Time for your annual Sales Physical

A yearly examination of your territory, your selling skills, and your sales career

June has always been that time of year for reflection on the results of the last 12 months.  Until 21, this was the end of the school year and time for my final report card.  Pass or fail at going to the next grade.  For the next 24 years, it was the end of the fiscal year at the company I worked for.  This meant it was time for my annual review.  Launching my own company in June 2016 means it’s a milestone date for another year passing as a business owner.  Once again, I take stock of the previous 12 months.

Just like an annual physical, we need to stop at some point and take some tests, check the numbers, evaluate the business, review results, and set goals for the new year.  This is part preventative and part proactive. 

If you do this as part of your company requirements, then great.  If not, I would encourage you to sit down with your sales manager and review the areas below.  It will give you an extra set of eyes and experience on how you are doing and what you might want to focus on in the upcoming year. 

Here are some areas to focus on:

  1. Selling Skills

  • Territory Management = working on your business

This is all about where you go, who you call on, how you spend your time, and company resources.  How efficient are you at covering the geography or customer base you serve?  It involves customer segmentation to be most effective in using your resources.  Your time is the most valuable resource that you bring to your company.  Time mapping can be helpful to see the bigger picture of where you spend your time. 

  • Selling Skills = working in your business

This is all about your ability to sell.  Prospecting, cold calling, asking good questions, finding a need, positioning your solution to that need, asking for the sale, and then following up.  Which area is strong?  Which are weaker?  What is the most limiting skill to growing your business? 

  • Technical abilities = knowing your industry

Every sales position has a requirement for you to understand and apply the technical skills and knowledge of your products.  We need to know how to use and recommend our products.  If not, then we can be replaced with order entry systems.  The critical concept is that we never stop learning or developing our technical skills.  You don’t have to know it all, but you should be on a continuous journey of trying to.

2. Results

Take time to slice and dice your results in a multitude of different ways.  Twist and turn this data to give yourself multiple views.  Data is only one part of the story.  Albeit an important part.  But results (data) with analysis is where the value of an annual sales physical is achieved. 

  • By customer
  • By customer segment
  • By Product line or category results
  • This year versus last year
  • Trends for the last 2,3,4 or more years
  • Accounts receivables status
  • Multi-product line buyers versus single-line buyers

3. Brand Strength

I am referring to your brand strength as a salesperson in your designated territory.  While your company brand is part of your brand, the strength of your personal brand will eventually be more important in your sales approach.  See the Trusted Advisor Approach and The Gold in your Gift.

  • Why do your best customers buy from you? 
  • What is it like to do business with you?
  • How are you building your personal brand in your territory?
  • Who and where are you networking to grow your influence in your market?

The key concepts I hope you take from this are:

  • We are wired to take a short intermission every year to do a health checkup of our role as a salesperson.  This helps us appreciate what we have done so far and reorient on where we need to go for the next year. 
  • Just like your annual physical, a sales physical is both preventative and reassuring.  It makes sure you are still on the right path in your sales approach.  Preventing you from veering off into market segments or geographies you shouldn’t.  Preventing you from spending too much time on the wrong priorities.  The sales physical also reassures you that you’re on the right path.  It confirms your go-to-market strategy is still the best approach.
  • Playing the Long Game:  Consistent, easily managed, small steps in the right direction over the long road of your sales career.  This is a big journey you are on.  Compare it to a marathon versus a sprint.  That means it’s much more effective to be consistent in your approach.  Taking small steps each day to get better is much more manageable than random bursts of improvement.

If you would like to have a discussion on how you can do this for yourself or with your sales team, reach out and schedule an appointment to talk.

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