No matter what your business is about, there’s one thing that you should always bear in mind: you need to learn how to sell and hit your sales goals!
Honing one’s sales skills isn’t something that’s important just for sales reps – any professional could benefit from understanding how to best present themselves, their business, and strengths, and it all boils down to the art of selling.
Although some people have a skillset that lends itself to sales, the truth is that the greatest salespeople are not born but made. So, you can learn how to become one of them and hit your sales quota on a regular basis.
1. Set Realistic Goals
This step is of crucial importance, because you can’t expect to plan something that isn’t likely to happen and expect a miracle.
Biting off more than you can chew will turn back on your growth, and while you’re chasing a pie in the sky, you’ll miss out on some more realistic opportunities.
Before you get down to work, ask yourself whether your annual revenue is actually attainable.
There are things to factor in when setting your overall goals.
Use your data to identify how quickly your customer base is growing, how many customers you had over the previous year, and how much money every customer brought on average.
These stats can point you in the right direction and help you set some realistic expectations.
It’s also essential to keep your data clean and get rid of some stale deals that have been congesting your sales pipeline.
You need to have an accurate insight into the number and quality of your leads because if you never clean your database, you’ll only waste your time and resources trying to nurture the prospects that will never buy from you.
Given that email marketing databases naturally decay by 22.5% annually, it’s obvious why maintaining data hygiene is a must.
- Analyze the market potential
This is crucial for predicting the growth of your business because not every market offers the same growth opportunities, which is why you need to take into consideration whether the market is saturated.
Expanding to a new, untapped market will open doors to different opportunities.
You don’t need to change your initial concept completely – sometimes you can find a market that could greatly benefit from using your existing product in an innovative way.
For example, the pandemic has resulted in a seismic shift in the way people live and do business, so, it’s crucial to adapt to these new ways if you want your sales and company to thrive.
Think about whether there’s a market segment that might benefit from your product or service in these new circumstances.
- Asses and scale your sales team if necessary
Before you decide on your sales quota, first think about whether your existing team is capable of hitting it.
Do they have all the necessary tools, skills, and resources to prepare for prospecting, nurturing, and closing?
For example, Autoklose can save you and your sales team a lot of time and money by offering an arsenal of useful sales and marketing tools, together with a huge B2B leads database that can be used for lead generation and prospecting.
Besides that, nurturing your leads has never been easier as it’s possible to create, schedule, and launch highly personalized campaigns.
2. Identify Your Weak Points
While most of us like to think about our strong points and rely on them business-wise, I think that pinpointing our own weak points is a tactic that’s heavily neglected.
By focusing on your top skills and knowledge, you can definitely grow your business, but these weaknesses, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant they are, will ultimately hinder your success.
So, instead of resting on laurels, make sure to identify the areas of your business that leave much to be desired and try to improve them.
Some of the most common personal hurdles that salespeople need to jump over are:
- The crippling fear of being rejected
As a salesperson, you’ll have your fair share of rejection.
It’s really important to understand that although unpleasant, it’s something you’ll have to accept.
Grit your teeth and come to terms with the fact that you’ll have to suffer a great deal of rejection.
Learning how to take “no” for an answer is something that will help your sales career advance. This fear is the reason why many salespeople don’t leverage one of the most powerful sales tactics – following up.
You don’t want to annoy your prospects, which is fine, but if you give up early in the process, you significantly reduce your odds of succeeding.
Namely, it’s true that you won’t be labeled pushy, but on the other hand, you practically make your prospects’ decisions instead of them – you’re the one who practically elicits that “no” by not giving them a chance to say “yes”.
- Poor listening skills
This is the reason why so many people believe that sales reps only want to push their agenda and sell, without actually making an effort to hear what their prospects are saying and what they actually need.
Sales is about connecting with your prospects and building relationships with them. Unless you do that, you can’t expect them to trust you and decide to purchase from you.
And why should they when such an approach shows that you don’t have a deep understanding of their needs and issues?
By acquiring active listening skills, you’ll show your potential customers that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say as well as that your main focus is on helping them solve their pain points.
3. Define Your Buyer Personas
By creating detailed buyer personas you’ll have a clear idea about whom you are talking to in your marketing and promotional efforts.
This way you’ll prevent yourself from throwing darts in the dark and making educated guesses regarding your target audience.
These fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customer can be created with the help of marketing research and the data you have on your existing customers.
