The official slogan for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games kicking off in Toronto this month is “United We Play.” For sales professionals, a similar mantra for success might be, “United We Sell.”
Much like the athletes converging for a series of competitions, ranging from archery to wrestling, sales professionals are often very driven to be the best among their peers. They also know the value of teamwork, just as Pan Am and Parapan athletes often collaborate with their coaches and each other. And sometimes, selling is about overcoming what seem like impossible challenges—which many Pan Am and Parapan athletes also know a lot about.
While we cheer on the Pan Am athletes over the coming weeks, it’s worth taking note of how some of their tactics could be applied to better sales strategies:
Knowledge Provides The Best Competitive Advantage
Tory Nyhaug, who is competing in the BMX event, may have an edge over some of the other athletes who will be hopping on their bikes for their races in July. As he explained to the Toronto Star, this is a terrain he has covered before. “It’s not like a typical race where you have to spend every minute trying to figure out the track. We already kind of know the track.”
Sales pros also benefit by “knowing the track.” In other words, analytics can provide powerful insight into what customers have wanted in the past and what they expect in the future. It’s a lot easier than trying to ride into a prospective client’s office blindly.
Work Whenever You Can
Many of those competing in the Pan Am/Parapan Games are not full-time athletes. Instead, they have to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities of their lives as well as ambitious training programs that prepare them to win. A good example is Jamie Allen, a teacher from New Brunswick who is skipper of a team competing in the Lightning Class sailing tournament.
"We all have jobs and this is very much a part-time kind of thing for us," Allen told CBC.ca.
Sometimes, staff meetings, administrative duties and travel may make sales professionals feel like they’re barely able to squeeze in any actual selling. Like the Pan Am and Parapan athletes, you need to optimize your time to do many things at once. This is where mobile apps can help, because they allow many tasks that were once saved for working at your desk to be done almost anywhere.
Plan For The Long-Term Victory
Kelita Zupancic of Whitby, Ont. is already a Pan Am winner. She defeated a world champion in judo at a Pan Am competition in Alberta this past April, so it’s reasonable to think she has a strong claim for a gold medal during the Toronto games. However she’s already thinking about next year, she told DurhamRegion.com, when she hopes to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. “It’s the only goal right now,” she said.
Sales pros may often only be thinking about the end of the quarter, but there’s value in planning strategically for growing your business with a customer over months and years. Think of CRM, which helps identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, as a way to “train” for a less-than-immediate but potentially larger victory.
For a look at how sales pros can go for gold every day, check out Salesforce’s free eBook, the 2015 State of Sales report.