lead might be removed from the pipeline. Alternatively, the manager might
ask, ÔÇťHow can I help you close this lead?ÔÇŁ and can then contribute his or her
industry or intuitive knowledge to help the sales professional win the business.
TRACKING THAT IS PUBLIC. Complementing tracking that is coaching is
tracking that is public. Public tracking is primarily informational and motiva-
tional. In addition to reviewing tracking tools numbers 2 and 3, the weekly re-
port and monthly pipeline, with the individual sales professionals, these
reports should be distributed to a larger audience: the firm leadership and
the entire sales organization.
We know that sales professionals and professional consultants are compet-
itive; this public disclosure of pipeline information encourages friendly com-
petition. Sales professionals do not want to look bad in the eyes of their peers
or their leaders, thus they work competitively to bring up their numbers.
From the consultantÔÇ™s perspective, if Joe in the trial services practice sees
that a sales professional is working on a number of hot leads in conjunction
with a competitive associate, Joe might think, ÔÇťHey, I want to work with one
of those salespeople.ÔÇŁ
Finally, in addition to serving as a motivational and forecasting tool, track-
ing that is public helps you, the sales manager, to promote the contributions of
your organization and to justify the existence of the sales organization. Ex-
hibit 4.6 provides a detailed key to the metrics and concepts for the activity-
based sales model discussed in this section.
Communication within the sales organization and within the larger firm
community is essential. Through effective communication, professionals
share general knowledge, best practices, and intuitive insights. The agenda
and schedule of sales meetings will be unique to a specific firm because
the agenda is dependent on what the sales professionals want to cover, and
the schedule will vary based on the size and development stage of your
sales organization. New sales teams might require more frequent meetings,
while seasoned teams might move to biweekly or monthly meetings. Learn-
ing, sharing, getting better, and practicingÔÇ”this is the purpose of sales
meetings. An overview of three meeting formats that will improve the
communication, knowledge sharing, and productivity of your sales organi-
1. Weekly sales meeting: Weekly sales meetings form the core of team
communication. These meetings should follow a standard format, focus
METRIC METRIC DESCRIPTION IN CONTROL/NOT IN CONTROL
Dials The number of outbound calls a In control: The sales professional
sales professional makes per week. can make more or fewer calls.
Early in the development of a patch
or territory a sales professional is
expected to make a minimum of 100
calls per week. Some might have to
make 200 to hit their numbers.
Connects The number of calls that actually No control: The sales professional
connect to a live prospect. On aver- can try to connect by calling early in
age, the number of connects will the morning, bypassing the admin-
represent 30 percent of the dials. istrative assistant, but really doesnÔÇ™t
this statistical average can be have much control over this metric.
applied across sales environments
Appointment The appointment closing ratio Control: Skill and knowledge influ-
closing ration details the percentage of connects ence the sales professionalsÔÇ™s
and booked that should result in meetings. A appointment closing ratio and
appointments new sales person will be expected number of booked appointments.
to hit an appointment close ration
of 20 percent. A more senior profes-
sional is expected to hit 30 percent.
Booked appointments details the
actual number of connects that
resulted in scheduled meetings.
No show The number of appointments that No control: On average, 20 percent
/cancel. did not show or cancelled. of booked appointments will no
show or cancel.The sales person
can try to influence this by recon-
firming, but these tactics will not
likely improve this ratio.
Appointments The number of appointments that No control: The sales professional
attended were actually conducted. might show up to attend, but the
prospect might not.Thus, the only
control the sales professional has in
his or her ability to show up.
Matter closing The number of deals that the sales Control: Skill and knowledge influ-
ratio professional closes. A new sales pro- ence the sales professionalÔÇ™s close
fessional would be expected to ratio.
close 10 percent of the actual
appointments attended. A more
senior sales professional is expected
to close 30 percent.
Exhibit 4.6 Activity-Based Sales Modeling Tool
106 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth
METRIC METRIC DESCRIPTION IN CONTROL/NOT IN CONTROL
LOEs per The number of letters of engage- Control: Skill, the ability to close
week and ment (LOEs) or contracts that the business, influences this metric with
LOEs per year sales professional generates.This the caveat that if the business
metric self-generates based on the doesnÔÇ™t clear conflict, the sales pro-
closing ratio and includes both con- fessional has no chance of closing.
flict checks and LOEs to calculate a
Minus the 30 These columns are unique to litiga- No control.
percent settle tion consulting.
Matters per Based on the statistics, the number NA: This metric is a reflection of the
year of matters or contracts that are previous metrics.
sighed and proposals that are
implemented per year.
Revenue per The average dollar amount of the In control: Skill influences the sales
average deals closed. professionalÔÇ™s ability to ask for more
matter money. Over time, sales profession-
als become more comfortable with
closing bigger deals.
Exhibit 4.6 Continued
on education and sharing, and last no longer than 60 minutes. Reach
out to the sales team to identify special topics that they would like cov-
ered at each meeting and rotate leadership of this meeting so that all
sales reps have an opportunity to lead, teach, and learn.
