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How to Focus Your Team on the Ideal Sale

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This is the full funnel freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders, and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects. I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results. Lead a great team and hit more targets with full funnel freedom. Welcome to episode two of the full funnel freedom podcast.
I'm your host Hamish. In this episode, I will share some insights and ideas on how to focus your team on your ideal sale. A mindset to impart with your team is that focus equals freedom. Now this can seem overwhelming at first, when you presented to your team. A couple of years ago, we were talking to a prospect who had a PhD, incredibly smart technical individual.

And we were working them through this idea of proactive prospect, the activities. They were overwhelmed by it. And they said, I just feel that this whole idea is overwhelming. So we work them through the arithmetic. It's not math. As one of my engineering clients pointed out, we worked them through the arithmetic of how many proactive prospecting activities they needed to do to their ideal prospect in order to hit their targets.

And we ended up with, they had to do an average of one every business. Yeah one. So once they saw the numbers, they went, oh, I can totally do that. Very similar with the ideal sale. So the ideal sale is the dollar size and the sales cycle that if your salespeople did nothing but closed that type of deal, they would smash their personal target.

You would smash your sales forecast. Everybody would be. Now the ideal sale starts actually with defining your ideal prospect profiles. Some people call them avatars. And we do that because we want to create a common language across the sales team and other departments as to who is actually ideal.

Because as I mentioned in a previous episode, until you define the ideal prospect profiles, anybody who your sales team trips over or who falls into their laps is an ideal prospect. And we all know that's just not. Also from a marketing or a customer care perspective. By having these ideal prospect profiles defined, we can better shape our marketing as well as our client outreach for expansion opportunity.

We also want to make sure that we eliminate the idea of a hot lead with the team. You know, what's a hot lead. Well, back when I was in sales in another organization, I might think a hot lead was someone who said, Hey, yeah, I've heard of your company. Maybe, possibly someday, hopefully in the future of everything works out.

We'll do business together. And I'd be like, got one 90% of my funnel. Whereas a colleague of mine wouldn't consider something to be 50% of their funnel until they had a signed agreement in their hands. And we want to eliminate that as sales leaders, because then that creates a lot of ambiguity.

Ambiguity leads to anxiety, anxiety leads eventually to fear and confusion. What I recommend to my clients is that they create their ideal prospect profiles with names that are relevant to their business. So, as an example, I have a client with a nautical theme name. So they use tug boats and oil tankers as their top and bottom size.

Ideal prospects. Best practice is three to five ideal prospect profiles. And I'll share with you a little. How you can create buckets of three to five. Again, focus equals freedom. We have 10 ideal prospect profiles way too much for our salespeople to focus on human beings can focus on up to five items of information at one time plus or minus two.

So somewhere between three and seven pieces of. Information can be held in the frontal memory or the short-term memory at one time. That's why at least in north America phone number started out as seven digit because they were easier to remember for the sake of this example. I'm going to use tiers to describe the ideal prospect profiles, but.

The names resonate in your world, whatever those might be. So everybody understands what your ideal prospects look like. So if we said we have tier four is the smallest tier three, tier two, and then tier one is the largest few things that we want to include in these ideal prospect profiles. First of all, What does the prospect look like?

What does the prospect organization look like? Who are we talking to at a tier four organization? We're probably talking to the ultimate decision maker. It's probably a smaller organization at a tier one prospect. We're probably starting with some kind of an intermediate decision-maker and we may never actually meet the ultimate decision maker or get in front of the decision-making committee because they're a giant national or international organization.

The two really key pieces of information that we want to include in all of our ideal prospect profiles are a dollar value range. For each sale in each cheer and a typical sales cycle. So if we said for this example, our tier four, our smallest ideal prospects, the average sale is one, the $9 and the sales cycle is typically two to four weeks.

Our tier three, our next big. Ideal prospect profile, typically 10 to $17 a sale, and typically five to eight weeks for a sales cycle. And the sales cycle is everything from hi. Nice to meet you too. Looking forward to working with you. Welcome aboard as a client of ours. That's what a sales cycle counts as.

Tier two clients in this case, 18 to $25 nine to 15 week sales cycle. And a tier one client is anything over $26 a sale. And it's going to be somewhere between 16 to 24 weeks from hello to when the contract is signed. If you're in a more enterprise type sale, you might think that sounds highly transactional.

