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Salesperson Success: A Clear Picture of What It Looks Like

Salesperson success provided as a clear picture to sales staff is what’s missing in most organizations. What the poor salesperson normally gets is this:

  • No targets
  • No coaching
  • No managerial involvement
  • No feedback loop
  • Just a “Here’s your desk, your phone, your computer, the product manuals and the price list… off you go!”

I’ve seen it for over 20 years.

A salesperson is not like a cactus—you can’t simply put them in a corner, feed them leads like water from time to time, and expect them to succeed.

However, as a salesperson it will be most helpful for you to understand you’re running a mini business-within-a-business. You have the same issues as any founder, and you need the same systems working for you.

cactus without leads picture of salesperson success

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

The Systems of Salesperson Success

The place for you to begin is developing a revenue target.

Whether you know it or not, even if you’re on straight salary, you have a money target. This target must be met every month and it well exceeds what you are paid. Even if your employer hasn’t really thought about it...which is dangerous. And if you have a commission portion of your income, this is even more important.

Thus, to have a chance to achieve and exceed this target, you need to know your numbers.

You also need to be supported by the same four systems every business needs.

The first system is lead generation.

The second system is qualification.

The third system is conversion.

And the fourth system is fulfillment.

As a salesperson, just like a founder because you’re running your own mini business-within-a-business, you need to pay attention to these four systems.

The Four Systems Salespeople Need To Handle

Consider: how many leads need to come into your view so that you have a chance of success... which means hitting your revenue target?

Do you know?

Does the company provide you with that number of leads?

Or is it insufficient flow, and you need to figure out a way to drive leads on your own? (This is not such a bad situation as it may seem, since at least one other key system is taken care of for you: fulfillment. As long as the capacity is available and your employer is competent, you do not have to worry about delivery of the result your offer promises. This is a great relief and one reason to not start your own business.)

Is it clear how to separate those people the organization would prefer as customers from those who they would rather not get into a relationship with?

Is the process of turning some qualified prospects into buyers written down and understood? Is it put into practice the way it is documented?

And can you trust that the orders you take will be delivered upon in a high quality and timely manner? (As an example, I once took an order in the construction industry based on a specific delivery date requirement. I had gone to the production manager and asked to ensure this date was possible. Weeks later when the date came and went, I was the one who received the angry blast from the disappointed customer who was now badly delayed by our failure. The production manager shrugged when confronted. I quit soon afterwards as I could no longer trust their fulfillment system.)

Clarity On The Picture Is Key for Winning As a Salesperson

Getting clarity on and belief in these four systems is critical to your picture of salesperson success. You will hold this picture up as the standard by which to guide your actions.

Don’t have enough leads coming in from the company to hit your revenue target? Now you know you need to do something to get them.

Unsure how to qualify good prospects from bad? Now you know you need to do some information interviews inside your company to find out.

Struggling with converting qualified prospects into customers? Now you know you need some sales training and coaching.

Taking orders without being certain your employer can fulfill them in a timely and high quality fashion? Better get that taken care of.

Imagine the sense of personal power you’ll have when you absolutely know these four systems are handled. Every month, right on schedule, the right number of leads enters your funnel. You or your automated system (hint) filters them so the majority of your effort—remember the 80/20 Rule—goes into speaking with qualified prospects and converting some into buyers. You do this in full confidence and harmony with the fulfillment departments of your employer, who you trust to deliver a great experience and outcome for the buyer.

This is the picture of what salesperson success looks like, and the four systems that combined are the engine to support it.

>> Click here to book a consultation with Jason Kanigan <<

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When Should I Fill Out the CRM Info?

When should I fill out the CRM info for a prospect?

This common question needs a clear answer—and sales managers, you'll appreciate this post as a place to point your people to for the solid answer.

Over the years as a consultant to sales departments large and small I've seen two different answers to this question in action.

when should i fill out the crm info confused salesperson question business development staff woman raised hands struggling

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

The first has the business development or sales person putting the data entry off until later.

The second features the bizdev or sales executive getting that data into the CRM right now.

Having worked with countless organizations and seen the difference in effectiveness of these two approaches, I can tell you this:

Put the info in the CRM as you go.

Hazards of Not Entering the CRM Data Immediately

Don't chicken scratch it on a pad and then think you'll go back later and dump it into the program. You won't. Do it now and get it done and out of your mind. You'll thank yourself for developing this habit.

Those who leave the data entry until later run the risk of constant low level, nagging worry. The job is out there, still needing to be done. And what if your boss needs that info? If it's not in the system, it doesn't exist. Remember that. No matter how deep or powerful the information you discover about a prospect is, if no one else can access that data, you may as well have never uncovered it.

So get it into the CRM, now.

An Alternative Answer to "When Should I Fill Out the CRM Info?"

This is for salespeople, especially outside salespeople: if you are an awesome closer, and hate doing this "paperwork stuff", consider asking your boss to hire you an assistant. No kidding—it could save you and them a ton of expensive time and frantic worry. That data HAS to be in there so your manager can quickly see progress and status, and know when to ask questions and offer help. If your time really is better spent talking to prospects, then it should be a no-brainer for your boss to get you an inexpensive assistant to help with the data entry.

If you're an independent hired gun, consider hiring a VA for yourself. You'll probably be shocked at the time and energy they recover for you, doing tasks you believe are dull but they find rewarding.

>> Need help with your business development, sales or CRM process? Book a problem-solving consultation with Jason by clicking here <<

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Why Are CRM Setups A Problem?

I ran into something about CRM solutions and CRM setup that is definitely under the "Curse of Knowledge" this morning. That's when you're familiar with a thing, and you can't remember what it's like not to know it.

A newbie was fascinated that you could customize setting a CRM up. My guess is he's never done one before. Me, I've seen all kinds of CRMs for over 25 years. From ACT! to custom programmed expensive database solutions for multinationals, there's a huge range in how the problem can be solved.

man coding binary program crm setup implementation problem concern

Image credit: Cottonbro from Pexels

The Problem With CRM Setup

But in today's Click-A-Tron world, where you can just download something free and install it today... well, CRM implementation doesn't exactly work the way a lot of other software does.
From the seemingly straightforward question of "What #pipeline stages should I use?" (oh boy, does that ever affect your salespeople's thinking...and can even result in perverse incentives for payouts) through what records you should collect and what you should ignore, CRM customization is a terrible beast.

That's why I don't do it. I'm a systems and process guy, and CRM setup is soul-sucking for me. I want nothing to do with it. So I delegate this important and challenging task to one of two expert friends I have in the field. They enjoy this kind of thing (sick bastards). Tell me if you want to connect.

Be ready to invest in their expertise. This is a key problem: it's central to your sales process. Sales, if you haven't noticed yet, is core to revenue generation and thereby the life of your business. So kind of important, yes?

Why Not Go With Default Settings In CRM Implementation?

And if you're thinking, "What, why don't you just go with the default settings?" then listen up: it's just like SaaS dashboards. You only see what they let you see, and those measures were picked by a techie programmer... not a business owner with an eye on the right numbers. You'll blind yourself with either kind of app if you go with the defaults.

I did a quick episode about this SaaS dashboard problem for my show. Here's the link to it.