Now that football season is upon us, I was thinking back to 3 days in April: the 2012 NFL Draft.
One of the first business books I ever read was Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. Published in 1993, my employer at the time considered it required reading for anyone in a Customer Service, Sales or Account Management.
I had a recent experience that inspired me to dust off the book and give it another read.
A quick story
Like many other attendees to the AA-ISP Leadership Summit, I visited the mall that is attached to the hotel (whoever chose that venue, you rock!). In the mall, I shopped at one of my favorite retailers and had a nice chat with the sales clerk while he was ringing up my purchase.
Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I received a handwritten Thank You note in the mail the next week. It read:
Why did I find this simple gesture so impressive?
Not only did Jonathan demonstrate that he was listening; he also confirmed what he took away from the conversation. No matter the industry, reps need to take advantage of every opportunity to show how they (not just your company or your products) differentiate from the competition.
At the end of the day, sales is a service and whoever provides the best service has the highest likelihood of winning the deal.
Topics: inside sales tips
The Angry Birds phenomenon continues to grow. Not content with being the most downloaded app in 2011, the game is headed to Facebook. For those of you unfamiliar, here's the game's trailer. (In short, Angry Birdsplayers control a flock of birds attempting to rescue eggs that have been stolen by a group of evil pigs.)
Sounds crazy, but I can tell you that - it is addicting! So, how does this relate to Sales?
1. Be prepared – focus on your target
To win in Angry Birds, you can't waste birds by just flinging them out there and hoping to knock something down. Instead, you want to isolate a single part of the structure and strategically fire at it until you destroy it. In Sales, it is equally important to understand the structure or sweet spot you want to “attack”. In other words, knowing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Many times, CEOs & VPs of Sales will tell me, "Our ICP is the Fortune 500." My internal response is to hope they get hit in the head with a flying bird. The F500 is not a sweet spot - it is a huge target that can swallow up your resources without gaining any traction.
Give some thought to the commonality where you've already had sucess. Is there a revenue size or # of employees where your message resonates best? Must other technologies to be in place for you to succeed? What functional areas must you target to launch the sales process?
Before you deploy your team, be sure you have identified your ICP.
2. Launching - hire the right people for the job
Now that you know where to aim, determine the right bird for the job. Since each bird has a different talent, you must deploy the correct one against certain obstacles. For example, launching a big red bird at a straw hut would be overkill; while launching a blue bird at a concrete structure would be like trying to use a feather to knock down a steel-reinforced door.
What skills must your Reps have in order to succeed? Strong time management skills to handle lots of transactions? Great message-tailoring skills to work deals with multiple stakeholders? Great detective skills to profile accounts and find the right contacts?