Driving Sales Growth
Delivering Measurable Return on Investment…
What makes a great salesperson?
In the current economic climate, it’s a tough time to be a sales director and you need your sales teams to be performing at their best.
Obvious, but what does this actually mean in practice? Or to put it another way, what does a great salesperson look like?
From our own 20+ years’ experience of working with a wide variety of B2B sales teams – from technology start-ups to global top 5 firms, our current top 10 characteristics we notice are as follows:
- Show they are genuinely interested in their customer’s business and have the confidence to focus on this, rather than having to talk about their own solutions
- Educate their prospects and customers about the marketplace, without bringing it back to the products they happen to sell
- Build genuine rapport by adapting their own style to their customer’s approach
- Demonstrate resilience and tenacity (typical EQ characteristics) especially when things get tough
- Help clients build a financial business case for their solution
- Really understand the clients buying processes, who is involved and the likely time frame
- Actively influence their customer’s decision criteria, so their solution is the natural fit
- Are able to articulate the business value of their solution to a CFO
- Write persuasive and concise emails and proposals
- Are confident negotiators and bring in other variables (not just price) to reach win-win solutions
I am sure you will have your own list (and it would be good to hear these!) but if you would like to know more about how we helped clients develop these top 10 capabilities – then click on the link below…
If you would like more in depth ideas on what top salespeople do (and the mistakes that average salespeople make) then scroll down…
The Buying Cycle
Great sales people know that the sales skills they should call upon depend on where they are in the clients buying cycle.
Click below to find out more…
Early on, in the Understanding Needs stage, the client may realise they have business problems and opportunities, but they have not yet decided to do something about it – maybe they have competing demands for budget or simply do not see it as a priority (they may feel they are OK with their existing supplier for example)
Top salespeople here are excellent at really understanding their client’s business, acting as a consultant and helping the client realise the impact of doing nothing. In other words, helping them with their business case for change.
- Consulting skills
- Questioning, listening
- Immediate impact
- Building rapport
- This is the wrong time to do a hard pitch!
- Focus here if you want to…increase pipeline, with fewer sales opportunities turning into the dreaded ’no decision’ status!
In the Assessing Options stage, the client’s attention moves to their decision process – how are they going to choose from their various options? Good salespeople here know this is the time to influence the criteria that clients are using and differentiate their company against the competition. The result of excellence in this area is a higher win:loss ratio.
- Influencing decision criteria
- Proposing / pitching
- Differentiating your solution
- Not understanding how the prospect will choose the right solution
- Focus here is you want to…increase your win:loss ratio, sell better against the competition
This is all about negotiation – the client may have chosen to go with you, but this is where margins can be eroded by desperate salespeople…
- Understanding your walk-away position, being clear on the value you provide the prospect, understand their options!
- Being desperate for the business – and showing it!
- Focus here if you want to…increase margins, avoid “failure being snatched from jaws of victory” situations…
This is where account management skills are vital – too many companies we speak to neglect existing clients or don’t see them as a source of new opportunities – yet the cost of sale can be 5 times less in an existing client!
- Stakeholder development
- Long-term relationship building
- Identifying new opportunities
- Not developing new contacts in areas outside your comfort zone!
- Focus here if you want to…
- Remember, develop your existing customers, build customer satisfaction and reputation.