In agency new business, like any sales operation, we need to effectively measure the performance of our teams. To do this effectively, it is always worth remembering the four cornerstones upon which effective sales are built. They are, of course:
1) ABILITY - The person undertaking the activity must have the raw ability to perform the task. Some people are inherently timid when it comes to picking up the telephone and cold calling a senior decision maker. They fee inferior or maybe a little ashamed. These people do not have the wherewithal you need and should not be employed in the first place.
2) KNOWLEDGE - Once you have a team with the right ability, you need to imbibe them with the product knowledge and knowledge of how to actually ‘make a sale’; teach them DIPADA or AIDA or SPIN if you like, but more importantly, provide them with the knowledge that will enable them to discuss marketing problems with the people you want to work with.
3) ATTITUDE - Now you have the right people (or person) and they have the right product knowledge and have been trained in how to make the sale, the next step is to make sure they have the right attitude; this is where most teams fall over because keeping a buzz going is an agency new business team can be difficult, especially if the team is a team of one poor soul left alone in a room with a telephone and a computer and expected to deliver the results!
4) ACTIVITIES - Now this is the really interesting one. What do we mean by this? why, those things many sales people HATE to be measured by. Tasks completed. How many dials are being made per day? How many Decision Maker Contacts (DMC’s or Effectives) are made and how many sales (or meetings) are arranged. These should be measured and compared on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and tweaked.
So, let’s take a scenario. You have a great person, they’ve been trained properly. They start well enough but it then starts to trail off. Their head’s down, the call rates down and guess what? meetings booked or sales made are down too. Where are the problems here? Well 1 and 2 are fine, so its 3 and 4 where the problem lies. Which do you tackle first? Attitude or Activities? I would say Activities. If you know that for each 100 dials you will make 10 DMC’s and arrange 1 meeting and your new business person is making 20 dials per day (because they’re SO busy “researching”), they will make 1 meeting per week. What if you want 2 or 3 meetings per week? Hey, as they say in the States “you do the math!”. That’s right, get them to make 50 dials per day. Or increase their Access rate of course (if their knowledge could be improved).
Once you have tackled the ACTIVITIES you usually find that they start to improve their own ATTITUDE because they’re back on a roll.
But be careful how you tackle this issue. You cannot simply demand more output. You need to carefully manage the situation or ATTITUDE will worsen and you’ll lose your highly trained talent and have to start all over again.
Which is why, of course, many agencies decide the whole role should be outsourced, NOT THE WHOLE OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT of course, just the UPSTREAM ELEMENT. Sales people are like wolves. They hunt better in packs.