Mastering the Most Critical Skills in Sales

Bill Johnson, President, Salesvue

Tips for Time Management
Managing time can become an ingrained habit that can produce amazing sales results. In order to boost productivity, different methods can help sales teams best manage their time.

Delegate lead generation: Finding leads is part of a sales professional’s job. Simultaneously, it’s important not to spend all time and resources searching for new leads and ignoring the leads that may turn into valuable customers. A wise decision is to ask existing customers for referrals. This way, a sales person can obtain leads who have heard about the company’s product from a loyal customer. The sales team is not neglecting current leads and still saving time and energy hunting for new leads.

Allot time: Before starting on a task, a salesperson should decipher when the best time is to complete an appropriate project. When do customers like to be contacted? When are prospects more willing to talk? When do you need to have the proposal finalized? If sales professionals answer these types of questions prior to their work days, they will decide times most fitting to carry out each task, which will organize their daily schedules.

Log activity: To stay better organized, sales representatives should log their activity as it occurs. This decreases the chances of forgetting who they spoke to, who they tried to call but failed to reach, who asked them to call back later and who gave a positive response. By the end of the day, the sales professional will know where he/she stands. Rather than trying to remember all of the activities from the previous day, work the next day will be much simpler and enjoyable.

Tips for Lead Management
While managing time is imperative for salespeople, an important aspect of time management is lead management. How does a sales professional improve lead management so leads are not wasted or contacted before they are ready? Although there is not one, fixed process that works across sectors and industries, a lead management system is valuable for any sales team. The following tips will make organizing leads and following up on them a less daunting task.

Know your buyer profile: Before contacting leads, sales representatives must know who their ideal buyer is. Are they selling B2B or B2C? If they are B2C buyers, what are their basic demographics? What kind of businesses are they involved in? Knowing the characteristics of their potential buyers helps sales people work toward capturing the right customers.

Nurture leads who are not ready: Some leads may fit a sales representative’s buyer profile, but are not yet willing to buy. These prospects need to be nurtured by a structured nurturing solution. Not all nurturing processes are alike, but they should include the same types of goals: Build a relationship with prospects and try to gain a deeper understanding of their needs. Through smaller interactions, sales representatives should keep their company’s brand at the top of the prospects’ minds. Eventually, the buyers will open up about what the sales person can do for them.

Follow up: In sales, following up is crucial. Once a connection is made, sales professionals need to continue targeting those leads so they are aware of the prospect’s status: Did the potential buyer receive information they requested? Did they have a chance to think about a purchase? Do they have any new issues that the sales professional can take care of? Without a follow up, a potential sale and loyal customer could be abandoned.

Track and report: A tracking and reporting system makes it convenient for sales managers to log calls and stay up to date about the position of potential buyers. With a prospecting process, sales managers know exactly when a connection was made, whether a conversation took place or if the sales representatives left a message. By staying organized with a prospecting system, sales managers are using an efficient way to help facilitate the human touch.

Mastering both time and lead management helps sales teams capitalize on tracking so they can focus on having real conversations with their prospects – and these conversations are what drive conversions. The ability to delegate, stay organized, nurture leads and follow up with leads will direct sales professionals down the right path to being efficient and successful.

Bill Johnson is president of Indianapolis-based Salesvue, a prospect-to-pipeline automation solution. As a career sales professional, he is committed to solving the important problems that exist in sales and sales management today.