In our three-part article series, “Playing to Win” 1) Group Business: Creating A Winning Sales Team in Any Economy, 2) The Argument for Proactive Selling, and 3) What About My Inbound Leads? we tackle what you need to do to align your sales team with a Proactive Group Sales Strategy.
The industry is still stable, there is even still growth across the industry. That means there is still time to take advantage of stable demand to change your strategy and change the way your teams operate. This can happen in many different ways. The most important way is to develop a team of Hunters whose sole focus is searching for business, developing those accounts, and building long-term relationships.
So where do you start? Below are the seven things you should do today if you do nothing else.
- Define your segments – Which segments are the best fit for your property? Certain segments are more profitable than others but are those a fit for the attributes of your property? Additionally, this best fit might change seasonally. Look at all of those parameters.
- SWOT Analysis – Understand your comp set and which segments you are getting business from and then do an honest SWOT analysis on how you can do it better. Additionally, it might make sense to have multiple different comp sets to cover the segments you need.
- Stratify your team – This isn’t about the segments they work (at least not wholly). This is about separating the Hunters from the Order-Takers. Identifying individuals whose sole focus is to acquire new accounts and capture as much of their business as possible.
- Commit time to prospecting – For those individuals focused on prospecting, remove the obstacles preventing them from selling. This includes extraneous meetings, responding to inbound RFPs and the like.
- Give them tools – Your Hunters should have the tools to identify prospects. And, no, that isn’t your existing database. Not that there won’t be prospects there, but accounts using your competitors or even going to other cities similar to you will be where you will want to Hunt.
- Other Markets – Don’t make the mistake in thinking all of your prospects will be sourced within your market. Chances are business that meets at your hotel also meets in other markets. Your tools can show you where else they have meetings. Your teams should know what those markets are and how your market compares. Finally, they should know how to compare their destination to others effectively.
- Hold them accountable – Create ways to track their efforts and measure their production. Agree on the metrics you will use to measure them in the short, mid, and long term because those will evolve.
Shore up your sales teams and their processes. Training, tools, and focus on creating relationships should be the battle cry for 2020. Prepare them for what is coming because, chances are, they don’t know what to do. Supply is going to outpace demand. What you do today will determine whether your team is going to panic or simply change course. Those able to change course will drive their own demand and have the edge needed to remain competitive and maintain share, in all economic times. And if they can do that, imagine how well they will do when demand returns.