Under Pressure: How to Not Suck at Sales

Q1 has come and gone and you didn’t meet your quota. You’re feeling the heat; What to do? Do you reestablish existing customer relationships? Do you hit the phones, placing cold call after cold call? Or, do you need to find a new job stat? Before you jump into the shark tank without a plan, consider these tips from leading industry experts:

Evaluate your priorities
According to Rain Group, a leading sales training company, what separates the winners from the losers is approach. Rain claims the most important takeaway for a prospect is learning something they didn’t know before the pitch. In contrast, unsuccessful sales reps ranked that same factor at the bottom of their list of priorities. It’s no longer just a numbers game. Customers want to see the value of what you’re selling, not necessarily the cheapest price tag. This is especially true in regards to high-tech sales. Customers want to be assured they are getting the most out of their investment.

Evaluate your process
Rain Group has also crafted a successful sales formula, called RAIN SellingSM, that breaks down the art of closing the deal in three steps: Connect, Convince and Collaborate. The first two steps are obvious, however, the last step is interesting and overlooked by many numbers-driven sales people. Over the years, I’ve seen a shift from lone wolf-style selling to an inclusive approach. The latter makes customers feel like they have a stake in the success of the product and/or service you’re selling. And, with a younger generation of workers rising the ranks and becoming decision-makers, transparency is more important than ever. In an October 2014 article about millennial marketing, AdWeek writes that young professionals have a “low tolerance for hype and hard sells…They can spot a phony a mile away.” Discard the slick used car sales pitch. It doesn’t work.

Set personal goals   
Sure, you have sales goals mandated by your employer, but what about your own professional goals? Finding the answer will take a bit of introspection. Evaluate your strengths and use them to overcome your weaknesses. “Agile Selling” author Jill Konrath talks about achieving your personal best, or PB. She suggests setting goals to enhance your current closing ratio, the time it takes to close a deal and your prospect conversation rate. It’s quality over quantity—optimizing your efforts to maximize results. You should also be strategic and realistic. Your short-term goals should help you realize your long-term goals. Write down your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals for motivation. Then, at the end of each period, review and revise your goals as needed.

Above all else, you need to believe in what you’re selling. Being authentic goes a long way when cultivating customer relationships and closing the deal. I’d love to know your thoughts on what makes a successful salesperson. Please share your comments with me below.

Are you looking for a great sales position? Check out our current opportunities.


Where the Jobs are: Top High-Tech Trends

Big data. Cloud. Business intelligence. Mobility. These buzzwords are not only trending among technophiles, but with employers too. These industries are experiencing rapid growth and employers are jumping at the chance to fill vacant spots with qualified candidates. Here’s what you need to know:

Big Data
As databases fill up with more and more information, high-tech companies are scrambling for ways to compile, process and store this valuable data. Different leaders offer different solutions: IBM has FlashSystems, Microsoft has StorSimple, Oracle has its own solution, and the list goes on. As the storage wars continue among competitors, data scientists are reaping the benefits. Gartner estimates that by next year, there will be more than 4 million positions up for grabs.

Cloud Computing
For the past few years, we’ve seen the demand for cloud architects steadily rise. Big data is partly responsible for this trend. With cloud computing, companies can manage their entire network remotely, cutting down on hardware and operating costs. High-tech heavy hitters like SAP, IBM and Cisco are leading the way – providing solutions many firms are adopting in a race to virtualize their IT environments.

From mobile developers to IT professionals, Mashable ranked mobility as one of the hottest tech jobs on the market this year. With more business being conducted on the go, mobile technology is a must. Whether we’re talking laptops, smart phones or tablets, all the moving pieces must be secure and run smoothly. As devices are upgraded and new applications are released, companies are often playing catch up to stay current, furthering the need for mobile technology experts.

Business Analytics
With all this stored data, companies want a smart way to crunch the numbers. Business analytics, often used interchangeably with business intelligence or BI, uses information like demographics, sales figures and buying habits to develop insights that can be used to improve processes, drive revenue, even fight crime and disease. So, who are these analytics experts? Stacy Blanchard from Accenture Analytics tells InformationWeek that “they’re typically statisticians who are deep into data modeling, they’re close to the technology, and know the right algorithms to use with the data available.”

Don’t have a STEM background? Not a problem. Matt McGraw, CEO of high-tech recruiting agency TheLions, told Mashable “sales development is perhaps the best opportunity for non-engineers to get into startups with a $100,000 career track.”

Next month we’ll continue our deep dive with more industry trends, including marketing automation solutions, life sciences and security. For now, check out what’s trending in IT.

Teller or Seller? Traits of Successful Salespeople

Much has been written about what characteristics make a successful salesperson.  Without reading any of the common discourse, you might guess some of the more obvious traits: motivation, ambition and determination. We conducted our own research in an effort to avoid reiterating the obvious and stumbled upon an insightful article by Terri Levine entitled “The Top Ten Ways to Know You are a Teller or a Seller.” Levine, a sales and marketing business coach, argues that the distinction is crucial. We challenge you to consider – are you a teller or a seller?

Tellers vs. Sellers
Give information Leave decision to the prospect
Present features Translate features into benefits
Avoid rejection Risk rejection
Try to win by showing knowledge Win by closing sales
Use rational level Use rational and emotional levels
Reactive Proactive
Want structure & stability Accept uncertainty as the norm
Identify needs Identify wants AND needs
Everyone comes to your door You go to everyone’s door

Whether you’re a salesperson looking for employment or an employer looking to increase or improve the quality of your sales force, consider how Levine defines a seller. If you need help finding the right seller for your team, we can help.