A salesperson achieving the status of trusted advisor has a very real impact on your bottom line, according to Tom Cates' in his article How to Become a Trusted Advisor in Sales.
“Customers who had a transactional relationship with the representatives at an IT VAR gave the company 14% of their available business on average, but the percentage jumped to 47% if they perceived the VAR’s salespeople to be trusted advisors,” Cates explains. “That's a 33% difference that can be attributed solely to relationship strength.”
He provides six progressive dimensions for becoming a trusted advisor:
- Integrity. The salesperson is viewed as trustworthy. Show integrity by taking notes.
- Competency. The salesperson is viewed as “able to deliver.” Competency is demonstrated by providing third-party evidence for your solution.
- Recognition. The prospect feels as though they are treated like an individual (not a number). Recognition is shown by following up on the notes you’ve taken in #1.
- Proactivity. The prospect believes the salesperson is looking out for their best interest. Proactivity is proven by staying up-to-date on your prospect’s industry.
- Savvy. The salesperson is viewed as understanding the issues the prospect cares about. Research what is going on inside the company, what their competitors are doing, who the buyer reports to, and what metrics they track.
- Chemistry. The salesperson and the prospect “click.” Chemistry is developed with a friendly demeanor and understanding the prospects’ nonverbal cues.
Find Tom: LinkedIn
If your scheduled meetings are not doing a very good job of forecasting closed business, you may have a problem with the initial meeting, Kim Staib explains. If your discussions of meeting scheduling go something like this:
“SDR: “Well I sent out a mass email explaining what we do and asking for some time and someone replied back.”
Sales Manager: “OK, what did they say?”
SDR: “Here, read the email….’I am available early next week and would like to learn more.’ So I went ahead and set it up.””
Then you’ve got a problem.
The rep has no idea why the prospect agreed to the call, and no knowledge of the pain points they need addressed. “It’s hard for a field rep to get excited about a prospect they know nothing about,” Staib says. “So take a closer look at the meetings your SDR’s are booking and ask them “where’s the pain?””
Find Kim: LinkedIn
The new year is the perfect time to reexamine your sales approach. Jami DeLoe provides 5 tips to consider when tackling this year’s sales goals.
- Know Your Buyer Persona. “Understand who your ideal customers are and how to recognize them when prospecting,” DeLoe explains. “Take some time with your team to create your company’s buyer persona - a general representation of your ideal customer.”
- Spend Time Prospecting. Set daily prospecting targets, use social media, share and leverage content, ask for referrals, and follow up on old leads. Satisfied customers are a great source of referrals, and leveraging content sets your organization up as a thought leader in the prospect’s space.
- Create the Right Metrics. Using the right metrics will allow you to set realistic, achievable, and measurable goals.
- Rally Your Team. Ask for input, use games and competition to keep things fresh, and allow autonomy.
- Recognize Success. “The best two ways to show appreciation are to offer incentives and to express gratitude,” DeLoe says. Incentives are physical rewards for a job well done, and gratitude is critical for keeping morale high.
Prospecting massive, global companies with established pedigrees is much different than prospecting their start-up counterparts. Warren Wick, SVP of Enterprise Sales at Salesforce, provides three keys for navigating the intimidating waters of enterprise selling.
- Get ready for a lot of stakeholders. “For the enterprise, solution selling is not as cut-and-dried as a product sale, where there might be just one product with one person making decisions,” Wick explains. “In a solution sale, there are many, many stakeholders. It’s your job to satisfy them all.” Embracing a large number of stakeholders and keeping lines of communication open between all of them is crucial for selling a solution to a complex enterprise.
- Prepare for the long haul. Enterprises think about time in terms of decades - the salesperson needs to think about the long haul as well.
- Understand and care about solving customer problems. “When you put their challenges at the center of your focus and provide real solutions, you’ll start to develop aligning interests.” Look out for clients like you would friends and family.
Find Warren: LinkedIn
The sales team is perhaps the most important content channel - they’re the ones having conversations with prospects, after all. Leveraging sales to amplify the reach of stellar content can go a long way toward building quality pipeline. Alicia Fiorletta provides 4 ways to better leverage content through sales teams.
- Create content cheat sheets. Sales reps are busy, and don’t have time to read through every piece of content. Build a “cheat sheet” summarizing each white paper, ebook, and research report so they can have easy access to applicable content as they need it.
- Share pre-canned social posts and images. Social posts are an easy way for sales reps to share content with their network.
- Aggregate content into tailored toolkits. “Combine content into easy-to-navigate toolkits so sales reps know which assets are the most relevant for their target buyers,” Fiorletta explains.
- Embrace interactive content. Interactive content is extremely effective for sales presentations and one-on-one discussions. These also help spark conversation and make presentations more compelling.
Find Alicia: Twitter