Good sales people are often mistaken for happy-go-lucky folk having long client lunches, and seamlessly winning new deals. Yet behind all this glamour there is meticulous planning, structured processes, and complex sales forecasting. Using the Sales Point System every day will help you maintain an accurate sales pipeline, and balance your weekly sales activity.
Jeffrey Fox introduced me to the Sales Point System in his book How to Become a Rainmaker (a must read for anyone in sales). Much like the rest of the book, which is filled with tactical advice on selling, the Sales Point System is explained in just a couple of pages. The Sales Point System breaks down four key elements of a sale (the sales pipeline) and allocates points to each stage. Let me take you through it.
Sales Pipeline and Points
The first stage of a sale is the lead. A lead is a qualified inbound contact from a prospective buyer; a referral or an introduction to a decision maker. Allocate one point for every lead.
There are many smaller processes here, which require a lot of calls and research until you get to the decision maker. We’ll focus on the key milestone. During this stage your outcome is to introduce your product or service and secure a meeting with a decision maker. Allocate two points for every meeting secured.
This stage of the process is where you meet with the decision maker and propose the benefits of your product or service. This is an important step and the meeting gives you an opportunity to learn about the decision maker’s needs, thus ensuring that you are providing the right solution. You earn three points for every meeting you attend with a decision maker.
The final stage is getting a commitment to close a deal. This is the stage where you issue a contract, or receive a purchase order. You have not closed the deal yet, but you have secured a buying commitment, making the probability of closing the sale high. Allocate four points for this stage.
Applying the Sales Point System
By reviewing each of the four steps in the pipeline, aim for four points or more every day. So for example, on a Monday you could accumulate all four points in the lead stage. Then on a Tuesday you could accumulate six points from one lead, securing a meeting and attending a meeting with a decision maker. By the end of the week you should aim to achieve a minimum of 20 points. See an example of the Sales Point System in use below.
The key here is to work the Sales Point System every day. Don’t wait until Friday to start accumulating points. At the end of the week you will have a good view of your progress and how you need to adjust your activity for the following week.
Why bother using the Sales Point System?
There are many excellent sales pipeline applications on the market today. Most of them are inexpensive, and hosted in the cloud. They integrate into your lead generation systems, and provide automated nudges and reminders to keep sales folk working through leads and focussed on the next important pipeline task. But many of these tools are easy to manipulate. What you put in you get out. It’s easy to over-estimate your forecast; to add a new deal and to approximate the projected close date. I’m not suggesting that you drop your current sales application, instead use the Sales Point System to augment your activity.
The Sales Point System is easy to use and will keep you honest in terms of the effort you are putting in to each stage of the pipeline. For example, in a given week if you get 20 leads then you score 20 points. However they’re not evenly distributed. So the following week you need to ease off on acquiring new leads and start working through other areas of your pipeline.
I first used the Sales Point System when switching to a sales role over 12 years ago and I recently revisited the system to develop a sales pipeline for my new consulting business. I’ve recommended Fox’s book and the Sales Point System to many sales professionals, particularly those starting out for the first time.
Why not try out the Sales Point System for a few weeks and see how it works. Send me an email and I’ll happily share the excel version I’m using for my business. If you would like help implementing a comprehensive sales process in your business, then book a complimentary discovery session with Saltwater Consulting.
If you liked this article then have a look my post on prioritising important work utilising using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix.