Are you interested in a new sales paradigm? Sharon Drew Morgen, Developer of Buying Facilitation ®, shares her insights on Buying Facilitation®; which is the process of helping buyers manage their off-line decision-making and helping them understand and consider how to welcome and manage change, opening the door to a sale by entering the buyer’s environment far earlier than they could if they were selling, and becoming part of the Buying Decision Team on a cold call, collapsing the sales cycle.
In today’s bleak employment market, many job seekers are turning to professional recruitment firms for help. It’s a smart move, unless the candidate goes into the relationship thinking that their sole responsibility is to provide the recruiter with a resume and an idea of the job they’d most like to have.
To be effective, the recruiter-candidate relationship is one that must be cultivated and proactively managed by both sides. As the one in search of a job, it starts with you doing your homework to identify a recruitment firm that best fits your needs.
The best recruitment firms for sales professionals will have a deep understanding of the entire sales process, including territories, product, price, positioning, sales cycle, top performer profiles, sales leadership, etc. There is a critical correlation between how a sales team is led and their overall performance, which is why understanding the sales culture is essential to determining the right job fit.
From there, it’s important that you treat the relationship with your recruiter as a partnership. Do this by establishing expectations upfront and giving the recruiter the detailed information they need to best represent your interests to potential employers.
It is critical to stay engaged in and proactively manage the search process in partnership with your recruiter. This means keeping them informed about any updates in the status of your job search. By that same token, you should expect your recruiter to keep you informed of the companies to which your qualifications are being submitted.
This is particularly important if you are working with more than one recruitment firm, since you don’t want your resume to be submitted multiple times for the same position. Most employers take a negative view of this practice, so it could easily ruin your chances even before you’ve had the opportunity to interview.
It is also a good idea to make frequent visits to the recruitment firm’s website to identify and alert your recruiter about possible positions as soon as they are posted. This keeps you in the loop about available opportunities and ensures that you’re not overlooked for a position that requires skills you have that your recruiter isn’t aware of.
Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open. This demonstrates to your recruiter that you are serious about your job search, which makes them more willing to go above and beyond for you. It also ensures that your recruiter knows all there is to know about you, which helps them do their job – finding you a job – more effectively.
As you go about your day today, Tony Cole, President and CEO of Anthony Cole Training Group, wants you to remember that selling isn’t life or death. However, if you prepare and have commitment, your approach is based on solid core values, and you execute and work to win with honor, then you will win more than you lose. You will thrive and you will be proud of this business of selling.
After a long career in sales, working with and for some highly successful professionals, Tibor Shanto , Principal of Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., finds it hard not to reach the conclusion that those who master sales really master two key things:
- Being proactive rather than reactive
- Taking control of activities and use of time
It can be argued that if you do not mange you activities within the time allotted, you cannot truly be proactive, because it is the luxury of time that allows you to be proactive; reactive behavior is a clear sign of someone who has run out of time to do things in a planned way, and is now trying to just get things done (in time?).
Sometimes customers lie. However, sometimes customers do more than lie. Sometimes they actively try to take advantage by playing a “dirty trick” upon the rep. Here’s a gallery, compiled by Geoffrey James, of the five most common ploys and how to thwart them to your advantage.
This week’s blog is by Matthew Rosenhaft, a social media and marketing strategist, speaker and blogger. His Half Rose blog focuses on social media and marketing strategy.
I can hear the collective groan from the SalesJournal readership, but social media is blurring the traditional lines. Today’s sales professionals need to be concerned with participating in LinkedIn groups, answering LinkedIn questions, participating in community forums, reading blogs, sharing tweets on Twitter, sharing photos on Facebook, etc., along with their traditional lead generation activities. Meanwhile, today’s sales organizations must worry about broadcast messaging to communicate their product value proposition and educate a wider audience.
Marketing now has to focus on the 1:1 relationship, whether out on social networks or in the corporate community/website. Marketing now gets measures on lead productivity, the value of discussion versus broadcasting and the effectiveness of their ability to assist the sales pipeline. This is far more intimate and front-line than many marketers have been traditionally involved. Additionally, the marketing organization has to worry about the specific prospect’s motivation and the customer experience.
Social media changes the rules as the relationship dynamics are more fluid because buyer behavior is changing. The 1:1 conversation can now happen in a public forum or be forwarded (re-tweeted) to a broad audience. Customers are also doing buying research on social networks and blogs.
In the last few years, this research has gone from search engines towards social search where recommendations from participants are valued over traditional advertising messages from marketing. Also, buyers are doing their research prior to engagement with vendors. If you are not in their research, you are not on their short list. This means that you must educate prior to engagement – which is the definition of evangelism.
This is causing a considerable amount of disruption in the market and within companies. You can see the whole emotional spectrum played out: fear, skepticism, frustration, doubt, distain, and even elation. Marketing is being held more accountable for results and Sales is being held to a higher standard for managing communications.
I see this as the natural evolution. Customers don’t want to be “sold,” they want “to buy.” That means they want education earlier in the sales process. This means you must adjust the way you support their buying process; hence the shift in roles between sales and marketing to align along the stages of evangelism versus functional silos.
Sales and marketing should be held accountable to the same results if they are working on the same objectives. The roles will be more fluid, but the expertise is still there and can be very synergistic if leveraged correctly.
Three Areas for Thought
On the People front, you need to assess how your sales and marketing organizations are aligned. Are they designed to optimize the business or the customer experience?
On the Process front, you need to rethink your approach to branding and content development to empower Sales to have the 1:Many conversations. Can you create component messages that can be tracked and measured?
On the Technology front, do you have the right tools to support the 1:1 and 1:Many conversations across social media, manage the library of corporate intellectual property and marketing content and manage the lead conversion from the social environments?
Making a sales presentation can be nerve-wracking. Throw in a recession and increased pressure to close the sale, and the scenario gets even more stressful. Generic speeches and snazzy PowerPoint slides just don’t cut it anymore — especially with corporate customers who have reduced spending to boost their bottom lines. That’s why firms like IBM have retooled their sales pitches to better address the needs of their customers.
Bill Rice isn’t sure who said this, but he thinks it is very appropriate to sales management: “The 70 percent solution is often good enough.” Often we fiddle so long with dreaming up perfection that we neglect to get started.
Bill suggests letting the grading and analysis of your efforts naturally reveal itself, as you execute. Avoid over thinking your plan and start executing. The ability to repeatedly execute and adjust based on the immediate feedback that gives you will always put you ahead of the competition.
You may be considering sales as a career or you may be in it and find it difficult. Ask yourself: are you an introvert trying to sell in an extrovert way? Then stop it now! If you use more of your innate strengths, instead of trying to do things in an extroverted style, you’ll – lift the clouds and find the success you want.