This year marks my 8th year as quota-carrying Salesperson. As is to be expected, I have experienced many highs along with many challenges, but I still find myself here and hungry as ever.
Below, I have listed some characteristics that have contributed to a successful career in Sales over the last 8-years:
Sales is tough! Anyone that tells you otherwise likely isn’t working hard enough or isn’t ambitious enough. It’s one of the only career choices that have can you on top of the world with 200% target achievement on the 31st of a month then reset back down to 0% attainment on the 1st of the next month.
A common saying in Sales is that you’re only as good as your last month. The need to be able to deliver, month in, month out without relenting isn’t easy and is often a central component for the high-churn rate Sales careers are often renounced for.
As my career developed, I came to learn the importance of resiliency and building a mindset that allows you to focus on being consistent and winning the long game. Reps that allow themselves to be broken by a bad month won’t typically last long in this game, you need to be able to embrace your successes and bounce back when times get tough.
This is an area I certainly haven’t perfected but I have sought to prioritise this year. In Sales, the majority of roles have a commission component which often incentives working longer and harder in order to add an additional zero to your paycheque.
Inherently, this breeds behaviours that lead to late nights and early mornings glued to the laptop trying to build new pipeline or close that end of month transaction.
With all of this considered, at times, I have found myself working on autopilot at 50% efficiency while trying to spin 5 plates at any one time.
Living a balanced lifestyle is extremely important and this means prioritising time off, meditation and activities that take your mind away from the day to day strains of a sales role. Many salespeople feel that taking time off means they’re losing money when in reality, the time away will likely have them coming back feeling refreshed, recharged and far more effective to deliver results.
Throughout my career, I have always maintained high levels of activity which has lead to equally high levels of productivity. Being able to close and execute on a transformative deal all starts with some kind of activity. Whether that entails making a cold call, following up on a lead or sending out an email campaign.
Activity breeds results as long as time is spent doing revenue-generating activities that move you towards your end goal. As referenced in the point above about balance, the key here is to work both smart and hard.
Some of you may be thinking that the need for more activity inherently contradicts maintaining balance although ultimately, the point being made here is that when you’re working, make sure you’re WORKING and when you have time off, be OFF.
There are always exceptions and the reality is, in many cases, there is a need to go the extra mile in order to make something special happen but ensure you prioritise consistent levels of activity to maintain a healthy pipeline of deals primed to close.
For many people, sales is a lone sport. You have your quota and it’s down to you to do whatever it takes to hit your number. The reality is, I cannot think of a transformative transaction I have closed alone. Whether that has been through the support of a colleague, management or supporting functions there is a need to play a team game.
Together, more can be achieved and by being effective in collaborating with others, you’re able to better balance your workload and often achieve larger and more significant transactions.
5: Building Relationships
Much of my sales success to date I attribute to effective partnering, both internally and with customers alike. Almost all of the noteworthy deals I have closed have been heavily influenced by a strong relationship with a key stakeholder within the customer’s organisation.
Don’t sell to customers, partner with them - That shift in mindset can transform the nature of and approach taken when it comes to a deal. By partnering with customers you drive more integrated relationships and a stronger desire for them to adopt more technology as part of the mutual desire to grow the partnership.
This is equally important internally, partner with other people, teams and functions to work collaboratively towards an end-goal. Building effective relationships, in part, comes from a place of care, so take an active interest in people to help enable mutual success.
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Disclaimer: All views expressed on this article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.
©2019 by Alex Alleyne