New software platforms are being developed every day with the promise of making sales people more effective. In the face of this rush to adopt, let’s remember that grit and determination still have a central role in a successful sale.
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
In nearly every industry, sales is becoming more challenging. Not only are there more competitors fighting for the same piece of cheese, but customers are educated about your offer before they begin talking with a salesperson. None of this is should be news to active practitioners of sales. It probably will also not be news to most readers that the majority of all sales take five or more touches to convert, or that 66% of salespeople give up after two “no’s”. This information on the state of the selling trade is readily available, yet many salespeople continue to struggle with how to structure a sales process that now runs through five or more touch-points. Overcoming this apprehension and creating a buyer experience that is both structured and natural feeling is the central goal of sales management and its application is the mark of an expert practitioner.
Creating reliable results across an entire sales team requires more than putting top performers on a pedestal and holding everyone to their level. Instead, build a framework for sales success that the whole team can benefit. Providing the tools for success removes a lot of the ambiguity inherent in a sales position and makes it easier for everyone, from top performers, to average to stay motivated in pursuing their sales goals. Using sales technology to create a process isn’t a cure for a lack of motivation, but producing an environment where outcomes can be made predictable will eliminate many of the major blockers to performance and motivation present in most sales teams.
Salespeople walk a fine line between being the right kind of persistent and the wrong kind of creepy. Tread this delicate path well and you’ll provide a concierge buying experience. Misstep, and the door will slam in your face. The nuances of this formula will vary from prospect to prospect adding even more to the challenge. Successfully navigating this process requires being organized in your approach, but still leaving enough room to let personal judgment make course corrections.
At the end of the day, the organization brought to the sales process by technologies such as CRMs is essential to successful selling. But the reality is that in competitive industries, having a CRM and an at-least decent sales process is practically table stakes. For the reps that are consistently successful and come home with a boatload of cash are the ones that know how to be relentlessly organized, but are also able to remain constantly hungry for the sale. That hunger still matters; no amount of innovation in sales technology will make up the difference between decent reps and the great ones.
In the right hands, the recent wave of sales technology is a huge enabler, allowing sales people to regiment their follow up and manage touch-points and sales communication across a larger body of prospects than might otherwise be possible. The challenge for salespeople, as well as their managers, is in making sure that technology isn’t serving as a band-aid for deficiencies in sales skills or as a replacement for motivation. Building a successful team means finding the right people, and then ensuring they have the best tools for the job.