Frustrated With Long Sales Cycles?
As I talk with customers, industry thought leaders and other product and service providers across the country about the recovering economy and the staffing industry as whole, one common theme has emerged; order activity has picked up but customers are “dragging their feet.”CEO’s, executives, sales and recruiting professionals alike are frustrated with what little results they have to show for all of their hard work despite the significant increase in order activity. The sales process continues to be plagued by delay after delay and move at a snails pace.What is one to do?
I figure the timing couldn’t be better between this revelation and the fact that I am hosting a sales training workshop on this very topic at this week’s Staffing World hosted by the American Staffing Association in Las Vegas. The topic: How To Manage The Sales Cycle and Close More Deals Quickly & Efficiently.
What I have come to realize in our industry is that our sales process can be described as a random sequence of events.We get a job order from a customer-either over the phone, via email or in a client meeting-post it to our internal CRM system and the job boards and write it up on our white board in our office for all to stare at -and then we simply focus on finding and submitting candidates.Beyond that we have no clue as to what needs to happen in order for our deals to close. We just hope we submitted the most qualified candidate for the job.Many of the common sales bottlenecks and major points of frustration occur when we try to get feedback from our client’s on the candidate resumes, when we try to schedule interviews or when we try to get feedback after an interview and/or attempt to get the client to make a final decision.It’s one delay after the other.And we all know time kills all deals.So what is one to do?How can we prevent these delays and keep the process moving forward? First we must understand the problem.
The problem is twofold.First, we focus exclusively on the tasks that WE have to complete and far too often fail to recognize, understand and appreciate the tasks that our client has to complete in order to hire our consultant or temporary employee.This is why I typify our sales process as a “random sequence of events.”After we complete all of our tasks (take job order, screen candidates, interview candidates, reference checks, etc..) we stop selling.We go into “wait and see mode” and hope to hear back from the client because we think once our candidate completes the face-to-face client interview that we are now at the end of the sales cycle.We’re not.And that leads me to the second problem. We stop selling.We stop selling because we have completed all of our tasks in the sales process but we fail to understand and recognize where our customer is in their purchasing process.
In my workshop this week I am going to be sharing with the group how and why we need to continue to sell well beyond the submittal and interview process. We’re going to explore all of the steps or tasks that a typical client has to complete in order to hire a consultant or temporary employee and why it is critically important that we understand these steps. Second, I’m going to share how you to lead your customer through their purchasing process by applying project management principles. Third, I am also going to share strategies on how to eliminate these bottlenecks. In the end, the group will discover that the sales process is your customer’s purchasing process and that you earn commissions based on what your client does, not what you do.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.