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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

Mar 23, 2022

Too many salespeople wing it. They just wanna “See what’s out there.” But Mark Hunter emphasizes that planning is the only way you’ll maximize the opportunities in your territory. You can’t react to whatever business is out there. 

Mark loves to say, “Tomorrow begins today.” You have to plan your day, week, and month. Why? It allows you to use your time efficiently. Many salespeople are busy but not as productive as they could be if they had planned how they’d use their time. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear Mark share more about his planning process!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Why is territory sales planning underrated? 
  • [1:13] How territory sales planning can reduce reactivity
  • [2:06] The ingredients of the ideal territory sales plan
  • [3:39] Attributes and characteristics that make a salesperson great
  • [6:33] Tools, tactics, and strategies to improve sales planning skills
  • [9:17] Mark’s top territory sales planning dos and don’ts
  • [12:36] Control your territory—don’t let your territory control you

The ingredients of the ideal territory sales plan

The first question you must ask is who is your ideal customer? No matter the size of your territory, there will always be opportunities. You want to focus your time on the best of the best. If you don’t know your ICP, you’ll waste a tremendous amount of your time on other people.

You have to understand the outcome that you can create. No customer buys anything. They invest. They invest because they want a return on their investment. So what can you help them achieve?

Don't overlook the value of your calendar. Block time to work on projects. Mark follows the “10 am Rule.” By 10 am, he wants to have accomplished something significant. If you can do that, it motivates you. If the day were to fall apart you could still consider it successful. By mid-morning, Mark had already sent out a major proposal to a client. What has it resulted in? He’s accomplished so much more. 

Attributes and characteristics that make a salesperson great

Your head needs to be in the right place. You have to focus on using your time efficiently—while helping customers—and never be satisfied with where you are today. Mark points out that it’s not his job as a sales manager to motivate his salespeople. His goal is to create an environment for them to motivate themselves. There are a few things Mark shares that lead to success:

  • You have to understand the value of time and how you manage it. Everyone is blessed with 24 hours a day. How will you choose to use them?
  • Be customer-focused. Salespeople set a monetary goal not realizing that’s the reward, not the goal. Your goal should be meetings, making customers happy, and helping customers achieve their outcomes.
  • Never be content with where you’re at. Success can only be defined by yourself. Don’t let others define it for you. You can deem yourself successful while never being satisfied. Why? Because you’re always asking what you can do to become better. 

How can you become more proficient? How can you be more productive? The measure of productivity is the results your customers achieve from the outcomes they’re able to achieve based on how you’ve helped them.

Top territory sales planning dos and don’ts

Mark shares some things you should—and shouldn’t do—to achieve your goals:

  • Identify your ICP and develop key questions that focus on each ICP.
  • Manage your time. Break it up into segments. Allocate a percentage of each day to small, medium, and large accounts. 
  • Understand where your greatest opportunities are and manage your pipeline. It doesn’t matter how many leads go into the top of the funnel—it’s what you pull out through the bottom. Identify and qualify prospects quickly to close them faster. 
  • Don’t hang on to customers that aren’t profitable. You can’t afford to keep them. Always look to trim the bottom 10% of your client list.
  • You are not in the customer service game. The sales role is about creating incremental opportunities. Don’t allow yourself to play customer service agent. 
  • Don’t allow yourself to associate with anyone who is not going to be a positive influence on you. You are the sum of the 5 people you associate with the most. Invest your time with really smart people. 

Control your territory—don’t let your territory control you

Mark was young and enthusiastic when he started in sales. He had a large territory assigned to him. He soon realized that territory included demanding customers. He felt he had to step up and deliver them more service. The result? He could leave their office and they’d call 20 minutes later and ask for something else. 

He had been working the territory for 3 months when his boss asked him to meet for breakfast. Mark was an hour and a half late because he was visiting a customer taking care of a problem. He thought his boss would be happy. His boss was actually livid and threatened to fire him on the spot. It wasn’t because he was let. It was because he allowed his priorities to get disrupted. He was allowing problem accounts to control how he operated his territory. It’s one of the worst problems new salespeople have: the desire to want to serve and please everyone out there. 

Mark’s boss told him that he would never be able to satisfy every demanding customer. Instead, the objective is to minimize them. Allow them a small percentage of your time. If not, you’ll never have time to develop customers to create the incremental business you need to meet your numbers. Failure to make your number will get you fired in a quarter. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Hunter

Connect With Paul Watts 

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