309 Conquering the Risks in Sales

Conquering the Risks in Sales

There will always be a need for talented sales professionals to drive customer engagement and win lucrative business. However, if you spend most of your day working on tasks that are amenable to automation, your career in the sales field is vulnerable. The threat to automating sales functions is real, and if you don’t pay attention, you could be relegated to lower-paying positions or be forced out of your sales career altogether. 

You might be responding with skepticism. But every prior industrial revolution has involved prior jobs being eliminated due to automation. Do you really want to take a chance and ignore the obvious signs? 

While a Selling Revolution is clearly on its way, the intent here is not to raise alarms but to help you survive as a sales professional and even prosper during this transformation. It is a call to action, sounding the warning cry for two critical reasons. 

First, you need to be aware that changes are coming, and 

Second, you need to sharpen your skill set, embrace the technologies that will increase your productivity, and become empowered to achieve even greater success.

Those who survive will need to have a laser focus on continuously developing and retaining elite selling skills. This includes building and refining great communication skills, developing industry expertise, and adopting many of the lessons you are introduced to in these flash briefings. 

Master these skills and you will have the opportunity to become an Elite Seller, one who will strengthen customer relationships, win more business, and be well-positioned to achieve your career and financial goals even in the face of some turbulent times ahead.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

308 Risks in sales – The Bottom Line

Risks in sales – The Bottom Line 

 

The Bottom Line

If you achieve your quota, nothing else matters.

If you fail to achieve your quota, nothing else matters.

 

This maxim often represents sales management’s approach to measuring sales performance. It also signifies a stark reality for every sales professional. 

 

While situations are not always this simplistic, it is imperative to management that the sales team generates enough revenue so their organization achieves profit goals, continues to fuel growth, and secures the future viability of the company. Building and maintaining a strong pipeline of leads and qualified sales opportunities are key metrics that are tracked and monitored by sales management. Because of that, sales management should be constantly building and maintaining a strong pipeline of sales professionals who can progress from a new hire to a productive sales professional—and, for some, to the pinnacle of their profession as an elite performer. Your challenge is how to develop your skills so you can be a part of the next generation of elite sales professionals who can thrive in their selling career. 

 

You will continuously monitor and adapt to the stressors induced by the changing competitive landscape, the dynamics of your market, and the advancement of your primary competitors. 

 

Each of these factors are dynamic and will require that you anticipate in advance how you will be impacted by these changes. Status quo will leave you falling behind and diminish your potential to stay on top of your game. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing. 

307 Risks in sales – Customer Service Issues

Risks in sales – Customer Service Issues 

 

Risk: Your customer service issues  

 

Your company’s customer service approach to dealing with problems presents a risk to your sales career. 

 

Let’s say you sold a deal to a customer who planned to roll out your solution to other divisions over a period of time… But problems arose during the initial implementation… Your product was not performing as it should have… This could delay or cancel the planned future roll out and jeopardize your future sales revenue stream from that customer. 

 

This could be very disheartening, since you might have spent substantial time and sales cycles with that customer, with the belief that your time investment would be rewarded with future sales. 

 

Usually, you will not be able to fix the customer service issues alone… but you should definitely raise the flag and make sure that your executives understand the problem and will assign resources to correct it. This is a time for you to be proactive and communicate the urgency of the situation to your executives, while keeping an open line of communication with your customer so they know that you and your company are doing everything possible to correct the situation. Your company and your sales career at the company might depend on how you helped solve the problem. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing. 

 

306 Risks in sales – Your Company Financial Performance

Risks in sales – Your Company Financial Performance 

 

Risk: Your company financial performance  

 

The financial performance of your company presents a risk to your sales career. 

 

Let’s say you joined a startup, or an early-stage company… After an initial high level of interest, company revenue flattens. This could frighten away potential customers and delay or cancel deals. As a result, the company may not be able to secure venture funding that is needed to fuel new growth. 

 

Let’s say you joined a company who is planning to go public (through an IPO). After an initial state of euphoria and a stock price that reaches high levels, the company experiences mediocre or even poor performance – several needed deals have slipped or gone away, the company underestimated the high costs of doing business… as a result, the company misses its projected revenue estimate, and has a bad quarter. Word quickly gets around the financial world, and the company stock price tanks. Potential customers who were considering signing deals with the company back off, and several deals are lost. 

 

Poor financial performance for your company can negatively affect your sales opportunities and place your current job and your future job prospects in jeopardy… regardless of whether your company is a startup, early stage, or an established company. Other than winning as many deals as you can, much of the company’s revenue might be out of your control… and presents a serious risk you need to consider when doing career planning. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing.

305 Risks in sales – Sales Amnesia

Risks in sales – Sales Amnesia 

 

Risk: Sales amnesia. 

Sales is a “what have you done for me lately?” business. It doesn’t matter what you did last year or even last quarter. Low performance in a measured time period, for whatever reason, puts your tenure-your status within your organization – in jeopardy. Some sales organizations are rather ruthless when it comes to recent results and can develop “amnesia” when it comes to sales performance, even if you were a top performer and made president’s club in prior years. 

 

A Sales VP once referenced Bill Parcells, Super Bowl Champion Coach of the New York Giants, who said this: 

“You are what your record says you are.”

 

What happens when your management evaluates your record? What does your record say?

 

Sales is a results-based business. Your record is documented: your pipeline, your forecasts, deals you’ve won, percentage of wins, total revenue generated, new customer acquisitions… whatever primary metrics are measured. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. 

 

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to build a territory from scratch… it doesn’t matter if you created a good plan… it doesn’t matter if you write polished proposals… There are no excuses. Your results speak for themselves and indicate how you will be measured. 

 

Just like Coach Parcells knew so well, you were hired to win… and when you don’t deliver the results you signed up for, a new salesperson could soon be called up from the bench, replacing you to get it done. 

 

So closely track your metrics using a dashboard (if you don’t have access to a dashboard, you can easily create one in Excel).

Here you can evaluate what is working well and how you will adapt your plan and strategies to achieve the desired results.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue our discussion on the risks of a sales career in the next briefing.