In most companies the sales function carefully scrutinizes its success, which is generally determined by driving the sales number—revenue. Unfortunately, these companies view the path to sales success in the same singular, formulaic fashion. Sometimes we need to look at some other aspects of customer acquisition to improve the success rate.
It is unusual to find a company that hasn’t figured out their sales formula. The formula simply starts with a total number of suspects, of which some will translate into prospects and with a subset of the prospects converting to customers. It’s not uncommon to hear things such as 10 suspects will lead to 6 prospects and result in 2 customers. Unfortunately, once developed, companies focus almost exclusively on increasing the suspect number and let the rest flow through the process to achieve the desired results.
Companies need to focus on other areas in the sales process. First, we need to investigate the suspects that are dumped into the sales funnel. How can that number be increased, but more importantly, how we increase their quality? Do we need different or better lead generation programs? Next, we must look at the conversion rates, from both suspect to prospect and prospect to customer. Careful investigation at these conversion rates can yield important information, such as poor product-market alignment, feature deficiencies, poor product messaging, inadequate sales training, and a variety of other issues.
Sales is a numbers based business, but let’s not fall into the formula trap. Incisive analysis can drive revenue numbers skyward.