Activity-based selling is a sales methodology that focuses on identifying, practicing and optimizing a specific set of behaviors, such as cold calling/emailing prospects, hosting discovery meetings and sending proposals. The core tenet of this philosophy is that you’ll create predictable and measurable sales growth through repetition of these behaviors.
In a recent webinar co-hosted by PandaDoc founder Mikita Mikado and Pipedrive founder Timo Rein, the veteran sales leaders shared some insights on how you can implement activity-based selling and successfully bring order to the chaotic, intense sales organization.
Here’s a summary of the two leaders’ enlightening webinar discussion:
Strive for “Calmness”
Reps are often awash in anxiety over hitting their numbers and this tension is immediately sensed by prospects who are then forced to question whether a rep has the prospect’s best interests, or their own quota, in mind.
Activity-based selling can help alleviate this stress by creating areas of control for reps. By empowering reps to focus on their performance of activities (that lead to sales), you’ll replace the power into reps’ hands and assuage the anxieties that can jeopardize the relationships that reps are tasked with building.
Become A Sales Master
Sales professionals who want to be successful in their careers must commit the time it takes to truly master the art of selling. For one thing, this means learning how to read people. Understanding the nuances in a prospect’s voice and facial expressions is key. When someone answers your call and responds to, “Do you have a few minutes to speak?” with “OK, what is this about?” you should be able to identify whether that person’s voice is telling you to make an appointment to call back or if now is really a good time to talk.
In order for activity-based selling to work for your team, you need to equip your team for success. That means making the right investments into two areas.
The first area to invest in is technology. Your team needs technology that supports and facilitates the process of activity-based selling. PandaDoc has recently launched an integration with Pipedrive that perfectly complements the activity-based sales approach and you can read more about it here.
The second area that you need to invest in for success with activity-based selling is content. Most of your sales reps’ activities will center around content -- sharing it, sending it, resurfacing it, etc. So, putting in time to collaborate with marketing to ensure your reps have crisp, powerful sales enablement content is crucial.
Your sales proposal is the perfect example. Your proposal should help your reps close deals as a compelling, bottom-of-the-funnel content piece.
Practice Mindfulness…Of Your Metrics
Activity-based selling is the very definition of a numbers game. But it’s not a volume game.
What that means is that you need to pay close attention to how prospects and deals percolate down your sales pipeline.
How many prospects do you need to ‘touch’ to generate qualified meetings?
How many qualified meetings does your team need to have in order to get to the proposal stage?
How many proposals close?
Now that you’ve created a benchmark for your core conversion metrics, be mindful of what it is that you can do to improve those conversions.
Also, be mindful of the metrics embedded within any particular activity. How does a particular piece of content perform in the context of that activity’s objective?
For example, if the activity we’re focusing on is getting a proposal that has been presented to be signed and returned, you should consider how long does it take (on average) for one version of your sales proposal to get signed off on vs. another more succinct version of the same content.
Develop Consistency To Build Confidence
One of the major advantages of activity-based selling is that by creating repeatable activity-based systems, reps can practice, practice, practice those activities until they can do them in their sleep. Once a rep reaches this level of mastery, they’ll have built consistency in how they perform those activities. Consistency breeds confidence and confidence closes deals.
Look Closely At The Parts Of The Whole
When you “zoom in” on the individual parts of your activity-based selling system, the activities themselves, you’ll be able to break down the pieces you need to have a successful outcome. This is why pipeline management is so critical to activity-based selling as it forces you to focus on the process (qualification, calling, pitching, etc.) that creates a structure for reps’ day-to-day activities.
Introspection can make you a better salesperson. According to Timo Rein, every salesperson starts by mimicking what works best. It’s tough to be in sales where you’re often faced with constant objections and rejection! But, you must eventually come into your own as a sales pro.
Your uniqueness is what makes you ‘you’ and that ‘you’ connects better with a prospect than any assumed personality that you’ve chosen because you think that’s what a salesperson is supposed to be.
“When you believe you’re worth, it makes people feel comfortable, and that they can trust you,” added Timo.