Being a salesperson is once again becoming popular, especially a B2B SaaS salesperson. It is cool to sell, again. We see it by the amount of people who need our services, but also by the amount of content and tools dedicated for those, who work in sales support.
Here at Divante, we have a Sales and Marketing department composed of over a dozen of people. I wanted to share with you some of our know-hows.
Eat that Frog
The immortal book written by Brian Tracy is an absolute basis for every sales rep’s work. Without internal motivation, you will not achieve much in this work.
Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog every morning, then you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day :). Your frog is your greatest, most important task. The frog is also a task that may have the most beneficial influence on your life and objective at the given moment.
The key to productivity is to make a habit of performing the most important tasks first thing in the morning. The first rule of eating frogs is: if there are two frogs, swallow the uglier one first – begin with the more difficult and important task.
Numerous studies performed on people who earn more and move up quicker proved, that such persons tend to be focused on action. They do not hesitate to perform their most important tasks and focus on them until they are done.
There is one big obstacle between your current position and your goals. Your task is to identify it. 80% of restrictions – factors that keep you from reaching your goals – come from the inside. They are inside you, in your character, habits, discipline, skills.
Recently, all our salespeople are encouraged to determine the area they want to work on themselves. My role is to directly support them to make this bottleneck wider. Sometimes it can be achieved with a language course, sometimes a certain skill needs to be improved (for instance the ability of networking or contract negotiation skills), sometimes a more complex action is required, such as a strategic advice on the direction of the development.
We recommend a book called “ReWork” to every new employee at Divante. Our salespeople often work with big companies, so we started to prescribe “ReWork” as an antidote to corporate stupidity.
The most important conclusions that can be drawn from “ReWork” by a salesperson:
- Do not replace stupidity with hard work. Usually, working extra hours does not get you much. Instead, focus on the important clients and think how to help them. Working extra time and sleep deficiency will only reduce your creativity.
- At the beginning, ignore the details. Develop the axis of your offer and focus on getting your customer’s approval. Do not waste your time on details, until you are sure about your customer’s intention and the power of your offer.
- Decisions are temporary. Don’t know what to do? Make any decision and see what happens. The decision can always be changed.
- Productivity requires time for thought and a “comfort zone”. Do not disturb others at their work and look after your own concentration.
- Meetings are toxic. Avoid meetings. If you must – schedule the time, invite as few people as possible, prepare your agenda and, at the end, specify what needs to be done, who will do it and when it should be done.
- Own your bad news – openly confess your blunders to the customer, apologize honestly and act quickly. Quick reaction changes everything.
Each sales rep receives lots of time consuming emails. Over the years, I have developed an effective system that helps you manage your inbox.
I check my email account cyclically, every 30-60 minutes.
I go through all messages in my Inbox, starting from the most recent one – sometimes I find emails related to the same issue below, but they are no longer valid, because the last message closed the subject.
To each message I apply the same simple set of rules:
- If the reply takes several minutes – I do it immediately and archive the message. If the subject is important, before I archive the email, I flag it with a proper label (I have the following labels: sales, educational, administrative, hr and that’s it). I also archive the message if I am in the CC field or if I only forward the email.
- If the reply takes more time – I move the message to the “!-Reply” folder.
Thanks to that, my Inbox is empty in 5 minutes.
The “!-Reply” folder usually contains less than 10 messages that require more time to reply. During holidays or travels this amount may reach 30-50, but I have never had more than 100 emails in there.
All messages can be found quickly, the important things are kept in one place, giving me the feeling of control over everything.
I have one To-Do list for everything. Having only one life, there is no sense to make a complicated division of To-Do lists. Roughly speaking, my list is organized in the following order – important and urgent things at the top with important and not urgent things below them. The rest of the list usually contains my private projects, such as “go to Copenhagen” or “buy the book X”. Tasks that are not important but urgent do not even get to my list, because usually I receive them in emails and handle them immediately when I review my Inbox.
I used to prepare my To-Do list with Notepad, but nowadays I use Evernote, because it makes it possible to make other notes as well. Additionally you can have it on multiple deceives so I have my To-Do list on the go and can add any important notes or To-Do’s whenever necessary.
I begin my day with the To-Do list. Later on, when I have some time, I do not think about what to do next, but I open my list and do the first thing available.
Once a week, I review my list to check if something does not linger there for too long. If so, I can move it up.
I spend about 80% of my working time using an internet browser, therefore I need to look after its ergonomics. My bookmark bar contains links to applications that I use.
I use plugins extensively, as well.
- Wappalyzer – shows me what kind of technology is used on a given website, very useful during sales talks.
- Send to Kindle – allows me to send any interesting text to my Kindle, to read afterwards
- Buffer – social media management software that makes it easier to publish posts and allows me to maintain a constant flow of content
- Feedly – an RSS channels reader – I have a plugin that automatically adds the RSS channel of the given blog to the reader
- Rapportive – sends ongoing LinkedIn invitations to people I write with
- Sidekick – provides useful information related to particular emails in Gmail and to each website I visit
At Divante, we also use specialized sales software, including:
- LinkedIn Pro and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Various databases and specialized software supporting the processes of lead generation, base creation and sales automation