Getting an Accurate Peek
“It’s critical that you can get an accurate peek at what the quarter is going to look like,” Vincent started out. “[Forecasting] is definitely an art form — that the salesforce doesn’t always get, or appreciate.”
He remarked that when reps move into the area of selling medical technology, (often considered “the apex of sales”), they tend to forget the fundamentals. The basics of sales are taught and learned through experiences reps have accumulated during past jobs — and they are invaluable to continued success.
However, there are three vital fundamentals that often get overlooked:
“[Reps] need to figure out a strategy,” Vincent told me. “There are no shortcuts, and nothing has changed in the way that we manage the sales funnel.”
“People forecast poorly because they don’t understand where they are in the funnel.” It’s like when a quarterback or receiver does the “happy dance” at the five yard line – celebrating the win too early rarely ends well.
Instead of rushing to celebrate, it’s important that reps keep maintaining the velocity at which they are closing deals — otherwise, deals could fall through, and forecasting suffers.
You need to reinvent the trust between your clients and the company. Truly understanding and clicking with your client means that you can better predict what matters to them, what their stake is, and whether they’re going to buy.
As Vincent puts it, reps need to work to “understand the material, the decisions, or the happenings that can really change the business.”
Many reps get can get overly comfortable in their posting, delivering consistently on a fixed number instead of trying to improve.
“I think we need to provide them models that could change what revenue they hand in,” Vincent explained. Reps need to be proactive — connecting with new prospects, and staying motivated to increase sales. “You never want [a client] to say they don’t know who their rep is in a certain location.”
“Some companies are interviewing people without resumes and without seeing them,” Vincent started out by summarizing the problem. Interviewers sometimes think that they may hire the wrong person if they get caught up in the interviewee’s appearance.
“I think that people think, once they have graduated, that they’re so good that they’ll get business by shooting from the hip and figuring it out on the fly.”
But in order to be a successful member of any salesforce, you need a plan and you need to plan; if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. It’s important that reps pair their ability to sell with structured sales processes and plans.
“We need to remind [our reps] that the fundamentals of sales don’t change,” Vincent commented, on hiring. “You want someone smart who can think on their own, but can stick to the fundamentals.”
At the end of the day, when it comes to sales, it does not matter where one is or what one is selling. If a salesperson has the fundamentals down – if they know how to strategize, build trust, and use their abilities, they can sell anything.
- Do your reps strategize? Or do they rely on their ability to improvise? How can you best emphasize the importance of strategy?
- Do your reps strive to improve on last month’s numbers? When do you see the most improvement in numbers — and why?
- How do you hire new reps? What are the abilities you look for in someone before bringing them onto the team? What abilities should you be looking for?