Okay, it is either the last day in November or the first day in December – depending upon which part of the world you are in. So, it is time to begin thinking about you. Specifically, it is time to begin thinking about the progress you have made this year as a b2b sales person.
Some people have asked me after I recommend this exercise – What do I look at regarding my progress?”
Truthfully, when I hear this type of question I begin to worry about the sales person and get a little concerned about the quality of their sales manager. Yes, one of the key roles for sales managers, is the development of their sales people. In fact, I consider it to be the number one role or job of the sales manager – to develop their people.
Okay, please excuse the frustration rant about sales managers. Even without their guidance, you can do this yourself – in fact, you should be doing a review of your progress on several fronts during the year.
Here is a list of Ten Things to review regarding your own personal success…
Ten Things to Measure Your B2B Sales Progress
- Sales Volume
Did you sales volume grow, decline or remain the same? Here you looking for profitable growth rather than growth at any cost. Profitable growth is the sign of progress in winning. However, there is one additional benchmark to compare to your growth rate – what is the overall market growth? If your growth rate is higher than the market rate – you are winning a higher share of the business. Congratulations on your progress. Now, review what you are doing to attain this level of success and repeat it next year.
- Quality of Accounts
This is one that is important to me. While profitability is an important factor in quality of accounts, I take it one step up the satisfaction grid. Do you enjoy working with these accounts? Do you have the respect of the customer? The real test to this factor is do they take your phone calls or call you back within say 4 hours? To me, the respect and credibility attained with clients or customers is the most important indicator of your level of success.
- Overall Knowledge of Your Accounts
How much do you really know about all your accounts? Do you know who their top customers are today? What level of sales do they have, what is their market share? Can you name or identify the top people in the organization? You can gain a competitive advantage when you know about the customer’s company that people within the organization. I have seen senior executive give large contracts to people they felt truly understood their business than some of their direct reports.
- Number of Contacts Made in Your Accounts
If you only know one contact with in a company, you are losing ground. Going wide and deep within a customer’s organization will enhance your position with the company. Knowing as many people as possible gives you an early warning system to any upcoming changes within the customer’s account. Changes that could impact your success.
- Number of Sales Opportunities
How many sales opportunities have you had during the past 11 months? You need to keep track of the number of opportunities you get to win business. It is an indication of how active you are with your customers as well as how the customer keeps you at their top of mind. Nothing is more exciting than having a customer call you and say something like – we have been discussing a project and you came into our discussion as someone who could help us with our issue. WOW – The Golden Guile.
- Your B2B Sales Presentation Skills
How good are you in b2b sales presentations? Are you talking mostly about the customer or prospect – or your company along with features and benefits. If you are doing the last part, you are losing ground again. It is more important to focus upon the customer’s issues and concerns – if you want to win the project. Another point is how well do tell a story the customer can place themselves into the role and realize you can solve their problem – without you talking directly about your product or service?
- Comfort Level with Senior Executives
This is key if you want to continue to sell at higher levels even during recessions or temporary down turns. Remember, senior executives create their budgets and can target who they deem as important advisers or necessary accounts to maintain. Their underlings can only say “no” – it’s not in the budget. Ouch! Grow your confidence levels with senior executives and watch your sales results grow.
- Percentage of Wins Against Major Competitors
This shows how good a competitor you are. How good are you at out selling the best competitors? The B2B Sales Superstars can beat out any competitor on any given day. They have the contacts, sales skills and the winners mindset needed in a competitive marketplace.
- Quality of Your Sales Forecasts
Are you hitting your sales forecasts on a regular basis? Since this is the most important thing for your sales managers it becomes an important indicator for judging your success. The better you are at consistently hitting the forecast numbers, the higher the status will be assigned by your sales manager. Thus, you will get more opportunities and have more freedom to do things your way.
- Your Personal Income
I held this out until the end since it is the resultant measure of the above factors. Yet, it is a very important gauge to your sales success and most important to recognizing your progress. Your income level can give you the freedom from fear – economic fear – you it will be reflected in your dealings with all your customers. Sales people who are concerned about making their rent or mortgage payments next week are usually desperate when face to face with customers. And, the customer will sense this emotion and decline the offer. Why? Because the customer wants to deal with successful and confident people. It enhances their position when working with strength.
There you have my list of ten things to think about on a yearly basis to track your progress. There are a few other personal things to track – like are you meeting your lifestyle objectives? Do you have work and life balance? Do you have a social network outside of work?
Look, the key is to enjoy your work and your life. They go together and allow you to have a richer and fully life with abundance of meaning and purpose.