person faces redundancy and they are the strongest in new business generation, as an example, it can be hard for a business to let these sales people go. The same could be said for any of the other client types depending on the business.
- Time to convert.
How long it takes from initial contact to RFP and Presentation to a sale/booking. What metrics does the sales person use to actively qualify clients? Do they know how to keep a sale progressing? Do they have multiple contacts at a clients business? Has this time span got longer or shorter and what can the sales person evidence as their proof of the time to convert improving.
- Client Facing Time
Which sales person spends the most time in front of clients either on the phone or video or face-to-face? A highly active sales person is so much more valuable than a sales person who spends too much time slogging through a CRM or a spreadsheet. Updating a CRM and filling in spreadsheets is for sales support, sales people need and want to be selling. Yes I know that having an up to date CRM is important, but it is not everything.
- Client Advocacy, Recommendations and Testimonials
Businesses that have an active strategy in terms of gaining client testimonials and recommendations are very successful. Any sales person who truly believes they are making a difference by selling their products will have no problem asking for a testimonial and for that client to refer them on where possible.
Having a measurable strategy to get these can really show which sales people are performing, after a testimonial and referral is a form of social proof.
- Sales Person PR activities.
Do you have specific sales people in your team who are more proactive on social media? Do they post updates on your business, do they promote the business activity, and do they engage with new contacts and potential clients on social media? Do they actively network using their own initiative, promoting and giving the business a ton of free PR? After all, your sales people are walking talking living adverts fro your business. Or do you have a sales team that do none of the above, come to work do the minimum and go home. I would find it very hard to make redundant a sales person who, for want of a better word had my company running through them like a stick of rock.
When a business is presented with a redundancy plan and sales people are measured against each other, it will be the sales person who can actively evidence and prove all of the above as well as their numbers who will be more likely to be safe. It is not a guarantee of course, sometimes companies just close down and makes everyone redundant so that’s life, but even in those circumstances, these measurement, evidence and proof can be used to secure the next sales job.
Finally, any sales managers out there looking to manage more effectively will also employ these techniques in order to effectively manage the performance of their sales team.
Learn to measure what matters most. Start the process today.
Thanks for reading, Sales Training and Sales Management Development should be a constant in every business, to find out how I can help your teams get in touch with me Simon@seriatrainer7.com.