4 Mins Read

How To Be A Strategic Seller When You’re Pressured To Sell By Activity

Brandon Fluharty |

Brandon Fluharty |

⚡️ Today’s Level Up ⚡️

In this edition, you’ll understand how to level up your selling system by revamping 4 key components.

The Mission:

→ Read this in <5 minutes right now

→ Incorporate 4 impactful ways to operate immediately

→ Join The Make More Hustle Less Club to stay accountable as a community

Let’s go…

 

This Is Why Most Sellers Fail

Nearly 60% of sellers missed their quota last year (I’ve even heard it’s closer to 70% in 2021, but couldn’t find an up to date source). There are myriad reasons for this, but a main culprit is that sales today is being measured by activity…not impact (a powerful observation I’m borrowing from my friend Jamal Reimer).

Managing performance by sales activity causes a slew of problems such as promoting hustle culture, compromising mental health, accelerating burnout, encouraging corrosive competition, turning a blind eye to big customer challenges, relying too heavily on discounting, and way too many other issues to list here.

From a leadership perspective, it’s a product of fear and laziness. Fear, because the pressure traditionally stems from the top (I mean board level top) where there is little, to no, support in closing deals. And laziness, because there is not a desire to evolve this way of operating.

 

There’s a better currency to measure effective sales performance

Customer stories should be what every seller and manager is looking to unlock and discuss in their weekly 1:1 meetings, not vanity metrics.

The structure and mental model of this modern high-performance sales team looks like this:

It’s your commissions, so it needs to be your system

Being a more strategic seller means you’re a Systematic Seller™ and you operate and thrive using the New Way. Let’s unpack it a bit further so you can create a trusted personal OS that systemizes success and satisfaction for the remainder of this year and sets yourself up for a life-changing 2023.

→ Structure: Take more ownership of your results

Making the mental shift from being an employee of your company to running a business with your company’s backing is a first key step that unlocks a completely new way of thinking and operating.

Instead of being reactive and blaming others (“My territory sucks.” “If only we had this product feature, I could close more deals.” “Our SDRs just aren’t booking enough meetings.”), it’s more powerful and beneficial for your career to take a proactive approach. This is where you do the deep work to identify gaps, develop a strategic plan to close those gaps, and stay hyper-focused every day on what you can control and release your attachment to the emotions of things you cannot control.

Key takeaway: If you analyze the top performers consistently surpassing quota, they are the ones taking ownership and personal accountability of their results. Doing the same will benefit your bank account and overall well-being.

Account Planning Process: Advise on where you should focus your effort based on data

In Step 2 of 7 Steps to 7 Figures, I lay out a clear framework for how to prioritize your account list to make it easier to close larger deals faster. When I did this, it was a major contributor to 7.5Xing my income in a year (I went from $200K in 2018 to $1.5M in 2019).

Additionally, I was able to use it as a blueprint to create simple business cases for us to pursue as a company. For instance, I leveraged my past experience and network in the restaurant technology space to open a whole new market my old company was not focused on.

Key takeaway: You should be leading your account strategy and the right managers will appreciate this. Use data, facts, and a clear case for why you’re making the decisions you are and let your manager coach you through executing your plan effectively in your weekly 1:1s.

Measurement: Seek impact over activity

What’s the point of having a ton of prospect meetings each week if none of them are moving closer to a buying decision? Activity for activity’s sake is a losing proposition and leads to the land of mediocrity.

Instead, seeking out customer stories is a much higher quality metric to measure your performance. Why? Because getting deep enough with your prospects where they are sharing a story about their business means you are making meaningful progress on your opportunities way more so than the number of meetings, calls, and emails that occur.

The added benefit of searching for customer stories each week is that you can start to identify the modes that unearth these stories. You can experiment with social, events, virtual meetings, design sessions, and start to identify what’s making the biggest impact (again, operating like a business owner vs an employee).

Key takeaway: Search every week for a new customer story (or a few). This will help shape what you need to ask or say and how you need to ask or say it to earn the trust to get them. Remember, impact over activity!

Operating Model: Break up your year into 12 week chunks

Top athletes use a training model called periodization. In this model, training should gradually progress from high-volume/low-intensity to low-volume/high-intensity to prepare an athlete for peak performance. It’s also an effective strategy for performance-based knowledge professionals like SaaS sellers.

Here are the core components:

  • Crystalize your vision
  • Develop your 12 Week Plan
  • Keep score and continuously improve
  • Set up processes and controls
  • Take control of your TEA (Time, Energy, and Attention)
  • Focus on less to do (the high impact stuff), not more over time
  • Stay accountable and committed
  • Build in breaks and periods of recovery

Key takeaway: There is only so much time, energy, and attention you can expend each day. Working in a more systematic way that’s tied to a personal vision with the right controls and accountability in place will help you to thrive. To dive deeper on this, read The 12 Week Year.

In the next edition, I’ll break down how to apply a simple model for helping you to focus on your high value activities.

If you liked this, you may want to check out or reread the following editions:

My System Never Fails Me. Here’s Why

What’s Your Thrive Score? Putting Your System Into Action

How (and Why) to Apply Design Thinking to Your Sales Process

See you next time!

***

When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (1,800+ students)
  2. Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
  3. Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)

 

 

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