Ever wondered why you don’t have a direct Sales rep for IRCTC ? Because it’s a transactional Sales. No rocket science, You know where you want to go, when you want to go, you select a train, make the payment and you are done. Imagine life would have been so simple if all the sales processes were like this. Customers going to your website, selecting the product, making the payment and boom !! Sales happened. Trust me CEOs couldn’t have been happier. But unfortunately that’s not the reality. You and I have got a Sales job because the sales is not going to be transactional, it’s going to be complex and it’s going to be highly unpredictable.
Every sales which is not transactional are determined by two factors emotions and probability. No matter how much informed the customers are, how much research they have done, they remain forever in denial that their purchase was more emotional than logic. In today’s market scenario value differentiation is diminishing as competitors soon replicate your products and services, so as a sales person, your ability to manage and leverage emotions is critical. It is THE factor which will make you a Ultra high performer sales rep instead of a mediocre sales person.
The other critical factor a sales person’s success is his ability to shape the win probability. Win probability is not determined how much you have progressed in a sales process. As a Cloud seller in IBM, I have come across many instances where the customer did a successful POC, satisfied by the prices still he became untraceable after a point of time. There are 5 levers which shape the win probability according to the Jeb Blount of Sales EQ.
- Stakeholder mapping
- Alignment of 3 Sales process
- Sales specific Emotional Intelligence and human influence frameworks
I have realized prospecting is toughest phase in a sales cycle. Trust me it’s difficult to do segmentation, to build a database, to get a response of your email, to cold call and of course handle the rejection. This is the phase because of which people think Sales roles are tough and there is a lot of pressure. If you are not good in prospecting, you will not have a strong pipeline and as a consequence desperation will increase. And consequently your sales pipleline will become even weaker.
Good prospecting is the first step to increase the win probability. Ultra High performers know how to do prospecting and they spend most of their time in this process.
Everyone follows BANT criteria to qualify prospects. The success lies in how well you define BANT i.e. Budget, Authority, Need and Time line. Win probability a lot depends on just Need, rest of the other things may fall in place on their own.
Contrary to BANT criteria where you talk to the person who have the authority of taking decision, stakeholder mapping spans to a broader set of people are directly and indirectly impacted by your product and service. These boarder category of people include Buyers, Amplifiers, Seekers, Influencers and Coaches ( BASIC). A high performing sales person knows that it’s not just decision maker he has to know and to increase the win probability the more people he knows the better it is for him.
Alignment of 3 Processes
Unconsciously, we all have 3 sales process to be aligned to win any deal :
- Sales Process : This starts with Prospecting, Qualifying, Demo, POC and finally Sales. It’s quite linear.
- Buying Process : Buying process is quite linear too and varies with different clients
- Decision Process : It’s non-linear and it is this process which has to be worked really hard.
The decision process is non-linear, individual, emotional and often irrational. It is the intuitive process through which each stakeholder makes commitments of time, emotion, and action. Ultra-high performers understand that the decision process is where strategy, logic, and human emotions collide.
Sales specific Emotional Intelligence
High performing sales professionals are virtuosos with people. They shift win probabilities in their favor through perceiving, controlling, managing, and influencing nonconforming, irrational, human emotions. They possess a toolbox full of influence frameworks along with the agility to apply them in any situation to improve the probability of getting the outcome they desire.
Attaining proficiency in all the above levers is a continuous process for any Sales person. No management schools will teach you these. You need mentors to point you in the right direction and to give you continuous feedback. Merely good understanding of products are services are not going to take you anywhere. You need a continuous passion, interest, persistence and curiosity to develop these qualities. Remember these are the factors which makes Sales exciting.