That’s it then. I have to stop somewhere, otherwise, the blog will go on forever and I really wanted to keep this to a timeline of 10 weeks, where I could share the trials and tribulations of what sales from scratch is really like. I wanted to show you all what worked, what didn’t, and ultimately see if what we preach is truly effective in the real world.
I am going to write an executive summary of the entire journey, addressing my challenges, as well as looking closely at the details, the metrics, and the learnings over the past 10 weeks… but that’s for later.
As usual, let’s take a step backwards and look at the details, how this week has gone, what the metrics say, and where I plan to go now –
This week – Selling is not a zero-sum game. Unfortunately, it simply is not as clear as ‘do this’ and ‘get that’ to achieve effectiveness and success. There are many moving parts and a plethora of things to pay attention to. There are even many things we need to do that, at first, seem insignificant or even contradictory, yet they help to create a more systematic and controllable outcome.
The reason I say this is because, for this week, I will not only look at the learnings, but I will also delve into the final overview, looking at the big picture and the smaller pieces that have gone into getting this to work the way it has.
What were the week 10 metrics? 13 meetings in the diary. 9 first meetings. 4 third meetings
Category of leads – 10 A leads, 3 B leads
Sources of leads – 8 referrals, 4 networking, 1 mailshot
Results – 100% of meetings were sat. No cancellations which is a first. 100% going to the next steps and the next meeting is booked for all. A key point as the goal of all meetings is getting to the next steps. Pipeline generation was strong, meaning that the appointments this week have contributed to a solid increase in pipeline revenue.
In addition to my first week back in Singapore, this week was the ideal end to my incredible 10-week journey. The balance between first meetings and 3rd meetings was spot on, the pipeline build was healthy, and the balance of referrals to networking was ideal. As usual, if I had a week like this for 45 weeks a year, the business would be very profitable indeed.
My one criticism of the balance is that I would have liked to see two or three second meetings here, rather than just first and third meetings. Second meetings are when I do a fact find and are very important to my model. Good fact finds allow us to do a much deeper assessment and build a stronger relationship with the client. The good news though, is that next week I will have a stronger balance of firsts, seconds, and thirds.
The question I would be asking if I was you is, why put these two weeks in the blog if you are no longer even in Scotland? Does that even still count as part of the challenge? It’s a fair question to ask, so let me give you a fair answer. My rationale is that these two weeks are all about the follow-up. Having meetings whilst I am travelling, following up on the pipeline, and ultimately, if my sales cycle and timeline assumptions for the sales process are correct, I should start to see sales and business coming in around now. My pipeline average sales time is 11 weeks, from the first meeting to a signed contract. So, only now as I enter Singapore will I technically be bringing new clients in. In short, it is all about showing you the rewards of all our hard work and labour, as well as how to follow up on successful meetings and secure contracts.
Although the pipeline is there, it’s very varied from enterprise right through SMEs all the way to start-ups. I have a pipeline of 38 pieces of potential business, all at different stages and varied across the different spectrum’s and sizes of business.
We run a very clear model of touchpoints on these and have a clear set of next steps for me, the team, and for marketing to work through. These range from meetings, coffees, second meetings, and third meetings to workshops, touchpoints using content, and using different platforms from LinkedIn to a call. Each of these is clearly laid out for each individual person and/or company.
Keeping this organized, up-to-date, and actioned is our number one focus. However, bringing new leads into the pipeline is also critical. So, juggling and keeping the balance is key, which is tracked and driven through CRM and spreadsheets, with the former taking the strain.
As you can see, the model is working. There is a healthy pipeline, a healthy flow of new leads into the system, and the new clients are starting to sign up now. We brought two in last week and I am expecting more to come in consistently over the next 6 weeks based on the above numbers.
This is not the final blog, as I am going to write out an executive summary in the coming weeks, but it is the end of the 10 weeks journey. I have had the most amazing eye-opening time in Scotland, and the key learning’s for me have been as follows:
- Lead quantity and lead quality are critical
- You have to be out there, and you have to get in front of people
- Partners are critical
- Referrals are even more critical
- Have a structure for your meetings – falling back on it helps when things are not working
- Know your product and target market. This seems obvious but it’s NOT
- Be prepared to pivot on my last point if needs be. If it’s not working, it’s either you and your skills, the product, the client’s needs, or your activity levels.
- With no metrics? – You are in big trouble. A leaf blowing in the wind
- Metrics give you confidence
- Love your product
- Love your clients
- Hearing is not listening
- Work the numbers and stay the course
My pipeline has ended up being profoundly bigger than I ever expected when I started this journey. In excess of half a million dollars, the result is beyond my wildest dreams. I got to work in my home country and rediscover my roots after 20 years away. Scotland and Singapore have so much in common, from academia, the people, the culture, and the entrepreneurial world they both are navigating through. What a ride and I am very much looking forward to the next stage of my journey.
I want to deeply thank the following people for their help. Without them, I am certain the journey would not have ended up the way it did. They all helped in big and small ways, and every big and little bit of support was just as important. Sometimes we just need the nudge or shoulder to cry on that changes everything.
My Kids, Callum, Cori and Lilian
My mum and my step dad
My brother, Callum
Prof Paul Atkinson
Below are some memories from the most incredible 2 months
View down Princess Street from a networking event
James and Sean on last day. James was an amazing amount of help
James running a funding event
My Brother and I
My attempt at artistic pictures
Gary, Kevin and myself after another networking event at Edinburgh castle. Not the cannon in the background
A beer on the last day. Well deserved. Was really looking forward to heading home the next day. Big apologies to Mark, was supposed to meet him and got totally distracted on way home.
One of my favorite views from Carlton hill, the color version
At the Scottish parliament. Invited Michelle
At Project Heather, the launch of the Scottish Stock Exchange in Parliament
At the bottom of Edinburgh castle. The seedier side of Scotland. Yes those are bullet holes.
Edinburgh at its best
A piper in the rain
Me and the Minister for Trade and Industry
Lang Stairs means a long set of stairs in Scottish. Kind of appropriate considering our name.
The canal where I rode regularly.
Monica organised this for me. Amazing surprise and needed.
Thanks to James Shoemark for persuading me to go. 350 pounds. But well worth it.
Post-trip in Bali surfing with my boy
Goal planning and the end result. Not 165 leads, 31 quality, target was 10.
Lilian and I leaving the apartment at the end of the trip.