Sales Momentum. The most important thing for a sales person to have. Sales Momentum is also one of the hardest things to gain, and the easiest thing to lose. Do nothing and it’s gone. Work hard, consistently and you’ll hopefully create enough individual snowflakes they eventually create an avalanche.
Focus on small gains to build sales momentum in your sales funnel
Selling, in the purest sense, can be boiled down to transfer of emotion. As long as you believe your solution will benefit the customer and create value / utility for them. Then all you need to do is transfer this belief to the person(s) making the decision on whether or not to buy.
A sales person with a string of recent successful sales has recent evidence to support their belief in what they are selling. They are regularly speaking to satisfied customers and people they have helped. Therefore they’re able to emotionally convey the product benefits far more effectively to the next person they talk to. They’ll be brimming with excitement and have a wealth of anecdotes illustrating product success which display social proof to their next prospect.
So momentum counts for a lot. But how do you create it and how is it even defined in the context of sales?
Selling, in the purest sense, can be boiled down to transfer of emotion.
Measure, Visualise, and Understand.
Momentum is a function of mass and velocity. Thinking in terms of a sales funnel these equate to Volume, Conversion and Velocity. Focusing on those three key aspects day-by-day are going to allow you to build sales momentum over time.
- Are you investing enough in effective marketing and outbound sales to create quality leads?
- Are the salespeople then giving these the proper attention to maintain them as active? (And are unripe leads going back into marketing for nurturing?)
- Are you collecting and measuring leads from all possible sources?
Volume of leads is clearly very important. It is where a successful business will see the greatest growth over time. Assuming you can grow the number of leads entering the top of your funnel, without sacrificing the quality; your revenue will also grow as this larger volume of leads is converted.
- Do you know the length of your sales cycle? How does it vary? By account? By salesperson?
- Are the separate sales funnel stages clearly defined and are you continuously learning what it takes to move a prospect through these stages?
- More importantly are you seeing leads move through these stages from week to week?
Knowing the average length of time it takes a lead to convert into a sale, and the characteristics that identify it, are crucial at each stage. These will give you an idea of how salespeople are performing and a base to benchmark improvements over time. The next step is to know what contact is required to convert leads to their next phase. Does a specific article or white paper help them to convince key decision makers in their organisation? Will a well timed phone call persuade them to take a product demonstration?
Do you have the tools necessary to view the conversion history trail of your sales opportunities through funnel? This allows you to identify historic conversion drivers and track current leads.
- Are leads being converted through the stages, to a final sale, at the optimal rate?
- Could they be moving faster?
- Should they be moving slower? Counter-intuitive, but what is the speed that closed deals move at? Skipping prep work with the customer usually bites you just before contract stage…
The longer it takes to progress through the funnel, the more sales resources it takes, and thus a higher cost of sale. Conversely, moving through the funnel quickly may seem great but if you have a high margin product or a recurring revenue stream, are you creating long-term brand advocates? It may be worth spending longer on the sales process to ensure they are completely satisfied with the result. Similarly, a longer sales cycle allow sales representatives to take a more creative approach and put together a more lucrative deal. See my blog article on Insight Selling.
The key to building sales momentum is a consistent and on-going cycle of measuring, testing and measuring again. Each time getting closer to the optimal recipe for volume, conversion and velocity. This recipe differs from business to business. As you develop this process you’ll begin to attain a picture of what a healthy funnel will look like in the context of your company. Sales Managers will also be able to visually recognise when a salesperson is underperforming and identify what may be causing their unhealthy sales funnel. With a well illustrated funnel this will be possible more accurately and earlier in the sales cycle.
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Photo: by CC-BY-2.0 Kamyar Adl