Some days you’re focused on sharpening your product knowledge and other days you’re learning to listen better and uncover compelling events. Support teams want you to set better expectations, #marketing wants you drive people to a conference, and your boss needs you to forecast more accurately. With all of these moving parts, your productivity is constantly rising and falling, and if you don’t pay attention to the health of your funnel, your income and job security will always be in flux. But with some driver-awareness, you can learn to steer things towards success.
The analogy I always like to draw is that #sales is like driving a car. As you’re driving, you pay attention to the road, speedometer, and mirrors for helpful feedback that keeps you on track. In sales, you also have constant feedback from the people who ignore your emails, the pitches that backfire, and the deals you don’t win. The problem here is that we sometimes start ignoring this feedback because it can be uncomfortable. So instead, we stick to talking about our wins. But the consequences for ignoring this feedback in both selling and driving are the same: after a while, you’ll drive yourself off the road.
The first step towards staying on course is learning to accept feedback and resisting the urge to defend yourself. It’s important not to see it as criticism because feedback is the only way you can get better. Once you’ve done this, the best place to start looking for feedback is within your sales pipeline, which in many ways is the quantitative accumulation of all of your sales feedback. Based on what’s not going well, you can steer yourself out of a ditch and onto the performance highway.
While this is a top-of-the-funnel problem, the issue may not be with your marketing or sales process, but with your perspective. If you’re starting from scratch in a new territory, you’re in a good spot. The best thing to do here is identify what makes a “good target” from other successful reps and start going through the list of companies you have. Spend your time narrowing them down into a few manageable lists, then determine your outreach strategy and get cracking.
It’s an easy mistake to make, and most of us are guilty of it: we make decisions based off our emotions, which sometimes steer us in the wrong way. And as a sales rep, who could blame you? You’re juggling conflicting priorities that pull you in all sorts of different directions.
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