Browsing articles from "August, 2008"

Put High Probability Selling to Work for You

One of my companies just had its first million dollar quarter, a milestone to which almost every early-stage entrepreneur aspires or relates. (Their fiscal year is offset one month from the calendar year.)

The win came from the sales team’s unparalleled execution. It’s worth noting that the VP of Sales implemented a simple but effective sales methodology called High Probability Selling. HPS can be used in a variety of selling situations, from enterprise sales to – believe it or not – consumer Internet companies acquiring new markets.

The key to HPS is defining and understanding the gates or stages that go into closing a sale. Understanding the components of closing an account means that a sales team can replicate its success.

Similarly, a consumer Internet company intent on large scale user acquisition can determine whether a given market is likely to convert or not – based on key indicators – or, even at the individual user level, what actions predict a sticky user versus one that will churn out.

I am no fan of more formality or process than absolutely necessary. Many times when sales spend too much time talking about process, it’s hiding a bigger problem. But without a well-defined approach, it’s almost impossible for a sales team to scale. The team has no common language to talk about accounts or educate new-hires.

As you can see from the sample HPS dashboard above, one of the most helpful aspects of HPS is that it’s clear what’s going well and what isn’t. Management can take a quick look and figure out where to redistribute resources.

There are many methodologies out there; choose the one that’s right for you. I happen to like HPS because it’s easy to implement. It’s easy to dashboard. And I’ve seen it work.

If you implement a methodology in your own organization, take the time to define the key steps in closing a sale, market, or user. If you’re early in learning how to sell your product or capture your users, the process will evolve – the stage titles setup in Salesforce.com and shown on the dashboard are only as good as the process they capture.

Of course, a methodology is only a tool. What really made the million dollar quarter was the product and the team. 

Aug 5, 2008