Are You Following Best Practices, or NEXT Practices?
Any business-to-business sales organization that subscribes to the concept of best practices may be behind the times. It is far more profitable to be concerned about next practices – in other words, what’s coming up next. The manager of a business-to-business sales force should ask him/herself “What’s next?” or “What’s new?” on a regular basis.
By constantly focusing on what’s next, you will be able to align your organization’s resources to capitalize on the new opportunities coming down the pike. I don’t believe there has ever been a time in the history of sales where so many new products, services, concepts, etc. have been available for us to market. Unfortunately, many of us are rooted in following the best practices of the “good old days”.
The best practices many of us follow were first established back in the 19th Century! In today’s environment, those best practices could drive your organization’s productivity and profitability down. So, let’s take a look at some of the next practices that are producing incremental profit and success for many business-to-business sales organizations.
- Dedicated Prospecting Department: Without doubt, one of the next practices that will significantly impact your sales results is to have a dedicated prospecting department. The purpose of this department is to 1) build a database that is accurate and 2) book appointments for your sales team.
- Territory Analysis: Past best practices have caused many sales representatives to create and manage a book of business, which provides them with a satisfactory income. However, this practice does not encourage salespeople to go out and find new accounts. Therefore, I suggest you separate all of the accounts in your marketplace into two huge categories: active accounts (those people currently buying from you) and prospects (those who are not).
- The territory plan that seems to work very well as a next practice is to assign all inactive and/or prospective accounts to a different set of salespeople. The job of these people is to open these accounts and get in the door. By “building around” your existing team, you are able to create much greater territory penetration and, ultimately, profit.
- Compensation: A next practice for compensation is to create compensation plans that pay the sales representative relative to the growth he/she creates within their territory. This may be a pay-per-click compensation and/or a plan that pays against the percent of quota or goal. Absolute comp plans (those that pay a percentage of every dollar coming in the door) contribute to the stagnation of an organization’s growth.
- Recruiting: A next practice that should be embraced is the need to constantly recruit new salespeople. Get out and find salespeople in all areas. Bring them on board and show them how to make money for themselves, as well as for you, as quickly as possible. This may require that one of your next practices is the creation of a novice training program.
The world is changing very rapidly. Dwelling on best practices is a mistake. Rather, let’s start looking at next practices, get out ahead of our competition, and enjoy the future as it comes at us at unprecedented speed.
If you have any questions regarding these concepts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
GOOD LUCK & GOOD SELLING!!