Are Great Sales Reps Born or Made?
We are so excited to welcome today's guest on the Quota Crusher™ Podcast is Karl Becker! We debate on whether great sales reps are born or made. Listen to today's episode to hear what qualities we think make a great sales rep and if its something your born with or not!
SALES IMPROVEMENT RECORDINGS
AA-ISP Sales Improvement Courses - Every three months AA-ISP provides a course focused on sales improvement. Each course is focused on specific fundamentals essential to high performance. Classes are held monthly and provided via Zoom Conference. Classes are a combination or presentations, workshops, and real-time Q&A – all designed with actionable content to get your team inspired and moving forward immediately.
This course is all about unlocking the power of the individual. How the individual can invest in himself/herself to play to his/her strengths and perform at a higher level. Commit to your own personal and professional sales growth and improve your sales performance. Gain more confidence, close more sales, and play at a higher level.
Class #1 – How To Immediately Impact Your Sales Performance
Sales success is rooted in intentionality and self-awareness. Sustainable sales improvement is about understanding all the little things we do every day and improving each one. This class provides introspection into how we sell today and the refinements we can make to immediately improve our own sales performance.
Class #2 – Why You Must Take Sales Personally, Starting Right Now.
Forget what you have been told, if you are in sales you need to take things personally. We are directly in control of effecting outcomes; and if we are not generating the outcomes we want, we need to change. This class explores how we show up, how we run sales calls, and how we need to proactively guide our prospects through each stage of the buyers journey: Be of real value, sell more.
Class #3 - How You Can Unlock Trapped Sales & Build A Stronger Pipeline
Every sales organization and every sales person has trapped sales that they can unlock right now. There are always strategies and tactics available to generate immediate revenue, the question is whether or not you are using them. This class teaches you how to find quick wins and how to build a stronger, more robust pipeline.
You have probably had numerous conversations about integrating sales and marketing. They have probably even been rich with great ideas on how to improve this relationship and start capturing more sales from the leads marketing is generating. But if your organization is like most others, marketing and sales still continues to be siloed and often at odds with each other. Worse yet, you can probably see the sales that these team should be generating - you know there is more business there, but this revenue just keeps being illusive.
Why is this? Well it may very well be because there is a historic gap between marketing and sales. And if you're curious about this gap, then I invite you to watch this video discussion. After all, if we can just get marketing and sales better aligned, we know sales performance will increase and we’ll generate more sales.
If you're looking to solve the marketing and sales gap, then I recommend starting with awareness. Sometimes the most effect first step to aligning sales and marketing is simply to get these two teams talking, and a good place to start is to see what each defines as their role within the buyers journey and within each stage of the sales funnel.
Read This Now If You're Responsible For Generating New Sales
Leadership teams often get confused about sales people. Don’t worry, it’s natural and pretty much everyone does it. If you don’t believe me, go look at some job positing for sales people and read through everything they are supposed to do in their role. [Go ahead and search for jobs like: sales person, account executive, business development manager – it’s ok…I’ll wait.].
What you probably found was a description that combines the skills of a hunter and a farmer into one salesperson. If you read the details, the job description was probably about generating new opportunities and growing current accounts simultaneously (hunting and farming). And as much as we all want this type of salesperson to exist, and we all see how this makes sense on paper; this type of hybrid, dare I say super salesperson that can both hunt and farm is a unicorn.
Really, I mean this in the most positive way possible. If you are this unicorn - then good on you. You are a superstar, no question. And if you have one of these unicorns, hold on tight because they really are rare.
