Do you have a sales toolkit?
Because a salesperson’s income is directly linked to their sales performance, being more productive pays real dividends. Which means every increase in preparedness and productivity typically translates into increased sales success, which should then result in greater earnings. (Or it should.)
A ten percent increase in your productivity should result in a ten percent increase in your income. Right?
In order to see that kind of consistent return, it helps to have certain processes and practices in place. And one of the most basic is creating, managing and updating your sales toolkit.
So, what exactly is a sales toolkit?
Basically, your sales toolkit is whatever you customarily need to address any significant aspect of the sales process. You will want this core set of sales resources immediately available at the various stages of the sales cycle. And in a very real sense, your sales ability is made apparent by what’s in your toolkit and how well you leverage each of these tools.
Having the right tools at the ready and employing them effectively is critical to managing the sales process rather than being managed by it.
Your toolkit is the collection of resources required throughout the sales process, from initial engagement through the post-contract phase. This list includes, but is not limited to:
Resources, Materials and Assets to Consider
What goes into a sales toolkit? Think about:
- Marketing Materials: sales collateral, press releases, case studies, references, event schedules
- Sales Documents: discovery documents, call planning sheets, NDA, draft proposals, boilerplate contracts, technical specs
- Implementation Materials: requirements documents, draft Statements of Work, project plans, timelines
- Communications: thank you letters/emails, follow up emails, meeting agendas
- Presentations: branded PowerPoint deck, standard slides on your company, testimonials
- Giveaways: promotional materials like t-shirts, thank you gifts
- Anything else that you routinely need in your sales process
These are the resources that should be immediately accessible and ready to edit and share, either when the client wants them or when it best complements your selling situation.
Consider this. You’re no different from the surgeon performing an important procedure. The physician’s toolkit naturally includes an extensive set of scalpels, rakes, sponges, sutures and various other specialized and esoteric tools. These assets are precisely arranged and available in anticipation of any possible medical situation. In exactly the same way, you should have your set of prepared resources ready and up-to-date for the exact moment needed to be called into duty. (Remember, if you’re not able to respond properly when you need to, your deal could die…)
Ask yourself these questions. What…
- Sales materials do I need at each point along the sales process?
- Communications do I use?
- Templates can I use to communicate quickly with prospects and clients?
- Presentations do I use over and over?
Identify your key resources. Examine your sales process and figure out what tools you already have and what you may be lacking. Gather the good stuff, create draft versions of the documents you regularly need but don’t have, and then move everything else off to the side where it won’t be a distraction or get in the way.
Once you’ve got your set of tools created and collected, it is time to figure out a usable, reliable organizational structure that works for your sales style.
Do you make everything templates and stored documents inside your CRM (customer relationship management) software? This has the advantage of reliability and a record of what has been sent to whom.
Or do you create a logical set of folders in Dropbox or Google Drive? This has the advantage of being accessible, sendable, even editable from your cell phone.
Or are you truly old-school, and paper-based? There’s something to be said for having physical copies of important documents. In an age of infinite electronic clutter, having a paper handout may not slip off the screen and thus out of your client’s attention.
Whatever works for you and whatever your system happens to be, it pays to review it from time to time. During this review, you should add new documents and templates and cull outdated or less effective material to prevent them being a distraction or sent inadvertently.
Remember that the primary objective in developing and maintaining your toolkit is 1) to make you more responsive to your clients, and 2) to make you more efficient. Whenever you can deliver more quickly on your commitments and create a sense of responsiveness and reliability over the course of the sales cycle, you’re enhancing both your competitive advantage and your productivity.
Ultimately, your goal is to compress time and advance the sales cycle (and your position in it) by having the right tools in your sales toolkit when you need them.