by Andrew Milbourn, CEO of Kiss The Fish
I often get asked how a CEO or Sales head should target their sales team members. It’s a fairly easy question to answer but the most important aspect of all is actually quite difficult for people to get their heads around it.
At Kiss The Fish we think we have cracked it and in a way that no other sales consultancy even tries. The most important element of sales targeting is this:
We (and all salespeople should) exist to help our clients hit their targets, not to hit our own. Why? Well because if we help our clients hit their targets, it is inevitable that we will achieve ours and then some. It is our purpose, our mantra, and our USP.
Salespeople should work harder to understand how much money their products make for their clients, or if they are selling a service, then how much actual benefit (in man hours & in reputation protection) do they provide compared to any competitor?
You see we all know that selling is a problem-solving process, but sales heads often fail to adequately define what problems their products actually solve. In nearly every case where I ask if a client knows how much actual benefit they provide their clients, they simply haven’t got a clue where to start. It is because they simply don’t know their client’s business’s very well, and they have never bothered to investigate how much money their products are really worth to them.
Even questions about the real value of a product aren’t asked in sales meetings. So often salespeople get hung up on price because a buyer buys a far inferior product or service at the lowest price possible (and you can’t blame them for doing so). Asking a new vendor to match a price is inevitable if a buyer is worth their salary.
So how do we solve this problem? Well, firstly it would help if the CEO/Sales Director started asking some really important questions of their most loyal clients. “Why do you buy from us?” is a good place to start. Questions such as “What happens in this business when something doesn’t turn up that you are expecting?” (If selling a good service on delivery) – and ‘How much in £££’s does that cost you? – or “How much does it cost you when someone lets you down?” etc.
Questions that dig into the real value are key here and not just the obvious ones. Have a conversation about what the buyer says they need. If they need next-day delivery or special terms, ask them why? If they’ve never been let down, then explore whatever they say is important (it’s never just price).
So how should we target salespeople? Well, start with a “Big Hairy Goal”, or BHG. Let’s be as accurate as we can be about how much money we protect our clients or even make for them.
Of course, you need other targets as well – regular monthly revenue and yield targets but that’s easy to do, it just takes time. Remember, a target should be linked to a reward, not necessarily a financial one, but a reward that is genuine, nonetheless.
If you can focus your sales team (and your business) on a genuine quest for customer curiosity, I guarantee that you will sell more and at better rates than you have ever done.
You’ve still got to sell against a lower-priced competitor, but people don’t buy cheap stuff and they don’t want to buy cheap stuff. If you’ve got a client who doesn’t see the need to pay for your service level or product quality, then you may indeed need to start with a negotiation that includes a lower price BUT(and it’s a big “but”) remember that in a negotiation both parties move. I would suggest that you have a ‘special rate’ for anyone who needs a product comparison, and you can dress this up as a 2022 special deal available to new clients. Price match for three months to win the order to tell people that after three months the price will go up (you’ve got to be firm here) and tell them that it is 2.5% above the standard rate for the rest of the year. Obviously, they will buy you and after three months want to keep you but say they won’t pay the higher price. So, it’s a negotiation, you can lose the 2.5% or stagger the rate increase over the year but once they’ve sampled how good you are, they will be stupid to cancel the ordering.
Now remember that in any market at least 10 – 15% are “price stubborn”. That is, they simply will buy something at a lower price either for ego reasons or they are targeted to do so (procurement people sometimes are). But that leaves 85% of the market for you to sell value to.
Remember, your sales team exists to help your clients make more money or be more successful (whatever that means for them). So, your first and primary target for 2022 is to “find out how much you really benefit your clients” and try and put a £££ figure on it. It will change your business & seriously upgrade your sales!
If you want to discuss this further, I’m happy to offer any CEO a free consultation on the phone or on Zoom to discuss how they can hold their teams to account.