From a logic point of view, we all only have 40-50 hours a week to do our job [I know there are exceptions that burn the midnight oil]. And in these hours we have team meetings, sidebar conversations that sprout up, emails to answer, general day-to-day activities and personal moments that are all going to get in the way of selling activities. It's just a fact of life. So with that context our hunter/farmer may have 20-30 hours to juggle both jobs. That's really not a lot of time to intentionally go after new business while at the same time taking action to grow and nurture current customers. It's just not. New business generation isn't a flick of the switch, especially if you are selling complex or big ticket solutions. It takes an intentional plan, dedicated time, attention to follow-up, and an understanding how to find and cultivate a prospect that is natively interested in your solution [read - is aware of and has a problem that your offering solves]. Growing accounts is equally time consuming and intense - with multiple external and internal stakeholders that you need to wrangle [I mean manage].
But if you do have a unicorn or if you are a unicorn, then this eBook will become your new best friend.
Why you might ask? Because it’s a clear blueprint of how to hunt in today’s world where nobody answers their phone, SPAM filters are rampant, and capturing a prospects attention is a challenge.
As a quick reality check, the days of simply calling leads and asking a prospect if they want to buy are completely gone. [Sorry, I know we all think we just need to call more people and pitch our solutions – because they are going to love it and be glad we called them! But the sad news is this just isn't true.]
So what is a sales person who is responsible for lead generation and opportunity generation to do? Download this Ebook and start putting these social selling strategies and tactics into action. And if you get stuck, reach out and I’ll walk you through it.
Are you looking at the economics of hiring your next sales person incorrectly?
Real life success stories of what it really takes to evolve into a great and empowering leader.
I'm often asked, how do you engage your audience? It starts with a passion for your topic. But even if you have that nailed, a PowerPoint with a bullets isn't going to cut it.
When you speak to an audience you are part domain expert and part entertainer. You have to be, especially if you want your message to be remembered.
At many of the events I speak at there are all types of speakers. From professional keynotes who can guarantee a fun learning experience to association members who volunteered to run a breakout for the first time. And do you know what they all have in common? Hint - it's in the first paragraph of this post. It's passion - speakers are there because they deeply believe in what they want to share with the audience. They have something to say and they want to say it.
Passion is essential. It's the fuel for a speaker. And believe it or not, it's what the audience is longing for too. One of the best secrets in public speaking is to realize that your audience is wanting to get inspired, to learn, to be moved. That's why they are there.
Audiences want to embrace your passion completely. Remember that if you're planning to speak at an event. It will make it easier for you when you take the stage. It's a simple formula, speakers want to share their passion and audiences want to embrace it.
But passion alone isn't always enough to engage audiences. Passion sets the stage for a speaker and allows him or her to get in the proper head space to take the stage. But it takes more than that to really engage audiences. Here are three best practices I follow to deliver my passion in a way that engages audiences.
[Watch the video: How Chance Favors The Prepared In Sales]
Three best practices for engaging audiences:
In closing, there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction for both the speaker and the audience when passion is shared and engagement is created.
There’s an easy way to produce great content for your association – ask domain experts to create it for you. [Hint – There are individuals out there that are passionate about what they do and would love to write about it and share it with your membership. And for free.]
If you love this idea, there are a few things to consider to really make this a successful strategy.
Below are the steps we recommend to creating a win-win partnership with a domain expert.
As a real-world example, let me share with you how this works with our company.
Do you solution sell? Here's a quick tutorial to help you solution sell more effectively during the entire sales life cycle. In this Whiteboard Video Karl Becker introduces a simple, proven construct called Trial Balloons - a construct to test the waters and move up the value-creation ladder in any sales conversation.
When you use Trial Balloons you will sell more effectively and create more value.
My grandfather once told me that he started every presentation with a joke. To warm up his audience and break the ice. So here we go...
Four different types of learners.
Four different types of learners who?
Are in your audience who came to be engaged, to learn, and be inspired.
Ok, so you're not rolling on the floor laughing. Probably because it's not really funny. But it is true. Your audience will be filled with all different types of people, and they will all be there for the same reason - to have an experience and to learn.
We all learn differently, so it's critical to develop presentations that engage audiences in the various ways humans learn and interact with information. After all, we want our audiences to be engaged and to feel connected. And every human want to feel understood - especially the presenters!
