Sales is a very intuitive skill.
As it’s a people based discipline, everyone will find their own way of doing it. As a result, some find successful ways, others not so much. As a sales leader, this becomes difficult as a successful sales person may not sell precisely to the process desired by the business - or an unsuccessful one may follow that process but still fail.
However, however the good sales people sell, some things are always consistent:
- Attitude – good sales people talk positively about sales. They enjoy it. They don’t avoid it – they seek it. They’re hungry and one success is never enough. Success doesn’t happy by accident. Sales leaders hear this in their language, see this in their actions.
- Service - good sales people are focused on providing the best service to their clients – not products. They want to help their clients, not sell them. They have the clients in mind – all the time.
- Planning – good sales people plan. Their success doesn’t happen by accident. They know their sales targets, where they sit against them, what they have coming up this week and what they wish to achieve out of that meeting. They know their workload and it’s priority.
- Prospects – good sales people have a clear line of sight to their prospects – their future clients. They know them not by industry horizontal or vertical – they know them by name. They have a laser focus on those they wish to do business with.
- Activity – good sales people are active. They hunt and are proactive. Regardless of their workload – they are selling. It is how much activity they do which varies based on their need. They have momentum.
- Pipeline – good sales people have a very clear understanding of their pipeline. At what stage each deal is at, what can move it on and an action plan to do it. They know when it needs filling and where their ‘dead spots’ are. They live in their pipeline.
- Networks – good sales people develop and maintain a network. They don’t have many shallow relationships, they have deep and tight relationships with key people. Rainmakers. Like minded people who support one another – professional friendships. Solving clients issues through relationships, not pieces of work.
- Team Player – good sales people realise they can’t succeed alone. They develop and maintain good relationships within the business to support their success. They appreciate and recognise those who help them succeed. They encourage success in others
- Reflection – good sales people review their failures and their successes looking for ways to improve. They seek feedback from others.
Regardless of how a good sales person achieves success – somewhere unpinning their success are all the above.
Often, in sales leadership, the focus is on following a process/system or framework for successful sales. Sure, this provides a means to categorise the various aspects of sales (eg giving names to phases of the pipeline or common terminology).
Sales leadership is about managing these disciplines with your sales team – not the activities or processes. If you measure the activities, you will hit numbers, if you encourage and measure the above, you’ll get results. The difficulty is a) these are hard to measure and, importantly, b) they are unique to each person.