Many project managers swear by SMART goals (goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). In order to crush these goals and to successfully carry out any project plan, project management peeps have to figure out how to make the best of the resources they have at their disposal and align everyone involved in the work with these goals.
Salespeople, on the other hand, somehow struggle with setting things straight. Everything from generating to qualifying leads to tailoring the offer to their needs and finally closing sales leads is, in most cases, poorly organized and left to chance.
Thus, we created this short and quick guide to explain 6 major benefits sales teams can get by simply putting some project management concepts to work.
1. Collaborate More Efficiently
In order to get any project across the finish line, project management teams set up milestones, break down tasks into sub-tasks, track their delivery, and so on. This way, each and every person working on the project has an overview of the tasks they have on their plate as well as the deadlines for these tasks.
However, they also have insights into their colleagues’ tasks, progress on these tasks, etc. This increases accountability and contributes to more effective collaboration. Salespeople should follow these principles, too, in order to increase team-wide and task-wide visibility.
On top of that, project management principles bring in coordination between different functional units within any organization. Working together, paying attention to details, and consistently improving your sales strategy will certainly provide results.
2. Plan and Organize Resources In a Better Way
Successful project management teams know that planning and organizing resources are crucial if they want to deliver the project on time. The same goes for sales teams. Sales representatives should make a throughout plan on how to single out prospects, the number of prospects they should call in a day, and figure out ways to convince them to become paying customers.
On the other hand, any sales department should be properly organized, from sales team members to lead lists, and everything in-between. Project management teams typically use some kind of software for project management for allocating resources (time, workforce, and tasks) while sales teams can use customer relationship management software.
3. Closing More Deals
Project management and milestones go hand in hand. Every major event is seen as a milestone and reviewed upon delivery. The more milestones met, the higher the probability of a project being delivered successfully, on time, and on budget.
Dividing the sales process into milestones can help with:
- Finding new prospects,
- Qualifying prospects,
- Presenting the product/service,
- Overcoming objections,
- And, finally, closing the deal.
Finding new prospects is a never-ending journey. Thus, project management teams would say prospecting is nothing more than a milestone. Sales teams should always set goals in terms of new prospects that should be found before moving on to the process of qualifying them.
Qualifying prospects means singling out the ones who can afford to pay for the product or service you are pitching from the ones that can’t. Again, as project management is all about goal-setting, set a specific number of prospects you want to send proposals to and make each proposal a different milestone.
Ideally, you should be making tailored proposals to increase the chances of closing a deal. As an example, if you find 100 new prospects, and qualify 70 of them, you should be aiming for at least 10 closed deals.
Still, keep in mind that the journey doesn’t end with closing deals. You should be tracking customer journeys and trying to figure out potential gaps in your sales strategy. Once you realize how to make your sales strategy more effective, you’ll be able to close 50 out of 70 deals or so.
4. Coordinate Activities Across Different Teams
As you probably already know, you need joint efforts of sales teams and marketing teams to be able to make as many sales as possible and to retain as many customers as possible, too! However, sometimes, sales and marketing teams are not well coordinated and just need a small push.
We already mentioned that CRM software can help with aligning and coordinating activities and tasks. Other teams involved in the sales process can also use this kind of software for managing prospects, tailoring customer interactions, and automating workflows. All of this should also be a part of your project implementation plan.
5. Anticipate Customers’ Needs
Project management teams do analysis quite often. They use the tools to get an in-depth analysis of a sales pipeline, identify trends, focus on historical data (weekly or monthly sales and revenue), and compare performance so they can give better results. Sales teams can use sales analytics tools to gather data, compare the revenue each sales rep on the team makes, and spot areas that can be improved.
To anticipate customers’ needs and predict upcoming trends, you can also predictive analytics tools. By doing all this, you’ll be able to differentiate your product or service from the competitors’ offers. Therefore, sales teams should focus on customers’ needs and suggest potential solutions throughout the entire sales cycle in order to close more deals in the end.
6. Building Stronger Customer Relationships
Apart from attracting more customers and closing more deals, project management concepts can also help with building stronger bonds with existing clients. In the end, it is more cost-effective to turn current into recurring clients than to constantly look for ways to get new ones.
Thus, salespeople, just like project managers, should possess skills to contribute to the successful execution of projects (sales) but also enhance the company’s earning capabilities by making first-time buyers always come for more.
Taking a systematic approach and implementing some of the tested and proven project management concepts such as brainstorming, smart planning, dividing projects into milestones, tracking progress, and conducting the analysis can help any team, including your sales team, with closing more deals and retaining or re-engaging existing customers.
Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.