Within companies throughout the world, sales strategies depend on salespeople—and salespeople are viewed in greatly differing ways. Some admire them for doing a job that most others can’t; others view them as people that fulfill a vital function but need to be monitored and controlled; yet others consider them annoyances and prima donnas.
Putting good or bad viewpoints aside, there is a plain truth about sales reps: a company lives and dies by them. No sales strategy can exist without sales people. This is why they are usually paid in commission, and paid well.
3 Aspects of a Successful Sales Representative
Let’s take a closer look at salespeople, what makes them tick—and what they can actually do for your sales strategies and you company.
#1: Sales Rep Profile
If you’ve ever gotten to know a successful salesperson, you most likely discovered that he or she is quite different from your average employee, or even average person. They tend to be the cream of the crop in “self starters,” actually preferring to create their own income day-to-day. They tend to be genuinely interested in others, and listen to what they have to say. They usually have a quick intellect and excel in sizing up a situation or opportunity. They express themselves readily and easily, and choose their words well—usually with a minimum of effort. Others usually like them, which is one of the basic reasons they can sell.
Another trait of salespeople that can sometimes rub people the wrong way: they form their own opinions. While they will listen to others, they will evaluate information given them and draw their own conclusions. They generally will not “follow orders blindly” but ask questions when they feel they need to know something, and will often object when they feel it is merited.
#2: Sales Strategies Require “Entrepreneurs Within The Enterprise”
If you take a closer look, you’ll realize that this self-determined attitude is what makes sales reps good at what they do. Factually they are “entrepreneurs within the enterprise”. Just like any other entrepreneur, they tend to make their own ways, see opportunities that others miss, adapt and also formulate their own sales techniques, and make unique and often original decisions.
Forward-thinking companies have capitalized on this particular quality. They allow sales reps enough latitude to create sales, build pipelines and carry through to closes. They do their best not to weigh down salespeople with cumbersome reporting, giving salespeople maximum time to do what they do best: sell.
In such an environment, salespeople are the happiest. And how do people that are happy in their jobs function? You guessed it: extremely well. This benefits not only the reps, but their managers and the entire enterprise.
#3: CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Giving salespeople the relative freedom to do their jobs has much to do with the choice of a CRM (customer relationship management) application, and how it is deployed. Ask a salesperson what they think of CRM software in general, and you’ll tend to get a sigh or some sort of negative reaction. This is because many CRM software applications, not having been designed with sales reps in mind, tend to be high-scale reporting mechanisms. While they may allow management to monitor sales (which is of course a necessary function), they tend to require salespeople to spend lots of time inputting data and creating reports. The function CRM developers tend to miss is empowering salespeople to do their jobs more easily.
CRM is at its best when it is intuitive—in the most literal sense of the word. Salespeople can not only quickly and easily figure out how to use it, its functions actually enable salespeople to find more sales and push them through the pipeline. Its reporting functions take the least amount of time possible, while still providing needed data for management and for further sales work.
Enable salespeople to be who they truly are—entrepreneurs within the enterprise—and watch your sales strategies take a giant leap forward.
Watch for further articles in our series on sales strategies and salespeople.