Hunters en farmers
Clients often tell the consultants at Business Impact Training: ‘We have more farmers than hunters in our company. How can we generate more in terms of new business?’ In many organisations we also notice that employees are very proficient in terms of their service provision, but that this hardly leads to follow-up contracts. We do our thing and then ... nothing! In other words, the challenge in our opinion is to make teams more competitive in the market. We look for analogies with top sports; how do athletes get the most out of their talents and what can commercial teams learn from this?
Top sports mentality
Establishing routines is one of the main aspects for sports people. This is how they develop the training- and competitive skills. Systematic performance routines, such as visualisations, help to develop the right mental-emotional state of mind which is required in order to perform at the top level.
First and foremost, sportsmen and -women develop specific routines for training. These routines are important in order for the athlete to get the most out of the time available for training. Think of the body check, for example: how do the muscles feel, what type of warm-up is best? At which intensity level do I train, and how is my breathing during such training? Sportsmen and -women also have routines before and during games. The right nutrition, control of the sports attributes, the warm-up phase and the use of tactics. Therefore, they commit to a certain mental and physical toughness in order to fight throughout the entire match or game.
What is needed for a commercial team that performs at optimal levels?
In this respect we also deal with the three aforementioned elements: what does the preparatory phase entail, what can we do before and during the contact phase with clients in order to maximise the likelihood of success? In a workshop with a cross section of employees who were involved in commerce, we ascertain the major steps in their sales process: where does commerce start, what are the major phases of the process and when does it end? The results at one of our clients were as follows:
They then determine which routines belong with the steps. They therefore give substance to the efforts that must be made in the relevant phase of the sales process and regarding how this must be recorded internally. For example, in the phase when the proposal is presented to the client:
- Customised introduction of our company
- Determine the DMU and roles
- Retrieve the decision-making criteria
- Retrieve the budget
- Draw up a competitive matrix
- Record all data in CRM
By jointly establishing the steps in the sales process for the relevant organisation and accompanying routines, we can equip the sales team to such an extent with respect to attitude, skills and structure, that the sales team will also be able to master the alertness for sales opportunities to a tee, in addition to the contextual expertise, with the ultimate result of higher sales figures and margins. They plot their strategic clients and prospects in the sales process directly, based on the results. Where are we currently at and have we taken all qualitative steps to get the maximum out of this phase?
Specific agreements are now in place within the team and therefore the commercial actions also involve uniformity. This is how you create a self-directed team which, like the team portrayed on this page, knows exactly when and in which way to act effectively and efficiently. In addition, management has better control of the commercial progress and one is provided with insight into the competences of the team. In which phases do we always succeed well and where are we less successful?
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