Again, make this fit in your world. So where I say two to four weeks, your sales cycle may be two to four months. It's a framework to apply to your specific business and your specific. A few of the payoffs that this will have for you as you are leading your salespeople. First of all, it eliminates that whole, well, I don't know who to call boss because we can narrow their options really down to one.

If we want to, you know, you're going to call on nothing but tier three prospects this week or this month, but it also eliminates comfort zone prospecting. In a lot of sales teams that we've worked with, there's at least one person who wants to hunt nothing but tier fours or nothing, but tier ones, the tier fours, cause they're super comfortable in there.

They get a lot of their emotional needs met by talking to those people. Those sizes of prospects are fairly quick sales cycle. So it was a very quick payoff to the salesperson and the tier ones. Everybody wants those giant logos, right? Everybody wants to say that they work with these giant national or international companies.

However, those tier one prospects tend to move very, very slowly. And so for our clients who have had salespeople who are hunting, a lot of those tier one prospects or their sales funnel is made up mostly of tier one. Oftentimes they're having heartache and tears at the end of the month or the end of the quarter or the end of the year, because this giant tier one prospect that they thought was going to come across the finish line, decided to push off the decision and implementation into the following quarter or into the following year.

And the third payoff is support on coaching. Our salespeople. I ran an exercise several years ago with a leadership group. Around ideal prospect profiles. And one of the big ah-has from one of the participants was that they had a sales rep who was working with a tier four prospect, which in their world was pretty much an inbound lead phone sale, one call, but they were doing a tier one sales cycle with this tier four prospect.

And so they were on their sixth meeting and their fourth version of the proposal. And at the end, my client committed to going back to their salesperson and saying either close this off or get it out of the funnel. But either way, you've spent way too much time with this size of prospect. They should have been able to make a stop or go call longtime.

Circling back to this idea of the ideal sales. So we've defined who our ideal prospect buckets are. And we've got in this case, tier four smallest through tier one largest. Now let's say for sake of argument that each of our salespeople and our sales team of five has a target of a hundred dollars in net new sales this year.

So our team target is 500 individually. They each have a hundred dollars in net new sales, or if we go back to. Tier fours are typically when the $9 a sale tier threes are 10 to 17. Tier twos are 18 to 25 and tier ones are 26. Plus our ideal sale then is a sale somewhere in the range of 15 to $20. And it's going to be a six to 12 week sales cycle.

So each of our salespeople is going to need to close five to seven of these ideal sales in order to hit their. And I can tell you when you share this information with your salespeople, because they're thinking that their targets are likely unachievable, or if they are, they're going to have to be burning the midnight oil and not seeing their families and damaging their mental and emotional health to put in all this effort to hit their targets, breaking it down for your salespeople in a way.

All you need to do is close X number of these ideal sales, and you're going to smash your target. It seems to work out a lot better, and they're a lot more motivated because now it seems possible before you show them this exercise, it doesn't seem possible. And they're going to go through the motions and Nam, maybe they'll stumble their way to achieving that target.

But it's going to be a lot of mental and emotional energy burned on their part and on your part to support them. So instead create these ideal prospect profiles, narrow it down to your ideal sale and share this information with your team. So now you have a common language. Other thing that you'll notice is it creates a little bit of friendly competition in your sales team.

You'll start to hear your salespeople say, ah, you know, Hey Mitch, you've got a lot of tier fours in your sales pipeline. Like how about you start getting some tier threes and some tier twos in there, man. I'm way ahead of you. Let's catch up and you have this bit of friendly back and forth and banter.

There's two additional payoffs to you as a sales leader for identifying not only your ideal prospect profiles, but your ideal. Sale number one is it creates a filter for your sales funnel. Super easy to narrow down that funnel and look at how many of those ideal sales are actually in the funnel, because it's great to have a funnel full of tier fours and a funnel full of tier ones, but it's unlikely that that's going to get us to.

Our sales targets. Also, it supports you in communicating with marketing, whether you're also leading marketing or you've got a peer who runs the marketing department has now you can create this common language marketing can better focus their lead gen efforts on bringing in these ideal prospects. Your sales team ends up happier because they think they're getting higher quality leads.

The marketing team is happening because they see that the sales team is actioning their efforts, and everybody was. Once again, this has been Hamish Knox for the full funnel freedom podcast. For more details, go to full funnel, until we see you on the next episode. Go lead.

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