How much does it cost to create a qualified opportunity in your business?
I don’t just mean the marketing cost, or the cost of the lead generation team, I mean ‘all in’. The whole engine, from the costs of recruiting, onboarding your sales team, training, managing, homing, travelling, equipping, supporting, marketing…..
All the time and money invested in creating an opportunity - honing a talent acquisition plan, nailing ideal customer profiles, developing sophisticated lead scoring cadences, investing in onboarding, even letting go those who don’t make the grade, it all leads to a number of qualified opportunities, that need to turn into a % of deals, at an average deal size to hit targets and quotas.
So turning those valuable qualified opportunities into customers with lifetime value is surely the one dial turned up to the max. It’s surely the one area above any other that we focus attention on making as good as it can be, recognizing this is where the game is ultimately won or lost.
It all comes down to the prospect interaction
It now all comes down to the interactions with the prospect - the calls, demos, meetings and emails. These interactions will determine the fate of that opportunity and there are millions of variables - asking the right discovery questions, identifying pain, aligning value, engaging decision makers, answering objections and so on.
Of course there isn’t a ‘right way’. It isn’t black and white. It’s subjective, personalized for all parties - we can’t say do this or that, but we recognize there are better ways and there are definitely wrong ways.
If you close, let's say 1:5 qualified opportunities, then on average (I appreciate not all opportunities are born equal), the dial has to turn from 20% to 100% during those interactions. Every moment that percentage is going up or down, every question and response is likely to move the dial and there is a finite period to get to 100%, time is always the enemy.
So why is so little time spent coaching these interactions? The very moments where the dial goes up or down by the actions and responses of the sales individual.
Littered with coachable moments
Listen to any sales call, conference call or demo and regardless of the experience and ability of the rep, you will find it littered with coachable moments. Depending on the talent and performance of the individual, these may be ideas or subtle differences, or mistakes and missed opportunity.
It isn’t just a manager or coach that will identify these - many can be identified by the rep themselves, self reflection without the immediacy of response required gives pause and opportunity to identify their own coachable moments.
And hopefully it’s also littered with playbook moments too - a great way of presenting this, top discovery questions, perfectly responding to an objection or commercial negotiation.
So why don’t we invest time coaching sales interactions?
Almost ¾ of sales manager spend just 5% of time coaching. They are literally prepared to turn a blind eye to each of those moments, letting them repeat themselves and failing to share with others ‘what great looks like’.
The key reasons are simple - overwhelmingly ‘lack of time’, potentially with issues of coaching ability and prioritizing the wrong things.
Fortunately it’s getting easier with tools to support and measure coaching - enable distance coaching, eliminating the need to ‘ride along’, bitesize scenario challenges, peer and self assessment. AI is helping making more of limited coaching time with transcription and automatically tagging ‘likely coachable moments’.
The challenges are diluting, whilst the impact of coaching time increases. Surely Sales Interactions is the one dial you have to turn up to 11?