If you are reading this blog you are probably in sales – you might manage a team, or might be an individual quota carrying rep. Whatever your role within your sales organization, you are confident you will have a quota this year or some responsibility toward helping your company meet revenue targets.
So what are you going to do differently to set you and your team apart from competitors this year, and what are you doing this week, this month to get a jump start on the New Year. “More people waste that first week of January,” said Mark Hunter, sales speaker, trainer, consultant, and author. “That is when I want to be on the phone making calls, getting that next step set up.” It’s so important to create as many relationships as early on in the year as possible, because building relationships takes time no matter how long or short your sales cycle is, Mark urges.
In addition to this timely tip, in his talk at ELEVATE, Mark offered five gems to help both sales leaders and front line sales reps maximize their sales results in 2016, here they are:
#1 – Set the right goals – Are the goals you set for your sales reps really meaningful, or are you measuring things to check a box? “One of the things I challenge sales leaders to do, is to figure out what are the personal goals for each of your sales reps,” says Mark. “What I find is that great sales leaders have a level of passion and commitment to help their people achieve things they didn’t think were possible.” They do this by not only probing into their professional goals but personal goals.
#2 – Maximize your time – In addition to getting a jump start on the New Year by not wasting the first week of January, Mark suggests benchmarking how much time you or your reps are spending on customer facing activities. Don’t count the time you are preparing to prospect, or crafting emails, but actual time spent on the phone with the customer.
#3 – Create a 24/7 learning culture – Sales is moving at such a rapid pace that what worked five years ago doesn’t work today. Mark recommends that sales leaders create a 24/7 learning culture that just happens. He suggests as sales leaders constantly probing and gives this example: You just got off a sales call, what did you learn about the customer, how are you going to leverage that in your next conversation?
#4 – Fill your pipeline with prospects not suspects – Most organizations still don’t understand prospecting. Is the pipeline full of suspects or full of prospects? “One of the things I say in prospecting is you are a suspect until I uncover a critical need you have,” said Mark, “and you aren’t going to share that critical need unless you have a level of confidence with me.” Mark also urges making time for prospecting, depending on your role you should dedicate time every day or every week. Mark suggests prospecting for the first 30 mins in the morning, the first 30mins after lunch and the final 30 mins of the day, because those three periods of time are the most likely to get wasted.
#5 – Analyze your fears – The fear of sales is real, while this may seem a little out there, Mark notes that these are deep and powerful emotions to understand in yourself. “I go back to my own time when I began in sales, I was doing things for my boss and not the customer,” says Mark. “It is amazing how many opportunities we miss because of the risk factor of how it is going to be perceived.”
For more insights from Mark and our 40+ incredible speakers, sign up for ELEVATE. It is ideas, insights, and content like this that will set you and your team apart in the New Year.
Alyssa Trenkamp is the director of marketing communications at Velocify and a 15 year veteran in the enterprise technology sector. Prior to Velocify, Alyssa spent nearly a decade as a marketing and public relations consultant for Microsoft. Alyssa holds a BA in Journalism from Western Washington University.