Recommendations for Becoming a High-Performing Technology Sales Pipeline Professional
June 24, 2021
There are two essential core characteristics of all successful sales pipeline professionals — the right attitude and aptitude.
Being rejected at any time is difficult. But being rejected time after time requires a special positive attitude and resiliency. That’s because most business executives may not be interested in their message at the time or don’t reply. Sales pipeline professionals understand every “no” rejection is just a next step towards hearing “Yes, I’m interested.”
The right aptitude is present when the person has the ability to comprehend essential (technical) information, then succinctly and confidently explains the information verbally and non-verbally as a value proposition to a business executive. What’s more, it means the ability to understand internal processes and technology tools of your company to be self-sufficient fairly quickly.
I believe the correct attitude and aptitude cannot be taught. Either an individual does or does not have them. The degree to which a professional optimizes these two attributes makes the difference between average or high performance.
What’s more, a strong leader knows how to mentor and coach those motivated to acquire skills and knowledge to achieve the highest performance.
For those who would like to become high-performing technology sales pipeline professionals or those who would like tips for coaching professionals to become higher performers, here are a few recommendations to consider:
- Successfully build your professional brand. How do you want to be known to the professional community? Have a quality, professional LinkedIn profile. Be a trusted advisor and proactively build long-term business relationships.
- Research prospective customers quickly. The fastest way for turn off a potential customer is to not know their business. Speed in finding the golden nuggets of information is key. High performers can find contextual information of a prospective public or private customer in less than four minutes.
- Be a knowledgeable, trusted advisor. Be proactive and curious. Have a thirst for knowledge and proactively learn from others by observing, listening and asking questions internally and externally. Seek out relevant information that you and your customers internally and externally can share.
- Communicate Effectively. Business professionals’ responsibilities and companies may have similarities within a given industry, but they are all unique. High-performers think about an individual’s and company’s uniqueness before contacting. A high performer’s communications are memorable, and succinctly articulates how the information provided is relevant to the recipient, and their business.
- Listen Carefully. Ask strategic questions. Be humble. I’m often asked when training professionals, how do you know what questions to ask? My answer is you don’t. High-performers listens carefully, asks relevant, strategic and open-ended questions that will lead to next steps based on the interest-level of the business executive. High performers realize they don’t know everything, and will ask for clarification if needed. During my career I have found quality business leaders, in all industries, are more than willing to help others learn.
- Be Creative and Professional. People enjoy talking with people they like, especially business executives. High performers know how to earn people’s time, and have valuable executive-level discussions without being nuisances. Gaining the attention of an executive decision maker is a journey. Some of my favorite coaching moments come from working with sales pipeline professionals and watching them enjoy the journey, while trying new and creative methods to interest prospective customers.
- Be a coach and mentor to others. A big part of the journey of becoming a high-performer is being open by sharing their knowledge and skills with peers. Not only is it a great feeling to help others, but it also validates strengths and areas for improvement.
- Be kind to yourself. Have fun! High-performers tend to be harder on themselves first and foremost if they are not achieving their utmost capabilities. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude, smile and have fun.
What are your thoughts and experiences on this subject?
Julie Pfefer is the Manager for Account Development of the Americas at Clarabridge. Coaching and training professionals for employer and customer pipeline, and revenue growth are part of Julie’s DNA. Julie has held individual contributor and leadership positions for 25+ years at small, medium, and large global technology companies where she and her teams have achieved consistent success.