by Branden Lisi, Branding Director at Small Brand Incubator and Partner & Strategist at Object 9. Branden has many years of experience in brand management, marketing consultation, package design consulting, product development and public relations. His specialty is turning around under-performing brands. Branden is a sought after writer and speaker for topics ranging from personal and corporate branding, how to plan, build and leverage a network, and principals of leadership.
Rainmakers at professional service firms have a way of overcoming the stress of failure. It’s built into our makeup. I’ve been in sales and sales management for over 20 years and I’ve never met a salesperson that had a 100% close rate. So it stands to reason that at some point, every sales person has to come to grips with failure. To make failure sound better we call it rejection, which puts some of the responsibility for the decision on the buyer. But the principal is the same. In the end, the salesperson knows they failed to close the deal. And it is frustrating as hell when in times like these every deal is critical.
As the leader, you can add to that stress by sharing your own worries, or you can alleviate that stress by ensuring your company’s overall marketing effort is supporting your sales team. A little extra attention by your key management people can make a huge difference in the morale of your sales force.
Here are THREE (3) quick tips to consider:
- Make networking a company-wide priority. Get everyone in your company involved in the marketplace. There are civic and professional associations that serve every part of your industry and/or community. The more people outside of your company that have relationships with your employees, the more likely you are to generate warm referrals—a boon to hungry sales personnel.
- Use PR to get the word out about your people. Working with the media (local or trade) to promote your business is an oft-overlooked activity. And while public relations (PR) for your business is wonderful, make sure you’re promoting what your people are doing in the marketplace. Many people focus their PR solely on their company’s products or services. Use PR to make Rock Stars of some of your people and you’ll see a definite impact on your sales pipeline.
- Aggregate and disseminate content to your customers and prospects. Don’t get caught in the trap of feeling that you have to generate every piece of content you send out to customers and prospects. If you have secretaries or interns that have extra capacity, task them with spending some time each day reviewing “Google Alerts” related to key customers, prospects and competitors. They can do research on prospects or just help keep an eye on the competition. We use many tools to leverage the overall sales productivity of your non-sales personnel.
It’s no secret that times are tough for most sales teams. And while many companies may be peek their heads out of their own economic hole, most have not yet fully opened the purse strings. Which means, selling in this time is going to remain tough, folks.
If you see your sales force is stressing, I advise you to everyone in your company bought into the sales and marketing process. Knowing the entire company is behind their efforts is a great way to reduce stress and increase productivity.