Gartner predicts that “When picking new CIOs, by 2016 companies will use a candidate’s innovative accomplishments as one of the top-three selection criterion. Finding innovative ways to create growth, in revenue, jobs and industries, will set you apart from the pack. Balancing innovation and management will be key.”
I would say that successful Sales professionals always strive to build and add value to their customers. Having said that; sales professionals must also, continue building on a strong foundation to add value to their customer’s success. There are a number of tools which will assist sales to build strong foundation and enhance your knowledge and skills. And I am sharing “ 8” of them;
- CRM: It is important that sales professionals know their customers well. Use a CRM system to document your customers profile and if your company does not provide you with CRM system, get an open source CRM system and record your customers details. Choose a CRM that provides an online link with your customers web sites for any updates as alerts. http://www.freecrm.com
- Mind map: Use a mind map when making notes or building a proposal to maximize your creative output. You may subscribe to an open source mind map program. http://www.edrawsoft.com/freemind.php
- Speed reading: Time is money and a scarce resource. Use speed reading to effectively read and retain the content. And with practice speed reading will help you squeeze-in upto “3 books within your standard reading time span of reading one book. http://www.mindtools.com/speedrd.html
- Free net resources: Subscribe to two top free net resources each on current sales practices and on your industry. This will keep you abreast with current trends and practices in the local & global market. People love to buy from knowledgeable people. (www.millerheiman.com; www.thetasgroup.com; www.huthwaite.com; www.ameinfo.com)
- Social media: Subscribe and effectively use social media sites to connect with your customers, prospects and find their interests and background. Log onto the FAQ or learning resource to use the Social media tools effectively. (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)
- New learning: Mandate to learn a new craft every quarter and use that to effectively deliver your services. ( Such as Online tech certifications or sales certifications).
- Brain train: Exercise your LEFT brain using various techniques and I would recommend a glittering book by Edward De Bono “ How to have creative ideas”. Practice exercises in the book and make it a part of your day to day activities.
- Flex your Thinking muscles: Spend 30 minutes every day; thinking and planning your next day and also retrospection of the day gone by. Put down your ideas in a notebook and review them every weekend.
And finally I would paraphrase Gartner’s prediction… “When picking new sales professionals, starting now; companies will use a candidate’s innovation accomplishments as one of the top-three selection criterion. Finding innovative ways to make a sale, help customers increase their revenue and industries leadership, will set you apart from the pack”