What is expected of salespeople?How do salespeople know if they need to reinvent their sales process and how? Or, are sales professionals expected to maintain the status quo?
In Franck V. Cespedes' and Tiffani Bova's article, Reinvent Your Sales Process While Still Hitting Your Numbers, the authors discuss how sales forces are expected to:
- Maintain the current business: Be predictable and consistent, and
- Adapt to the new: Keep innovating
But sales reps can't maintain the current business and at the same time keep innovating. Or, can they?
It's important for sales people to keep up with current clients because "...the company relies on existing sources of revenue to keep the business going..." And at the same time, sales people need to be able to adapt and gauge how the market will be in the future. What will the future needs of the company be? How can and will we grow? These are some great points, and I loved how the authors narrowed the expectations down to two points.
The authors then discuss what will be some new challenges facing salespeople. With a ever-changing market and differing customer needs, there will always be new challenges. Here are a few of them:
- Buying behavior. This has recently changed a lot, especially because of social media. "Customers via social media have access to more information about suppliers, their products and prices, and others' experiences."
- Compressed differentiation. This "characterizes competitions in more markets. The differences between products and vendors in many categories are narrower than ever before."
- Selling to the C-Suite changes. "The executives reporting to the CEO have doubled in the past three decades, morely an increase in functional specialists like CIOs and CMOs...[and] While technology has seen huge advances in the past decades, sales models have not."
To solve these up and coming problems, the authors, Cespedes and Bova, offer some helpful tips that align perfectly with the core and fundamentals of sales:
- Disconnected Go-to-Market efforts. Your selling must connect with your business strategy. As life cycles accelerate, the authors write, "the gap between strategy and sales is getting bigger...Keep your eyes on the prize: the point is to have sales execute the tasks inherent in your business strategy, not those of a generic selling methodolgy or those relevant to a different set of strategic choices."
- Selling is more about the buyer than the seller. How many times have you heard something like this? In business it's always been about the customer. Businesses should have a "customer-centric process geared to today's purchase criteria in their markets."
- Innovate through experimentation. Through trial and error, you'll find the more effective of anything: product, or strategy. What hasn't been selling, what hasn't been working in the sales department? Experiment on ways to fix it and change it up. That's the only way you'll know you're improving.
Take a good hard look at your sales team and decide what needs to be changed in your sales processes.
What are objections and what do they mean in sales? If you're not getting objections, Rich Grof says, "forget it, it's over." Why? Because objections show that the customer is listening and actually hearing you. They might just need some reassurance. And keep in mind that if they aren't interested in moving forward, they won't care so they won't object anything.
Rick Grof, in this video, gives the statistic that 60% of all sales are made after four obections. You'll want the objections sooner rather than later, too. Grof then gives some tips as to how to handle these objections that are actually a good thing. Objections show that they're listening, so watch closely for them.
Leonie Mateer shares in her shared powerpoint some tips that we've all heard before, but are still important to remember and cultivate. These include:
- Researching the company before making the first call
- Creating a file on the buyer
- Remember how important first impressions are
- Practice your summary of why you're there. What's your product or service summed up into one sentence?
- Establish mutual ground using the research you've done
- Take notes if the buyer is giving you important information-it shows that you take his information seriously
- Prevent negative answers by asking questions like, "Which color do you prefer-black or white?"
- At every sales call establish yourself as a professional in your field
- Prove added value with each price increase
- Keep the statistics current and relevant-and don't overwhelm with statistics!
- Ask what your buyers needs are
- Send a follow-up email or even call
Leonie also gives us some wonderful tips that aren't talked about as much. Like qualifying the buyer. Is he/she the decision maker? If not, who is? Another great point is that "Stories sell-facts tell. Your sales pitch should be a "short story" with a beginning, middle, and an end. Your story should cover: who you are/your company, what is your product and its history, who are your product's customers." One of my favorite points from the article is this: "What is the buyer's main focus as it pertains to your product's industry? This fous should be your focus during the meeting."
You are your product's expert. You are the expert in your product's industry. Share your research and product knowledge to establish credibility with your buyer.
Read your buyer:
- Creative-product orientated
- Analytical-Information.results driven
- New to the position-little experience
- Experienced-expert in his/her field
Mateer's slideshare is a great compiled file of essential sales tips that are worth implementing and very needed.
In Ralph Barsi's article, Barsi offers some wonderful tips for prospecting. They include:
- Focus on when your message is received, not sent. Schedule emails to be received on Sunday mornings or late afternoons.
- Google yourself and make sure that googling you yields value-added results.
- Take advantage of scheduling apps/programs
- Practice constant and never-ending improvement within yourself by reading up on your topic, and bettering yourself.
In this article by Michael Fertik, Fertik writes that although our culture may love the Bad Boss, we pride in and greatly appreciate quality leadership in the true workplace. "Quality leadership, after all, is an indispensable tool for productivity, motivation, recruiting and retention for virtually all organizations. Conversely, a Bad Boss can erode efficiency and morale faster than you can blink."
How do sales managers and executives become bad bosses? "I'm pretty convinced that almost no one sets out to be a Bad Boss on purpose-but what if you're laboring under the misapprehension that you're great? Even if you are a fantastic manager, it's always worth a moment or two of introspection to make sure." Fertik then offers four ways sales managers could be demotivating employees today.
1. Assigning unnecessary work. "As a manager, it's tempting to assign work quickly when you have a lot on your plate. However, when your employees receive an assignment that contributes little to organizational goals or even wastes their time altogether, they often become frustrated and lost motivation for the tasks that actually matter. I like to ask my team about the dumbest thing their working on-it helps us understand what's essential and what we can scale back on." No one likes doing pointless or fruitless work, make sure you're not assigning work like that to your employees.
2. Failing to express gratitude. When we work hard, we always want to be recognized and appreciated. "It's one of the most fundamental tenets of leadership, and ignoring employees progress is a huge mistake. It costs you nothing but the time it takes to acknowledge that person." Take the time to appreciate your employees, and see an increase in productivity.
3. Not getting to know employees. "The most effective leaders are typically the ones who bring a personal touch to their approach with employees." Take the time to get to know your people. "People tend to work much harder when they see you care and understand their impact on the team."
4. Losing the pulse of your organization. "The most effective managers are the ones who have a finger on the pulse of the office at all times." Address office probems quickly and honestly, and publicly.
These are true ways to make your employees les motivated. But if you, as sales leaders, show gratitude, get to know your employees, have an eye on the pulse of the organization, and only assign necessary work, then you can expect high motivation and a passion in your employees work.