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Sales Conferences Often Miss the Mark

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sales-conferences

 

 It’s time-consuming and expensive to produce an effective sales conference.   Many see the single largest cost of sales conferences as travel, living and training expenses, yet the real cost is the sales lost when salespeople are in training!  For example, if you have 20 salespeople who each produce a gross margin of $2,500 per day, the cost of taking 20 people out of the field for a 3-day sales conference is $150,000 in lost profits!

So, how can you make your sales conference both productive and profitable?

 

Sales Conference Ideas

  1. Survey participants in advance of the sales conference to identify needed topics and outcomes.
  2. Plan out every element of the sales conference, publish and stick to an agenda and involve participants.
  3. Ensure that salespeople receive information and skills that help them significantly boost their sales results. Remember, good managers manage; great managers help boost the performance of their team members. Make sure improving sales performance is a key element of your upcoming sales meeting or conference (and feel free to contact The Sales Alliance for suggested conference topics and programs).
  4. Make the meeting fun and motivational. People learn more and are more attentive when they’re entertained and full of energy. Likewise, they sell more when they leave motivated and “pumped up.”
  5. Watch for hidden messages and inconsistencies. If you hope to communicate that your salespeople are important to you yet the company puts them up at Motel 6, are you presenting a consistent message? If you are hoping to help your newer people become effective yet all the “old timers” are the ones receiving most of the awards, what does this really communicate?
  6. Provide creature comforts. Having water, soda, coffee and snacks on hand ensures that people have what they need (yes, some of us are addicted to our caffeine or sweets!) in order to focus on the meeting topics. Providing plenty of breaks (not just a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break) allows people to use bathrooms, take medications, etc. at the intervals they need.
  7. Don’t overdo it. Marathon sales conference sessions generally receive negative ratings. Plan in time for fun, outings, dinners and drinks and never end the meeting past the published times on the agenda.
  8. Coach your presenters. Even the best content can be boring if presented poorly. So, consider having a “dry run” of your sales conference and coach your presenters to be  interesting and interactive (and contact The Sales Alliance if we can assist with this function).
  9. Provide take-aways such as handouts, reference cards, pricing guides and software. People are able to retain more if they have reference materials to both re-read and to refer to when needed.

 

Indeed, time invested planning your sales conferences, along with providing the best possible tools and materials, is likely to provide a high ROI.

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

 

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Measuring Sales Quality

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Measuring Sales Quality

 

We’ve all experienced the pain of “bad” sales. Indeed, not EVERY sale is a good, profitable sale or a good match with customer needs!  It’s also said “we get what we inspect.” So, if we don’t measure sales quality, how can we ensure we get the long- term benefits (e.g. more repeat sales, higher profit margins)?

 

Often lost in our sales measurement systems is the fine art of measuring sales quality, a factor that can have a major impact on customer satisfaction and future sales results. While our focus on the “sales numbers” can indeed increase sales, a decline in sales quality (e.g. over promising to get orders, rushing deliveries causing product quality issues, selling customers items they didn’t need) may occur and can lead to long-term sales declines.

 

In the longer run, these very sales quality issues can lead to suboptimal results, which in turn causes a vicious quantity-quality cycle.  This cycle has the potential to cause a downward sales spiral. Several enlightened firms are finding a balance between sales quantity and quality in order to achieve sales results and the long-term results customer retention.

 

Defining “sales quality” is clearly a management function, perhaps with input from employees. What constitutes a quality sale? Should there be a well-defined sales process that salespeople are motivated to follow? And how would a firm quickly determine shifts in sales quality? Does the firm understand the costs of a low-quality sale (e.g. higher product return rates, increased credits and refunds or a noticeable lack of repeat orders)?

 

 

Sales Quality Issues

Below are some examples of measurements and trends that can indicate sales quality issues:

1). The percentage of forecasted sales that close within the expected time frame is declining
2). Line items per order (or the dollar value) are decreasing
3). The percentage of customers placing repeat orders is decreasing
4) Gross margins are declining while instances of discounting are on the rise
5). Overall market share is declining even though sales are increasing
6). The percentage of customers who complain each year is increasing
7). The percentage of revenues generated from new (versus existing) clients is declining
8). The percentage of on time and accurate shipments has been decreasing
9). Product mix objectives are not being met
10). Undesirable salesperson turnover has increased while sales quality has decreased

 

Particularly during tough times when many markets are simply not growing, enlightened firms are expanding their market shares by redoubling their efforts to ensure their customers have a high-quality experience. Without a doubt, both sales quality and quantity are predictors of success and need to be continuously monitored to ensure optimal and sustainable results.

 

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA.

 

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