Nobody goes into sales because it’s easy. Well, maybe some people do because they hope it is. In reality, it’s a challenging profession that requires constant effort, mastery over self, and the ability to dust yourself off and keep pushing, day in, day out, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Sales is hard. But many reps make it harder than it needs to be. We tend to overthink things, to be a bit unimaginative in our approach, and, perhaps most importantly, get too bogged down in the day-to-day demands of the role to see that there are ways to simplify and streamline our approach. Or, at a minimum, to tweak a few things that can make a big impact.
So what are the things that can make sales easier? This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are the four things you can do that will have a tremendous impact:
1. Understanding why prospects buy your product
Sometimes, we get so focused on the everyday details or our jobs that we forget to look at the big picture. What problem does your product solve? And what are the bigger implications of that problem? Of your most recent deals closed, why did your customers choose you over the competition? What about your most recent hundred deals closed?
Many reps don’t think in these terms, and don’t take the time to truly understand why they and their company have been successful in the past. This, however, can serve as the roadmap to the future, allowing you to target the right prospects, and hone your message so that it resonates. Try to understand the “why,” both when it comes to your product and the prospect, and your life in sales will become much easier.
2. Sticking to a consistent schedule
Few people are wired in such a way that they’re able to perform at a high level at all hours of the day, and whether or not they’ve gotten sufficient sleep. For those of us who aren’t superhuman, this means that sticking to a reliable and consistent schedule is of utmost importance if we want to perform at our best. So getting enough sleep (and getting it every night) can be a game-changer for those who take their career seriously.
Taking this a step further, we usually have a certain “flow” of energy throughout the day. This can be different for different people. Some of us have more energy in the mornings, while others find that they start firing on all cylinders in the afternoon. The key is to figure out when you’re at your best, and to schedule your most important work during that time. This will allow you to not only get stuff done, but to do it when you’re at your peak and able to put out your best work.
3. Automating tasks
There is so much work that the average sales rep has to do on any given day. Making calls, sending emails, filling out proposals, responding to internal messages, updating Salesforce… the list goes on and on. But we aren’t helpless in the face of all these demands. And with technology advancing at a rapid pace, much of the work that has been done manually for decades can now be done by machines (that is, software and artificial intelligence).
Dooly, for example, the company whose blog you’re currently reading, makes updating Salesforce incredibly easy, by automatically syncing notes, fields, and activities to Salesforce with just one-click. Not only that, but it also recommends next steps, adds new contacts as you type, gives you a great snapshot of every opportunity’s progress, and much more. And Dooly is just one of the many game-changing technologies that are making sales rep’s lives easier everyday (though we are, perhaps, the best one :)).
4. Following the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule)
If you’ve ever heard the expression, “Work smarter, not harder,” then you’ve heard of the Pareto principle. Strictly defined, “The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is a theory maintaining that 80 percent of the output from a given situation or system is determined by 20 percent of the input. The principle doesn’t stipulate that all situations will demonstrate that precise ratio – it refers to a typical distribution.”
In sales, you can apply the Pareto principle based on the activities that prove to be most effective in driving closed business. This will more than likely mean prospecting, following-up, and closing. But taking the Pareto principle a step further, sales reps should strive to figure out which particular prospecting activities are most effective, which types of prospects tend to be most receptive to their messaging, and which outreach-to-proposal-to-closed-deal combination seems responsible for most deals closed. Hard work is important, but if you don’t work smarter, then you’ll always be making your sales job more difficult than it needs to be.
Finally, a sales process that gives you the freedom to sell.
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