Top sales representatives always put the odds in their favour. In a sales campaign, each action taken must increase the chance of success. The same is true in assessing a job. Top performers want to increase the probability of overachievement. In the job interview, they should ask the right questions to employer to seek sales advantage. The following categories have direct impact on their sales performance.
New Capabilities: Top sales reps want to improve their ability reach more customers. They want to stay ahead of the pack. They are always looking for a competitive edge.They recognize the immense emerging power of social media. They ask questions about social media tools and training they can deploy in the new role.The key capability is social selling skills. Top performers will stay with your sales team if you arm them with better ways to secure appointments with target prospects. They need to build strong social presence with well-written blog posts and compelling email messages.
Challenges: Top reps want to be intellectually stimulated. They are naturally curious and have a thirst for knowledge. They are attracted by gamification and contests. They seek a steady stream of opportunities to test themselves against others. Feed their natural desire to win with a steady stream of opportunities to compete. Gamify sales training and program adoption to make them more interesting. Creative sales contests with imaginative themes provide opportunities for recognition and success. Create stretch plans with significant incentives for your best people. Manage them to become extraordinary and reward accordingly.
Access to New Buyers: Top sales representatives continually seek to expand their connections. They value help in gaining access to more buyers and widening their circles. Identify who purchases your products and how they make buying decisions. A well-targeted approach to reaching the right people saves top sales people valuable time. A well-defined Buyer Persona and a Buyer Process Map are essential selling tools. These targeting tools provide the advantage they seek. Marketing programs that are aligned with the buying process are an invaluable asset. They recognize the importance of being aware of the buyer’s customers. Social listening is very important. This will turn latent demand into active selling opportunities.
Competitive Intelligence: Knowledge of competitive strengths and weaknesses is vital. Top performers view Win/Loss assessments as an advantage. They are keenly aware of the competition. They value any insight that will increase their chances of winning.They ask for competitive play books that enable pre-emptive strategies. Don’t wait and react to competitive threats. Arm your team with options to quickly respond in head-to-head situations. Implement win / loss / no decision interviews for all deals in the top 15% of the pipeline. Make the research actionable quickly disseminate it to the sales force.
Big Deal Strategy: Top sales people recognize the value in a support structure to win major deals and contributions from the entire organization. They ask about the involvement of key executives & stakeholders from all functional groups. Improve your big deal pricing and pursuit strategy through interviews with top customers. Sales stars want insight into the motivations that lead to big wins.
Quota & Compensation: Fairness and realism are the keys. Top sales representatives will perform superhuman feats if they believe their efforts will be rewarded. They ask about how quotas are calculated to ensure they are attainable. They want to know when and how changes are made to the compensation plan. Ensure quota reflect the true territory potential, not just a percentage increase over last year. In-year changes to the compensation plan send a negative message. Top representatives want a big challenge and the resources to attain it. Yearly tweaks are an annoyance to top representatives who relish a clear, simple plan.
New Product Enablement: Everyone wants to sell a hot product. Top sales representatives need to know how and why each solution will satisfy a critical buyer need. They expect to receive the tools to be successful before a new product is launched. This includes demonstration units, simplified pricing, white papers, adequate pre-sales and ongoing market training. Help the team get quick wins in year one even if this means sacrificing some profitability. The team needs references, case studies and market buzz.
Marketing Support: Today’s buyer completes more than half of the buying process before the sales representative is engaged. Top sales representatives recognize that strong support from marketing is key. Additional orders from existing customers multiply the effectiveness of the direct sales representatives. They ask for marketing programs that leverage prior purchase history and firmographic data. Support for cross-selling and up-selling are key predictors of future success. Marketing research is an invaluable asset for the top sales representatives. When the key buyer persona is clearly defined, representatives know exactly who to target. Understanding the objectives, obstacles, fears and priorities of the buyer personas provides the foundation for a value based sales campaign. Create a shared scorecard between marketing and sales with monthly reporting.