You have the skills to be a top-performing rep. You are great with customers. You are organized. You understand the features and benefits of your offerings. You work hard. You communicate well. And you hit your number…..sometimes. So why aren’t you at the top of the leaderboard every year?
SBI’s 8th Annual Research Report reveals that less than ¼ of sales organizations have the right sales strategy in place. Having the right sales strategy is a key factor in making the number. You might think that it is the executives’ job to make the strategy. And you are right—for the organization. Being the executive of your patch though dictates you need a strategy for yourself.
So what contributes to creating the right strategy for your patch? It’s the same questions a reporter must ask to make them successful. You have to understand the Who, What, Where, Why and When. When you understand these, you understand the How. And then you execute.
Question #1 – Who?
The ‘who’ encompasses two areas that need to be focused on: what companies to target and what Personas to engage.
- Companies: If you have a target list given to you, this should be relatively easy. If not, do you know what industry and company size matches your Ideal Customer Profile? When you understand who has a higher propensity to buy, prioritize your efforts towards those prospects.
- Personas: Do you know who are the key members of the decision making team? These can be the same or different titles within each organization. Not engaging with key Personas can stall or kill your opportunity entirely. Make sure to understand who they are and what makes them tick.
Question #2 – What?
When engaging with Personas in target accounts, you must tailor your message. All value propositions are not the same. The objectives, obstacles, fears and what is important to the Persona must be addressed. Otherwise, the message cannot be tailored. As mentioned above, understand what makes each Persona tick, and tailor messaging accordingly.
Question #3 – When?
Are you engaging at the right time? When prospecting, are you able to engage before a need is established? If not, you are probably late to the party and will be competing on price. The earlier you can engage with a prospect, the better chance you have. Even before a face to face meeting, you can still provide value. This is one reason why Social Selling is so powerful.
Question #4 – Where?
Where do you plan to engage with the customer or prospect? Customer time is more limited now than ever. Nothing beats live interaction, but engaging socially (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc…) has great impact. Ensure you incorporate the correct mix of social and live engagement into your strategy.
Question #5 – Why?
‘Why’ refers to why the customer should buy from you. Everyone has competition- some with more benefits, some with lower pricing. Why should your solution be the right choice? The first challenge is getting the customer to realize they need a solution. The second is getting them to know that it is your solution they need. What sort of industrial insight can you provide? Where will you get this from? Don’t let the competition intercept the deal you have gotten to the red zone.
Once you have answered the 5 W’s, you have the foundation for your strategy. From there, decide how to tactically approach. Key topics have been hyperlinked to the SBI site to assist you. Be sure to read SBI’s 8th Annual Research Report for more background. Have the right strategy for your patch and set up 2015 for success!