I continue to be amazed at how many businesses I discover that do not measure or track their sales activities in any meaningful way.
Here are some of the guiding principles I recommend for businesses that are introducing sales tracking.
1. Salespeople must log as much enquiry as possible.
- Even customers who are, for example, browsing to dream of a lottery win
- If we’re getting 10% lottery dreamers, something is wrong and we need closer scrutiny.
- I’d suggest that the word ‘nowhere’ be refused in salespeople’s reports: it allows salespeople to lazily pre-qualify.
- Set language guidelines for your salespeople, encouraging positive assessments and articulate descriptions of customer needs.
If we’re genuinely getting lots of long-term buyers etc., we can reassess our advertising brief, our sales training agenda and other aspects of our business planning.
2. Assess if it’s being logged:
- Randomly (but at least once a week) check if enquiries just in have been logged
- Organise a phantom shopper simply to see if the enquiry gets logged.
- Perhaps offer rewards to anyone who logs 100% (based on your checks) for the month
3. We May Not Get 100%, but 95% is better than 50%
All judgments based on tracking results, from staff feedback to training to advertising, can be made with greater commitment and confidence with more accurate tracking results. So aim to get 100% of all enquiry tracked so that you have the largest possible sample size of enquiries (and maximum follow-up opportunities) to work with.
4. Introduce, and Use Religiously, Mechanisms to Log Everything
As an example:
- For Walk-In enquiry you may use: Computer prospecting system, Salespeople Activity sheets, Showroom Visitor’s Book
- For Phone-In enquiry you may use: Receptionist tracking (and strategic placement of calls), Computer prospecting system, Salespeople Activity sheet, One of the Several Excellent Phone Training Systems on the market
- For e-mail enquiry you may use: Computer prospecting system, Automated mail tracking, Salespeople Activity sheets
5. Management must avoid using tracking to ‘punish.’
If salespeople are punished for their tracking figures, especially early on, they are more likely to manipulate the figures to avoid further punishment. The focus of feedback should be to acknowledge what’s being done right and to improve what’s not yet being done right.
6. Telephone & Internet Enquiries must be verified the same day
Leaving Sales Managers’ verification 24, or up to 48 hours mean salespeople have too much time to forget, to dilute accountability, or to recall inaccurately. Even worse, urgent customers can be neglected and they buy elsewhere.
If we make the salespeople accountable ASAP after each contact for what they did with that contact, we improve our chances of getting accurate information.
7. Many salespeople do more of what’s inspected, not what’s expected
If reception puts through an e-mail to the relevant manager saying that a phone enquiry has just been put through, the manager can track it earlier and more effectively.
Then salespeople know that they have to provide their Sales manager with a report on the phone call within five minutes of finishing the call. The Sales Manager knows if they do this or not because he’s been notified of the enquiry. When the average dealership spends more than $600 to generate one enquiry, no salesperson should be allowed to judge whether or not someone is a ‘genuine buyer’.
Every customer who has done your business the courtesy of contacting you deserves the courtesy of being treated as a serious customer until they prove themselves to be otherwise.