How To Develop Your Software Sales Career This Year
It’s already one-quarter way through the year, which makes right now the ideal time to assess your progress so far in 2018, and construct a rock-solid plan for your sales career going forward.
How are your sales figures looking so far? What unexpected obstacles have you faced? Looking forward, what are your goals for this year? Promotion? Perhaps a move to another software sales company? Or maybe your one burning ambition is to blitz your targets and get that bonus?
Whatever your goals for the rest of 2018 and beyond, it’s now time to hone your skills so you will succeed in your next move.
Here are some effective strategies to do just that.
1. Record yourself pitching.
This one is rarely a barrel of laughs (who likes the sound of their own voice on a recording?) but it is one of the most powerful ways of recognising weaknesses in your pitches.
You will almost certainly notice verbal tics you have, such as overusing certain buzzwords or saying fillers like ‘um’ or ‘like’ a lot, but you should also notice where you miss opportunities in your haste to convey your version of the information. Sometimes a lead is practically advertising their unique business need in flashing neon lights, but the salesperson misses it because they’re focussed on a particularly neat feature of the software (one that the client will probably never use.)
Recording yourself is the biggest favour you can do yourself to improve your pitching and phone manner. Just do it.
2. Ask your most precious resource for their opinion.
To be honest, you’re not the best judge of how good you are. Even your sales figures aren’t the most reliable indicator- you might be selling a really great product that practically sells itself, or you may have inherited a really good territory with ‘rusted-on’ clients. Even if you are extremely good, your sales figures don’t tell you what you could do better, and your sales manager may not have the time to follow and coach you to give you the feedback you need to become the very best you can be.
Only your customers can do that. They are perfectly positioned to tell you where your sales service could be improved. So ask them what you could do better for them, either in a phone call or via an email survey.
3. Learn something new.
No, we’re not talking about brushing up on your sales skills here, although we are big advocates of constant learning to make your sales pitch and software industry knowledge as good as it can be. No, in this instance we’re actually talking about branching out and doing something entirely new, and preferably something out of your comfort zone.
Trying new things not only builds confidence and introduces you to different ways of doing things, but it distracts you from always thinking about work, thereby creating ‘space’ in the brain for new ideas to form.
A very tame example of this might be introducing a 20 minute walk into your lunch hour- you’ll be surprised at how often great ideas occur on something you’ve been stuck on for ages while out walking- but we’d love for you to aim a bit higher. Why not sign up to a sports team/carpentry class/book club? Or perhaps learn to rock-climb/sky dive/speak a new language?
Being distracted from sales is sometimes the best way to become a better salesperson, and an interesting side bonus is that it builds your network and perhaps even leads to new clients!
4. Set better goals.
You’ve probably heard of the Pareto Principle: that is, that 20% of your efforts create 80% of your results. If you haven’t already done it, you should track and assess all the activities you do in a week, and figure out which ones are the ‘high payoff activities’, such as calling current clients to ask for referrals, or following up on leads.
Then structure your week in a way that dedicates your most effective times of day (such as between 9-11 am) to high cognitive, high pay off activities, and leave the low pay off, low cognitive work (such as entering information into your CRM) for hours of the day where your brain doesn’t function as well- for example, during the 3pm slump.
But be sure to build some customer service tasks into your daily schedule as well, as good customer service means you’ll retain your current clients and add value that way. (We’ve written a whole blog recently on the power of customer service in boosting your sales figures, so check that out.)
5. Know your selling purpose.
It’s important to know the ‘why’ behind each of your moves as a salesperson.
It begins with the personal: why do I enjoy being a salesperson? What motivates me and what goals does this job help me reach? What am I aiming for?
And then it moves into the product: What about this software makes it unique? Which business needs does it fulfil? Why would companies benefit from using it, and how? Also, what are its weaknesses, why would someone not want to buy this product?
Finally, your ‘why’ focus moves onto the customer: Why do they need this software? What is their business need? How will this software help them in a way they will recognise?
Only when you know these three tiers of purpose, will you be able to perfectly tailor the pitch to the client, pre-empt any objections they might have, and personally enjoy becoming a great salesperson who is motivated by purpose.
Until next time,
LivRecruit specialise in Inside Sales, Senior Sales and Technology Recruitment. The LivRecruit team is based in South Manchester and have over 17 years’ experience providing recruitment solutions for technology companies across the UK.
If you are looking for the right new hire for your technology team or want to take your career to the next level call us on 0161 883 2856 or email us here.