This is a guest blog post written by Steve De Marco, VP of Worldwide Sales and Alliances. Steve is responsible for Xactly's sales organization and has nearly two decades of high-tech sales, management, business development, and solutions consulting experience. Today we’re “ringing the bell” for salespeople everywhere. It’s National Salesperson Day. That’s a big deal for us at Xactly. Today is a great opportunity to take extra time and acknowledge all the hard work sales teams do. There can be a perception that sales reps merely spend their time chatting up prospects on the phone, taking customers out to nice lunches, and closing deals at the last minute, when it really counts. From the outside looking in, I can understand why people have that impression. Working in sales means exuding confidence and making your work seem effortless. Sales people must possess a myriad of characteristics to be successful – from strategic savvy to problem solving to emotional intelligence. Instead of boasting about how great sales people are, I thought I’d use this blog post to shed some light on parts of the job for this group of often-misunderstood professionals.
You’re Constantly Told “No”
Working in sales requires a good amount of resiliency. A sales rep is often the first person a prospect talks to, and whether it’s a good day or not, they will likely be told “no” several times before they hear a “yes.” Hearing constant rejection can wear on a person, so developing a thick skin is an absolute necessity.
Salespeople Are Never in the Office
It’s easy for colleagues to see what they want to see – sales reps coming in late to the office, spending their day chatting on the phone, and magically killing their goals. What you don’t see, perhaps, is that a sales rep came in late because he or she met with a client at 8:00 AM in the city, and then sat in traffic coming down the freeway.
“Close and Go” Myth
Sales reps are tasked with fostering a healthy relationship with their clients, even after the deal has closed. If you walk through our sales department here at Xactly, you’ll find most of our sales reps wearing headsets. They’re working hard to nurture their client relationships.
Constant Travel Isn’t That Great
While traveling the world for work has its perks, it also comes with many unseen drawbacks. Yes, sales rep Joe did just get back from Florida, and yes, he is leaving again tomorrow for Los Angeles. He also had to miss his daughter’s school recital. He worked out of his hotel room last night, and will be on that conference call with a prospect while waiting at the airport tomorrow morning.
When Things Go Wrong
To a customer, sales reps can be the face of the company. Customers come to you for advice, as well as answers. When things turn south (and at one point, they will) customers come to their sales reps to complain. It’s up to the sales rep to stay calm, be positive, and use all their resources to help their customer. That’s a lot of pressure.
Closing the Deal
The part that everyone sees: You close a deal. Having experienced this myself, and talked to some of my colleagues, there’s no feeling that compares to the euphoria of completing a deal. The part people don’t see: It’s over just as fast as it began. Sales teams push and grind to have deals come to fruition, and after all the T’s have been crossed, they get to start back at the beginning. Working in sales is like constantly training for a marathon, not a sprint.
The new Salesperson
The old description of a great salesperson used to be someone that could "sell ice to an eskimo.” In other words, a great salesperson could sell anything, even something that wasn’t needed. But that’s a con artist, not a salesperson. Today, a great salesperson is someone that takes time to understand a prospect's needs. They help to align those needs to a solution, and build a business case for the prospect to buy that solution. A great salesperson communicates potential value of a solution in a way that allows a prospect to freely come to a buying decision. We don't necessarily "sell," we make it easy and beneficial for a customer to "buy.” So, especially on National Salesperson Day, we acknowledge the hard-working men and women who are continuously pushing toward the finish line. Thank you for all that you do, it is appreciated immensely.