Anthony Iannarino: 13 things you need to succeed in sales now

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anthonyOne of my very favorite sales bloggers is Anthony Iannarino. He writes every day, brings a fresh and relevant perspective regularly, and if you spend any time with him you also find out quickly that he’s a great guy and very much knows his stuff. He’s one of the few sales experts that is also still carrying a bag, so he knows first-hand what’s working out there.

In addition to his daily blog posts, he also publishes a Sunday newsletter. It’s a simple format – just a text message in an email. But in typical Iannarino style, it’s required reading with coffee for me Sunday morning.

Last week Anthony published a simple set of 13 focus areas to help salespeople improve performance and success in 2014. With permission, I’ve re-posted his email message below. I highly recommend signing up for his weekly newsletter here as well.

The following is a list of ideas, tools, and skills that you need to succeed in sales. If you aren’t producing the results you want, it’s likely that you are missing one or more of the items on this list.

Above the Funnel

  1. Target List of Dream Clients: Sales organizations and salespeople spend too much time pursuing non-opportunities. They spend too little time where they can really create value and really make a difference. You need a list of dream clients, the clients for whom you can create breath-taking, jaw-dropping, earth-shattering results. This should be your focus. Make your list.
  2. Nurture Plan and Toolkit: Winning your dream clients takes time. The reason salespeople don’t actively pursue their dream clients is because they don’t have a strategy to create value over time. Instead, they just call and ask for an appointment (which is good, but can easily be improved). You need a nurture plan that creates value and establishes you as a partner and the tools to go with it.
  3. Differentiation Strategy: I don’t care what you sell, your marketplace is crowded. If you want attention, you have to be different in a way that makes a difference. The answer to the question “why do you do what you do” is more powerful and than the answer to the question “how do you do it” The answer to the question “how do you do what you do” is more powerful than the answer to the question “what do you do?” You need a chart illustrating those differences.

Inside the Funnel

  1. Model Sales Week: Activity isn’t enough. The right activity effectively taken is. You need a plan that allows you to take the right activities effectively, in the right amount, over time. Build a model sales week that generates that activity.
  2. Meaningful Metrics: To know where you are and how you are progressing, you need a few metrics, key performance indicators. I’m a top-of-the-funnel guy; I like to see velocity in new opportunity acquisition (that seems to solve all sorts of problems). Choose the few metrics that tell you where you are and how you are doing, and then obsess over them.
  3. Reverse-Engineered Sales Process: We make too much of the sales process. And we make too little of it at the same time. Simply put, your sales process is the best and most likely path from target to close. It’s a road map. It tells you where you are and how to get where you are going. You still need to be resourceful when things go sideways, but you need a repeatable process.
  4. Scripts and Playbooks: Selling well is a series of value-based conversations. Planning the dialogue you have with your client is powerful stuff. It ensures that you create value for them, and it increases the likelihood you advance an opportunity. Write your scripts and build a playbook as to how you execute your sales process.
  5. Solutions Chart: A solutions chart gives you an idea of how to solve a particular client’s pain. It describes their pain and the solutions you can develop to solve it. It focuses the development of your solution, not what you want to sell but what is going to be most compelling to your dream client. You need to make one.
  6. Proof Providers: As you and your dream clients move through the process together, you need to be able to help them with a vision and deal with their concerns about risk. You need proof providers that show real results and that eliminate fears about risk. Build a whole toolkit around this idea.

Meeting Rhythm

  1. Individual Coaching: Coaching is the fastest way to improved performance. If you don’t have one, get one. If you aren’t one, be one.
  2. Team Coaching: Coaching is better than training. You offload the responsibility for discovering new beliefs, new behaviors, and new commitments to those being coached. There is no reason to deprive the team of learning from individual issues. Add team coaching to your repertoire.
  3. Pipeline Review Meetings: Start at the top of the funnel instead of the bottom. Have these review meetings religiously, as if your life depends on it. If you have nothing to review, then you’ll understand why I am a top-of-the-funnel guy.
  4. Opportunity Review Meetings: You have to plan to win. Opportunities are too important to leave to chance. Review your opportunities. If they’re stuck, work with your team to figure out how to get them unstuck. If they’re challenging, work to be smart about the decisions you make.

What are you missing? What do you need to build before the new year begins?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.

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