2. National sales meeting: The national sales meeting is held once or twice
a year at an off-site location. This is an opportunity to celebrate suc-
cess, share best practices, sharpen everyoneÔÇ™s sales skills, and intro-
duce new service lines and professionals.
3. Phone blitz: The phone blitz is a highly targeted competitive call can-
vassing exercise that brings the salesforce together in a friendly compe-
tition to see who can secure the most sales appointments on a given day
within a set time. To encourage participation, prizes are awarded to the
sales professionals who book the most qualified meetings. This compet-
itive exercise works well as a team-building exercise and can be a train-
ing exercise if you build in pre-blitz brainstorming and debriefs at the
completion of the contest. It is also a great way to launch a new service.
Selling Your Services
Sell the way people want to buyÔÇ”not the way you want to sell. ÔÇťSelling is a
science, not an art,ÔÇŁ notes Wendy Lea, managing partner with Chatham
Group, LLC.10 According to Lea, the art aspect of selling comes in only as it
relates to personal dynamics and politics, which are important, but some-
times overplayed. The science aspect of sales is that selling is a systematic,
professional process. This section walks you through the process of under-
standing your customer and selling the way people want to buy, not the way
you want to sell.
A typical sales cycle includes the phases or components shown in Exhibit
Sales Present solution
This is a continuous process of identifying opportunities, and then going through the sales cycle.
Exhibit 4.7 Phases of the Sales Cycle
108 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth
While these phases are universal to most sales cycles, your sales process is
going to be unique depending on your firm, the services that you sell, and
the industries that you target. The first step in successful selling is to under-
stand your sales process.
Exercise: Mapping Your Unique Sales Process
This exercise asks and answers the question: How do we get to ÔÇťclosingÔÇŁ
on a new engagement? Bring together a group of veteran sales and con-
sulting professionals for a brainstorm session. During this session, select
two or three successful new business wins, and backtrack through the
sales process. Be painstaking during this dialogue, and examine all of the
detail involved in targeting and closing a new business deal. This exercise
will help your organization to see all of the steps involved in your sales
process, and, over time, a pattern will emerge. This pattern is your
unique sales process.
Once you have insight into your unique sales process, you can then map it
against the typical sales cycle as outlined in Exhibit 4.7 to create an informa-
tional f low chart that depicts your firmÔÇ™s process.
Selling the Way People Want to Buy
As stated earlier, successful sales professionals sell the way people want to
buy, not the way they want to sell. There is a contagious energy that results
from this approach to selling.
Before going on a sales call, it is necessary to understand the nuances of
selling professional services. Selling professional services is unique in that
you are positioning capabilities; this is different from positioning a solution
or a product. In the early stages of selling, finding the right amount of po-
sitioning (positioning the firm in addition to the practice), without having
done a lot of discovery about the client need, is difficult. However, in
the professional services sales environment, it is critical that you position
the capabilities of both the firm and the practice to gain the legitimacy
that is required to gain access and the confidence of the prospectÔÇ™s deci-
In selling professional services, the most important part of the selling
process is the beginning. This beginning, or discovery stage, is the second
step in Exhibit 4.7. In a typical selling environment, consultants often walk
into a new client meeting feeling pressured to present a solution before hav-
ing a clear understanding of the problem. Or, out of confidence (or arro-
gance), a consultant will walk into an initial sales meeting claiming to
already know the solution that the client needs. In both of these situations,
the consultant immediately starts selling; there is no time to assess and re-
f lect on the situation and position the value of the solution in the context of
the client need. This approach to selling results in a decrease in selling
Selling power directly correlates with contextual power. Contextual power
results from placing your solution in the context of the client need. It is at the
beginning of the sales cycle that the sales professional and consultant have an
opportunity to clearly understand the client challenge, to identify the right
solution for the client, and to then position and sell that solution in the context
of the clientÔÇ™s need. This is why the beginning of the sales cycle is so impor-
tant. To establish selling power and sell your capabilities through the eyes of
your client, sales professionals must continually challenge themselves with
three key questions, as listed in Exhibit 4.8.
According to Wendy Lea, within the professional services sales environ-
ment, there are five stages that make up the ideal discovery phase of the
sales process. These five stages guide the initial dialogue between the sales
professional and the client service consultant, and the prospect:11
1. What is the client trying to accomplish? This is the first question to
raise in any discussion with an enterprise. Typically, a consulting orga-
nization is brought in when something has gone wrong and the client
needs assistance or the client does not have the in-house capabilities to
deliver on a particular project. A team of professionals on the client
side is responsible and accountable for meeting a commitment.
2. What is keeping the client from accomplishing what theyÔÇ™ve committed
to? Or, what is your challenge? It is critical that the sales professional
and consultant understand what challenges and obstacles the func-
tional group has encountered in its attempt to accomplish the project.