3 Areas of Focus to Avoid Sales Extinction


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3_Areas_of_Focus_to_Avoid_Sales_ExtinctionFor most sales professionals, the midpoint of the sales year is approaching.   You track your sales numbers regularly.  But the midpoint of the year is a good barometer on whether you will make your number.  If you are behind, what can be done to close out the year strong?  If you are ahead, what do you need to do to stay on course?  For many comes the resounding question:

“Do I need to change how I am selling?”

The dynamic between buyer and seller has changed significantly in recent years.  Buyers are more educated about products and solutions.  Companies make the buying process more complex in order to save money.  Introductions and relationships are made in different ways than even a few years ago.  You may be at the top or the bottom of the pack; either way, it is necessary to revisit your approach to ensure you don’t become a dinosaur.  Some main areas to focus on:

Evolve Faster than the Competition Tool

Am I prospecting correctly?  

The phone and email have become clogged channels.  With the multitude of calls and messages, most buyers will not respond.  That is unless they know the person reaching out.  Today, it is not about who you know.  It’s all about who knows you.  Do you have a personal brand that is recognized?  Dan Bernoske wrote a post which covers the importance and components of a good personal brand.  Once your brand is established, ensure that you connecting through the correct channels.  Phone, email, and networking events are not dead, but do have diminishing returns.  Social Selling (the use of social media to engage customers and prospects) has proven effects.  These channels are relatively unclogged, and are a leading source of information for buyers. Ensure your approach is the correct mix of engagement methods for your customer.

Am I engaging at the right time?

Today’s buyer has changed.  They learn about products and solutions through the internet and user groups.  At SBI, we call this the “informed buyer.”  These buyers are engaging with sales professionals later in their buying cycle than ever.  What are you doing to engage the buyer early in the process?  The earlier you can engage with value, the closer you will be to winning.

Am I engaging with the right people in the right way?

It is very rare that a single person makes a buying decision.  Today, purchase decision teams dominate.  These groups can include everyone from the end user up to the executive level.  The key is to identifying all members who will influence the decision.  From there, you must identify both personal and professional drivers.  How will your solution benefit each level of the business?  How will it affect each member personally?  Once determined, you can position your solution in the right way to each member.

Take a little time to reflect on these areas.  Download the Evolve Faster than the Competition Tool to make this process easier.  It is a good idea to revisit this exercise on a quarterly basis. Ensure that you are setting yourself up for success in 2014 and the years going forward.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michael Riksheim
Michael Riksheim serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a professional services firm which focuses exclusively on sales force effectiveness. Prior to joining SBI, Michael spent over 12 years in the pharmaceutical and technology industries, holding roles in sales, marketing, sales operations and sales leadership. Most notably, Michael served as National Training Manager for Allergan Inc., a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and medical device company, where he redesigned both the sales process and all levels of sales training for a $1.2 Billion dollar sales division.


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