The start of any fiscal sales year typically is accompanied by a huge surge of client attraction activities. (Hint: otherwise known as prospecting).
The sales force gets ready for a grand kick-off meeting. Quotas are set. Contests are announced. Sales reps are pumped to get out there and sell, sell, sell!
Take a walk on the wild side: the client side of the business table. Here’s how they see the start of each fiscal year.
Sales reps line up on the starting line of each sales year, waiting for the signal to start their race. They charge off like a bunch of hungry greyhounds in pursuit of a racetrack rabbit they will never catch.
Potential client inboxes fill up with massive amounts of marketing automation pitches. Prospective customers take defensive actions and hit “Delete” without reading. The same defensive maneuvers apply to voicemail boxes full of calls from unknown companies about a non-existent purchase interest.
The start of each selling year is full of sales noise. From your own company and from your competitors.
Here are 5 tips to rise above all the sales noise. Demonstrate sales acumen, instead. You will be remembered long after the noise subsides.
Tip 1 – Get the heads up about your organization’s marketing strategy.
Ask for a schedule of planned email blasts. Also for the content as well. You are responsible for your company’s marketing execution, even though you fill a sales function. If prospective clients are displeased with all the sales noise, you will hear about it. Instead of stumbling around in spontaneous apology, create several responses in advance. That’s sales acumen.
Tip 2 – Plan your own marketing strategy.
Again, consider the scenario from the client-side. How personalized are one-size-fits-all email blasts from marketing automation tools? Contact high-value prospective customers yourself via customized emails sent to the right contacts. That degree of specificity, coming from the rep herself, is a key indicator of sales acumen. Rise above all the other sales noise.
Tip 3 – Make it about Them, not You.
Reps who are full of sales noise are strictly transactional. The sale is all about them. How they landed the big deal. How great their company’s products and services are. As yourself: “So What?” That’s what prospective customers say to themselves when bombarded with a bunch of sales noise. Reps with sales acumen always make their selling activities all about the customer. Sales acumen translates the value of your company, your products and your services, from the client’s perspective.
Tip 4 – Develop clients with pace and cadence.
Prospective customers plan on getting the rush act from any rep they agree to meet with, especially at the start of a sales year. It’s like a speed dating event. Sales reps want to crush their quota and close the sale as quickly as possible. Savvy sellers with sales acumen understand the importance of establishing pace and cadence in exploring solutions with prospective customers. Rushing the sale is a great way to overlook opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling, post-sale. Slow down. Uncover important details leading to a more lucrative first sale.
Tip 5 – Hey. Don’t forget about your current clients!
Remember, current customers are getting bombarded by all the sales noise, too. Reps with solid sales acumen know it never is safe to assume that current clients will continue to do business with them. Meet with current clients. Reassure them that you haven’t forgotten them. Acknowledge you are starting your sales year. Reinforce that you will continue to have their backs. And besides, they may have new business to offer you, right now.
Into which sales category do you fall?
If you read this post, which type of rep most sounds like you? How comfortable are you with how you sell and the amount of noise you make? How relevant and valuable are you, from your clients’ perspectives?
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Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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