There are four primary learning style and being aware of each one gives us insight into how to develop presentations that resonate and connect with audiences.
[How To Engage Audiences With Different Learning Styles]
In my presentations, audiences become active participants in learning experiences that create genuine understanding. I combine presentations, worksheets, team interaction, and physical props to create unique, memorable, and high-impact learning experiences.
Let me break this down for you, so that you can use this same framework in your next presentation.
First, I believe that most people learn through a combination of learning styles, not solely from one style alone. This is important because I not only want to address each of the four styles to connect with each audience member, but also to reinforce the subject matter by accessing each individual's multi-modal preferences. This gives every audience member a different way to learn and remember each topic.
Second, I craft every presentation to have subject matter that can be experienced in each of the four different learning styles. Initially this might sound challenging, but this is how to do it.
Third, enjoy yourself as a presenter. Whenever I am presenting, I want to reach my own personal mindset of where I am having fun sharing my content and interacting with my audience. I want to be fully present with myself, my audience, and my content. When I can achieve this state, then I am naturally engaging my audience and achieving my goal of being understood by and connecting with those around me.
What Is Your Client Really Buying From You? How to Create a Winning Value Statement [with Examples & Templates]
You know that a strong value statement is crucial for your company to thrive. It’s that power statement — those magic words — that tell your client that you understand their problem and have the perfect solution at the ready.
Though value statements are often brief, the process of getting to those precise, honed words can be anything but. So, here are some hacks and examples to help you write your own winning value statement.
Questions to answer with your team
Before you put word one down on the page, you want to make sure you have these five questions answered with your team:
1. Who is your client? “Anyone” is never the answer. Try our Ideal Audience worksheet if you’re struggling to define your market.
Example: Full-time long-haul truck drivers
2. What problem are they facing? Put yourself in your client’s shoes. What are they struggling with that your service will help them with?
Example: Truck drivers struggle to find time to eat and sleep while meeting demanding scheduling expectations.
3. What do you offer? Be sure to articulate what you offer from your client’s perspective. So, your app may have the most cutting-edge framework ever and you may be totally geeked out about it, but your clients care most about what your services offer them.
Example: A voice-activated app that optimizes truck drivers’ routes and identifies weigh stations, truck stops, and hotels with driver discounts along the way.
4. What differentiates you? Think of the superlatives that you and your team use to describe your product: is it the first, the fastest, the easiest, the only one of its kind? Focus on why your client should pay attention to your solution over all others like it.
Example: First navigation app built with truck drivers in mind.
5. What are the benefits of your solution? How do you solve your client’s problem? How will their life, work, or situation be different once they adopt your service?
Example: TruckerMap shaves time off your drives, identifies the food you need to fuel your trips, and keeps you well-rested and safe.
Putting it all together [examples + templates]
Now that you have all the elements, you want to put them together in a way that’s attractive, easy to process, and memorable. Here are some hacks for doing just that.
Write one powerful sentence
The most straightforward way to build your value statement is to connect your client and their challenge to your services and benefits in one, clear sentence. In Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, Geoff Moore suggests using the following template to do just that:
Compare your service to something your client already knows.If you can find a way to compare your service to another well-known product in another industry, you’ve found a shortcut to conveying your value proposition. By relying on your audience’s knowledge of the familiar product, you can quickly say a lot about what you offer.
Focus on who and how you help.Steven Blank’s suggestion for cutting through the noise is to frame your value proposition in a way people will easily understand. He suggests focusing on who and how you can help.
Nail your elevator pitch.Building off of Dave McClure’s How to Pitch a VC presentation, which encourages businesses to focus on short, simple, memorable keywords or phrases, use this simple template to define the elevator-pitch version of your value proposition.
Challenge yourself to be brief.Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write an entire story using no more than six words. Since then, many writers have similarly tried to pack an entire story into as few words as possible. Can you convey the value you provide in six words or less?
Want more templates? Check out our Value Messaging Worksheet.
