Software sales is a profession where it’s very easy to measure performance with sales metrics. Sometimes the numbers will show that you’re surpassing your sales goals—and other times, they’ll show that you are behind. When that happens, it can be easy to become frustrated and self doubtful, which makes it even harder to climb out of a slump. But here are a few simple things you can do to get back on track.
Appreciate the small victories.
It’s always nice to hit a home run, but that won’t happen every time you go to bat. When facing a deficit in your sales metrics, it’s easy to hope for a big deal to close the gap—but a series of singles and doubles can also help you catch up on the scoreboard. They can help boost your confidence and keep your game going; hoping for a home run each and every time will probably just yield a lot more disappointment, since they tend to be fewer and farther in-between anyway.
Write your own headlines.
It can be easy to obsess over the rankings and the metrics and let that become the authoritative story of your sales career. Don’t become a passive board watcher and let the scoreboard dictate the game. Time moves forward, not backward, so you don’t need to stay frozen in the story of the current metrics. In fact, though keeping track of your metrics is always important in sales, this may be one of the few times when you’ll want to take a break from looking at the numbers for a few days or more.
Remember the why.
The sales process is more effective when your sales strategy revolves around giving clients genuine solutions to improve their business. If you leave the metrics behind and get engaged in a purpose-driven process, you will start closing more deals. It will also make your sales career more enjoyable and feel more rewarding. That sense of purpose can invigorate your efforts, which in turn will improve your numbers. A purpose-driven sales process can also earn you lots of referrals as prospects are evangelized by your belief in the product. That means you’ll have more quality leads coming in, which bodes well for your metrics. The “why” can also relate to your own personal belief about your product. Upon some self reflection, you might realize you need to get a little more familiar or passionate about what you’re selling.
Focus on improvement.
When you’re on a roll with sales, it can be hard to find the motivation to stop for self reflection. But when you’re in a slump, that might be the perfect time to improve your sales game with some self education. Read books about the sales process, attend a seminar, or work with a manager or mentor to refine your sales process. You’ll find that focusing on improvement will make you forget about the scoreboard, and that your sales will also start to improve. Amazingly, most sales reps don’t invest any time in professional or personal development, and wonder why they sometimes go through slumps. Remember that your best investment is yourself.
Control what you can—relinquish what you can’t.
There are some things in life and work that you can control, and some things that you cannot. If you’re a week away from the end of the quarter and you’re not halfway to your sales goals, you might need to give up on passing then. But you can control what happens next quarter by starting out on the right foot. You can’t always control the quality of your leads or the mood that your prospect is in or what the rest of your team does, but you can control your own work ethic, attitude, commitment, and coachability. You’ll find that focusing on what you can’t control just continues to derail you, while focusing on what you can will build you back up to success.
Don’t be afraid of failure.
The most successful sales reps aren’t embarrassed about failure, but use it as an opportunity to grow. Keep in mind that people are remembered for what they accomplished, and not what they attempted—so push yourself out of the comfort zone and confront some of the reasons behind your low numbers. Talk it out with a mentor or manager and examine where you might have gone wrong in the sales process, so you can succeed moving forward. It may also be time for you to revamp your process. Don’t be afraid of trying something new and making mistakes as you get acclimated to a new way of selling.
Take care of you.
Sometimes sales reps get into a slump because they’re burned out. Then they try to work harder getting out of it, and the wheels just sort of spin around like a car stuck in the mud. Perhaps one of the most effective things you can do is take some time off and reset. Even if you can’t take a vacation, you can carve out some time in the evening to read a book, or some time in the morning to exercise. Unplug from work and rejuvenate yourself, so you can come back to the game recharged. This might be a time to start working towards some personal goals, such as running a marathon or learning a piece of music. The sense of accomplishment you have when achieving those goals, or even working toward them, will give a boost to your sales game.
A final word about getting back on the horse…
All of these tips can help you get back on track with selling. But if you’re finding that you routinely do your best at the job, your numbers are good, and you still feel like you’re frequently in a slump—maybe you could do better somewhere else. Sometimes sales performance can be very impacted by your work environment. Maybe it’s time to find a place where you can really be working your best. As a software sales recruiter with almost four decades of experience in software sales, I have an extensive network of hiring managers and a number of options that might fit you better. Send me an email at email@example.com and let’s connect!