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John Harris article, “6 Foundations for Successful Sales,” featured on salesandmarketing.com


About five years ago, EnerBank USA® established a relationship with Larry Williams, one of the principals in the Williams Leslie Group, to help us enhance our sales approach. As a result of ongoing “Leveraging Sales Leadership” training, the bank made an important shift in its sales approach.

In a recently published article on salesandmarketing.com, John Harris, EnerBank’s EVP of special projects, offered counsel that in today’s changing business environment you need to be more than the traditional sales manager typically in charge of sales—you need to be a sales leader.

He went on to explain that, “sales managers (as opposed to sales leaders) typically focus too closely on the measurable business results and lose perspective on the underlying factors and causes that produce the results. While the numbers are essential, leaders need to manage people. That means recognizing that as a sales leader and a company overall, you can’t be successful unless your sales team is successful.”

Harris continued by outlining several principles necessary for a strong sales foundation that he’s found essential in achieving or exceeding financial expectations. They include:

  • Knowledge, skills, and willingness: These three attributes comprise the foundation of a successful salesperson and ultimately, the team. What knowledge and skills they have, as well as their willingness to make an effort to achieve success in the first place, makes all five of the other levels possible. Successful sales leaders focus on that foundation to make sure it is really intact.

  • Salesperson’s competencies and motivations: The salesperson has to be competent in delivering the right message, working with customers, understanding where that customer is in their buying process—focusing more on the buying process than on the selling process—and making sure their customers receive and understand the value of sales recommendations. The sales person needs to be motivated to take the action necessary to be effective in the market.

  • Salesperson’s behavior: Specific behaviors delivered by salespeople include the proposals they write and deliver, the questions they ask to determine customers’ needs, and the explanations they provide to questions asked by their customers or potential customers.

  • Customers’ perception of value: Customers base their decisions on how they perceive the value of your company’s products or services. That is typically based on the continual sales message that salespeople deliver.

  • Customer Decisions: A sales leader recognizes that financial performance is directly related to your customers’ decisions, actions, whether they accept the recommendation, sign a contract, or authorize a purchase.

Harris concluded by explaining that, “As you and your team are able to master each of these parts in the pyramid, you will see the impact on the numbers. So, you don’t have to manage to the numbers, but instead, you manage to the skills, knowledge, and behavior of your sales team as well as your value proposition and product offerings.”

To see John’s full article, click here.



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