Changes in the Sales Environment You Need to be Aware of

Changes in the Sales Environment You Need to be Aware of

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Evolution and innovation are an inevitable part of any environment. This is true for any business settings. The components involved in a sales process are changing. These changes are changing dynamics between a customer and seller and even the way a company views its competition, product and service.  An ideal sales representative will understand and monitor these changes and develop an appropriate sales strategy. 

Given below are the major changes in the sales environment: 

1. Unlimited access to information 

Before the advent of internet, only the sales representatives had information regarding their products. They kept the data sheets, reference information and price list. Now, the unrivalled power of the Web has quickly turned the table for the consumers. Buyers can easily get the required information online not only from the seller but from other buyers and third parties. The power of negotiation has shifted and consumers are armed with the needed information even before they meet the sales representative.  

2. Influence of  Social Media 

Many businessmen quickly dismiss social media as a medium of entertainment. This is a far cry from reality. It is a tool for communication, information and collaboration. It can also be easily assimilated into the sales process.  Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs are used for marketing purposes. It serves as a link between the company and the consumer. Many consumers often review the products and rate them which can ultimately affect your customer base. 

3. Influence of  Technology 

Technology has not only improved the socializing platforms but has even affected business. There are various tools and applications available to a sales representative to improve the sales process. Cloud Computing, Internet, CRM applications and other mobile applications has shortened the sales cycle, improved connection with customers and simplified data storage and accessibility. Technology is touching every facet of the sales process and making the process more competent and operative than ever before.  

4. Different decision makers 

Another trend noticed in the present era is the way how buyers make their decisions. It has been long believed that an “economic decision maker”, that is, a single individual holds the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy.  But in the current age there are various committees where multiple layers of approval are needed to finally close the deal. This has significantly increased the average length of sales cycle in the last decade. An efficient sales representative will take this process into consideration and build a strategy is has the support of all the major stakeholders. 

5. Current Lifestyle 

Technology has made man’s life fast and busy. Therefore, a simple solution or regular means of communication will not grab the attention of the customer. Sales representatives must be creative and hardworking to survive in a fast environment. There is also a shift from personal relationships to a more objective and formal relationship between the buyer and seller. Consecutively, sales process has become more complex.  

As said by William Pollard, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” To remain constant in an ever-changing world will put an end to the development of your business. Age old methods and tools are no longer efficient is a technologically driven world.  

Capturing the Win

Capturing the Win

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Capture management comprises a thorough understanding of the customer, the problem statement, the solution, the competition, and then using these into making a winning plan.

Information is King

While gathering intelligence about the customer and competition, the importance of being thorough cannot be stressed enough. Pursuing an opportunity mandates collecting as much information accurately. A complacent approach has no place while collecting information for a proposal. However, it is easy to focus on the wrong things. As much as a proposal is not won because of what you know, it can easily be lost because of what you don’t.

Customer Focus

Understanding, analysing and collecting information about the customer is key. You need to understand the customer, their issues and priorities. If your customer knowledge has significant gaps, it will shake the confidence that your customer will have on your solution and service. It will cast a shadow on your abilities, skills and past performance.

Building your Capture Plan

When evaluating your progress towards the completion of a capture plan or a proposal, follow this approach:
  1. Start with what you don’t know. Knowing what you don’t know is the sensible step towards a complete proposal.
  2. Ask yourself questions that seem impossible to find answers to –  Does the customer like the current provider? If they do (or if they don’t), what is the reason? Who are the competitors? What are their strategies and pricing?
  3. Run through your networks, both internal and external and see if you can find answers. You will be surprised how much information is actually publicly and freely available.
  4. Make unanswered questions a priority. Seek those answers. Learn from past proposals. Which unanswered questions costed you the bid? Which answers sealed the deal for you?
  5. Use feedback to ensure effective capture plan processes are in place.
With a zest for continuous improvement, the enigmatic recipe for creating winning proposals will be closer.
Planning for Success

Planning for Success

It is hard to plan for something that you have no idea about. And, that is exactly what the future is, the unknown. Most companies are also unclear about how you can grow your career or what they would even expect of you to advance further. Another additional layer of stress is that at the same time you are also at competition with everyone else in your field who also want the same things as you. So really, you need to know how to develop your skills, but also, how to develop them faster than everyone else.

A viable growth model 

The 70-20-10 model was made to help people grow themselves the fastest. Basically, it breaks down to 70% of your professional growth will come from the direct work experience that you have from jobs that you have done, 20% is from the networking and interactions that you with other people and professionals in your field, and lastly 10% is from the educational training you undertook. Also, take every opportunity and presentation as an avenue for growth. Once you’ve completed the action, ask for feedback, and then perform the next time at an even higher level. Here is a 3 step strategy to plan your success:

1. Build a realistic vision

The first step is to gauge where you are currently and where you would like to be. Once a clear goal has been outlined you know what you are working towards instead of aimlessly striving towards an unclear vision.  When you are doing this the most important factor is to be realistic and honest with ourselves. Although objectivity can be hard, it is essential in mapping out your success. For starters, your ego has to be left behind and asking for input from a respected superior who you know will not sugar-coat the truth is a good place to work from.

