You barely made the number last year. How can you squeeze more out of your team? One of your goals is to land this next big job. Will your career aspirations take a hit if you don’t Make the Number this year?
Excellence in 2013 starts with you. Yet, you are not alone. You need better performance from your reps. You need support from your boss. Are you utilizing all the external resources you have available?
A key trait of top quartile sales leaders is their ability to ask for help. They tap into external resources and get multiple perspectives. You have untapped 3rd party resources that can help close the gap. Work smarter by learning from unbiased resources outside your organization. These resources are:
- Your Customers
- Your Prospects
- Outside firms that provide advice
- Your professional network
Read on to better understand HOW to leverage resources to Make the 2013 number.
1. Gain Customer & Prospect Feedback – Listen to your customers and prospects. This is the best way to get real time feedback. Your sales reps often don’t know the true reason they lose a deal. Nothing allows you to make improvements with more confidence than direct customer feedback. The most successful sales organizations use customer feedback to improve. You can start moving in that direction today. Perform the following activities to become better aligned with your customers and prospects.
Perform these customer/prospect research activities
- Win Loss Interviews – At least (5) Win and (5) Loss interviews each quarter. Download the Win/Loss Interview Form to start today.
- Persona Interviews – At least (5) per Persona quarterly.
What to do with the results
- Train your team on areas of deficiency.
- Coach to buyer requirements, wants, needs, fears, and challenges.
- Recognize positive behavior that led to wins.
- Improve your content and messaging to meet customer requirements (Personas).
- Be more relevant when a rep isn’t present (Improve Content).
2. Get an External Opinion – I recently interviewed a head of sales that commented on “the curse of knowledge”. He is confident, but possesses a trait of many successful leaders: Self-Awareness. This leader knows that he doesn’t know everything. His deep domain knowledge inhibits his ability to look at problems with an unbiased perspective. This is the reason he asked us to help in analyzing his business. Find someone you trust to give you a second opinion. This could be a peer in a similar situation. It could be a 3rd party consulting company. It might be a mentor. Bounce ideas off someone that has been there before.
3. Expand your professional network – expand your network strategically. Don’t just connect with your buddy from college. The goal is to get access to your buyers. Once you have access the marketing process begins. Don’t wait for your team to stumble across your top prospect list. Help them get introductions. This may require some research on where your buyers spend time.
- Start by expanding your LinkedIn network – connect with customers, peers, industry experts and prospects. Don’t ask for anything upfront. Instead seek to give. Think about who you can introduce a prospect to. Can you introduce them to a potential customer? Do you know someone that has dealt with issues they are facing? Giving builds social debt that will be repaid. Imagine feeding ideal buyers to your team that feel they owe you.
- Build your dream customer list – map out all the buyers you want to be introduced to in each account. Look for ways to connect. Can any of your current customers introduce you? Do you have LinkedIn connections in common?
- Find out where your dream customers spend time – attend trade association events. Sign up for webinars they join.
Call to Action
- Download the Win/Loss Interview From – start by incorporating customer and prospect feedback.
- Implement the feedback– get really good at capturing customer feedback. Make it second nature. Then tackle the next idea.
- Teach your team how to do the same – the best way to hold yourself accountable is to teach someone else. You want an unbiased party to perform Win/Loss interviews. But you can teach your team to ask for feedback when they lose deals.
Your team will be aligned with your customers and prospects. You will leverage best practices to get results fast. Your network will keep growing and give you access to more buyers. Leveraging these activities will keep you on track to hit your inflated quota.