At Sales for Startups, I am often asked, is sales an art or a science? My answer is always it is a scientific discipline within an artistic paradigm. To align with Pareto’s law, 80% is process driven and scientific and 20% is flair, personality and artistry that can separate C+ players from A+ players. These 7 areas to focus on could help you get from C to A in no time.
1) Be willing to learn
I’m close to 15 years B2B sales experience and I learn every day. But when I say learn, record your calls and get peers and senior members of the team to review. If you are a leader, this is the quickest way to diagnose an area a rep could need coaching. Don’t just trust CRM and their notes!
It is probably the hardest part of sales but the most rewarding. However, I recommend 5 minutes per account and if they fit the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), reach out. Don’t be a victim of paralysis by analysis. I read someone suggesting you should “research as much as you can”. Bad advice. Research as much as you need then contact them. Don’t wait.
3) Be able to whiteboard your product
If you can draw it on a whiteboard you will understand how the product works. Test yourself on it and if you can do that, you know your product.
4) Take courses on how to negotiate
It amazes me how little time is spent on coaching reps how to negotiate. It comes up in the sales process all the time with buyers and procurement departments (who are trained hard on this aspect), so why aren’t salespeople? Great negotiators are hard to come by. Become one and be known for it.
5) Next steps
Basic one, but always set firm next steps on the call before it ends. If there is no next steps, deals slow down and then are very hard to get back on track again
6) Reverse engineer everything
Ask your company, how many customers do your company need and in what timeframe? How many proposals do you need to send out for that? How many demos do you need to do? How many discovery calls do you need to attend? How many connects do you need to make? Then, you’ve reverse engineered your numbers and are much more in control of your own destiny.
7) Make an inventory
Record all the use cases and all the outcomes that your product or service offers. Remember, you are selling outcomes, not features; knowing what these outcomes are will enable you to communicate this directly to your prospect and make them feel great. Maya Angelou said it best, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”