If you surveyed job shop owners about what makes a sales person great, most of them would give you answers like these:
- “Customers love him!”
- “Her ability to build trust with prospects is simply amazing.”
- “She’s a great, natural communicator.”
- “He has tremendous empathy for everyone he works with, and prospects pick up on that quickly.”
- “He really likes people and knows human nature better than anyone I know.”
- “She combines persistence and optimism, which makes her unbeatable!
It’s tough to argue with any of these observations. Some of these characteristics probably are great predictors of individual sales success.
But if you asked top sales performers for the secrets of their success, one common theme sure to surface is that they’ve all recognized the need to turn their action steps into a set of processes proven to deliver better results. They know that being deliberate about their approach gives them the opportunity to continuously improve the approach, and keep enjoying the results.
Sales Process Fundamentals
Just like most successful athletes, successful sales pros understand that following a disciplined approach to sales planning and execution will lead to consistently better results. Most importantly, they recognize that truly great sales teams work together to build the processes that lead to sustainable success.
Here are the process steps great sales teams are most likely to follow:
Set Specific, Well-articulated Goals
“Growth” is not a goal. Instead, put a number to growth from existing customers, plus identify exactly how many new customers of a minimum size need to be secured. And if your target includes several different customer types or multiple product categories, include those details in goal descriptions. Understanding with some precision how many new customers you need is a great way to drive team urgency.
Objectively Define Ideal Targets
Your sales team should have definitions of your ideal target customers using objective demographic measures (company size, industry, product category usage levels, etc.) that allow the team to quantitatively evaluate and rank targets for relative degrees of attractiveness. All leads aren’t equal, and making this part of ongoing conversations will help decision-making when it comes to allocating resources in pursuit of a new customer.
Define Target Personas
Since people, not businesses, make purchase decisions, the team needs to determine the most critical people at the target companies with whom to connect.
Are they purchasing people, engineers, or maintenance managers? Once teams understand who the target personas are they can begin thinking about whom to appeal to and attract these specific people types. And they’ll also start recognizing that different personas have different pain triggers, motivations, and goals.
Map the Buyer Journey from Buyer’s Perspective
With your feet firmly in the buyer’s shoes, you can begin to build well-reasoned theories of the likely journey your target buyer takes from start to finish. What are the pain points that start the journey, what other functions are involved as parts of the buyer’s team, what’s the likely process they go through to vet and select vendor partners?
Leverage Social Media to Maximize Target Connection Opportunities
When you know who you’re trying to connect with and start spending time learning their needs and motivations, connecting with them on social media becomes a natural development for the modern sales professional.
Utilize 2.0 Sales and Marketing Tools
Great sales teams understand that the right sales tools can make them more effective, but only if employed with both discipline and thoughtfulness about the buyer journey they’re working to align with. Sales and marketing automation are a way to make sales processes work more effectively, rather than being a replacement for well-considered processes.
Great sales teams understand that their best performance will come when they bring together the collective experience of the team to build effective sales processes. Likewise, smart sales leaders soon learn that with the right processes and disciplines in place, everyone on the team is capable of improved performance—and the team becomes far greater than the sum of its parts.