5 Tips for Executing your Success Plan
Over the past 10 years of my professional career, I have experienced many different situations and been the “new guy” multiple times (which is always the worst part of starting a new job or career). There is always that constant overwhelming desire to learn the ropes, fit in with the rest, and build the plan to make a name for yourself - which ultimately forces you to overanalyze everything you have done and are doing at that moment. Through the years, I have been that person and seen many peers rise and fall after coming into a new role or company… Which got me thinking, “what do I do differently that tends to steer me in the right direction verse the ones who fail?”
Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss my strategy for creating Success Plans at the annual Five9 Sales Kickoff (SKO) meeting in front of all my peers in California at our HQ back in January. Typically, having a sales professional go onstage to discuss what makes them great would be a topic that should come with a time limit or may go on for hours, but this was different for me. I wanted to do some deep reflection and see how I could help my fellow peers find success and help ease the stress that comes with building a plan to succeed.
I ended up being able to break my strategy and plan into 5 points. Here is the skeleton of my “Recipe for Success Plan” that I write out and define every year, quarter, and at the start of any career change:
- Find Your Motivation - This sounds a bit like an easy/vague enough reason, however it is deeper than this. Motivation is more than a poster on a wall with words of wisdom from some person you never even heard of. In fact, it is unique to each person and can be beyond the typical answers you often hear when asking others about their motivations. The reason for working at a company, or supporting your family, or even chasing that big W2 aren’t necessarily the motivations I am referring to. I find someone (real or even a character) that really speaks to me that defines the type of person you would like to aspire to be. Keep in mind that you also need to come back down to reality, define realistic goals that force you to challenge yourself every day and inspire you to overachieve.
- Build Your Team - Your team will be the most important part of this plan, but also the hardest to clearly find. These team members need to share your goals, trust your direction, be able to contribute knowledge and insight in the areas that you may lack. Most importantly, they need to believe that you will help elevate them in an area that is important to them so that the benefits of your interactions become one of partnership rather than one-sided. Your team is your support group that will take what success you are able to generate on your own and multiply it by 10X!
- Be Dynamic - One of the most important traits any sales person has is their ability to build relationships, trust, and provide value to customers in order to better win over their business. The issue that I see these days is that the new sales generation has been evolving to a more sales process oriented culture. The truth is that when you simply try to guide a prospect down a sales process, all you’re doing is helping them constantly confirm the next steps of their procurement process. There is NO VALUE, NO TRUSTED ADVISOR RELATIONSHIP, NO DIFFERENTIATION generated in doing this. Emotional Intelligence is your best friend here. You need to be dynamic and flexible to truly understand someone’s wants, needs, and any underlying urgency in order to truly provide someone value. Products and features check boxes, but consultative advisors change companies. Sell your solution, but don’t forget to sell yourself first. You deal with people, find out what makes them tick, where have they come from, where do they want to go with their career’s, and most importantly, how can you help them move in the right direction!
- Know Your Value - This seems like a no-brainer, but know your product! Your value is what bring you to the table - your product or solution set. Take the time to truly understand your product from the inside and out. If you can’t explain how your solution will change a customer’s business for the better and offer best practices from experience, then why would anyone believe you have the answer to their problems? You are there to solve the problem, show them that you have the solution and can show them the different ways it can be activated to elevate their business and feel confident with their decision.
- Know How To Get It Inked - The necessary evil of every transaction is obtaining the thumbs up and signature. True sales professionals know that there will always be a negotiation and legal conversation with every deal, but not too many sales professionals take the time to read their contracts. READ THEM, learn them, know them, and understand a customer’s options ahead of time. There is nothing more effective during a contract negotiation process than a knowledgeable sales professional that can work through the majority of a negotiation, cut down on the mind numbing calls, and help make the process as painless as possible. This helps to continue the great experience from the sales process through contracting, and build positive momentum heading into the implementation portion of the customer’s journey.
I have shared with you the roadmap to executing your professional Success Plan – one that has a greatly helped me advance my career. Now it is up to you to write out a plan that clearly defines these areas, recognize any gaps that may need improvement, identify any actions needed, and you will have set yourself up for success. Get going and take control of what your destiny and career aspirations will be, your competition most likely is not.
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