Purpose. It’s a weighty word – one that conjures up deep late-night conversations with your friends over cups of coffee in deserted diners. But we’re not Plato’s philosopher-kings, and so when we talk about purpose, we’re talking about it from the perspective of a sales professional. Knowing one’s purpose in that context is critical to sales success, and as a sales manager or leader, part of your job description involves helping the team find their collective and individual sales purpose.
- Your purpose should not be confused with your motivation.
This is an important distinction to make. A sales rep’s motivation is why they get up in the morning and do their job, day in and day out. There can be several motivations as we’ve discussed previously in this blog. It’s important to know what motivates your team, of course, for a variety of reasons. But purpose exists on a deeper, more fundamental level – it answers why sales professionals are necessary and what their ultimate goal is.
- Your purpose is likely hidden in your sales process.
You have a sales process that involves identifying potential buyers, qualifying them, determining their needs, problems, and objectives, and making recommendations for solutions to discovered issues that make sense for your clients’ current and projected future business situation. Nestled in that chain of events lies your sales organization’s purpose.
Fundamentally, sales is a service-oriented field. Whether you sell CRMs or massage chairs for company break rooms, the foundational concept is the same. You’re helping buyers alleviate pain points and realize dreams. This is something that I think sometimes gets lost in the sea of metrics and the reputation a few bad apples have given the profession. But it’s vital to remember that core truth – it will guide you in helping team members find their purpose.
- In sales coaching sessions and team meetings, make purpose a point of emphasis.
Yes, data is important. Yes, sales behaviors are the machinery that drive (or stall) sales. But a major part of re-framing your team’s sales approach to be more customer-focused is establishing and talking about purpose. This can be purpose on a grand scale (how do we as an organization help our buyers?) or a micro level (what are you as a sales rep doing/not doing to show customers that your primary objective is helping them?)
- Keep the notion of the Trusted Advisor at the forefront.
Consider also the concept of the Trusted Advisor. It’s a phrase that we use a lot ourselves and one that’s currently one of the biggest subjects in the sales performance conversation. Sometimes, when a word or phrase like that is so much in the air, we forget its roots.
A Trusted Advisor is someone who is trusted and who functions as an advisor, giving advice. This might seem obvious, but look a little closer. Think about why we identify the people we can trust. Isn’t it because we know we can rely on them in times of crisis or when we need someone to talk to? And for the other half of the equation, who do we turn to for information or suggestions when we have questions we need or want to know the answer to? Advisors.
Whether it’s something as basic as someone asking their network, “What realtor do you recommend for selling our house?” or as specialized as, “Which 3D printer best suits our research lab’s experimental needs?”, we need someone we can trust, who has the knowledge of both their field and our situation to advise us accurately. In other words, a Trusted Advisor.
The purpose of sales organizations and individual sales reps is both relatively simple to figure out and sometimes hard to keep in mind on a day-to-basis. But by keeping your team’s attention and focus on how you can help your organization’s buyers, you can turn purpose from high-minded concept to actionable sales behaviors that lead to a smoother sales process, potentially shorter sales cycle, and higher buyer satisfaction.