In today’s competitive business environment, sales organizations are increasingly chasing more aggressive goals with greater pressure to overachieve. But even with such a key role in the company, only 10% of sales reps are consistently hit their goals.
So what makes those top sales reps so effective? Well, top performers have specific habits that make them consistently successful. Learn their secrets and transform yourself into an A player!
1) Be in the Know
Know Your Audience
Who are your prospects? Of course, it’s important to know their demographics, psychographics, and geographics, but it is also imperative to understand their pain points and challenges. What problem are you solving, and how do you add value? Keep in mind that the needs and expectations of your prospects and customers are always changing.
Know Your Product’s Value Inside and Out
The more you know about the product you are selling, the greater your chances of closing a deal. You should have in-depth knowledge about your product’s features, how it functions in any given situation, and future product updates. But more critically than any feature knowledge is being a valuable ‘advisor’ to your prospect. You must know the pains your prospects stress about. You can focus on building a business case to address the known, or even unknown, source of that stress.
Know Your Competition
Your product or solution is competing for the buyer’s attention. First, who are your competitors? How do you and your offerings compare? What is your unique value prop? Second, how are those other companies pitching and selling their products? Be able to clearly explain how your product differs and why yours should be a priority. And when the ‘status quo’ is your primary competitor – as it so often is today – know how to help prospects see the value of moving now.
Know Your Industry
A LinkedIn survey shows that B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with a sales professional who can provide new insights about the business. Top sales reps make it a point to stay current on hot topics, industry trends, and forecasts. Follow industry publications, social media, and thought leaders to see what conversations are going on in your space. This level of knowledge and relevant information serves to reinforce a sales rep’s trustworthiness and credibility with the prospect.
2) Have Goals
More than half of B2B executives indicate that their employees don’t understand their company’s strategy, according to research from Harvard Business Review, but how can you execute on sales strategy without knowing what the goal is? Consider the following questions: 1) What is the organization as a whole trying to achieve? 2) How can you help the organization hit that goal?
Don’t be reactive – be proactive and make a plan. Identify what you want to achieve, and how, in the next 30 days, the next 6 months, and the next year. Then determine how you will measure success. Is it number of phone calls and emails? Social engagement? Number of meetings? Pipeline conversion rates? Revenue?
Now, make a daily plan and set objectives for each task (i.e. What are you trying to accomplish on that sales call? What is the intended outcome of that email?). This strategy helps you to stay focused and ask the right questions to progress the sale. Lastly, outline a consistent workflow with your sales objectives set around those activities.
3) Seek Out and Be Receptive to Coaching
Take ownership of your successes and downfalls and take responsibility for improving your own performance. Successful sales reps aren’t afraid of a little constructive criticism. In fact, a HubSpot survey found that coachability is the #1 predictor of sales success. Be open to ongoing coaching related to the market, buyer personas, the products, and navigating the sales cycle. These buckets of information change over time, which is why ongoing coaching and training is imperative.
4) Make Data-Driven Decisions
A data-driven sales strategy is about decreasing costs, boosting productivity, optimizing effectiveness, and driving revenue. Use this information to gain deeper insights into your sales strategy, guide your sales process, and predict where to focus.
For example, what content is most effective at progressing deals and generating the highest ROI? How many calls does it take to get a conversation? What talking points are most effective? Take into consideration other KPIs such as conversion rates, call rates, win rates, marketing collateral usage, average deal size, sales cycle length, and deal response time. Lastly, review your wins and losses – what worked and what didn’t? What can you adjust to be more successful next time?
5) Leverage Sales Tools
Technologies such as auto-dialers, sales intelligence, lead management, web conferencing / collaboration, and sales enablement will streamline your sales process, helping you to stay organized, on task, and productive. They can help to identify and eliminate unnecessary or superfluous tasks and reduce the day-to-day ‘noise’ for sales reps. A sales enablement technology, for example, arms sales teams with the tools, knowledge, and content to improve sales execution, add value to the sales process, and drive revenue.
Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager for KnowledgeTree.