Looking for more on how to grow faster? Check out 10 Sales Tactics CEAVCO Audio Visual Used to Generate $2 Million in New Revenue.
Ever wonder what your prospect’s real challenges are? Or what they are really looking to solve? What’s on the surface is not always the full story. By creating a 360 degree view of their challenges you can be more competitive and solution sell even more effectively. In this Whiteboard Video we share a framework we teach our clients to get to the real challenges quickly and brainstorm effective solutions as a team.
Want more tools to support your own ideation process? Download the Ideation Worksheet and use it to implement the process with your team.
Many sales leaders looking for ways to reach their revenue goals faster will say something like:
We need a team that closes more sales.
We need more leads in our sales funnel.
We need to convert more leads into customers.
We need to run better ads.
This way of thinking is a trap.
It’s an easy one to fall into. You look at your team, your funnel, or your outreach and see that they aren’t working the way you’d like. You immediately want to fix them.
But, as long as you’re working to solve your sales organization’s systemic problems by focusing on symptoms, your company will remain stuck.
Imagine you’re building a house. Your screwdrivers and nails keep rolling off your work table. You discover your floor is uneven. Now, you can put your tools in a container that stays put on the table. You can prop up your table legs with a book to counterbalance a slant. But, to really fix the problem instead of creating a makeshift solution, you’ll need to repair the very foundation of your house so that the floor is level.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team to begin to inspect and repair your foundation.
What value does your company create?
The answer to this question is the foundation of your foundation. You need a clear definition of the value that you provide your customers. You may think that this is a no-brainer, but unless you take a thoughtful, in-depth look at how you define and state your value, your strategy, messaging, and team may not be as aligned as you thought.
Who is your team’s target audience?
Once you have a clear statement on your offerings, next you need to define who you’re offering it to. Without a clear understanding of who you’re selling to, you and your team may be wasting time, energy, and money selling to the wrong folks.
Is your messaging aligned with your value, audience, and offerings?
Without strong messaging that clearly communicates your value, you’re keeping your company’s purpose a secret from your audience. It can be tough work to create succinct, attractive messaging that articulates the value of your offerings. But without that effort, you’re hiding your light under a bushel.
Does your marketing tell your company’s story?
Once you’ve got your messaging down, you need to make sure your marketing conveys that message to your audience. If you don’t, you’re still not accurately and effectively getting your word out there.
Does your sales team fit your company’s needs?
Imagine each member of your sales team sitting next to your ideal client. Do you feel confident in their ability to engage your ideal client? If not, you need to look more deeply into your team members, your team structure, your team’s sales resources, and your training processes.
Do you have a clearly defined sales process?
Now, once you have all of those fundamentals worked out, then, and only then, should you turn to looking directly at how your sales funnel operates. You can get to some of the questions you originally asked – how do we bring in more leads? How do we nurture our leads more effectively?
With a firm foundation, the answer to these questions will be more meaningful and the changes you make to your sales process more enduring. You will also be on your way to creating a more scalable, stable, and predictable sales engine within your company.
Is your sales organization guided by clearly defined and measurable goals?
To know if all of your efforts are working, your goals need to be tied to data you can measure. If you don’t monitor your leads, traffic, and close rate as they relate to your sales and outreach efforts, you will never get a clear picture of what’s working for your organization — and what isn’t.
If you put the time and energy into thoughtfully answering these 7 questions, you won’t just temporarily repair your sales structure — you’ll create an adaptable sales organization that will engage your audience, build crucial relationships, and boost your revenue.
Ready to get started on creating a high-performing sales engine that drives scalable, stable, and predictable revenue growth? Check out our article on defining your value or take the sales engine diagnostic.
Your team seems to be doing everything right. You know what you offer, what value you provide, and how those attributes align. But you just aren’t seeing the lead velocity you want.
