5 Sales Attributes We’re Thankful For
The team at Force Management loves sales. We love salespeople. We know good salespeople when we see them. We are thankful for the ones who get it. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are sharing a little gratitude on The Command Center blog. Here are five things we are thankful for in any sales organization, especially in a year of challenge and growth:
1. Leaders who lead from the front
For every sales initiative that positively transforms a company, there are countless others that fall flat with time, money and resources wasted. Every sales leader facing up to a new change initiative has this thought stuck in the back of their mind. Fortunately, as a sales leader you have the power to commit to making your proposed transformation a reality.
We’re thankful for the sales leaders who own the leadership of their strategic sales initiatives. We call this type of leadership, “Leading from the Front”.
Anyone who’s been involved in a sales transformation knows, going from point A to point B, the desired future state, is no simple feat. The key to ensuring your change initiative’s success is to:
- Understand what it takes from the sales reps, managers and yourself as the leader to drive lasting outcomes.
- Stay involved and committed to making it happen.
Sales leaders who lead from the front are better equipped to drive lasting outcomes from their strategic initiatives. Ensure you’re equipped to successfully lead from the front and launch a results-driven initiative. Here are a few key strategies on leading from the front that you can use to avoid any common mistakes or setbacks.
2. Managers that provide the how
If you’ve spent any time as a sales rep, ask yourself, “Were you able to make a bigger impact in your deals when your managers gave you a to-do list, or when your managers worked with you to help you understand how to execute the most critical activities on your to-do list?”
During regular opportunity reviews or coaching sessions, it's not enough for managers to just tell their sales teams what to do to execute in their opportunities. Most of your sellers could likely list out a to-do list of high-value sales activities on their own, or gaps in their MEDDICC qualification, etc. It’s critical that your managers spend this time coaching reps on how to execute and building skills that reps can repeat in future opportunities.
The more managers can help reps map out their deals and provide the how — the more your reps will be able to build effective strategies on their own and achieve repeatable high-value outcomes. Providing the how is easier said than done, which is why we are thankful for managers who can provide the how and sales leaders who support their managers in building this skillset.
Resources you can use to help your managers build this coaching skill set:
- Sales Coaching Tips: Structure Manager Feedback
- Resources to Enable Your Front-Line Sales Managers
- An Approach to Opportunity Coaching That Makes an Impact
- Enabling Managers to Execute the Skill/Will Coaching Approach
- Coaching Your Team Podcast with John Kaplan
3. Sellers who know how to execute a great discovery
Within any sales conversation, and especially in a noisy sales environment, it can be easy for salespeople to fall victim to the Seller Deficit Disorder. When we refer to this disorder, we’re referring to the assumed biases almost every buyer has about a salesperson, which are (1) you don’t understand my problems and (2) you don’t listen. Think of it this way, if you’ve ever been on the other end of a sales call and feel like the seller is just running through a script with you — then you’ve likely made similar assumptions.
We’re thankful for the sellers who leverage their frameworks in a way that enables them to overcome the seller deficit disorder, rather than run through a basic Q&A with their prospects.
Salespeople who are equipped with a buyer-focused framework and prepared to ask great discovery questions are able to overcome this disorder and make their prospects feel heard. The ability to execute a great discovery enables salespeople to dig deeper and get to the biggest business issues their prospects are facing. This skill set comes from great pre-call planning and the resources at your salespeople’s disposal that enable them to carry value-driven conversations.
In our Command of the Message® engagements with customers, we help sales leaders build a custom value-messaging framework and mantra that enables their sellers to dig deep in their discovery conversations. As your salespeople continue to face new challenges next year, you can support their success by equipping them with a similar, custom framework. Consider how you may be able to provide a repeatable mechanism that your reps can use to ask great discovery questions and articulate what they’re hearing in a way that’s meaningful to each of their individual buyers.
4. Sellers who take their time and don't move a deal forward until it's baked
With an unclear sales process and a heightened focus on hitting their number, it can be easy for even veteran sellers to skip over key steps in their sales conversations. Inaccurate forecasts are a clear red flag that one or both of these scenarios are at play.
We’re thankful for salespeople who aptly prepare for their sales conversations and voraciously qualify because of it. These sellers are likely your top sellers, and it’s because they understand the benefit of taking their time on the front-end of their deals to discover, qualify and capture all of the necessary information they need before they move on. We’re thankful for these sellers because they understand the benefit of taking more time early on in their sales process, so in the later stages of their deals, they’re not running into challenges that could hurt their predicted number. These skills become even more relevant when challenging markets lead to drawn-out deals and more rigorous buying processes.
In this podcast, John Kaplan perfectly analogizes the importance of not moving your deal forward unless you’ve solidified a champion. It’s a great listen for sales leaders, managers and reps who are looking to improve forecast accuracy and results.
5. Sellers who know how to walk away
When sales teams are up against difficult benchmarks and selling in an unprecedented environment, walking away from any deal is an afterthought. While every sales organization is facing different challenges, one thing is certain — your sellers' time is valuable.
This is why we’re thankful for the salespeople who know what deals they don’t belong in. Salespeople who are equipped with a voracious qualification methodology and process will be able to ensure they’re spending their time effectively and qualifying out deals that they don’t belong in and/or aren’t going to happen.
Empower your sellers to invest confidently in winning deals, especially in times of economic change. This blog shares strategies for leaders to establish a qualification framework that works for their whole organization.
Enable Your Team to Consistently Execute at an Elite Level
As a sales leader, you have the ability to support your team in mastering the skills we've discussed. While many sellers deliver on these objectives some of the time, the key to consistent wins is aligning your whole organization around a repeatable framework for success. This ebook explores four key areas where leaders can focus to affect a sales transformation that leaves a lasting impact on revenue.