What tools do you need in sales to earn the kind of dollars you need to buy a Yacht like James Hamilton at Amazon?
A sales manager recently asked in one of our coaching sessions, “what are the tools needed to ensure you can become a top producer in sales earning large sums of money so that I can afford a yacht like James Hamilton at Amazon Web Services.” To earn the big commissions, you first need specific tools and skill sets. Skill sets are essential, but to make a real difference in the revenue-producing environment, you must have the proper tools. What tools are needed to improve win-rates and win large-deals is the question.
His question reminded me of a time very early in my career working at a Fortune 500 company where I was fortunate to have a job as a junior consultant interacting with senior executives of the company. At a company dinner, I was with a group of Consulting Partners, Business Executives, and a Sales Executive. A discussion ensued amongst, all within their late 40s and 50s, regarding boating/yachting. I was fascinated by the interaction of all the participants and was especially intrigued by the discussion of the Sales executive who defined how his hard work and preparation led to his prosperity. It is no wonder that this sales executive was fortunate to own a 60’ Yacht. That is when I decided to shift my career plan and become a Sales Executive as I wanted to be able to make an impact in my life and increase my opportunity be more prosperous.
I became a student of the trade and realized Sales is not easy. Many people think that it is just about taking people to lunch or going golfing, but this is far from the truth. To be able to close significant high-value transactions you need to demonstrate equal business stature and ability to solve business problems. In many ways, it is the modern-day version of war; day in and day out you will be vying for someone’s business against your competitor/enemy. You can either be the person that wins the skirmish or be one of the many who falls victim to the loss. Moreover, if you are the victor, you will be rewarded with enough riches to enable you to make a difference in your family, your community, and if you chose, the world. You can earn the opportunity to be of service and make a real impact like Simon Sinek talks about in his viral video.
I told this aspiring top performer that first, you need a grounded foundation in your attitude by pursuing four virtues:
1. Wisdom – the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time
2. Courage – the ability to confront uncertainty and intimidation
3. Self-Control – Be mentally calm and self-confident in your actions
4. Fairness – Having a quality of being morally right or justifiable (doing the right thing)
You see, there are many myths about the traits one needs to be successful in sales; however, if you focus on getting the excellent foundation, the other skillsets and attributes will be developed over time.
So now that you addressed the foundation and the understanding of how the right tools can get the job done more effectively, you need to put the right tools in your sales toolbox. Growing up my Father always used to say you need the right tool for any job. To become a master carpenter, you need a few necessary tools: hammer, saw, ruler, and ability to master their use. It is better to avoid being cheap because your tools will make you successful and pay for themselves many times over. Similarly, to become a master sales producer in the world of B2B sales, you need the following:
1. A great computing/mobility environment
2. A call plan template
3. A revenue qualification tool
When it comes to a computing environment, ensure you have the latest and fastest technology along with mobility and real handwriting capability. You can choose either the Microsoft Windows or Apple environments as they are both very close nowadays and it is just a personal preference now. I have used both successfully. After using a Mac at the beginning of my career, then a Windows Device for 20 years, I have moved back to a Mac for the last four years. The Apple commercials circa 2007 about switching back stood out in my mind. In 2015 when Microsoft improved the compatibility between the MS Office Suite on PC and Mac, I replaced my Windows Laptop with a MacBook Pro. The close integration of the iPhone with the Mac makes selling in this compressed digital environment much more productive.
You also want to have a mobile solution that looks professional and aligns with your image. I suggest a Tablet like the iPad Pro which has proven handwriting capability. This way, your sales preparation material such as call plan can be put into Microsoft OneNote which will enable you to be very productive leading your sales call. You will have access to your preparation material to keep a meeting on track and have the ability to take very detailed notes. I recommend you have a nice leather binder for your tablet. This approach in a face to face meetings looks much better and is more effective than opening up a laptop to take notes.
In sales, you need to be very proficient at multi-tasking and thinking on your feet. It is paramount that you add multiple monitors at your office for the real-estate required for reference material and Google Search capability used during sales phone calls. With tight travel budgets, you will find much of your work is performed over the phone or video conference and not in person. You must get a high-quality noise-canceling microphone for a quality studio voice during your phone calls and video conference. The following models have some excellent reviews; I use the Blue Yeti Blackout Edition.
