What do the successful sales initiatives of multi-billion dollar enterprises, early-stage start-ups, tech and healthcare companies all have in common?
Every time, the success of the sales effort often comes down to consistent execution of the fundamentals.
This shouldn’t be surprising. In baseball, especially the playoffs, experts often note how key games come down to things as simple as catching and throwing the ball. Or running the bases. Fundamentals that are easy to overlook, yet can make or break your success.
It’s no different in sales. There are no shortcuts, and the fundamentals that will drive success can just as easily be forgotten, or ignored, or brushed aside when things get particularly busy.
Here are four sales fundamentals I find most important:
1. Customer focus
It’s really easy to shift into talking about yourself, your product, your perspective. But if you force yourself to keep the customer’s perspective, you’re far more likely to drive interest, credibility and momentum from all of your efforts – prospecting, qualifying, presentations and closing.
2. Rational optimism
Think of this as a general approach to the huge volume of “no” answers sales gets on a daily and weekly basis. You can’t be successful in sales if you’re pessimistic about your chances of success. But you can also set yourself up for failure if you expect too much success. For example, if you expect 75% of your sales pipeline to close, that might not be realistic. Expecting a deal that’s close to sign by the end of the month is a great goal, but make sure the elements are in place to make that happen (agreement on price, procurement is involved, etc.).
While it’s important to know when you get a final “no” from the prospect, it’s equally important to keep pushing when others might give up. Identify, isolate and address the specific obstacles in the way of your prospect achieving what they want, and buying. Be persistent when the prospect goes dark (often they’re still interested, and your persistence is what they need to keep it top of mind). Be relentless in pursuing the objectives of your clients and prospects, as well as the hard work you need to do every day to exceed quota.
Sales organizations that focus purely on activities are often being short-sighted. But organizations that don’t look at all at activities are missing the very root of success for any consistently performing sales professional. This doesn’t mean you’re making 120 dials a day. Maybe your goal is to reach out to five new prospects every day, and follow-up with five prospects every day from the previous week. Hitting that number on a daily basis still takes a level of focus & discipline that few people actually have. But hitting those activities, consistently, could be THE most important thing you do to feed your pipeline and meet your quota.
This post originally appeared on the Heinz Marketing blog: The importance of sales fundamentals (and four that really matter).
About the author
Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Matt brings more than 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience. Matt has held various positions at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and The Seattle Mariners. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.