I have been having fun recently on some sales calls. As you may know I have been a serious student of sales for the last 3 years or so. I feel there is a transition going on and I and starting to master this stuff or at least moving to the next level.
I personally am pretty good at sales, I'm not trying to brag, just enjoying a learning moment I had this week and excited and happy to see my own personal growth in this area. I also wanted to share this learning moment with others. So as a sales person you do a lot of things. The student of sales digs in and learns what their problems are and then works on correcting them. Over the last 3 years I have done much introspection and internal work. This is great and important stuff, but it is also important to look at the outside world from time to time.
Because I sell marketing it is important for me to only work with a company that has a proven track record. In the past I allowed prospects to tell me they had a good sales team. I took their word and got started. Then 6 to 8 months in realized their sales team was weak and ineffective.
What I have learned from this is that everyone's idea of good salespeople is different. I am now understanding the importance of being on the same page with my prospects and customers. This week I was able to step outside of my own self-development and focus on the client and their problems. Basically my prospect told me he had to RESEARCH this stuff I was telling him. As a matter of fact he wanted 3 of my top competitors. Wow! Talk about an unsupportive buy cycle, he not only wanted to do research, but also wanted my help.
As we continued the conversation I found there was also things like:
The point here is this. I was able to start to recognize sales weaknesses in others through our conversations. This is a big win and a big step forward. Because now I can qualify or disqualify not based on whether this prospect needs my marketing help, but if the problem is much bigger. It doesn't matter how great my marketing efforts are if the sales team planning to work my leads is going to muck them up.
Now I am able to say… Look here is what I think the real problem is. In order to fix it, marketing itself is not enough. You need a sales evaluation for you and each sales member and for anyone you plan to hire in the future. If the prospect says no! I'll move on. If they say Yes, then guess what… we are going to know it out of the park and hit their $500K in sales growth for next year. But I now know what was holding me back and I certainly now know what is holding this prospect back.
If you would like to get a better understanding of this stuff for your business check out these 9 sales and marketing articles and start looking at where you stand. I'll share some notes I gave to this prospect as well.
I hope these articles help you understand the importance of sales to your marketing process and you get a better understanding for what makes a good sales person and what to look for in a bad one. For the marketers reading this, you may want to get to know and understand the sales team better. If you can pick out poor sales people it might work to your advantage. The same is true for sales people looking at marketers. These articles should help you find both great sales people and great marketers. Add them together and get GREAT RESULTS!!
I know this stuff works because I live it everyday. I want to thank Pete Caputa over at Hubspot for all his ongoing support as well as Rick Roberge for teaching me the ropes of sales! These guys are great and I have been blessed to have them be apart of my team!