Rule #1 for High Performing Sales People
Whether you are already a top performing sales person or you have the ambition of becoming one this is the #1 choice you have to make:
Pick the right employer!
So what is the “right” employer?
Great sales people understand that they can only become and remain successful if they always have a solid pipeline of projects in various maturity stages. They also understand that for each project approaching the final closing stage they need a couple of backups if events outside their control should kick in.
How do they achieve that?
Revenue generation is a team sport
Revenue generation is always a team sport. Which position do you play on the team? Salespeople are by definition the Ronaldos, the Messis, and the Schumachers. Your job is scoring and assisting in scoring goals or driving faster than your competitors. Winning customers requires support and assistance from your teammates, but you cannot do their jobs, and you are not responsible for their performance.
If you are or have the potential to become a great sales person, then you want to make sure that you work for a company that understands the importance of the team approach and that will give you the best support available.
The ten characteristics of great employers
Therefore, the first job required of a great sales person is choosing her employer. Great salespeople have many options, so why shouldn’t they carefully consider where they have the best opportunities for becoming repetitively successful? Making the choice of employer entails several parameters of which I will highlight the top 10:
- The employer has a clear and powerful value proposition, but there is still a need for sales people to facilitate the customer journeys and ensure that we get the best projects and the competitors get the lousy projects. The products still don’t sell themselves. Companies performing better than their own expectations don’t see a need for having great (and expensive) sales people.
- The employer is prepared to invest in the training of the sales person and understands that it takes time and effort to become familiar with the customer’s challenges and the solutions that the company provides.
- The employer provides support for the various stages of the revenue generation process and doesn’t expect the sales person to fight as a lone wolf.
- The employer has a culture allowing the sales person a free hand within a well-defined revenue generation process.
- The employer sets realistic expectations and provides generous payment for over performance.
- The employer is known for investing in the ongoing training of its staff to ensure that the position as the leader in the market is maintained.
- The employer understands the importance of professional revenue generation people and also provides a career path for those who do not seek people-management positions.
- The employer displays genuine professionalism in the hiring process and understands that she needs the sales person more than vice versa.
- The employer is prepared to pay a transfer fee or signup bonus and there is a realistic grace period on a reasonable fixed salary while the sales person is learning and building the pipeline.
- The personal chemistry between you and your sales manager is excellent.
If some of these conditions change, then it might be time to leave the company and find another home where the conditions for being great are in place.
Don’t subscribe to the common myth that great sales people should do miracles for lousy companies.