Sales best practices for improving sales win rates, shortening the sales cycle and increasing overall quota attainment. Sales strategies to make revenue growth repeatable, and scalable
As a sales professional, your time is your most precious and valued resource. Time is the currency with which you purchase your success. The key of course is deciding where to invest your time by choosing which customers and sales opportunities offer the greatest potential return with the least risk or downside. This is accomplished through sales qualification.
If you're a sales leader or sales professional working in the staffing industry (or any industry for that matter) than you are no doubt striving to position yourself as an authoritative thought leader. If you attend your virtual (video) sales meetings with little or no preparation then you will likely continue to ask silly questions and be perceived and treated as a transactional commodity vendor. At best you will get referred to the HR department.
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My first couple of years in sales I applied the "broadcast pitch mode" approach. My thinking was I had to do whatever was required to get an audience with prospective customers and once there, my job was to pitch or present to them "who we are and what we do." What this meant was I would say as much as I possibly could about myself, my company, what we did, what we offered, our candidates, our recruiting process, etc., and HOPEFULLY something in my message would "stick" with the customer. In hindsight I didn't have great success with this approach. Selling was labor-intensive and converting prospects into buyers was like a pushing a boulder uphill! In fact, I remember thinking, "nobody wants to hire temporary help" or use a staffing service and "customers think of temporary staffing as a "necessary evil."
Lets face it, it’s getting really tough out there. No, we might not (yet) meet the official definition of a recession which is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline, as reflected by GDP in conjunction with monthly indicators such as a rise in unemployment. But when the unemployment rate soars past 20% and the U.S loses 26.5 million jobs, that’s cause for concern.
As I mentioned in part 1 of this two part blog series, many sellers are experiencing longer sales cycles and stalled deals. In fact, there are probably more stalled deals in your CRM/ATS then you realize or care to admit. So what happens when deals stall out? Salespeople get emotional. We tend to act out, often irrationally. Naturally, we want action. But pressuring the prospect to make a decision before they’re ready is never a wise decision. Not only does it rarely work, it makes the salesperson look desperate and needy. It's just poor form. So hammering prospects for a commitment is a great way to turn stalled deals into dead deals. Instead, staffing professionals need to continue to sell value beyond the conclusion of the final candidate interview. Don’t box your customer into a corner with a yes or no ultimatum. You’re not selling $25 watches on the street corner, you're selling B2B professional services.
Like many who decide to go on a diet January 1st, sticking to that diet and exercise routine is difficult just like it is for IT staffing sales professionals adopting and mastering consultative sales skills. With so much to know and learn it can be down right overwhelming and even frustrating. Take it from me, it took me years to master my craft and I am still learning every day.
Over the past several years we've been hearing how the IT staffing industry continues to become more and more commoditized. There are a number of reasons for the staffing industry becoming commoditized including low barriers to entry, the proliferation of the job boards, MSP and VMS systems and the rise of the Chief Procurement Officer to name a few. But another reason why the industry has become commoditized, one that is rarely ever mentioned, is how sales professionals sell.
How do you sell? Whether you know it or not, you have a sales methodology of some kind. For most sellers, they have their own preferred way of selling and typically it centers around the activities they are most comfortable with, not what is most effective. But it doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, a sales rep on a sales team of one or, part of a large enterprise sales team, every seller and every sales team has their own way of selling. So, how do you sell?
In case you haven't heard, buyer behavior has dramatically changed. Buyers are empowered and more sophisticated and, thanks to the internet, flooded with information and research overload. At the same time your buyers are searching—often in vain— for new ways to innovate, compete, and improve their success. But when salespeople bring valuable insights and ideas to their buyers, they strengthen their relationships, differentiate from their competition, and win more sales. Insight selling is a key component to consultative selling because with consultative selling, the seller makes the customer's needs the focal point of the conversation in which they focus on helping the customer achieve a goal or solve a problem, not on hiring the sales rep's candidate. Sharing fresh ideas and insights AKA, insight selling, is a big part of the consultative selling framework and critical to how salespeople create customer loyalty. While it may be a new concept to you, insight selling is the heart and soul for how top performing sales professionals sell. It's why they crush their sales quota year after year after year. Rather than talking about insight selling I thought I would share this great video illustrating insight selling.
They key to prospecting and creating new sales opportunities resides within the salesperson's ability to get the prospect or customer to admit pain. Getting customers to admit that they have a business issue that needs to be addressed – or a potential missed opportunity if they fail to act – is the first major step towards making a sale. Those who fail to master this consultative sales approach in getting customers to admit pain, will always struggle to fill their sales funnel with new sales opportunities and meet their sales quota.