There are many ways for sales reps and account managers to track their prospects and customers but most of those ways are manual, take time, take multiple tools, etc.
Some of the more traditional ways include things like:
Some of the new age ways of following your prospects and customers include:
Using tools or software like Datafox, Mattermark, Crunchbase paid, etc.
Using growth scores or growth indicators to know which companies in your patch or territory you should be focusing on.
Questions for sales reps out there reading this:
How much time do you spend per day on each account you are working on or prospecting into doing research on the account and target people in the account?
How do you do this kind of tracking? What tools do you use? Do you actually do it? Would you want to do it if you could?
Even with using all of these different paid tools or software that help you track growth and triggers on your accounts do you still find the process to be too manual to do it well?
I would bet that the traditional, main stream sales reps out there don't do many of these things because it is too hard, and takes too much time.
I would also bet that even the innovative and tech savvy reps don't want to do these things because it takes too much time and is too manual for them to bother with it. So they just don't do it or do it very minimally.
The holy grail for me when deciding if I want to target an account is:
1. Good researched reasons that mean what I sell could be helpful to the target account
2. Those reasons are timely to us helping the prospect.
If I have both of those things I usually feel like this:
You could do all the research in the world and have all the best reasons to prospect an account but staying on top of those triggers and updating the reasons on all accounts in your name is nearly impossible.
The problem is this:
You have x amount of accounts in your name as a sales rep.
You also have x amount of leads in your name too.
You could also have leads and accounts in your territory that are in OPEN or RECYCLED because you aren't actively working those at the moment.
There are also companies or potential companies you could be tracking or helping but you don't know about them yet because they are not in your database or CRM yet.
But, since you are 1 person and only have so much time in the day to actually sell and do your job you can't watch even 1/2 or a 1/4 of your total accounts.
This is where technology and software should come in to help automate this for sales reps.
I would love, love, love <3 my life if every morning I came into work or sat down at my computer and there was a list of my accounts in my name, in my territory with updates on what I would consider triggers for what I sell listed out.
Then I could prioritize my day on my accounts based on those researched reasons, timeliness of the trigger plus inbound lead intelligence.
Wow, life would be lovely. I would focus on just selling and just the fun part of prospecting. Not spending time on the manual process of research on my accounts.
Building credibility as a sales rep internally and externally is necessary if you want to work your way up in sales.
To improve your credibilitiy internally and externally it is important to understand your personal branding. Sales people tend to think in the moment and in terms of getting the deal in. It is not usually a priority to think about a few years from now or even 10 years from now what you want your personal branding to be. That takes time and effort and let's be honest we are busy spending on our time on our pipeline and getting deals in. Thinking about the future can be daunting and tiring.
Guess what? It is not as hard as you might think to work on your personal branding as a sales rep. You are actually working on your external brand every day when on calls or in meetings with your prospects and customers. You work on your internal personal brand everyday without even knowing it.
Your personal brand as a sales rep can help you to improve how prospects perceive you. As your personal brand expands you will see your prospects trusting you more because they have read your insights and content online somewhere. You will become a trusted source of information as you build up your personal brand online.
Thinking about your personal brand as a sales rep internally will help you as you progress your sales career at company. You want people around you at work to think highly of you and know what you are good at. By working on your personal sales brand internally and externally your credibility will improve.
You are spending your time focused, trying to help your prospects become customers in the easiest way possible. That takes creativity and focus.
Sales can be stressful, filled with lots of meetings, calls and negotiation so when you get an unexpected email on the day before the last day of your month it reminds you why you do what you do! Because you love it and it matters.
Today I received an email from the Women in Sales Awards with an update on the finalists that were picked and named this year for their awards.
I have been working in sales for over 5 years now at the same software company. I have recently found myself at a sort of crossroads about what to do next in my sales career. I have been thinking a lot about what things I did well over the past 5 1/2 years working in sales at this amazing company and what I could have done differently. It is good to reflect on life, right?
The discovery process in sales is the most important part of the sales process.