For many folks, the use of video is becoming a norm. No more waking up out of bed and getting on a conference call looking like a train wreck. An image is a critical part of the influence in sales so prepare correctly. For video, do not use a headset as it is not a professional look as this would look like a call center rep that is reading a script, not the image of an executive that is demonstrating equal business stature that solves business problems. The new emerging use of the video is excellent for you as it enables observations of non-verbal communication. In the context of the new video approach, you need to be able to evaluate critical elements of the various agendas of interaction with the client. This interaction is a crucial input to what is called #SalesDiscernment.
In a video conference, using the capability like Zoom the background behind you is also critical. Make sure you have a professional looking environment. If you are calling on a CXO and you are interested in giving him thought leadership information, you don’t want to be calling from a Sales bullpen. Another feature to consider is Touch ID or any fingerprint sensor for Windows Laptops as it saves so much time not having to type your password when your screen locks. One last thing, don’t forget to make sure you have a bandwidth of at least 25Meg Up/Down to ensure your audio and video environment works like a charm.
Now that you have the great computing/mobility environment, the second tool needed is a template to use in preparation for all client meetings. For folks familiar with the Military, “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance!” is a common phrase heard in many different branches and countries. This concept of Proper Planning and Preparation is also so true in sales. You not only need to prepare yourself but also everyone in your company that is interacting with your client.
To do this, you need a proven approach to think through, plan, and document your preparation for all client interactions. We developed a framework used over the last 30 years to maximize the effectiveness for preparation. We call it the FHS Associates Call Plan Template and have made it easy to download for something you can use for your entire career. We developed it to help salespeople use a structured document to help them prepare for client interactions and maximize their results. Use this word document template filled with tips to document and prepare for your sales call. Once documented in Microsoft Word, copy and paste your content in Microsoft OneNote. Now you have all your preparation all neatly typed up and then can use your tablet to write hand-written notes during your meeting. We designed this template keeping in mind a proven methodology that maximizes results for an entire sales organization. Our proven methodology is called S-R-Squared. It assists organizations to take advantage of #SalesDiscernment and improve its overall impact of a successful sales campaign.
The third and most important fundamental tool you need is an easy to use revenue qualification tool. This tool is mandatory to keep you focused on all the changes that occur in a B2B sales cycle. The tool should bring a high degree of objectivity to a historically subjective task. It will make you reflect and be honest with yourself. A revenue qualification tool enables the ability to develop a score that provides insight on where you should make sales investments of time and resources to progress a deal forward. This tool, although mandatory for sales management concerned with revenue growth, is most useful for individual performers to channel their efforts to dramatically improve win-rates and earn more commissions. Use of a tool also mitigates the need for multiple meetings to update people and keeps the internal sales team consistent on message. A good revenue qualification tool is used at every phase of your sales process. Over the last 30 years, we developed and used the FHS Associates Revenue Qualification tool for extraordinary win-rates and over the last three-years enhanced it to address the current trends in B2B sales today.
For businesses to accomplish successful B2B sales in today’s environment, companies need to concentrate on three distinctive areas. These three areas include connecting your overall business strategy with the correct targeted customers, establish client relationship plans that are meaningful and sustainable, and drive a consistent discipline that solves client’s problems and creates a reward for your company.
The FHS Associates Revenue Qualification Tool provides process rigor to ensure there is Sales Alignment to the Business Strategic Intent, maximizes the Relationship Dynamics Effectiveness, and enhances Revenue Attainment Success Probability. The FHS Associates Revenue Qualification Tool uses our methodology that complements and strengthens CRM sales processes embedded in tools such as SalesForce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and can be modified in any CRM process your organization uses.
It is recommended that each sales rep open the tool every morning as they reflect on and prepare for what sales investments they should make regarding each deal they are leading. There are 25 questions designed to keep you involved in the daily dynamics of change that is inevitable with B2B sales.
Sales is not easy and not for the light-hearted. It is not for everyone, it is hard work, but the rewards outshine the effort. With the right tools and preparation, you will be able to succeed in any industry. Invest in quality tools; click the links below to improve your performance so you can make a worth wile impact. Procrastinator never WINS!
Download your tools for success at the following URLs below:
FHS Associates has a proven methodology called S-R-Squared which assist organizations to take advantage of #SalesDiscernment and improve its overall impact. For more information on how to take advantage of S-R-Squared go to www.fhs.associates and schedule a discussion. #SalesGrowth #Dreamforce #DF18
If you are having issues and challenges with your revenue engine, we would love to consider being with you to accelerate business improvements in your sales function. Contact us at FHS Associates to begin your business improvement!