September 10, 2014

The Anatomy of a Successful Sales Rep

successful-salesSales is changing. It’s going from a field filled with slick and sleazy folks who will say anything to close the deal, to a model that’s more inbound oriented. With the next-gen sales rep, it’s not about closing the deal, it’s about guiding your prospect through the sale with trust and education. It’s less about actually selling, than it is about being helpful.

So as we move from the old model to the new model, how do we identify what characteristics make up this new successful sales rep?

Typically we measure sales reps on meeting numbers. If they don’t meet their numbers, they aren’t thought of as being “successful”. The problem with that model is that when you only measure someone by numbers, it changes their mindset and makes them focus on only the number - encouraging them to do what they can to close the sale, regardless of how it affects the prospect.

With the new idea of an inbound sales rep, the numbers still matter of course, but the goal is to make it about the larger, why rather than how much. We’ve pulled together attributes that make up the new successful sales rep. 

In order for you to move into the inbound method of selling, adapt these successful sales techniques and you’ll be well on your way.

Get Plenty of Sleep

It’s hard to stay focused and when you are sleep deprived. People claim to function with minimal sleep so long as they have coffee readily available. While coffee can help, we shouldn’t rely on only caffeine to get us through the day, especially since too much coffee can actually disturb natural sleep patterns and make you even more tired in the long run. Aim for eight hours of sleep per night; you’ll be sprightly, ready to take on the day and most importantly your mind will be sharp.

Know What You’re Selling

People have changed the way they make business and purchasing decisions. We’re in a time now where your buyers can access any information they want, which empowers them to educate themselves prior to ever speaking with a sales rep. To compensate for this evolution, a salesperson must know what they are selling top to bottom and front to back. The moment a buyer is more educated than the sales rep is the moment you can kiss your chances goodbye.

Set Goals

Sales reps have a quota to hit; but why aim for the minimum? A successful sales rep should want to blow their metrics out of the water, not simply reach them. Take it one step at a time; first hit your quota, and then keep on selling. The extra is just icing on the cake (and who doesn’t love more icing on their cake?).

Be Motivated

It’s never easy to be denied; in sales it’s a shot to the heart. However, when it happens, you have to pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. In B2B sales, the sales cycles tend to be long, and time spent wasted moping around after losing a prospect will hurt your sales production down the line. Stay busy, stay motivated and keep your head up!

Be Attentive and Observant

Every salesman in their respective industry should have a set list of buzzwords that can be very telling about a prospect's pain or experience. Keep an ear out for your buzzwords and know the proper follow up when these words are used. It doesn’t stop there, really listen to a prospect’s pain points and relate to them, it can go a long way in establishing trust.

Be Honest

You want to be honest with your prospects when you are selling to them so that when they do sign on – they are getting exactly what you sold them. Don’t fill your prospect with empty promises on the notion it may incentivize them to sign. In doing this, you hurt your company image, break your prospect’s trust, and frustrate your team members who have to deal with the aftermath of your false promises.

Be Helpful

Building trust is less about your ability to connect with your prospect and more about positioning yourself as someone who is helping them (not selling to them). If you become a person who truly understands their pain points, your offering becomes less of a product or service they’re going to buy and instead becomes a solution. You are helping solve their challenges and buying from you will become a no brainer.

Use Organizational Tools

In sales, at any point in time you’re probably juggling a handful of prospects at once. We know this seems super obvious, but don’t kid yourself in thinking you’re going to remember your entire schedule for the week. In order for you to stay more organized and on task, when you set meetings with prospects book them in your calendar and send reminders to yourself (and your prospect!). Use tools like Signals to aid your sales process. Missing a meeting or not having the right information at hand can be your downfall, so use sales tools to help avoid those mistakes.

Maximize your CRM

After every call, you should jot your notes down in your CRM before you forget anything. Having your notes in the CRM rather than a personal notebook not only allows other members of your team to access them, but it helps you keep track of what you’ve covered with each individual prospect. This ensures that your conversations are more meaningful and engaging. Also leverage your CRM to set tasks and reminders for yourself. Need to follow up with a prospect in three days? Set yourself a task! Your CRM system can help you to effectively manage all of your leads at once and help you make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Call this post stating the obvious, but I like to call it a friendly reminder of the elements that comprise a successful sales rep. As of writing this, I know there are areas I need to improve upon that I’ve included in this post. Every day is a new challenge to get better, and it all starts with realizing where to begin. Take these tips and challenge yourself to be a more successful sales representative for your customers!

Download the complete guide to inbound sales

Tag(s): Sales

Korey MacPherson

Korey is a former New Breeder.


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