The Job isn't Started until the Paperwork is Done.
Improve your Profitability with Effective Sales Administration.
The average sales person doesn’t like admin. Like oil and water they don’t mix very well. The average sales person will write their weekly sales report on Friday afternoon just before it is due, get the CRM system up to date only when they are asked, make up the call report sheet to keep the sales manager happy and calculate their strike rate from memory, if they bother with that at all. The average sales person doesn’t like admin. Unfortunately the results from the average sales person are… well… average.
Some years ago I saw a cartoon on an office wall with the title “The job isn’t finished until the paperwork is done”. I am sure you have probably seen something similar. Actually in sales it is different. “The job isn’t started until the paper work is done”. Without the admin we are shooting in the dark. Okay we may hit something from time to time but we will miss more than we hit. Good sales coaching will fix this problem
The best sales people in the world understand that admin is the lifeblood of the sale, and the best sales people produce the best results. But we are not just talking about accurate invoicing here.
Before you meet a prospect you want to know as much information as you can. Where do you find this? In the CRM system. (Goldmine, ACT, etc.). If you want to measure your skills and watch them improve look at your Strike Rate. If you want more referrals or focus a sales drive on a particular niche market go to your CRM system but none of this can happen if your admin is not up to date.
Try writing your weekly report sheet at the beginning of the week and then use this to focus your sales activities. Before you start a telephone session make sure your call report sheet is complete and laid out in front of you. If you know who you will be ringing over the next hour and what you want to achieve from that call you will be much more effective. Only amateurs start a telephone session with the Yellow Pages open using a pin to choose your prospects.
What about sales forecasting? Professional sales people will tell you not only what business they did last month (or last year at this time) but also what they are going to do next month as well. This is not just guess work, however, this is accurate prediction based on a number of issues including seasonal variances, government activity, exchange rate trends and a whole range of other issues that can be predicated if we have kept accurate records.
Sales Managers have a responsibility here as well. It is not just enough to tell the sales people that they have to do their administration. Commission payments, performance bonuses and salary increases should be based, at least in part, on the accuracy of the sales persons record keeping. Sales managers should be insisting on accurate activity reports, strike rate tracking reports, weekly / monthly sales reports, customer contact reports etc
Administration and record keeping is as much a part of professional salesmanship as asking for the business and handling objections. Some sales people believe that sales admin gets in the way of the real business of selling, but the best sales people know that your sales admin will help to drive the sale to a successful outcome.
Richard Mulvey, "The International Sales Guru," has directly influenced over 140,000 business people over the last 15 years helping them improve their sales profitability. For more information and to receive your free 5 day sales training course, a free daily sales quote, or to read hundreds of sales articles, visit www.salescoachingworx.com. You can also follow the author on twitter (richardmulvey) or purchase his DVDs, Books, MP3s etc at www.richardmulvey.com. You may re-publish this article un-edited in any media as long as this paragraph is at the end.