Are you running paid search campaigns and finding the leads are a poor fit for your business? Or that your sponsored ads are showing up in the wrong locations? Are your sales teams having meeting with the right people? Maybe they bring you along to the meetings and when you get there you realize the lead will never buy your service. Do you get the feeling when you’re interacting with leads that something isn’t quite right?
These breakdowns may indicate that you haven’t found the perfect product-market fit. Here are some signs you might not be targeting the right audience — and what to do about it.
You’re targeting anyone who walks in the door.
You’re passionate about your offerings. You have no doubt that they could benefit a wide variety of people. Are you harder pressed to think of who you don’t want to contact than who you do? If that’s the case, your target audience might not be targeted enough.
Imagine you’re shopping for a gift for a teenager. Try and picture what you’d get that teenager. Tricky, isn’t it? Without knowing anything about the person except their age — not their gender, their location, their interests, their needs — it’s really difficult to buy an appropriate gift for them.
You might be thinking, Ok, but what about a car? Any teenager wants a car! And since our offerings are so awesome, anyone will want them.
Not so fast. Even if your products or services could benefit anyone, not everyone will really resonate with the value you’re providing or be drawn in enough to listen to your message.
Consider a small electric car and a full-size pickup truck. Neither is better than the other, they are just each aligned to audiences with completely different experiences and lifestyles. So their target audiences are completely different, too: an eco-conscious single mother with a tiny car budget for her teen daughter vs. a father whose teen son will use the truck to help with their family landscaping business.
Plus, if you’re casting too wide of a net, you and your team are wasting a lot of energy sorting through the flotsam and jetsam that you pull in. You may catch a fish or two, but not before discarding the tin can, the lost shoe, the spare bicycle wheel. And, if you do catch that big fish, you won’t know if it was because you were fishing in the right area or if you just got lucky.
On the other hand, if you research where a particular type of fish hangs out, go there and bait specifically for that fish, you can tie your success to your intentional efforts and repeat it in the future.
Raise the bar from “anyone with a bank account” to some really specific criteria that will guide you and your sales team to client gold:
You aren’t finding leads in the places you thought they’d be.
You’ve got your industry, demographics, and psychographics down, and you’re hot on your target audience’s trail. You’ve talked to your sales team, and you’ve heard that the group you’re looking for lives on LinkedIn. So, you do some targeted outreach, even join some professional groups on the platform, and nothing manifests. Sure, you have some good conversations, but deals-wise, you’re still coming up empty.
If your target audience isn’t showing up where you expected, it’s time to do a bit more research.
Your audience isn’t engaged.
But, maybe you’ve done all of that, you’ve found the right people in the right places and you’ve brought them to your door. And maybe they take a peek in, explore your website, read an email or two, and then wander away.
If you’ve found your ideal clients and they’re nibbling but swimming away, what you’re offering might not be attractive enough to hook them. In this case, you may want to take a look at your messaging.
So, there you have it — 3 key ways to tell if you don’t quite have a handle on your target audience. Looking for more on finding that perfect product-market fit? Check out our video on target audience and this target audience worksheet you can discuss with your team.
“If you build it, they will come” is only true in sales if you know exactly who you want to come your way. If you assume that creating a great product or service model and “getting it out there” is enough, you may find yourself struggling to create reliable growth.
By narrowing in on who you can best serve, your sales organization can avoid wasting resources on poor product-market fit. And by clearly defining your target, your team can readily align on messaging, sales tactics, and goals. Here’s how to define your ideal client.
Revisit your value proposition.
When you’re looking for a romantic partner, you focus just as much, if not more, on what you have to offer as what a potential date might bring to the table. The same is true of identifying your ideal client.
To thrive, your understanding of who you’re selling to needs to be rooted in what you’re selling. And what you’re selling is not your product, not your services, but the value you provide. When considering your ideal client, your value proposition must align with their needs.
For example, take a look at the following value proposition: “We help companies create corporate event experiences that expand team knowledge, boost sales, and increase revenue.”
