The so-called, dreaded “summertime slump” is approaching. We all know the feeling.
You just had a killer month or quarter, you absolutely crushed your quota, but now the slate is clean and you have to start all over again, hoping for a repeat performance.
Or, on the other side of the coin, you had a miserable month or quarter, and you now need to dig yourself out of the hole you found yourself in.
However, summer is officially in full-swing and the fourth of July is right around the corner, translating to a whole bunch of ‘out of office’ messages. You begin making your normal dials and it starts to feel like everyone got the day off except for you. You start wondering, “how am I ever going to hit this month’s metrics?”
Either way, that SiriusDecision stat about 54% of sales reps not reaching their annual quota is starting to look pretty scary from where you're sitting.
Now, at this juncture, sales development reps have a choice: They can complain about “lousy territories,” “difficult clients,” or “crappy lists,” or they can be smart and use their tools and training to hit quota every time.
Here are a few sales tips that work for those 46% who do hit quota.
1. Take above-average notes.
The first and most basic sales tip is to take above-average notes on every conversation you have with prospects, especially if those conversations did not result in a passed opportunity.
A disorganized and ill-informed sales rep is going to have a hard time hitting quota.
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Write down every detail and get it logged into your prospect relationship management (PRM) system so you can reference it later if you have to. The knowledge you gain with each conversation is knowledge you can leverage with different contacts or with that same prospect when re-engaging them months down the road. If you’re focusing on an account-based sales development strategy, this step is even more crucial to success.
2. Maintain full pipeline visibility.
If you take accurate notes, the next sales tip you’ll want to follow is to begin every month with a pipeline review.
I used to review my conversations from the last 90-120 days and ask myself a series of questions, such as: Who did I talk to? Who asked me to “check back in?” How much information do I already have on that account? Could I feasibly pass this company as a fully qualified sales opportunity this month?
Once I filtered through those questions, I would not only set high priority tasks in my prospecting platform but also write my entire pipeline on post-it notes on one page in my notebook and revisit it every morning. Giving yourself the opportunity to pass over some pipeline opportunities early in the month or quarter can ensure that you are not scrambling near the end of your deadlines.
Colleen Francis gives some great tips for pipeline reviews in this blog post.
3. Keep calling.
Once you have reviewed your pipeline and prioritized your accounts, the question becomes: How are you going to generate new interest from companies you’ve yet to have traction with? The sales tip here is just to keep calling. I found for me that my goal was to get in front of as many prospects as I could and gain that valuable sales context that I knew would help me pass leads.
We know more often than not that when calling into a cold list, sales development reps will encounter someone who says, “I’m not the right person,” or, “You need to talk to so and so who handles that.”
The more people you call, the quicker you are able to navigate through the account and reach that contact identified, or CI. CIss are either decision makers or valuable influencers that can help you get to the next step. The more you have going any given month, the easier it will be for you to reach quota. That way, you won’t be stuck relying solely on your existing pipeline in case some opportunities fall through.
4. Think critically about your account.
The final sales tip I have is to just think critically about your account, know your audience and make sure you are reaching out to the right people and doing the appropriate amount of research to be successful. Breaking into a new account is no easy feat. That’s why QuotaFactory packaged their best sales email and voicemail templates here.
Don’t wait for a manager or director to tell you how to reach quota (although they should be helping you). I give a tremendous amount of autonomy to sales development reps who consistently hit goal, and it’s that freedom that helps them do what works for them.