Naturally, in order to nail your sales goals, you have to understand the people you’re trying to sell, and that’s exactly what the concept of buyer persona provides.
It’s worth noting that you can and should build more than just one buyer persona so that you can adjust your content and offers to match their individual needs and wants.
In other words, it’s clear that you won’t address and target middle managers with the same message as decision-makers. So, by knowing the position and seniority level of your buyer personas, as well as how old they are, how they spend their days, and what their preferred channel of communication is, you can craft your marketing message so that it resonates with them.
4. Create a Value Proposition
If you want to sell something, you need to create a marketing statement in which you’ll explain in a straightforward and succinct manner why your prospects should buy your product or service.
A value proposition isn’t a list of features and specs – it should be expressed through all the benefits your potential customers will enjoy if they opt for your offer.
Your prospects’ pain points should be your starting point; your value proposition will be effective only if you manage to explain how your product will solve these pain points because that’s what your prospects want to hear.
So, what you should do is:
- Identify your audience’s main pain points;
- Identify the main benefits of your product;
- Explain what makes these benefits valuable;
- Align this value with your prospects’ pain points;
Many people believe that great products don’t need advertising as they sell themselves, but that’s not entirely true.
While having an exceptional product is a must, you need to spread the word and tell people more about it.
This particularly refers to the B2B industry where the buying cycle is long and prospects need to be thoroughly educated about what a particular tool or piece of software can help them with.
5. Disqualify Prospects Who Aren’t the Right Fit for Your Product
Salespeople talk about generating and qualifying their leads, but it seems that there’s a certain reluctance on their part to do the opposite – disqualify unfit prospects.
Your product isn’t of the same value to all the people who might initially be interested in it.
So, instead of insisting on selling it to them anyway, what you should do is go through your CRM and try to identify prospects who don’t seem to be moving through the funnel.
Here are some tactics you can use.
There are different methodologies you can use and BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline) is one of them. In other words, you should nurture and invest your time and money into trying to convert:
- Prospects with enough money to purchase your product (B)
- Prospects who have the power to authorize the purchase (A)
- Prospects whose business problem your product can solve (N)
- Prospects who have the need for your product right now (T)
Some sales experts believe that BANT is an outdated method, and they suggest using CHAMP. This methodology is more buyer-centered and accounts for certain changes in the sales landscape that have taken place over the past decades.
This acronym stands for:
- Challenges (CH), replaced Needs from BANT
- Authority (A), but instead of disqualifying a prospect based on how much decision-making power they have. Use them as a source to learn as much as possible about their organization.
- Money (M) plays an important role. But you don’t discuss your prospects’ budget before you figure out how much a prospect can benefit from your offer.
- Priority (P), replaced the time frame from BANT. But instead of establishing the deadline for deployment, you should also find out where on the list of your prospects’ priorities the implementation of your solution is.
Also, you should identify stale deals and unresponsive contacts and send them the so-called break-up email. If they fail to respond or say no, you should eliminate them from your funnel.
This procedure will undoubtedly decimate your contact list, but the truth is that you’re better off without bad leads. Instead of wasting your energy trying to convert them, you should focus on other, better opportunities.
We designed Autoklose bearing all this in mind – our lead qualification system will help you identify the best opportunities and act on them, as well as determine when it’s time to pull the plug and get rid of poor leads that don’t stand a chance of converting.
6. Don’t Push Your Agenda All the Time
Yes, I know, everything we do is supposed to result in making a sale.
But, if you instrumentalize your prospects in such a way and observe them only as ATM machines, you won’t get very far.
Your potential customers will see through you and understand that you’re not genuinely interested in helping them.
So, instead of building your entire narrative around your product and why it’s so great, you should change your perspective and include your prospects in it.
Instead of desperately trying to sell something, use a different approach – position yourself as their trusted business advisor.
Ask them about their challenges and issues and try to offer a constructive solution. But, don’t immediately try to showcase your product.
A client of mine converted recently after 4 years.
What did the trick?
I never pushed him to make a purchase, I recommended other platforms that could be useful to him, I always took his calls even though I knew he wasn’t ready to buy, and I sent him relevant and useful content on a weekly basis.
In a nutshell, I was there to help him and I never insisted on him making a purchase, and my “reliable advisor” approach paid off in the end.
Hitting your sales goals can be quite an endeavor. But it’s not impossible to achieve it and maintain the same level of success at all times. This list of activities is essential if you want to crush your sales goals and hit your quota, so make sure to follow and adjust it to your business.