For over 30 years, I have worked with the senior management, leadership, sales, marketing and customer service team members of client companies. I often begin my Executive Briefings by referring to Alfredo Pareto's 20/80 formula. I first saw the 20/80 Principle over 40 years ago. I remember attending a sales meeting early in my career as an office machines salesman.
The president of the company, Thor Marsh, had just returned from the NOMDA (National Office Machine Dealer's Association) annual meeting. When he presented the 20/80 formula, he told us that 20% of the salespeople in America were selling 80% of the office machines. Well, I'd never heard of the 20/80 formula. I was startled by this dramatic statistic. It was many years later before I turned the formula upside down and saw the obvious - what is so apparent; if 20% of the salespeople are selling 80% of what is being sold, 80% of the salespeople are dividing up the 20% that is left over.
Which group are you in? Are you among that 20% who are selling 80%, or among the 80% who are dividing up the leftover 20%? Are you content to remain where you are? What is absolutely certain is that whatever selling methods you've used in the past, in what we now realize was a boom economy; those same methods will not sustain your organization in today's market. You must find new, different ways to sell if you are to survive, much different ways to sell if you are to thrive.
Is there a sales process in your business that everyone follows with determined discipline? Or is everyone fighting over the "good leads," complaining about the economy and looking for a lucky break? Does everyone do it "their way"? Are salespeople expected to find a way that works for them? Do you leave it up to the manufacturer's reps to train your salespeople? This, I can guarantee you, the top 10% of salespeople who are getting 90% of the business have a disciplined process they follow with determination.
My experience has taught me that we are in the ratios business. We are all statistical failures; we strike out more often than we get hits, far more often than we get home runs. If you aren't doing consistently, doing with discipline, the upfront lead activities that are essential to success, including: proactive phone calls, email and follow up mailings and a drip email marketing campaign, you will fail. Sales cycle times vary from business to business. Most business-to-business sales cycles today are longer and more decisions than ever are consultative decisions.
In today's market, you have to do more "demos" than you needed to do in a less competitive, more robust economy. Consistently performing your dynamite "demos" in front of "A" target market prospects will guarantee your success. Eighty percent of your proactive sales effort - this should be aimed at securing more demos "with qualified prospects."
Do this and your present and future successes are guaranteed.
Engaging leaders are determined and diligent.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems