You’ve been through some great sales training. And, maybe you’ve had some solid sales with tough customers. Right now, you’re on track to make your numbers for this year. Is that enough? It won’t be if you’re set on developing your career. In a column for dynamicbusiness.com, Graham Hawkins talks about what it takes to become an A-Grade salesperson.
If you want more responsibility, like the chance to sell to much larger accounts or become a sales manager, you first need to shine in your current position. You also need to think about longer term goals. Part of that process requires you to undertake a SWOT analysis.
As a sales professional, you may already be accustomed to this process. You’re probably reviewing the main parts of a SWOT analysis for your clients and prospects every day. When it comes to analyzing yourself as a professional, the process is no different.
This part of the review should be easy. Think about what parts of the sales process are easy for you – cold calls – presentations, etc. Your strengths will also be obvious in the form of praise you receive from your manager.
Thinking about what you need to work on can be difficult. You may pride yourself on being an excellent speaker in front of a group of hostile prospects. Would an objective third party say you’re an outstanding presenter? Have you reviewed videos of your presentations and compared yourself to others? Be honest about this part of your analysis. If you truly want to improve and reach the goals you’ve set, you’ll need to accept which aspect of your professional persona needs work.
Create a list for this part of your analysis. If your goal is to greatly exceed the numbers you and your manager set this year, establish a way to do this. Are there existing accounts you can sell more products and services to? Is there a new business opening in your market that could benefit from your products or services? If so, ask your manager to put you on the account. Hawkins remarks that salespeople who act as consultants with prospects and clients are more likely to be A-Grade quality. Identify which accounts pose your best opportunities for the consultative sales approach.
Time will not stand still while you figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Monitoring threats is a key and ongoing part of a SWOT analysis. If technology is rapidly changing and your industry faces disruption, identify which areas of the product or service you’re selling are likely to survive and emphasize them in your pitches. It’s important to track what the top competitors are doing. It’s even more important to be aware of new entrants in the market. Stay connected and informed and share your findings with your manager.
A personal SWOT analysis can yield great benefits whether you’re struggling to make your numbers or you’ve already blown past them. Use the results to improve your results in the short term and to help you achieve your long-term goals.