Sales, unlike many other professional pursuits is fraught with recurring setbacks. What makes sense back at the office is shredded by a junior gatekeeper on the first call. Most sales plans initially fall apart on first contact with buyers, even when you thought you – and the founders – had nailed the “sweet spot” definition.
Starting a New Sales Role
When you start a new sales role, it’s a time to enjoy the energy that comes with a new opportunity. It’s also the time to be – privately – wise to the pitfalls and obstacles that can slow your early progress. Such as:
Value Proposition: Nowadays, many companies have developed a formal value proposition, and it’s probably one of the reasons you took the job. But that proposition may still not have been translated into a language that will attract the attention of indifferent buyers, who prefer the staus quo. So it will be your job to find the language and develop the backstory, if it is not already available or obviously clear.
Product / Service: Our new product release is due mid next month. Famous last line! If you are waiting on a new product release (for your success), it’s usually wiser not to rely on someone else’s schedule, especially an IT or product development-driven schedule. It’s better to get busy with what you have and learn about your new audience.
- You’re experimenting, not (just) selling …
- 3 Penetrating Questions for a Senior Sales Role Interview
Internal Stakeholders: Sometimes it’s the internal stakeholders (your new colleagues) who cling to ineffective practices and the status quo more than the customers. Your success however is also dependent on winning the respect and then co-operation of your internal colleagues, often across several functions. That’s why you need to show some early wins, or you will lose the internal crowd.
The Opportunity: The opportunity in this market is huge. Anytime you hear that, it usually means it’s the expectation that is huge and the task is difficult, and more difficult than has been discussed during the interview or selection process. You were probably hired partly to test if the opportunity is huge or if it even exists, or more especially, to create a huge opportunity. You’re part salesperson, part experimenter, part gambler, but with sane odds. That’s why it’s easy to be in “sales”, but not new business development, prospecting or new customer acquisition.