Consider this; you’re the one responsible for bringing on new business, you’re boss oversees your sales efforts as well as all other business performance.
As a result, your boss looks at the bottom line performance of sales, which means what’s been sold this month.
But when you don’t hit all the expected sales goals for the month, can your sales efforts still add value to your firm?
That would be a resounding yes. Read further.
Benefits Beyond Signed Contracts
Here’s how sales efforts add value beyond signed contracts, they can:
- Develop customer relationships for continued contact after the bid process, and that:
- Gain the pre-bid info needed to win the contract
- Build brand reputation through a great showing as a 2nd place finish in the bid process
- Gain industry knowledge of market pricing & common issues facing other prospects
- Raise customer awareness to your firm’s abilities as a potential alternate
Marketing through Selling
These benefits are significant to contract service firms.
Why? Because traditionally many of these activities would be carried out by a fully staffed marketing department.
However, the norm for contractors in the facility service industry is to carry selling personnel, and not specialized marketing resources. So, marketing falls on the shoulders of the sales resources.
Gaining Recognition for Marketing-Selling Efforts
This academic understanding probably doesn’t help you with your boss.
Here are a few thoughts about how to bring your boss up to speed about your contributions that don’t immediately show up in signed contracts.
1) Make it Personal
Bring your prospects in to meet face-to-face with your boss, either to your offices or at a lunch. Even though these prospects may not have signed a contract you can make it tangible for your boss by showing these people really exist.
Your prospects will appreciate the time and effort you’re showing them when they’re not an immediate contract. That’s relationship building, isn’t it?
2) Take it to the Trade show
Bring your boss to a trade show where your prospective customers are exhibiting. Let your prospects know you’re coming so they’ll be aware.
Introducing your boss to your prospects at their trade show will definitely make it more real for your boss. Additionally, your prospects will be that much more impressed with your commitment by coming yourself and bringing your boss.
3) Create a Pipeline Scale
Moving prospects along a path to an eventual signed contract can take years.
So define the steps it takes to get them there, and then show your boss so she/he understands the steps in the process.
Define the major steps, three minimum, but no more than five. Keep it so your boss can easily understand. Clarify in writing, and in your mind, what it means when a prospect is in a particular stage so there’s a minimum of ambiguity.
Color code the thing, or assign symbols, or name levels. Whatever it takes to make your boss understand quickly and easily where prospects are in the process. Remember, your boss is busy with many other aspects of business performance as well as monitoring your sales.
4) Report Pipeline Status Frequently
Frequently and routinely publish and report on the status of prospects in your pipeline.
This means creating a simple 1-page pipeline report (of course tracking status within your CRM, ACT or Outlook) and presenting briefly but concisely in regular meetings with your boss. Best not to wait for a quarterly review. Better to present monthly, if not weekly.
5) Don’t Fake It
Save yourself the aggravation of over reporting a false optimism. Be brutally honest with yourself first. Then report that concisely to your boss.
Once you recognize the true state of prospects in your pipeline, you’ll be motivated to take action and won’t have to wait for your boss to tell you to.
Good luck & good selling (inside and out)