Emerging Sales Account Executives often ask me about how they can improve their performance early in their career. Here are five concise best practices sure to help you young lions and lionesses to increase your success in managing your territory during the end of the year rush and in years to come.
- Any good account executive quickly learns that she must be proactive in her selling. If she follows a consistent sales process that differentiates her from her competitors, she will ensure that she demonstrates value and avoids surprises. She knows she must understand her value to her organization and to her territory of being able to analyze data in a crisp pipeline. She willingly commits to making sufficient time to maintain clean pipeline data in her CRM system. She realizes that this is an investment she makes to ensure teammates can help her to succeed when she needs help.
- The best account executives understand that they must be well-prepared to sell “Value” to their prospects and customers, instead of leading with pricing. Selling on the basis of “Price” is almost always a losing strategy, and is prima facie evidence of a lazy approach to the profession of helping customers solve problems. The hungry young account executives can and must aim higher. They know that they must build value into every sales campaign and that if they do, their revenue and margin attainment will accelerate and grow. Account executives who sell value earn more business and retain customers longer than those who rely on discounting and price actions, and they benefit their company by delivering greater revenue and margins. Benefiting your company regularly is a dynamic strategy to accelerating your career development and growth.
- Dynamic young account executives learn early that they must always consider their prospect’s motivations. When a young account executive understands what the three key business objectives are for their prospect, they understand what is driving the opportunity for them to sell a solution that fits the objectives. Great young account executives know that there are considerations that have led their prospect to be interested in pursuing a solution with them. It is tremendously helpful to know what problems your proposed solution will solve for your prospect and to know what other alternatives they might be considering as another approach. Focus on all of the reasons that your prospect might decide NOT to move ahead with a purchase of your company’s products and services. Anticipate what could go wrong, well in advance of the moment when it could go wrong, and have your contingency plan in place, ready to execute when necessary. Motivations drive behavior, particularly true of sales behavior. When you understand your prospect’s motivations, you are better able to take advantage of the opportunities that their motivations necessitate.
- Young lion account executives know that they must consider well in advance HOW their prospect will finance their purchase, especially if it is a large expenditure. They know they must understand if it will impact the prospect’s capital expenditures or just their operating expenditures. They know that they need to understand if the customer will need financing. Strong Account Executives are proactive and offer creative financing options early in the sales campaign, or they risk losing the deal later because they didn’t ask enough questions to understand the customer’s needs and the process that would lead to a successful execution of the purchase.
- These days, it seems that technology is frequently getting in the way of young account executives visiting their prospects and customers face to face. While text messages, email messages, instant messaging, web sessions and telephone calls are tremendous advancements and help us to communicate more quickly, they are poor substitutes for being in the room with the customer. Technology doesn’t do a great job of helping us to build relationships as well as sitting with the prospect and sharing an experience in person. Don’t misunderstand. These technologies are GREAT tools that reduce sales expenses and timeframes positively, and therefore you should make great use of them. Just don’t become dependent upon them, because they cannot compare to showing your customer that you care enough to visit them face to face! Remember to use ALL of your tools effectively, and avoid getting into the rut of overusing email and web technology.
There go five more pearls of sales wisdom, guaranteed to help you to better understand the opportunity and challenge of your sales position in your company. A great sales executive knows that sales is not a sprint, it’s more like a 10K or a marathon. You need to engage in best practices that will help you to survive and thrive over the long-term, like these five. By making good choices, and by using a proven approach to selling in your territory, you can begin to climb up the leader board in your company. I want you to know that there are no secrets, a successful sales career is ALWAYS built on hard work, and intelligent choices. With these best practices, you can be on your way to delivering ambitious results.
Michael Beach is a Certified Professional Business Coach who has built a game-changing practice around helping to bring out the best in Emerging Leaders, those high potential employees who are about to be promoted to management or leadership positions for the first time. Michael has observed that companies often struggle to train and develop their Emerging Leaders, and he created an innovative curriculum that allows him to guarantee results in grooming the next generation of leaders for YOUR growing firm. If you’d like more information about Michael’s Emerging Leaders Program, or you’d just like to get your hands on Michael’s 25 Best Sales Practices, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and Michael will get you hooked up. Add a comment to our blog article, and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a free Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting coffee mug. They’re awesome!