This post was originally published by Chris Pulley at RFPIO.
Focus is something all salespeople want more of. As your sales organization grows to a certain size, this theme becomes paramount.
The focus theme tends to get thrown around a lot with today’s sales teams. Saying “we need to focus more” is not the same as “In what areas do we need to focus more?”
You and your team need to sit down together in front of a whiteboard and hash this out. Figure out what “focus” means for you right now so you can meet sales objectives by the end of the year.
All you want to do is reach your goals and minimize distractions. First we’ll explore new habits to help you gain focus, then get into specific ways dedicated sales enablement tools like RFPIO support your productivity and content management efforts.
The Daily Habits of Successful Salespeople
We all live in a world of distractions. When you work in a numbers-driven, goal-focused environment, you’re still expected to perform at a high level by moving past these distractions. Successful salespeople constantly work on improving daily habits so they can increase their focus.
1. Embrace and execute your unique skill sets.
Salespeople are not just running demos all day. You’re also running trials, answering prospect questions, and responding to RFPs and security questionnaires. All of these tasks require unique skill sets. Successful salespeople hone these skill sets and execute accordingly.
2. Manage your time and be realistic.
The best salespeople are smart about managing their time and they are diligent in how they spend it. To manage your time effectively, set a schedule and focus on the task at hand. When focusing becomes difficult, find creative ways to win back your focus. Automate tasks whenever possible and improvise when things don’t go as planned.
3. Know the product you’re selling.
Knowing the product you’re selling seems like a given, but salespeople don’t spend enough time continuing product and market education. You need to be an expert on your product or service, and be able to communicate value to your prospects. Focusing on continued education can help increase the quality of sales conversations and effectiveness when selling.
4. Keep looking ahead by forecasting.
A big part of focusing means looking ahead, so you know exactly what you’re working toward. Accurate forecasting is highly regarded in a sales environment—and usually, forecasting is a required skill for salespeople. Skilled sales professionals are able to forecast months or quarters ahead, with little variance.
Having Dedicated Sales Enablement Tools
There are a variety of sales enablement tools on the market designed to help manage various tasks on your plate. Unlike working with multiple tools, having a dedicated sales enablement tool helps increase and improve focus for your sales team—especially when that tool is directly tied to helping them achieve their quota.
Let’s take responding to RFPs and security questionnaires as an example. I talk with responders all the time who are using sales enablement tools. Oftentimes they don’t have a dedicated solution that directly supports them with response content.
These responders work in spreadsheets and communicate constantly by email. They can’t find their response content when they need it. They might have a content management platform storing all of their response content, but they can’t invite others to the platform to collaborate easily or receive suggestions for answers to questions.
With a dedicated sales enablement tool like RFPIO, your team can focus more closely on the task at hand. It’s significantly easier to collaborate with your proposal manager and subject matter experts—and external contractors and prospects—and you have more visibility and clarity throughout the entire RFP project.
How RFPIO Serves As a Sales Enablement Tool
RFPIO isn’t just for responding to RFPs. Our response management platform serves as a sales enablement tool that brings more focus to your response tasks and other sales activities. Here’s how…
Clear Visibility Into the Response Project
When we lack focus, we usually lack visibility. A response project can include any business query you respond to—like proactive proposals, DDQs, RFIs, security questionnaires—in addition to RFPs.
With RFPIO, you see response project updates in real-time. Dashboards list everything you need to know, from deadlines to assigned questions. Beating out your competitors means submitting quality documents on time. By knowing exactly where your project stands, you’ll feel confident about meeting your prospect’s deadline.
Quick Access to Company Knowledge
Another reason you don’t feel focused? You can never find the content you need. In sales, you field prospect questions constantly. The answer library keeps updated company knowledge accessible anytime you need it.
Search keywords that relate to a question and you’ll locate the answer you need. Filtering by tags is another way to track down content. A favorite sales enablement feature is RFPIO Lookup, a Chrome extension that serves as an extension of your answer library. A response management solution brings more focus whenever you’re on the information hunt.
Effective Sales Training for Your Team
Being focused comes down to having the expertise to sell confidently. But, what happens when you onboard new sales reps? Nobody can find the latest product information on Google Drive. Information is floating in emails and documents haphazardly.
In addition to storing written answers about your company and products, you can also store documents in RFPIO, allowing reference materials like current training documents and product one-sheets to co-exist in one place.
When a new sales rep joins your team, they explore information from a centralized location and find documents they need to do their job well. When the processes, content and support mechanisms for training sales reps are efficient and consistent, your organization only becomes stronger.
About the Author
Chris Pulley, Account Executive at RFPIO
As RFPIO’s Account Executive, Chris Pulley brings the value of RFP software to organizations who are searching for a more efficient and effective RFP response process. Previously Chris improved sales performance as the Business Development Manager for a SaaS wellness technology platform, where he worked with international clients at Fortune 100 companies, top tier universities, U.S. State Department, and global health insurance companies. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.
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