Having coached many startup founders and entrepreneurs; it is common to hear that sales and sales activity aren’t always given the fullest attention earlier enough in the process. Not having a plan can create a lot of mental noise. It causes them to doubt themselves and the effectiveness of what they are doing; or more precisely how they are doing things. Not surprising really, starting a business is not a path for everyone, and beyond having a good idea it requires resolve and determination, even then success isn’t guaranteed.
One of the core problems amongst start-ups I work with is they don’t give thought to what “Good” looks like in respect to sales activity. They haven’t considered how much business development activity is required to move the business along. It’s not their fault, not everyone that starts a business has a solid sales background to rely upon. It’s just they don’t know and no one has ever told them.
Quite often, it is far too late in the life cycle of the start-up when sales and business development get the real attention they require, often resulting in a lot of wasted time, energy and money.
The “Good” which I refer to just means the best practices and activities that if met consistently, will translate into measurable results. The “Good” in the sales environment is about understanding the amount of work necessary for each stage of the sales process and then undertaking it. It is the setting of targets for your activity.
Without creating targets you can’t measure your efforts. It becomes impossible to know if your current sales activities are enough to deliver the results the business needs to survive, because you won’t know what part of the process you need to focus on.
Not being able to objectively measure sales and business development efforts, essentially not having a plan to follow, can, and often leads to an increase in unhelpful mind chatter, that mental noise creating worry and doubt. Starting a business is challenging enough with all the uncertainty that goes with it without unnecessarily adding to the mix by leaving a huge aspect of the business strategy to chance. Managing the mind chatter is an important aspect of ones wellbeing, more so in the mind of the entrepreneur. I am a promoter of healthy mindfulness practices to my clients, including things like raising energetic state and setting enabling intentions but that doesn’t mean we can’t make changes to the way we go about our sales activities. Having a plan does reduce uncertainty, which lessens the noise in your head, less noise means more energy available to direct towards the business at hand.
Sales success is not solely the number of contracts you write, or the number of products you shift. That success is encountered by being successful in understanding how you got to sign the contract. Knowing what good levels of activity look like. It requires each of those steps to be defined as activities, and setting a target for that activity so you can measure the results.
When we know how many telephone calls, meetings, proposals and pitches we must make then we start working to a plan. And at first probably an inaccurate one, but as we carry out more of the activities over time we start to refine our understanding of the results we get against the energy we direct towards them. Suddenly a good week of sales activity is recognised by the volume of completed actions against your target, actions that drive the steps of your sales engagement process towards another signed order.
There is plenty more to be said on this and if you’re a start-up looking to reduce the time or complexity of your sales and sales process, or would like to understand how to instil a success based mindset in all that you do get in touch to find out more by clicking here.