15 Questions That You Should Be Challenging Your Team With As an Successful Sales Manager
As a sales manager I've found that no sales person likes to pass up on any opportunity that could result in business for the company and commission for themselves. This hunger is great and is one of the traits of truly successful sales professional, but sometimes as sales managers we need to challenge this enthusiasm and get the team to focus on the opportunities that we're most likely to win. Here's 15 Power Questions to help you do just that.
In my time as a sales manager I've learnt that no sales person likes to pass on any potential opportunity that could result in business for the company and commission for themselves. This kind of hunger is great and it's one of the traits of a truly successful sales professional, but sometimes as sales managers we need to help direct this enthusiasm. We need our sales team to use their time effectively, and that means focusing on the opportunities that we're most likely to win. And sometimes that means deciding to no bid on a few of the weaker opportunities that would be a distraction and eat up time and energy that could be better placed in winning the deals that matter.
No sales person likes to make the decision to no bid on a potential opportunity but helping your team make that difficult choice on the basis of reasoned and consistent criteria is a vital skill of a successful sales manager, and is essential for opportunities that require you to commit the support of other people within your organisation as the opportunity cost of their time must also be taken into consideration.
Your role as effective sales manager is to challenge your team on the bids they choose to go ahead with, don't get swept along by their enthusiasm and keep them focused on the deals they need to close to hit your target.
The following 15 power questions are ones I've found useful to challenge the teams I've led. The sales team had to work hard to convince me and in doing so they clarified their own thinking and were better prepared for the opportunities we went for:
1. Is this a "must Bid" opportunity?
2. Is the prospect looking for a readily available product or service?
3. Is the prospect looking for service and value over a simple price comparison? If they're not and you aren't the cheapest then it's got to be "No Bid"!
4. Can we bring some added value to the opportunity? Can you move the goalposts and alter the specification in your favour?
5. Do you have a good relationship with the client, and the decision makers?
6. Can you meet the requirement in full?
7. Do you have a defined competitive edge? Do you have a technical or commercial advantage that can add value to the opportunity?
8. Are you competitively priced? Either you have a cost competitive offer or you can tangibly offer added value?
9. Can we meet the project timescales?
10. Will this lead to further opportunities?
11. What is in our favour?
12. What are the Pros and cons of the opportunity specification for us?
13. What are our capabilities and our risks? Look at the upside and the downside
14. What about the competition? What are their strengths & weaknesses?
15. Costs - what's it going to cost us to make the bid? Does the expected margin justify this?
In some cases the decision to work on a project will have already been made further up the company, or the decision is a "no brainer" because of factors like an existing client relationship or the nature of the potential contract. But when the bid decision has not been made it's down to you as the sales manager to make sure your team are assessing the opportunity realistically and the questions above will help you and your team make an intelligent decision to bid or not.
There are plenty of opportunities for your team out there (if they know where to look), and as a sales manager you'll be successful if you can keep them on track and focused on the deals that are easiest to win.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you want to learn more about how to manage a successful sales team then visit http://www.doublebubblesales.com/ for more tips and techniques from Phil, including your chance to listen to an in-depth interview with Phil that answers the burning questions raised by other sales professionals like you. Phil Smithers is one of the UK's top sales coaches and helps sales professionals learn more to earn more in sales.