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C-Level Selling – Quality Sales Leads Will Come Once You Build Your Opportunity Matrix
In a previous article I discussed building your opportunity matrix of potential sales in an Excel spreadsheet. Each box in that matrix is a possibility and is defined by “who” (company, division, location, project) and “what” (a specific product or service). An account can have multiple “who’s” and multiple meaning multiple possibilities.
We will now prioritize all those boxes in the marketing and sales categories. We will then assign energy functions based on their positions which I will define later. Since we have limited selling time we want the biggest bang (more sales) for the little time we have. But we don’t want to ignore future opportunities. So we should proportion our energy based on (1) the probability of winning and (2) the timing of the purchase. It will help to classify.
Marketing prospects are distant sales opportunities. Customers exist and we sell things they could possibly use, but for whatever reason we’re currently away from selling to them. I use “M” to designate “marketing” and the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 to indicate the distance of the opportunity.
M1 – “Way out there” means this demographic-based prospect could use your product or service, but you know nothing about them and/or have never contacted them.
M2 – “Out there” means you’ve got some outside information that this prospect needs or can use on what you’re selling. It can be a competitor’s client or a self-op. It may be a service for one of your existing accounts that they are not interested in.
M3 – “Prospect Prospect” means that you have visited or talked to someone from the prospect and they have indicated moderate/future interest. It could be feedback from a trade show, or a promotion, or even a referral,…
M4 – “Suggestion of Fit” means someone has called you in because they really have a problem in your area and want to know more about how you can help them.
These are opportunities that have a good chance of closing in a relatively short period of time. For some businesses short may mean a week and for others it may mean 6 months to a year. Never stay in a sales category for more than a year – no matter what your business is. Keep strong abilities with M4s for more than 12 months.
S1 – “Qualification” means evaluating this prospect against your ideal customer and ideal opportunity profiles. In other words there are certain “who’s” that fit your way of doing business better than others. Likewise, there are some products and services that you have better applications for than others. The prospects you want to pursue are the ones that better/closer match these profiles. These prospects have indicated strong interest and asked for an offer/quote.
S2 – “Interview and Presentation” This is where the prospect has passed the eligibility criteria and now you must go beyond your initial contacts. If you are in B2B sales, there are many people involved and there is a C-level or profit-center leader who will give final approval. You should meet with these decision-makers to learn and understand each person’s perspective and what it will take to win each over.
S3 – “Closing” means you’ve conducted the interview and determined your offer and price. Now that you are addressing any open issues and most importantly getting the top, C-level or profit-center leader to commit to you.
These are the “possible positions” for each box in your matrix. Now go to your opportunity matrix, Excel spreadsheet, and fill in the boxes M1, …, M4 and S1, …, S3.
“Who” ranks (1) existing customers, (2) old and/or lost, (3) new. S1 for existing has higher priority than S1 for new customer. The ranking according to categories is S3, then M’s, then S1 and finally S2. M’s are high because they are your future.
Energy and time usage
Each potential (who and what) should have (1) an action and (2) an associated completion date. These should be updated daily by the sales person and reviewed with management monthly. If senior sales management does not implement and participate in it, the sales team will never reach its potential.
S3 and M require the least amount of time. Although very important, closing is a few final meetings or phone calls. M’s can be done in bulk – mailings, invitations to trade shows, phone calls, advertising, and networking. However, M’s are your future and need to be attended daily for a limited time.
An example of how this might work: A sales person will start the day by immediately addressing any open issues on opportunities that are in the closing stages. Then that sales person will spend 90 minutes on marketing activities. He would then set up or attend meetings with S1s to determine how well the fit between companies and applications was. Then set up or attend meetings with S2s or work on their proposals and prepare quotes.
As I mentioned M’s can be done in bulk and date the same way. For example all M1 – M3s will receive a mailing from the marketing department that will be completed on October 15th. M2’s and M3s will receive invitations to the upcoming June 30 teleconference by June 3.
S2s take a lot of time, and can overwhelm a sales person. That’s why the S1 leads in this category. You want to qualify that you have a good customer and application fit before you decide to put all the energy needed to meet all the decision-makers and reach out to the leaders. If you only try to close sales through your key contacts and don’t personally cover other decision-makers, you’ll close at best 30% of these S2 jobs. 70% of S2 should be closed at rate.
So set up your matrix, assign your categories, set tasks and due dates and then execute. Update regularly as prospects move from M’s to S’s to final sales.
And now I invite you to learn more.
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