Wouldn't you agree that every sales job is unique? Aren't there significant differences in products and services sold, target markets, target geographies, company cultures, lead sources, sales cycle lengths, and more? Given these many differences, how can you accurately define the parameters that will produce success in your company's sales job?
The questions asked in this article do not identify every possible factor you should consider as you analyze your company's sales position(s). However, reviewing these questions should spark useful thoughts concerning desirable salesperson characteristics. At minimum, if you carefully consider each question, you will become more consciously aware of key requirements than you were previously.
If you are a salesperson, you can also benefit from considering these questions, as they can help you identify target prospects and further refine your sales approach.
1. Nature of the Customer
- What are your target markets?
- Are they horizontal or vertical?
- Do you sell to consumers, corporations, schools, state and local governments, etc. ?
- What level(s) in the organization do you sell to? (Purchasing, Engineering, Business Unit Manager, C-Level Executive, etc. )
2. Nature of the Offering
- Are your offerings complex or relatively simple?
- Are they tangible or intangible?
- Do they consist of stand-alone products or services, or bundles of products and services?
- Does your company have a small portfolio of offerings or a large portfolio of offerings?
3. Sales Environment
- What kind of environment do your salespeople work in?
- Are they office-based or home based?
- Is most of their selling done over the telephone or in person?
- How many sales locations does your company have?
- Where are they located?
5. Sales Style
- Which sales styles (Consultative, Relationship, Display, Hard Closer) are most effective in your target markets?
6. Relationship Preference
- Is your company more concerned about:
- Finding new customers?
- Increasing account penetration and/or managing long-term relationships?
- If both, please estimate a percentage for each.
7. Sales Cycle Length
- How often do your salespeople have opportunities to close sales?
- Several per day?
- Several per month?
- Several per year?
- Do prospects come to your salespeople, or must your salespeople seek them out?
- If the answer is “both", estimate a percentage for each.
Seven additional parameters are covered in Part 2 of this article.
Copyright 2005 - Alan Rigg
Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. His company, 80/20 Sales Performance, helps business owners, executives, and managers DOUBLE sales by implementing The Right Formula™ for building top-performing sales teams. For more information and more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit http://www.8020salesperformance.com.