The following is the part one of a two-part series from author and business consultant Dirk Beveridge and was originally posted on his blog, Driving Sales Beyond. Part two will follow next week.
Recently I was with a group of sales managers and a spontaneous discussion began around the question, “What separates top producing sales people from the others?” These sales managers generated 11 criteria. Take a look at the list (I’ll break it up into two posts to be conscious of your time) and let me know if you agree, or if you would have added other items to the list.
Clearly Defined Expectations
Is everyone under your leadership on the "same page," or is someone marching to a different drummer? Improved productivity and performance require the clear communication of expectations. Our sales representatives should:
- Know their roles and responsibilities -- what they should and should not do. For example, they should let customer service representatives service while they themselves focus on consistently executing the sales function.
- Understand the desired end state – what they must accomplish.
- Work toward set goals and use those goals to measure their performance.
Planning and organization at the territory level are critical to sales success. Each sales representative must develop and execute a strategy that proactively addresses the dynamics and changes in his territory. Effective planning means establishing clear objectives and organizing specific sales activities into integrated yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily work plans. The sales representative should:
- Develop a plan for maximizing the territory’s potential.
- Follow a process that begins with an annual plan and filters down to shorter-term quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans.
- Develop a plan for each call that includes specific objectives for that call.
- Practice organizational skills that make his work both efficient and effective.
Understand The Customer’s Needs & Business
To compete at the highest levels, sales representatives must develop professional interviewing skills that establish their credibility and expertise, as well as demonstrate empathy. Additionally, they’ll use these skills to reveal the customer’s important business needs, goals, priorities and points of view. Each sales representative should:
- Focus on the customer as a “market of one.”
- Cultivate skills that allow him to drive a discussion around the strategies, objectives, and initiatives of his customer’s business.
- Avoid dumping information, and instead, listen while the customer does most of the talking.
- Cultivate skills that help him communicate effectively at all levels in the customer’s business. This includes participating in quality business discussions with those higher up in the customer’s organization chart.
Passion For The Business
Passion creates the energy and drive required to succeed over the long haul. Sales representatives with a natural enthusiasm and passion for their business need no motivation. Members of the sales team must:
- View their work as more than “just a job,” love what they do and the market they’re in.
- Have the work ethic to do what it takes to succeed.
Creativity & Innovation
Developing new and better solutions to customer problems requires a big dose of creativity on the part of the sales representative. Innovation and creativity hearten perseverance and spark performance breakthroughs. Our sales team must understand that:
- Required solutions are not always easy to find.
- The sales cycle at times may become a drawn out process. The sales representative must find ways to stay engaged and lead that process.
So there are the first five criteria which separate top producing sales reps from all the others according to this group of talented sales managers. On Thursday I’ll outline the other six top producing criteria.
What did you think of this list? Do you agree? Disagree? Have others to add? Let me know – I look forward to your input.
For information on how to book Dirk Beveridge for your next sales event, visit www.premierespeakers.com/dirk_beveridge.