All About Sales
In most organisations, ‘sales’ refers to receiving income from customers for the products or services you provide. It’s your top line, the P part of your P&L.
Getting your sales numbers tracking in the right direction requires a combination of science, process, strategy, competency and a dash of art and magic.
In reality though, sales is more than that. At the crux of it - sales is about a value exchange.
For context, we’re going to use the term ‘sales’ to primarily refer to receiving income from customers for the products or services you provide. While that’s the common context, do consider the insights we’re sharing and how they can apply in other ways, as it really is more about an exchange of value, not just ‘cash for stuff’.
The people usually responsible for this are your sales team – their key focus is to uncover and understand current and potential customer wants and needs, build trust and rapport with the customer and have a deep understanding of the customer’s business and their, often unstated, needs.
When the time is right, they need to work with the customer to educate, inform, and influence the customer’s buying decision so as to see the value your product or service offers, and to get the customer to select yours in a way that ensure’s they’re getting what they need and what they expect.
The formula for high performance sales isn’t complex, but having a game plan for getting there, does require some (figurative) heavy lifting.
Here’s the hit list:
Clear outcomes and expectations of your sales team
The right sales people to deliver these outcomes
A deep understanding of your market, your solution and your customer’s needs
A ‘go to market’ plan and sales strategy
Measurement, metrics and feedback on performance for the sales team
Tools, training and resources to support the sales team
Remuneration and benefits to engage and retain your sales stars
The game plan! A strong plan gives you the best shot at exceptional sales results. This includes details of who the customers are, what sales resources are needed, how to engage both, key metrics and performance standards, and a lean, mean process to enable hitting that target, among other things.
Sales isn’t rocket science, but it is easy to spend time and effort in areas that don’t deliver the results you want. Getting the sales basics right is the quickest way to move your business forward.
PLAN :: CUSTOMER :: KNOWLEDGE :: FOLLOW UP :: FOCUS
The absolute essentials – know your customers, focus your time and treat them well.
We only have 24 hours in the day, and we can’t spend every one of them working! So to get the best results, you can treat each customer like a VIP, but you’ll then need to decide which clients you invest extra time, extra effort and energy into. They need to be treated equally, but your efforts need to be focused on the customers that will deliver the results you and your company need. Here’s the tool to help you decide who to give the most love and attention to, and how to go about giving them the VIP treatment.
The right sales people can make or break your business at any stage, but you’re particularly vulnerable when making your first sales hire.
We’ve been there, done that, and we’ve been there to seen it done well and not-so-well. We’ve also done some research too, so it's not just our 2 cents worth. Now we're here to share some practical tips and lessons learned, so the risk is less for you.
YOUR SALES PEOPLE
Hands Up if You’ve Been Charmed by a Sales Person?
Here’s a few areas that can be red flags:
They have an impressive company like Microsoft on their CV and anchor their skills and experience here.
They’ve smashed their targets in a previous role/s.
They woo you! With charisma and charm, you’re impressed.
Everyone that interviewed them, really liked them ‘they were so great!’
They are super keen, driven and hungry – excitable over everything.
We’ll get into why these can be traps later. For now though, you’ve got work to do (#sorrynotsorry). Download the free sales team planning workbook now.
Team culture flows throughout your organisation, and through to your customers. It is seen, heard and felt by anyone who ‘touches’ your business. Being clear on the culture you’re wanting helps find the crew that live, work and play authentically and in alignment with what you need.
Separating the high performers from the story tellers is a real art.
Sales is not a regulated or certified profession which can make it hard to determine the high performers from the story tellers. De-risk this for your business! No more spin, great stories and references to the cool kids in the interviews.
Start with being clear on what kind of sales culture you want, what you need the sales team to do, and what kind of sales person you need to deliver the sales results.
Sales isn’t rocket science, it’s actually waaaaaaay more simple than you might realise. Like many things, if we break it down into steps, it’s actually not too scary. And by completing each step, you up your chances of getting great results. Let’s have a look ….