IT Staffing Sales Effectiveness
Sales best practices for improving sales win rates, shortening the sales cycle and increasing overall quota attainment. Sales strategies to make revenue growth repeatable, and scalable
By far, the most important phone call or conversation that IT staffing sales professionals engage in is the candidate interview feedback call. This is the conversation in which the salesperson speaks with the customer to get their feedback on how the candidate interview went and attempts to close the deal. After all, this is the conversation where “closing” truly does take place. Either the client says “yes” and decides to move forward with your candidate or, they say no, resulting in a longer sales cycle and/or lost opportunity. In this blog I’m going to share with you best practices to executing the candidate interview feedback call and share with you some tips for how you can improve your interview to offer ratios and ultimately your sales win rates ratios.
If you have been in sales long enough, especially IT staffing sales, than you know there are a lot of reasons, reasons outside of our control for which deals can blow up and fail to close. But there are other reasons, reasons that are within control of the sales rep for why deals don't close. I’m going to share with you what I have found to be the most common reasons (that are within the control of the sales rep) for why sales reps can't close deals.
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Finally! You hang up the phone and look at your notes. You’ve been working for (what feels like) forever to get into this account, to get this manager to work with you and now you’ve got an order. All that’s left to do is to get it in the system and get it in front of the recruiters. But wait, after all this work are you certain that this order is ready to put in front of your delivery team? Will it best represent the needs of your IT hiring manager (and your reputation!)? Nothing will derail a salesperson’s efforts faster than losing the faith of the recruiting team. Are you even certain that this is a real order? Is this supporting your new Account Development goals? Here is a quick guide to make sure that your new job order has the commitments from your client to ensure a positive outcome and win the minds of your delivery team. The 7 Commitments are important in gauging how “real” a job order is and ultimately ensuring your job orders are qualified. You need to verify the commitments in every conversation, using various and differing approaches. If you don’t have all the commitments, it does not mean you should not work the job order, it means you should figure out how to get the client committed.
As it turns out, a lot actually. My brother introduced me to the T.V hit series Mad Men at the conclusion of season 3. I breezed through those first three seasons via Netfix in just a few weeks and haven't looked back since! What's not to love......sales, an over indulgence of booze, crazy corporate shannigans and brilliant writing. Oh, I guess there is a fair amount of sex not to mention adultery. But if you can get past that last part I assure you you will learn something about pitching a deal and sales closing.
In my blog posted earlier this month, I shared Three Simple Tips For Sales Negotiation. If you have not yet read that blog and sales negotiation tips 1-3, you can click here to do so. Let me now share with you sales negotiation tips 4-7.
While the hammer (the hard sell) at times may be the easiest way to go about a negotiation, it is often not the most effective. And you can't continue to rely on the old stand by, you know the one.....the "take away." So you need to have multiple sales negotiation tools in your sales negotiation tool box. Here are a few tips to help you fight off pricing pressureand help you maintain gross profit integrity and keep you smiling at your ATM machine!
How in the heck can two sales people who work for the same company and sell the same services to virtually the same customers have such a large disparity in their gross profit margins? I work with IT staffing and consulting firms all across the country and I run into this scenario quite frequently. One rep can consistently generate GP margins north of 30% while another struggles to close a deal at 25%. There are a number of reasons for how and why this happens. Let me share some insight and hopefully help you optimize your gross profit margins.
I have been hearing from a number of folks in the IT staffing industry that they're seeing a significantly higher proportion of perm positions vs contract positions. In one extreme case I even heard a company who said they've been getting about 20:1 perm to contract client requirements. For those of you who are seeing a high percentage of permanent positions to contract opportunities, here are a few things to keep in mind. Who are you calling on, HR or IT executives? You're not going to find the consulting opportunities calling on HR. And they certainly are not going to share those opportunities with you if they have them (without a prior relationship). Make sure you're calling IT decision makers. Also, be sure to call VP's on the business side-Sales, Finance, Supply Chain, etc... They hire consultants too! Are you properly qualifying your accounts? Do you understand the business opportunity for IT consultants in your accounts? If you do and you are qualifying your accounts then why aren't you seeing the contract requirements? Are you asking for contract business? "Fill the permanent positions, and then we'll give you the contract business." If this describes your situation then be sure to get something in writing that highlights exactly how much contract business you will "win" and be sure to qualify the process for doing contract business with the client. Remember, buyers will tell you what you need to hear in order for them to get what they want. I have seen plenty of reps get burned by this. Marketing and messaging: If it is contract business that you want than why aren't you selling and positioning your firm as a consulting firm? Better yet, why are you agreeing to take on and work the perm positions when you in fact you want contract business? Perhaps it is because you don’t have another opportunity to turn to? Get out there and prospect! Don't "settle" for the perm business, have the courage to walk away from and find a client who needs to hire consultants. One of the best parts of being in sales is you get to pick your customers! The clients I'm working with are seeing plenty of IT contract opportunities. What is everyone else out there seeing?
Greetings and happy Fall! This month I turn my attention to talk about responding to RPF’s and participating in bids. I see a lot of organizations in our industry exert a lot of time, energy and resources ($$ and manpower) responding to RPF’s only to get little or nothing in return. I have spent a large part of my sales career “elephant hunting” for winning large global accounts and I have a learned a few lessons. Going into all the details would be impossible but let me share with you two rules that you should keep in mind when evaluating and responding to RFP’s.