The job of sales – I’m not talking about a job description. Instead I am talking about the responsibilities successful sales reps willingly accept as theirs. As a career sales professional who has spent many years in sales and company management, I’ve observed the following responsibilities that the most successful sales reps have embraced.
Goals – It is your job to set personal goals.
The starting point is setting goals, and successful sales people have specific ones. These are over and above the quotas their sales managers give them. The most effective goals are tied to the sales rep’s personal life, typically markers that improve the quality of life for their family. Of course there are the sales reps that have a new car or some other personal marker motivating them, but over time these can fall apart because life can go on without them.
With that set, you know how much money it will take to achieve the goal. Simple math and knowing your close ratio will give you the important numbers you need to manage your work for the year. For example, if you need 120 sales per year to achieve your goal and you know it takes four sales presentations to hit one sale, you know you need a sales funnel that produces 480 sales presentations per year.
The other point to mention here is the importance of aligning your goals with your sales manager’s plan. We’ve already noted your personal goal exceeds your quota, and your sales manager should be a support for you in your reach. Rely on them for advice, feedback, and any additional company resources they are aware of. Sometimes these take the form of special pricing or vendor incentives.
Be smart – It is your job to understand what will get you where you need to be.
If you need a funnel producing 480 qualified sales opportunities why are you selling to 4,000? Shrink your world to 480 and focus on high yielding opportunities. There are two important concepts here:
- Look for prospects with future needs. There is no need to recreate the wheel every year. Look for prospects that will have additional business needs next year and beyond. In our business of selling copiers we look for businesses that we can also assist with software solutions, document scanning, and IT services – all additional products we sell. That not only provides additional business in the future but keeps us relevant to our customers inside their lease cycle rather than just having a sales opportunity when the 3 – 5 year lease expire.
- Focus on how you can help the business be better verses just what you can sell them. Companies want to do business with sales people who understand their industry and the issues that challenge them. Successful sales reps understand this and do the homework it requires. This expertise also has the potential to yield additional business. For example, if you understand the onboarding issues most company’s HR departments face and you have a solution that addresses this you have a talk track for incremental business that helps your prospect grow.
Organize – It is your job to plan your time and stick to it.
Knowing you need a sales funnel of 480 solid opportunities, how will you spend each day in order to achieve that? No matter how many interruptions you may get, you own your day. Consider establishing a daily routine that includes:
- Planning – even though you should have a set daily structure you adhere to, start each day reviewing the specific plan for that day.
- Reactive time – this is the time where you handle the pressing things, typically current customer needs that pop up, the company work that needs to be done, etc. Do not take on anything new during this time.
- New business/prospecting – the majority of your day, where you will do your cold calling, follow up on leads, generating appointments, etc. When a follow up or cold call results in a conversation, immediately follow up with an email that summarizes how you can help their business be more successful.
- Non-daily but regular – meet with manager regularly for coaching and mentoring, read sales development materials for professional development, and attend networking opportunities.
Marketing – It is your job to stay in touch with your marketing resources.
Your marketing department can be a tremendous help to you. Look to them for:
- List development to fuel your sales funnel.
- Content – be it blog articles, e-books, or other relevant materials that position your company as a thought or industry leader.
- Campaigns they can develop or replicate for your needs.
- Ideas on activities that have worked for others.
- Brand messaging that highlights what makes your company unique.
Love it – It is your job to be passionate about what you do.
The place to end this discussion is where it could also start – successful sales reps are passionate about sales. You need to wake up every day and feel this passion and let it drive everything you do. I sum it up by saying, “You need to be in love with the chase.”