Categories | Community Contributions | Getting Started | Implementation
Getting Things Done is often applied to our task list and our email inbox, but rarely to more complex processes like our sales pipeline. However, the principles are the same and the effects could be staggering.
Sales is an Art, Not Really
Sales as an art form is the lead myth and barrier to consistent sales performance. Sales is a process that is performed. Granted some better than other. Just like an Olympic athlete–the technique is consistent, some just get better at it.
Unfortunately, for our sales organizations somewhere along the way we got the impression that there were a variety of better ways to swim the 100M freestyle. Rubbish!
Sales is about making efficiently making contact, delivering value, and collecting money. Most of those you can’t control. I have said it before, but it boils down to this: If the product sucks–you don’t need sales. If the market sucks–you don’t need sales. So, lets figure that out as fast as possible by contacting more people more efficiently with GTD.
Get all of you stuff in one place. That means all of your contacts, leads, people. Whatever you want to call them–you need them together. When you start calling you don’t want to be hunting for names, phone numbers, or who they are. Dial–Hang-up–Dial.
This means you need a database, spreadsheet, or contact management software that lets you efficiently move from one contact to the next. I suggest contact management software with a robust lead management database. This is going to allow you to scale and make a lot of notes. Hopefully you are building a rolodex for the ages.
You need a system. Calling fast and frequently is great, but you need to know what to do with each contact based on the results of the call. GTD has a nice 5 choice process. Make your sales lead management process just as simple:
- Trash it
- Close it
- Transfer it (hand it up or down)
- Schedule it
- Nurture it
There is nothing else.
When you organize your sales pipeline manage it in the same way as GTD. Set-up the right buckets and make sure your processing system gets the right contacts into the right buckets.
Here are the buckets I use:
The nice thing about creating buckets in your contact management software is you can use it to automate your contact flow, lead prioritization, and any lead nurturing campaigns you have. Manual or automated–organizing into predefined buckets makes sales happen faster.
No system is perfect. Review it. See what is working and what is not.
This is again where a good lead management database comes in handy. Look at your reports and do some quick analysis. Don’t get overwhelmed by the minutae–eyeball your reports for oddities.
I like to look for what I call–”slowing and heaping” in my reports.
What processes seem to be happening slower or less frequently than expected? Try something new to speed them up.
Where are leads piling up? Try something to process them out of the log jam.
Want to know the number one cause of most poor sales performance? Ssssssh, come close for the secret…NOT DOING ANYTHING!
That’s right. Just doing something even without a contact database, or a system, or a process, or organization will yield more than standing around organizing sheets of paper, counting your pencils, or labeling your folders.
As Nike says, “Just Do It!”
Article contributed by Bill Rice, a sales expert and GTD enthusiast. This was originally published on Bills’ blog. We thought it was a great summary of applying GTD to sales so we are posting it here with Bill’s permission.