Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm
This message is for the sales professional. Please notice the word professional. According to Webster’s dictionary, if you are a professional, your position requires special study and preparation.
Successful sales professionals understand the need for re-tooling themselves. Author Steven Covey refers to this as sharpening the saw. Re-tooling is a continuous improvement process initiated by the individual.
First of all, don’t go into sales unless you plan to work hard. Sales is not for slackers. Overcoming and beating the competition requires that you bring your "A" game. Selling success requires hard work, continuous learning and continuous growth. Selling success requires an analytical mindset as well.
Analyze your work habits
Focus 80 percent of your energies on production- and relationship-oriented activities. This includes prospecting activities, relationship development and management activities, referral development and more.
In the spirit of analysis, understand how your activities and the way in which you organize your work week support your selling success.
In addition, how much of your personal time do you invest into developing yourself? How many books about your industry and your craft have you read in the last 12 months? How many classes or workshops have you invested in, in order to further your knowledge base? How open are you to feedback from your manager or other individuals more accomplished than you? What’s your greatest inefficiency? What new capability do you need to add in order to take your self to the next level of selling success?
Highly successful sales professionals can answer these questions about themselves.
Analyze your KPMs (key performance measures)
The goal of creating a personal measurement system is to provide sales professionals with an ability to see the cause-and-effect relationship between performance drivers (activities) and the financial result those activities have produced.
Creating visibility regarding the cause and effect relationship between actions and financial results enables the sales professional to make better decisions and course corrections along the way.
The best set of Key Performance Measures should be viewed as a forward-looking system of measurement that helps sales professionals predict future financial performance while spotting the need for changes along the way. When used properly, a sales professional’s personal score card (KPM’s) can be an effective fact-based self management tool.
The following are some examples of Key Performance Measures that are commonly monitored by highly effective sales professionals.
Sales-related Key Performance Measures
• Activity count (i.e. prospecting, number of demos and/or proposals, etc.).
• 30-, 60- and 90-day pipeline (or forecast).
• Close ratio (as compared with the 30 day forecast).
• Number of companies on the forecast that match the ideal client profile (should be at least 50 percent).
• Average revenue per client relationship.
• Number of new opportunities monthly.
The sales professionals that monitor, evaluate and understand their individual performance numbers (Key Performance Measures) will always outperform their competition. The reason is simply that they understand their own individual selling success map. They understand the cause-and-effect relationship between performance drivers (activities) and the financial results those activities produce. They have clarity regarding how the structure of their time and week affects the results they achieve.
Analyze your best clients
Not all clients are created equal, and you can’t afford to waste your time and your company’s resources on prospects or clients that can’t provide your organization with the profitability and/or momentum you strive to achieve while providing your products or services.
Sales professionals gain momentum by maximizing their return on the investment of time. They do this by maximizing their time spent on the prospects that are clearly the greatest fit for the products and services they provide. These target clients fit an ideal client profile. The ideal client profile is a result of a data-driven analysis that ultimately leads a sales organization to an accurate description of the characteristics that best describe the company’s most profitable clients. Developing a clear understanding of your organization’s ideal client profile involves an exercise and discussion that may only take between four and six hours. It is definitely a worthwhile exercise.
The successful sales professional understands the need for continuous growth and development. This implies a continuous process of self improvement initiated by the individual. Remember, successful selling requires an analytical mindset and a lot of hard work.