The exploratory process with your prospect is what will set up the next parts of the sales process from there on out to either be great or not. If you don’t have a solid process for exploration with your prospects you cannot have a great sales process. Things will fall apart along the way if you don’t master this first step of the sales process.
Time to get back to basics.
What is the point of the discovery process or exploratory call?
Think about why you are taking time to talk to someone in the first place. You have a job to do. Why are you doing what you are doing? Your time is valuable and so is your prospect’s time. Do not forget this. Respect that the exploratory process is a mutual process for both you as a sales rep and the prospect.
The goal of the discovery process or exploratory process (whatever you want to call it) is to figure out if you should spend more time together. It is a mutually agreed upon thing.
There are really 2 outcomes.
1. The prospect is disqualified.
2. The prospect is qualified.
As a sales rep your job is to sell.
To be able to sell you need to have a good understanding of when and why a prospect could see value in your product or service that you are selling. To be able to tell when a prospect is a potential buyer.
The end outcome or goal of an exploratory process is very simple. It is to agree upon next steps TOGETHER to help that prospect buy your product or service OR how they will evaluate your service or product with an end goal of buying it.
Your job as a sales rep is to come away from that first call or meeting knowing that you both want to spend more time together, for a mutually agreed upon reason.
Not just for fun or for free consulting or help. Time is money.
The goal of agreeing to spend more time together is to see if it makes sense for the prospect to buy your product or service.
You must walk away from that meeting knowing if you have aqualified potential buyer or not. If you hang up the phone after your exploratory call or come out of your first meeting not sure what next steps are, you did not do your best.
If you come out of the meeting not knowing why you are talking again or not knowing what the point of you both talking again is, then you did not do the best job you could as a sales rep.
It is your responsibility as a sales rep to master the exploratory process. If you want to be great at sales and always crush quota you need to know where to spend your time, who to spend your time with and how to spend your time.
Here are some things that I do everyday to make sure I am spending my time with qualified potential buyers in the sales process. If you ask yourself these questions every time you start a sales process with a potential customer you will see better results.
Is there pain and need for what your product does?
Can your product or service solve the prospect’s pain points that you exposed in the exploratory process?
Make sure the prospect and you agree that there is potential for your company to solve their problems. You must agree on this to move forward.
Never assume ANYTHING. Ask as many questions as you need to ask to be able to know if this is worth moving forward with the prospect.
Remove the red flags- early and often. If you feel like something is “off” or “odd” or you aren’t getting the answers you want, DO NOT brush those things under the rug. These will pop up later on and you must address them at that time.
The most important thing here is to make DARN**** sure that you BOTH agree that it makes sense to spend more time together assessing your product or service, with the end goal of that assessment process being becoming a customer.
The goal of a truly great exploratory process in sales is to know if it makes sense to spend more time with the prospect in doing one of two things.
Purchasing your product or your service.
Evaluation of your product or your service with an end goal of buying in mind.
If you constantly keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing with one thing in mind, the end goal of a new customer then you will do a better job at all stages of your sales process.
Sales job openings on most websites read in a way that makes you think the right fit person would be someone who is very aggressive and competitive in nature. These job descriptions even scare me and I have been in sales since I started working. I can only imagine how a person who is not in sales reading and exploring job roles in sales would feel. They might feel intimidated, scared and put off by the way the world of sales appears from the job descriptions they read.
Back when I graduated college I remember wanting to be in sales because my Dad was in sales. I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. I wanted to make something of myself and thought sales seemed like a great way to be independent and make a career for myself. I wanted to provide for myself and then one day for a family.
When I started reading the job descriptions of sales roles I quickly realized that I didn’t have the “skill sets” or the “qualifications” in the listings.
I can only imagine how many women think “hey maybe I could be good at sales” but don’t actually pursue sales because they are scared of what being in sales really means and if they are good enough. They might think they are not cut out for it. Women in sales need to start talking about what it is really like to be in sales. We must break those barriers and stereotypes of what being in sales is like.
We need to put an end to this scary notion of “being in sales.”