2. Learn from experience

Two types of experiences will help you grow. The first type are functional experiences. These are things that help you hone in on a particular skill. The second type are management experiences. Management experiences help you develop skills under pressure and lead a team as well.

3. Seek advice

Another tip is to speak to people who are successful in your field. They can offer insight into what steps they took to reach where you would like to be and guide you in the right direction. Leave your ego behind and ask for input from respected superiors who you know will not sugar-coat the truth and guide you in the right direction. By mapping out your plan, seeking experiences that will help you grow, and speaking to successful professionals in your filed you can easily plan for success.
Significance of a Quality Management Plan

Significance of a Quality Management Plan

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A management plan is a blueprint which specifies the way an organization is run, both day-to-day and over the long term.  It is an integral part of an organization allowing one to formalize its structure and operations. Alongside, it ensures that everyone working are on the same page which helps to accomplish goals.  Meanwhile, the content of management plan varies depending on the organization, program, project and the circumstances.  

Some of the common categories that need to be addressed in a proposal are: 

Program Organisation

This includes an organization chart which shows reporting relationships and describes functions of the proposed program. 

Program Management

This describes the direction of the overall program which is managed by the program management group.

Project Management

This describes the techniques used to plan, schedule, track and direct project activities within the program.

Problem management / escalation

This provides a systematic method for identifying and handling problems in a reliable, repeatable and timely manner.

Personnel management

This contains a description of management of personnel-related affairs such as recruiting, retention, time keeping and benefits.

Financial management

This describes the fundamentals of financial systems, processes, and safeguards. 

Quality management

This provides a systematic QA/QC approach which is capable to ensure products and services consistently meet quality goals.

Risk management

This demonstrates a clear understanding of program risks, providing a description of plans and capabilities developed handle risk.

Schedule management

This provides an overview of the systems and processes that assures consistent maintenance of schedule.

Executive management

This describes methods for leadership to execute control which successfully meets challenges and delivers quality performance.

Interface between customer and contractor at all levels

The bidder utilizes this form to describe his interface at various levels including the executive, program, project, financial, contractual, and other levels.

Contract management

This describes the processes, procedures, and systems that ensures the delivery of services / products consistently in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the contract.

Subcontract management

This describes the processes, procedures, systems, and contractual terms which ensures the subcontractors are managed to support requirements and goals.

Emphasising on the steps taken to achieve success in previous projects will enhance relatability and trust of the client.  

Tip: The management plan must ensure it is relatable, reliable and client-situation is well studied! 

4 Strategies that can make you an Elite Entrepreneur

4 Strategies that can make you an Elite Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur is someone who not only markets a business but, also markets oneself. It is for this reason that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to know who you are and have a clear idea of what it is that you want. There are four strategies that you can employ to excel at what you do and to achieve maximum business growth. 

1. Be very clear who you are and where you’re going. 

Self-awareness is the biggest asset one should have. Be clear on what works for you and what does not. Knowing what you can compromise on and what you cannot is vital. If you think you will keep beating around the bush and making excuses, stop and remove this task from your to-do list and find an alternative you are able to actually complete.  By understanding what you don’t want to see within your business you can more easily identify what you do want to see. Knowing what you want is an essential part to promoting growth and setting attainable goals.  

2. Eliminate stuff from your life and business that doesn’t fit 

Once you’ve learned what you dislike take the necessary steps to remove that factor from your life. Surrounding yourself with negativity has a direct correlation with your mood and your productivity. If you have an employee or even a friend that is constantly straining your positivity and productivity sometimes the hard decision needs to be made to cut this person out of your life and remove them from your inner circles.  

3. Conquer the battles in your mind 

Another factor to consider is how you treat yourself as well. If you are constantly putting yourself down and telling yourself that you are not good enough, you will never be able to put yourself out there. You need to be your own biggest supporter first before you can tell others what to do and show them why you are worth it. Do the things you need to, to promote good mental health. Just like a fine tuned car will run for years, a fine tuned and healthy mind will keep working at its prime as well.                         

4. Be consistent 

It is easy to keep making plans of what needs to be done, and what you need to do but the hard part is actually doing it. A strong work ethic is the basis to anything successful period, whether it be a business or not. Being consistent and working hard will set the standard for everyone else in your presence.  

By thorough self-assessment, belief in yourself, surrounding yourself with good people and working hard to achieve what you need, you can become a successful entrepreneur.