Hitting quota or not hitting quota… The harsh reality boils down to this question… Are you at quota?
There comes a point in a sales professional’s career when he or she misses quota. Maintaining a pipeline is similar to running a business; it takes focus, strategy, discipline, and execution.
“Nobody is going to buy from you because you have a quota to meet. They are going to buy from you because they see value in doing so”
The percentage of sales rep’s who reach or overachieve their quota can be considered established measures of sales effectiveness. Conversely, it is common knowledge the percentage of sales reps who do not reach their quota indicates room for improvement, which brings me to this…
How many sales reps would crush quota if they focused on increasing their business development activities?
The 800-pound sales gorilla has awoken! It is time for your sales reps to rise up, lead the way, set the example and become the sales professionals I know you can become!
The External Observer View
Having walked a day in the life of a sales rep, I get it. I know how hard you all work and quite frankly how some of you don’t. Failure to meet and exceed quota boils down to one thing and one thing only – inadequate efforts by you.
In a recent blog by Yip Yip, “Sales quotas have increased an average of 6% year-over-year since 2015. But the number of sales reps achieving quota has been declining 25% a year, according to the 2017 Metrics and Compensation Research Report conducted by the Bridge Group.”
Inadequate efforts equate to a lack of focus and consistency around one word – prospecting. I ask you all to think about the following:
How would you crush quota in 2018 if 75% of your current account base decided not buy anything from you the rest of this year?
“The brutal fact is the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipe and the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to consistently prospect”
I encourage all sales reps to read “Fanatical Prospecting” by Jeb Blount.
Always Be Developing Your Sales Pipeline
In 2018, sales reps must integrate the use of social to nurture, grow and facilitate crushing their sales quotas. Check out how I used a seven-step social approach by integrating it into my outbound prospecting strategies to go from ZERO to $1.3 Million in sales as a major account copier rep in a net new major account position.
Here Are Seven Social Steps You Can Use to Augment Your Prospecting Efforts
First things first. Since you come to work in business attire, make the commitment to yourself that you dress the part online as well. This means making sure your LinkedIn profile positions you as a true sales professional. This will help facilitate your business development efforts.
Once you’ve professionally positioned yourself on LinkedIn,
- Craft and curate educational content. This isn’t difficult, but for some, it’s uncomfortable and even a bit advanced. It takes some time, but wow, what educational moments. You must educate yourself as well as your clients and prospects!
- Share the content with your social network to help kick-start conversations. Sharing content isn’t difficult. Part of what you must do is to continually educate your clients and prospects. Become their content concierge and serve them up bite-sized educational moments.
- Become a frequent visitor of those who have viewed your profile. The free version of LinkedIn gives you a limited amount of profile views. There’s a high probability of missing some extremely important buyer views. This is a big reason to consider the premium version. Furthermore, I’d encourage Sales Navigator as the right sales investment social intelligence tool for aiding with your prospecting efforts.
- Convert the viewers to first level connections through personal invitations to connect. However, attempting to convert too early can be risky. I’d recommend following them on LinkedIn or saving them as a lead in Sales Navigator to then build further credibility and trust. A connection from a sales rep can be confronting if it’s done too early or with a hidden agenda.
- Review the content engagement section for comments on your posts leading to further conversations. Another great tip, I’d say which is equally important is finding your prospects that are sharing their own content which is personal to them and their engagements.
- Mine your network by reviewing second level connections and then asking for help from the people who know you well, your current clients. Equally important, are the TEAM benefits of everyone’s collective network by being digitally connected – especially inside current and targeted accounts.
- Turn your online conversations to offline meetings. It all starts with making this a daily habit. Leverage the phone. The phone is your friend.
Nothing happens until you make the commitment to drive change in your life.
Attention Sales Reps: Is Your Digital Self, Digitally Referable?
Your online presence is a digital representation of yourself. How you choose to use your digital self will have a direct effect on your sales process, your sales success and your sales career.
Social Is Part of Selling
According to PleinAireStrategies, The number one reason why sales reps were not hitting their numbers was, “Their inability to provide insight into a buyer, adding value and starting relevant conversations.”
How are you opening up new conversations? Here’s an idea for you, create your own personal business development plan that contains a purpose, a plan, and your goals. Once complete, I encourage you to integrate the seven above mentioned steps to augment your prospecting efforts. You must make a non-negotiable pact with yourself and commit to this for at least 90 days. Start noticing the different ways you’re capturing the attention of new prospects, how you’re driving new conversation, how you’re collaborating, how you’re connecting, and most importantly, how you’re converting these opportunities to drive more sales revenue.
I challenge and encourage you all to let go of the 800-pound sales gorilla. Become the sales professionals I know you all can be and chart the course for others to follow – your client and prospects!
If you would like some inspiration I welcome the conversation or send me a message to email@example.com. Your comments are greatly appreciated.
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse and has been adapted for use on this blog with kind permission of Larry Levine.
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