Sales is not a scary job. Sales is an amazing and satisfying profession. You set your own pace. You set your own destiny. You learn every day, all day. You are your own boss. You help people everyday. You are a fixer of problems. You are a solution finder. Overall you are helpful. You strive to be your best.
Companies hiring for sales reps need to think about women who are exploring getting into sales and don’t have “closing experience” but feel like they could be good at sales. We need to recognize these women and hear them out. Give them a chance. We are blocking them from applying. We are pushing women away from these potential jobs in sales by not changing the language we use as to what we look for in our sales roles.
We should change the language in our job descriptions to be more oriented around hiring for people who enjoy fixing hard problems and most importantly people who like to help.
To be great at sales you need to be someone who wants to help your prospect figure out a solution to their problem or problems. That kind of person is one who is naturally helpful, cares about others, and wants to creatively solve problems. They have this drive to achieve a goal through helping and fixing.
To get more women into sales roles we need to discuss what it takes to be a great sales rep today. Not what the old school sales rep was. We should all change our language when we talk about what makes a successful sales rep.
We should stop talking about how hitting quota is all a sales rep cares about. We should stop saying that to be good at sales you have to JUST care about making money. That is not always true. Your motivation in sales could be something else.
I like making money. Yes, sure. But, guess what- that is not what I am motivated by everyday. That is not what keeps me going. That is not why I pick up the phone and prospect. I am motivated by succeeding. Success for me is being helpful. By helping my prospects realize that we can help them — that is success to me. I am motivated by successfully helping a prospect get the software they need to do their job better and help grow their company. I am motivated by hitting a number each month. BUT, that is not because I know how much money I will make when I hit that number. Sure, money is nice. But, that is not what motivates me to do well. I am motivated naturally to be the best me I can be. Part of being the best me is hitting my number. To hit that number I must always be focused on helping prospects.
If you focus on the money you can make in sales you will stop solving for the customer. You will focus on yourself and your end goal. I want to surround myself with sales reps who are solving real problems by selling what we sell. I want sales reps around me who whole heartedly want to help their prospects solve a problem. If your sales reps have that mindset they will hit quota, they will exceed quota and they will be successful in sales.
We should start talking about sales as a great career opportunity for people (women) who want to help people because they believe in what the product they would sell does for the target market they would sell it into.
A woman that I sold HubSpot to at a startup in the valley reached out to me recently when she was thinking about moving from marketing into sales. That makes me so happy that she would think of me for advice.
She told me she thought to reach out to me because she enjoyed the sales process she had with me. She had questions about whether or not I thought she could be a fit for sales. I told her what I would think about if I were contemplating getting into sales. I told her to think about what she believes in. Does she believe 100 percent in what she would be selling? Does she fully believe that the product she would be selling can help the prospect? Is she excited about what the product solves for and does? If you can get behind what you are solving for with what you are selling then you might be a great sales rep for that product.
As a woman you might not think you are cut out for sales because it seems like an aggressive field where to be successful you have to be strong, assertive, aggressive, super confident, etc. I don’t think that all sales people who are successful are always super, overly aggressive. They seem to be people who are caring, helpful and emotionally intelligent.
Women sales reps can be successful when they are helpful and want to fix problems for people they are selling to.
Let’s change the perception of what makes a woman good at sales. Being good at sales doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an overly aggressive person or be overly confident and be a “car salesy” kind of woman. That is not what makes today’s great sales rep.
Together we women who are in sales can change the old school stigma of what being in sales means.
Today’s great sales rep is a woman. Tomorrow’s great sales reps will be women.
Today’s great sales rep is someone who is helpful. Who works for the good of the customer who they are selling to. Someone who wants to fix problems that they know their product or service they sell can solve for. Someone who wants to figure out how to find great fits for their product or service. Wants to work hard to change the world in whatever they are selling. It is someone who believes in what they are doing and is trying to make the world a better place by selling it.
The money motivating factor of the old school sales rep's reputation is one of the past. Let’s move forward and talk about why we are in sales as woman so we can expose more women in the future to joining us in sales.