How to Stop Being the Second Best in Sales?

Usain Bolt, the 30-year-old Jamaican sprinter, is regarded as being the fastest man on the planet. He is an eight-time Olympic gold medalist as well as holding the world’s 100m record. According to him, there is a simple rule when you run a distance – the faster you run, the faster you reach the finish line. Being an entrepreneur or a sales representative means that you too will always be part of a competition. As experienced business consultants and sports lovers, we can see the parallels between the experience of running a distance and running a business.

As soon as you stand in the same starting line with your competitors, your secret to success can be an absolutely unique service, a niche market, a commitment to hard work, the best team available, or a well-organized sales process. But when Usain Bolt has been asked about how to be the world’s fastest human, he simply replied: “I don’t want to be the second best”. So, if you have already made the decision to run a business, your choice is clear – you have to be the first one.

How Not to be Second in Sales - Finish Line

Speed up your sales process to be the first one

Time plays an equally important role in both cases: whether running a distance or running a business. A business sales process means specific, step-by-step actions are made in order to close a deal; too-long sales cycles prevent you from making those sales. Unfortunately, there are no precise rules, no clear diagrams or methodologies as to how exactly you should be doing things. However, there are three TOP negative factors (or we would rather say – mistakes) which may delay the closing process:

  1. Poor follow-up

One of the most frequent mistakes sales reps make is poor planning and lack of initiative. At first, sales reps usually think about their own sales steps instead of prospects. It means that the sales team cannot control what is going on with a prospect after their sales steps have been carried out.

Let’s take a typical sales step within a Sales Pipeline named “Commercial offer”. The most common mistake made by sales reps is to send an offer to a client and then do nothing; still expecting to receive a positive response/feedback sometime later. Unfortunately, on the basis of various studies, clients do not read an offer 10+ times in order to make a final decision. In this case, the sales reps loses the advantage of speed as well as the chance to be the first one across the line and sell. Meanwhile, it’s possible that your prospect is dealing with your competitor.

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  1. Delayed evaluation

Each step of the whole sales cycle should be measured by time in order to immediately improve it. Just try to remember how time-consuming the qualification and closing stages are. In order to run faster, sales reps should determine the length of time spent on each stage of a sales process. Furthermore, only these steps which sales reps are able to measure by time should be set in your Sales Pipeline.

  1. Pending deals

Indeed, according to experts, the majority of a sales reps’ time each day is spent on hardly-closed deals. It means that these deals are suspended, or marked as pending, with many explanation tags within your Sales Pipeline. However, if you do not want to be second best again, get rid of it! Your sales reps should start to follow the approach “No more pending deals in my Sales Pipeline!” by focusing on the end results, and enabled-to-close deals.

Empower your CRM software to be the first one

Client relationship management system (CRM) has proven very effective for many sales actions, but it is not enough to simply have it. No doubt – it is an advantage. But if sales reps spend too much time receiving lower-than-expected results, it is time to seriously reconsider your sales process management tool. The robust sales software solution is like your running shoes. You should feel comfortable by using it and the most important – it should help you to win! So, try to count how long it takes for your sales reps to answer the following questions:

  • How long does the opportunity stay in this step?
  • When the opportunity has been moved into this step and how long does it take in the previous one?
  • Which opportunity hasn’t been moved to the next stage today/this week/this month?
  • How long does it take to close an opportunity? Does it fit into your sales cycle timing?
  • What are the bottlenecks of your spent time?
  • What kinds of deals are pending by needing quick attention?

If it takes just a few minutes to understand and answer these questions, it means you are already further on in the sales race compared to your competitors. Though it will take some time you probably need to spend more time in order to reconsider your current sales tools. To achieve best-in-class productivity, sales reps have to realise the need for a really easy to use and understandable Sales CRM tool.

Old Sales Pipeline

Follow the best examples to be the first one

Here at Teamgate, over the last few years, we have had a normal practice to prepare the various sales reports for the sales team, managers, board, investors, etc. As all of these reports are automated, it is easy to show the goals reached, the forecasts, the status of lead qualification, the sales funnels, the sales activities and even more differing insights needed on a daily basis. However, we had one continuing issue which couldn’t be solved during this time. Therefore, we tried to solve this by handling the situation manually and because of this lost much valuable time. Finally, we decided to set a TOP KPI on purpose to make our sales cycle significantly shorter.

During this time our sales reps had been trying to report to the sales director with the status of opportunities, explaining every situation and so on. Believe us – when you are doing this on a daily basis it is a tiresome and time-consuming process. Finally, we came up with a simple idea to show in detail, each opportunity and its movement in a real-time perspective. Since that time we have started to focus more closely on the opportunities at hand.

New Sales Movement Pipeline View

With this absolutely simple decision, we have made our sales cycle twice as fast and all within a couple of weeks. Finally, we started to focus on the minutes instead of days or even weeks.

How to Stop Being the Second in Sales - Photo Finish

Related: 7 CRM Best Practices for 2017

Be the first one who crosses the finish line

To be number one in sales depends on many factors, but you can start by following these prescribed tips:

  • Set up your Sales Pipeline in the way which your prospects would buy.
  • Make sure you are able to measure the time for each of your sales steps. Don’t forget to set the time duration for each step!
  • As your Sales Pipeline should be clear and clean, try to avoid pending deals.
  • Review the movement of your Sales Pipeline. Install a TV screen on your wall with live streaming – it really helps!
  • Split your products or services into different Sales Pipelines.
  • Don’t forget to set goals for win conversion and try to beat 9 out of 9 records!

A free personal presentation: Learn how to win 9 out of 9 deals

Join Teamgate CRM Senior Sales Manager Amber Gintare for a free personal presentation and learn the best practices on how to improve your sales process and close more deals, faster.


Abe Dearmer

Abe has a vast experience running multiple SaaS companies and is an expert on all things Sales, Marketing and SEO.

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