If you were the leader of this organization, your ideal client would be companies whose events are dedicated not just to increasing sales but also to learning. Companies needing an event planner for their corporate gala wouldn’t be an ideal fit. But companies looking to establish an annual sales conference would be right up your alley.
Study your current clients.
If you’re stumped as to how to articulate your ideal client, take a look at the customers you’ve already built strong relationships with. Explore both who they are and what works about your partnership:
Answering these questions about your current client base and searching for patterns will help you create a clear picture of your ideal client.
Identify your top industry sectors.
It’s tempting to cast a broad net, especially when you’re looking to get your business off the ground. After all, the more customers the better, right?
Not really. Your ideal client is one that your organization has a good grasp of. And no matter how skilled your team is, their capacity to really understand the inner workings of other industries is limited. Partnering with customers from any industry that comes your way will likely lead to a shallow picture of client need, scattered team energy, and stagnant sales.
To create repeatable, sustained growth, you want to narrow in on and study your best-fit industries.
There’s a big difference between your ideal client and your idealized client. Just as it’s hard to give up on romantic pipe dreams, it can be difficult to adjust your expectations about who your best client is. You may think that your services are tailor-made for Fortune 500 apparel companies and discover, with time, research, and trial and error, that your golden ticket is really mid-sized food manufacturing businesses.
You want to make sure you are pursuing the audience that is the best fit for what you offer, not who you think should be the best fit.
When defining your ideal customer, take a good look at what partnerships have been fruitful for you and what pursuits have cost a lot of time and effort — without solid results.
Do market research.
While looking at your internal data and past experiences is an excellent way to understand what’s working and what’s not, market research can help you uncover paths you might not have thought to explore. What’s more, market research can be especially effective in telling the difference between a pipe dream and a dream client.
Focus groups and external surveys can help you determine if your hypotheses about your target market bear out. You can also do research to understand how big a specific market is to better understand your ideal fit. Do this for each target audience you want to pursue to help validate or reassure a target audience strategy.
Create a persona.
Now that you have a strong idea of the value you create, who you’ve sold successfully to in the past, and what industries you’re targeting, you’re ready to delve into the process of creating a persona.
A persona is a semi-fictionalized representation of your ideal customer. It’s grounded in market research, current customer information, and industry knowledge. You want to include detailed information in this representation, including:
Here’s an example of a persona of an ideal client for a B2B communication SaaS company who sells to the staffing and recruiting industry:
Persona: Steve the Staffing Executive
Job title: CEO or President of a staffing and recruiting company
Goals: Gain more new clients, go deeper with current clients, increase recruiter productivity, and improve candidate response rates, be seen more and more as a resource to current and new clients
Challenges: Standing out from competition in a highly competitive industry. Getting candidates to respond, retaining core staff, and attracting top talent
Sources of Industry information: Staffing Industry Analysts, StaffingHub, Inc, Forbes
Story: Steve has been in staffing and recruiting for 10+ years. He manages a large team of recruiters and works hard to adapt in a constantly changing and increasingly competitive industry. He has a core fan base of loyal candidates, and while the reputation of his company gets him far, the market for talented candidates is tight. He needs to break through the noise, as a talented candidate will receive 10+ email and voicemail messages each day. He wants a reliable, unique solution for getting candidate attention that will please his recruiters and speed sales.
Once you have this level of understanding of your ideal client, you can hone your marketing efforts, refine your value messaging, and ensure your sales team is aligned on who you’re selling to.
Defining your ideal customer may seem like a daunting task but it’s well worth the effort. By aligning your team on who you want to provide solutions for, all of your sales team’s activity — from generating leads to closing deals — will be more targeted, efficient, and fruitful.
Looking for more on defining your audience? Check out our target audience worksheet and video.
I’m Karl Becker and I help individuals and organizations improve how they sell. My focus is on clear, concise, actionable solutions.
In short, I'll show you how to increase performance and generate more revenue.
This blog shares approaches, tools, and ideas that I have seen create success.
If you’re interested in discussing anything, please reach out.