Recently I attended the Sales Mastermind Seminar offered by Colleen Francis of Engage Selling Solutions. There we had the pleasure of hearing guest speaker Tim Welch, Area Vice-President, Eastern Canada, of Grand & Toy (part of the OfficeMax group of companies).
Welch was introduced to us as a "sales fixer," someone with a gift for turning around under-performing sales teams. He asked the audience, "Do you have a sales culture, or a culture that sells?"
His presentation inspired me to write this blog for our meetings industry supplier community, where it has been said we have many "huggers" but few "hunters." Here are the four signs Welch says are indicative of a lacking sales culture:
- You do not have a clearly defined sales funnel: How many leads you have in your pipeline? How many of those are qualified prospects? How many of those prospects are at proposal stage? Tentative? “Verbal definite"? What are the average conversion rates at each of those stages? Welch says that if you do not have an answer for each of those questions, you likely don't have a sales culture.
- You cannot accurately forecast or your forecasts differ wildly from reality: This may be caused by your salespeople's inability to provide an accurate picture of the types of prospects they have in their funnel and what stage they are at. Unfortunately we see this too often, when the director of sales calls us in January and says that 1st-quarter group business is behind the pace; when it's often too late!
- There is no sense of urgency at the end of the month or quarter: If your sales team is not going into overdrive to close business at the end of each month or quarter, you may have a problem, says Welch. Salespeople who are part of a sales culture are keenly aware of their selling time so they can maximize their results, especially at the end of a given period.
- Salespeople do not have constant visual reminders of their goals: When you walk around your office, do you see sales figures written on Post-it notes, stuck on computer monitors? Do your sales managers have whiteboards with their sales goals, their stretch goals, and what’s to close? Teams that operate in a sales culture have these visual reminders, according to Welch.
So does your hotel, CVB or AV company have a sales culture? In an industry known for being highly relationship-based, are you a hunter or a hugger?