A Sales Rep’s Fundamental Responsibility

Continuously move a greater number of larger opportunities through the funnel faster.

Pithy is powerful.  Because of that, I’ve invested a good bit of time trying to boil down the sales rep’s responsibility into as compact a sentence as possible.  Frankly, I thing the above statement is pretty darn good.

Obviously, closing a deal = success.  It follows logically that closing 2 deals is better than closing 1, 3 is better than 2, etc.

Would you rather nail a $10,000 win or a $20,000 win?  Isn’t a $30K order better than a $20K order?  Yes, if…  If and only if the customer accrues proportionally higher value from the larger purchase and profitability is maintained.  That’s why the word “continuously” is vital.  Overselling and/or cutting margin to the bone is unsustainable.  You won’t continue long if you violate either of the if and only ifs!

That logic also applies to speed.  Of course sooner is better.  Your customer benefits more by reaping the value you deliver today instead of waiting for tomorrow, if all the pre-requisites are in place, and if your own company can maintain quality.  Need I remind anyone about the thrill of getting the big commission this month instead of next month?  (Yeah, my tax guy advises deferring that December bonus into January, but he’s an accountant and not addicted to the adrenalin rush…)

The other nuance is the never-ending need to get better every day.  It’s hard to close more deals this month than last.  It’s harder to close a $50K order than a $40K one.  It’s hard to shorten the sell cycle this month, then again next month, then again the month after that…

I think all we sales types should have the opening sentence of this post pasted on the front of our brains.  Read it again.  Tell me what you think.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Todd Schnick says:

    Great thinking, and ties into my recent writing about marketing rituals, and creating a process to always be thinking about this idea.

    More comfortable with incubator thinking verses funnel thinking, but this is where sales people need to focus…

  • Todd – I get, and in fact agree with, the “incubator” metaphor. The “funnel” metaphor remains as valid as ever, though, as long as it’s paired and synchronized with the customer’s decision process. See https://ypsgroup.com/articlesync.html & let me know what you think. – TY

  • Rick says:

    Don’t forget the continuous prioritzing by probability, profitability and value delivered. They must constantly churn the funnel, a responsibility sometimes overlooked.

  • Rick – Excellent point. A key part of continuously improving your sales process is continuously improving the quality of the opportunities in your pipeline. – Todd

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