5 Fundamentals Every Sales Leader Should Master

Do you know what your sales team should be doing on a daily basis to be successful? As our buyers become more in-depth with social media for business, you need to ensure your sales professionals engaging in one of the following five tasks for every single deal, every single day. Whether you’re looking to build your sales team or improve the performance of your current sales team, these five items are critical to success.

1. Building a personal brand

Building a personal brand occurs before your sales team starts engagement. Your sales professionals need to recognize that buyer-to-buyer trust is far more important than buyer-to-brand trust. Why? It’s quite simple. People buy from people. Be aware of this statistic: 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to add value and insight according to Corporate Visions. Great sales professionals recognize that they’re an extension of a brand that buyers hopefully trust. And they know that buyers are performing their due diligence on the sales professional as a person, not necessarily on the company. So it’s essential to build a personal brand.

Building a personal brand is not without its challenges, however. And great sales pros recognize there’s both an opportunity and a threat.

The Threat

If your sales professionals don’t build their brand, your competitors will. They’ll capture the mindshare of the buyer, who will think that the competitor has a deep understanding of their needs and how to solve them.

The Opportunity

Building a personal brand creates a huge opportunity to create not only a first impression, but also a lasting impression in the minds of your buyers. Buyers will do their due diligence on your sales pros much earlier than you think. For example, at Sales for Life, 43% of all content that a buyer consumes happens before the buyer has connected with our inside sales team. Before they’ve talked with inside sales, they’ve already researched our team members, looked at the sales development representative’s LinkedIn pages, and more. So, building a brand is critical.

2. Socially surrounding accounts

This step is critical for anyone who’s an account-based seller. Your sales pros need to understand that their CRM data is just a snapshot of activity in time, and the CRM is simply a tool to log information of that activity. But CRMs are not relationships. Relationships are formed offline and online. So I’m looking for my sales pros to marry their CRM data and their online relationships as a one-to-one ratio.

If reps have been assigned to specific accounts, they should realize there are specific decision makers, champions and influencers who work at that these accounts. And they need to use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter as a means to develop those relationships online. If your business is like ours, you may not get the opportunity to meet all your customers in person. They might be around the globe or you might sell from an inside sales perspective. So building those relationships online is the opportunity to meet these people and develop a first impression online.

3. Continuous Education

I’m looking for both self-education and education that can shape a buyer’s decision-making patterns. In a report done by Forrester, 74% of today’s B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase. I beg to ask you this question, who is educating your buyers? You or your competitors?

Someone who has the appetite to learn and grow themselves personally so they can have more contextual conversations. I want someone who can sit down with their buyer who may be at the most senior levels and make that buyer feel they’ve walked a mile in their shoes. I’m looking for sales professionals who are constantly finding ways to debunk myths, overcome objections, and to help a buyer roadmap the “why” questions that they ask themselves, and give them the roadmap of “how” and “who.”

4. Engagement

Measuring engagement is nothing new. Most sales organizations measure themselves on various forms of engagement—for example, number of cold calls, emails, or other activity metrics. But I want to align this back to online relationships, top of funnel relationships, getting to the buyer first. I want to see that sales professionals are forming these relationships as a leading indicator. This means Early, Early, Early! They’re connecting, they’re sharing, having conversations, doing things before the buyer necessarily needs us so we can shape that journey quickly.

5. Network Development

As a sales leader, you need to recognize that a sales professional has a social reach. Some have a greater social reach than others. But everyone has one. This used to be the Rolodex. But in today’s world, it’s the connections you have on Linkedin and Twitter. This relates back to building a personal brand. I want to see that sales pros see themselves as digital newspapers.

They should want to grow connections, subscribers, continue to educate the market, have what they share go viral. They want to have more people who want to become part of their network, and adding people to the network, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They in fact become a larger and larger media source or insights source for their market. The bigger their network grows, the more people in the industry know and trust these people.

As the world becomes more digital, our buyers are quickly tapping into the powers of social to assist with their buying journey. They’re online educating themselves without the help of you, the sales professional. These are the five things I’d want to see from sales professionals in the 21st century.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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