On Women’s day this year, Atul Dhakappa, Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting decided to catch up with Rekha Jain, Vice-President, Sales at Paysquare Consultancy Ltd. Rekha is a highly successful sales professional with over 15 years’ experience. Rekha has been able to achieve significant milestones for Paysquare and drive consistent growth.
We chatted with her and asked her about the secrets of managing a successful sales team and getting them to perform to potential. We also talked about the role of Integrated Marketing in Enabling the Sales Process.
Q. How have you been able to recruit and retain such high performing sales people?
Rekha : No matter where you are in the growth cycle, from a flourishing start-up to multi-national organization, managing sales talent remains a top priority for businesses to ensure that you are able to create sustainable, measurable growth.
I believe in instincts and gut feel. I do have an eye to spot the right guys who can do the job for us. Having done the recruiting myself, it is important to nurture relationship with the team to ensure that their challenges are addressed at the right time. You need to dig deeper into the problems they are facing in converting sales and provide a helping hand for them. This makes it easier for the employer and employee and fosters a win-win relationship.
Measuring your sales talent against bad data (or worse, no data) is a sure deterrent to progress. Setting the right goals for your employees is crucial to their success and longevity, as is managing toward these expectations. Determining how to evaluate your team’s performance, optimizing their strengths and developing their competencies may become your biggest challenge. It takes time and the right tools, but nothing replaces a well-developed, confident sales rep in your growth plan.
Q. The team work among your sales team is phenomenal how do you make that happen?
Rekha : All work and no play make Jack a dull boy… there has to be opportunities to interact with your teams both on a professional level as well as at a personal level. I make it a point to give enough time and attention to my sales team even beyond just professional reviews.
One of the most effective ways to motivate your sales team is to inspire everyone to perform better through healthy competition. Since being good in sales has a lot to do with being competitive, your sales squad will certainly enjoy it. Spending time and understanding the team from both professional and personal perspective is the key here, it helps to build the teamwork extensively and which in turn helps to drive performance better as a unit.
Q. Successful sales is all about maximizing conversions. How are you able to manage such high customer conversion rates?
Rekha : Every meeting with a potential customer needs preparation. It is also important to know every aspect of the solution that you can provide.
You should have an artillery of solution related objections as you do not know what topic will come up for discussion. Procrastination is not a good strategy. Most of the decisions are taken during the meeting. Value the time that the client is spending with you and try to reach logical conclusions during the meeting itself. Also Closing a sale is not always about price. It is about making the customer feel comfortable about the solution that you will be able to provide and how it will make life a lot easier for them.
When you get into sales meetings, if you have a good branding presence, it certainly helps. The discussions are a lot more accelerated that way, as you do not have to spend a lot of time convincing them about your capabilities. In most cases they are already convinced that you can do the job for them. The meeting is to ensure that they feel comfortable about the whole relationship.
Q. According to you, what is the role of Integrated Marketing in Enabling the Sales Process?
Rekha : As I said, having the right level of branding is very important and it helps in accelerated sales. Marketing has a very important role to play to engage the potential customer, when you are not engaging physically (through meetings or on phone). Potential customers are forming an opinion about what you are capable of and they do this by visiting some of your digital properties. If you do enough on these digital assets through a well planned digital marketing engagement, then you will realize that your sales efforts do get reduced by quite a bit.
I am a big fan of having a robust marketing plan in place. This really helps our sales guys in closing more deals, faster. As a company, Paysquare is well invested in a lot of digital integrated marketing mechanisms right from SEO, Google Adwords, email campaigns, tele-calling, website marketing, infographics, white papers, social presence and a whole lot more. I can say confidently that there is a big role of integrated marketing in enabling the sales process. That way we ensure that potential customers can form an opinion about us even before they decide to engage with us or after they engage with any members of our sales team. You Cannot Drive Growth by Sales Hiring, You need Sales Enabling Solutions
Q. For a budding sales person at the start of his career, what would be your advice?
Rekha : Targets are sacrosanct.. you have to find a way to consistently achieve them.. If you can give 10 excuses, I can find 1000 more..Excuses do not work in sales performance. So my advice would be that they should be clear about what their goals are and what they need to do to achieve it… It makes sense to split the target into smaller bits and target them one by one.
Find a coping strategy that works
As a salesperson, you will experience rejection on a daily basis. That’s simply part of the job. Over time, every salesperson learns to toughen up and shrug off those moments, but not every salesperson develops a healthy coping technique. Successful salespeople often develop mind games that work well for them, such as considering every no as being a step closer to a yes. Find a coping strategy that works for you.
Experiment with new ideas
It can be very tough for new salespeople to keep trying different things; it’s tempting to latch onto a single sales channel or a single presentation style as a source of security. Unfortunately, if you let yourself get into a rut, you’ll soon pay the price in lost sales. It’s crucial to keep on learning and exploring, trying new techniques, and generally stretching your mind.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing