We all remember the adage: Good sales people are like spear throwers, whilst marketing casts the net.
Spear throwing is so '90s. It may as well be Neolithic.
In this age of modern technology, I've found the machine gun is a more accurate metaphor for most salespeople when they begin.
They lack focus and often pick too many targets -- many of which are not the right ones.
This often leads to longer ramp time, countless burnt leads, and a non-structured approach that's hard to measure and even harder to repeat.
As salespeople gradually mature, I think they become more like rocket launchers.
They become more effective in closing deals, but often there is a certain amount of fall out in every deal. This is visible in:
- Signs of weakness in the handover to customer success
- Customers confused about features that were misrepresented or not mentioned during the sales process
- Some internal stakeholders feeling off put by the conduct of the lead salesperson and potentially reluctant to work with them again
- Incomplete CRM records, making attribution almost impossible
- Key points of contact on the customer side who feel the sales person was less experienced or careless, diluting experience and brand equity
At a certain level of expertise, my best sales people evolve into revenue ‘snipers.’
They demonstrate an extraordinarily ability to research, select, and close business in a way that you can rely upon.
For ease of explanation, I’d like to introduce the SNIPER methodology. This acronym is extremely helpful in teaching and practicing the approach:
A sales rep carefully takes the time to make two key selections.
The first is choosing which account to target based on extensive research (most of which can be done online using public data).
The second and most commonly forgotten step is to conduct a second degree of selection as to which POCs (point of contacts) are most likely to exhibit the problems the salesperson knows their product can solve.
A SNIPER salesperson usually updates the CRM with this information, allowing them to personalize subsequent interactions.
We must not forget that in most situations we seek to avoid conflict. That is why a SNIPER must exhibit supreme skills in negotiation -- making the client feel as if they are being heard and that compromises are being made on both sides.
Elite SNIPERs are known for having a trademark; the signs of their involvement are always clearly visible.
I like to use physical touches, such as wearing a cowboy hat and attending meetings with unique clothing. You can also differentiate yourself by your speaking style, professionalism, subject matter knowledge, and punctuality in replies.
The goal: Make yourself memorable and unique from the other 99 sales people who'll come knocking on the door.
Every effective SNIPER takes the time to tailor a strategy based on the specific characteristics of each target they select.
Although reps consistently use the SNIPER methodology, they tailor their approach to each prospect to create interest and service their unique needs.
Taking time to create one-to-one emails, proactively avoiding common vendor assumptions, and making the effort to meet in person are all signs of SNIPER's highly personalized strategy.
Execution separates the good from the best. Often the steps above can be followed directly, yet still most people have something missing when it comes to the close.
SNIPERs attempt to complete the mission at all costs. This is justified because they're only targeting fully qualified opportunities, as predicated by the first step.
In the unlikely event that despite following this method, something occurs dynamically which may stall the deal (such as a merger or acquisition), they are ready to immediately abort and move on to a target with a higher chance of success.
SNIPERs are different from standard performers in that they follow this method time and time again. Stopping only to make minor technique modifications, they generally build further pipeline velocity through the efficiency created.
Additionally, their methodical approach makes them perfect future mentors for new hires and/or sales managers.
Would you rather hold onto the spear, or do you believe that the SNIPER method has a place? Let me know in the comments below.
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.