Achieve Sales Excellence: “Superior salespeople are MADE – not born?”

             “Excellence now, more than ever”~ Tom Peters

Sales excellence is often thought to be as much of an art as a science. Most sales executives today realize that a high-performing sales organization is not simply the result of strong sales people. Rather, strong sales people are the result of a strong sales organization where strategy, structure, processes, performance management systems, and competence development programs are in place. To create sustainable high performance, the sales organization must “add science to the art of selling”. The art and science of selling include mastering the basic disciplines for sales excellence.

In the article “Achieve Excellence With Your Branding Strategy” by Dan Schawbel, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, writes: You’re disposable unless you prove yourself otherwise. You need to be excellent. What is excellence, anyway? It was something of a generic term until the best-seller In Search of Excellence  back in 1982. Excellence happens “when the outcome is something that goes way beyond the norm,” says Tom Peters, management consultant, one of the authors of that iconic book. For example, excellence is achieving and beating your sales goals six weeks before the end of the quarter or building an online community of consumers begging to hear what you have to say. Just getting the job done isn’t excellent.

There’s no such thing as a nine-to-five job if you want to achieve excellence, and there’s no single path to getting there. If someone looks at you and doesn’t know what you do; your job is in jeopardy. No longer can you just be ‘badge #127’ in the purchasing department,” says Peters, also author of the new book The Little Big Things. Within an organization, you have to make your accomplishments visible to senior management—but in a nonegocentric way. For example, excellence can mean taking the focus off “me” at your organization and putting it on the customers, your manager, and your peers. Do right by everyone and senior management will begin to notice you…

In the article “Sales Excellence – Key Steps” by George F Franks III, President of Franks Consulting Group, writes: The heart of any successful business is a successful sales force. You can have the best innovation, technology, product, marketing, operations and customer services, but if you do not have an excellent sales force, all the rest quickly becomes overhead. While every sales force organization is different, there are certain key elements that differentiate the excellent sales teams – no matter how small or how big – from the average ones.

For example; Sales improvement is essential for sales excellence and it must be on-going and include all aspects of the sales process, skills, company, product, markets, competition, and SWOT. Sales-centric & Customer-centric business models generate more revenue and growth. Sales leadership must have a combination of sales experience plus leadership and management skills. Sales compensation needs to be at least competitive for the industry and geography the company operates.

In the article “How To Achieve Excellence In Sales” by Dominic Ferrara writes: To excel in any selling situation, you must have confidence, and confidence comes, first and foremost, from knowledge. You have to know and understand yourself and your goals. You have to recognize and accept your weaknesses as well as your special talents. This requires a kind of personal honesty that not everyone is capable of exercising.

In any sales effort, you must accept other people as they are, not as you would like for them to be. One of the most common faults of sales people is impatience when the prospective customer is slow to understand or make a decision. Selling is challenging: It demands the utmost of your creativity and innovative thinking….

In the Blog “4 Keys To Achieve Sales Excellence”, by Brick Wall writes: Don’t Just Meet The Standard – SET THE STANDARD.  Here is a quote from Seth Godin on Tom Peter’s blog: “Sales Excellence isn’t about meeting the spec, it’s about setting the spec…The surefire way to achieve excellence, then, is not to create a written spec and match it. The surefire way is to be human. To be artistic: to make a connection with the sales professional and to somehow change them for the better”.  

Another sales expert’s understanding of Sales Excellence: “Sales excellence is going above and beyond what is required or expected. It’s making your word solid as gold, and always following through with what is promised or stated. Sales excellence is when a sales rep can create a relationship, not as someone who you CAN source your product from, but someone you WANT to source your product from.”

Demarr Zimmerman, Sendoutcards, identifies these 3-Steps : 1. Duplication – Can you duplicate your winning message, your value proposition, your demo? The key here is that you can do this process in your sleep so that you do not have to recreate this over and over again. 2. Consistency – Can you be consistent in your selling skills.  Not consistently bad, consistently improving to the point of perfection or near perfection on every call. 3. Time – Let’s face it, it takes time to become successful.  If you are in sales (inside or outside) you need time to learn your product, your market, your systems, and your prospects/customers. It takes time to manage both people and processes.

Connect All Your Resources : Understand all the resources you have and then tap into them…get additional insight into what you plan on presenting. Constant Learning — Are you an expert in your craft?  Are you an expert in creating the selling Value Proposition?  Are you an expert in business?  Are you leading by example by reading more, listening to more podcasts, attending seminars, etc?  If you are not, how can you begin to write the Sales Excellence Standard? 

   “The Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection” ~ Lexus Automobile PR

In the article “Deliberate Practice & the Pursuit of Sales Excellence” by K. Anders Ericsson, Florida State University. Dr. Ericsson studies expert performance, especially as it is created by what he calls “deliberate practice,” i.e. focused practice aimed at improving a particular skill set or desired outcome.  Dr. Ericsson’s studies have concluded that expert performance derives mostly from two factors: 1. Regularly obtaining concrete and constructive feedback, and 2. deliberate practice.

According to Dr. Ericsson’s research, experience alone does not result in great performance (practice is fairly benign as a technique to achieve maximum human performance), but deliberate practice is. This is why accurate, focused, role-playing and other practice tools are effective human performance enhancers for the sales professional.

Sales managers! Keep role-playing with your people, practice deliberately. Do it often, and provide constructive, direct feedback, even if your sales team doesn’t like it. Direct, constructive feedback should be a priority for all sales managers in their day-to-day work… Only deliberate, perfect practice makes perfect.

In the article “Setting Standard of Excellence to Your Sales People” writes: Merriam and Webster Dictionary defines excellence as something that is superior or very good of its kind. Ask someone from your sales team what’s his definition of “excellence” and how it applies to his work as a sales person. Then ask yourself; what does excellence mean to me and my way of doing things? Do you have the same standards of excellence?

Fact is that “excellence” means different things to different people. As a sales manager, you must acknowledge that everyone has varying range of potentials and talents (some better, some worse). In other words, your standards of excellence may be very different, almost unrecognizable, from the standards of your boss or co-worker. The trick is to be flexible and inflexible at the same time. Be inflexible on what you want from your sales reps, but at the same time be flexible on how you’ll guide each sales rep into achieving those goals…

In the article “Sales Excellence Krauthammer Consulting writes: “Man cannot improve, if he is not aware of his present state” ~ Abraham Lincoln. Some companies have developed a holistic and systematic approach to diagnose and improve their sales capabilities. Their key stakeholders regularly gather and rethink their go-to-market strategy, their sales processes and alignment to marketing, the sales organization and its people, sales automation and relationship management, then refine and execute the corporate strategy to achieve their operational objectives and sales excellence…

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!”~ Bill McKenna, motorcycle racer: Think of the implications if you can drive this message home to your sales force!

“Excellence now, more than ever”~ Tom Peters.

If you become excellent in this economy, you’ll blow the doors off of your competition when companies and people start spending money again.

      “Women are better salespersons than men”~ Tom Peters.

Objective Management Group has data on almost 400,000 salespeople. Data shows that a greater percentage of the females are good salespeople compared with the percentage of males that are good salespeople.

      “Do something scary every day” ~ Tom Peters

So today, have a greater sense of how you either positively or negatively impact your sales force, get each of them to do something they don’t want to do, have them return to the office all beat up and increase your emphasis on sales improvement to assure continued, consistent sales excellence.