Sales has always said that if the pipeline isn’t full not much will come out as confirmed bookings. Another analogy that is used is the sales funnel.
How do you know if your sales staff is making enough of the right calls to generate the business you have projected?
Start by looking at your historical bookings over the last 4 years by market segment. How many sales calls in each market segment did your sales staff make to achieve those bookings? Are you satisfied with that booking pace? If not, identify the percentage increase you expect from each market segment. Then simply increase the number of sales calls for each segment by the percentage increase you desire.
Test your market segment expectations.
It’s easy to set goals and expectations. Making sure they are realistic is a separate issue. Your sales team has to “buy into” your sales goals and expectations.
- Can your sales staff realistically make enough calls on former or potential customers to meet the sales call goals by market segment?
- Are there enough potential customers coming to your area in each market segment? If not, how can you increase sales from existing customers in the market segment to meet your booking target for the segment?
- Test the assumptions on both of the above with your current sales team. Then sit down with them and assess the results and where they feel modifications are needed in the targets. Then ask them what additional market segments they feel the hotel should sell. The sales team can’t just say the targets are unrealistic, they need to be responsible for identifying other sources that could generate the business in the time they have to sell.
Now step back and identify what additional training your sales team needs to meet the goals. We are all familiar with “order takers.” Today we need people who can find business and then sell the business at the rates we need. Our customers still want to get the best deal possible, but most also know that the markets are starting to change. They are willing to listen when your sales staff sell the value your hotel offers for the price you want to charge.