People in sales make more money and move faster up the ladder. You probably agree.

Being successful in the sales function depends on many factors.

One is an intrinsic desire to sell; it must be something fundamental a person derives meaning and happiness from.

Another is the ability to read people and the messages they convey directly or indirectly. The stated reason for considering the acquisition of a product or service may be one thing but there could be unstated reasons. A good salesman addresses that in his own way and also creates a USP for his product that benefits the customer and, ideally, the customer’s customer. Can you convey empathy?

Yet another is a systematic approach to sales. Shooting in the dark and hoping for the best won’t get results. A clinical approach to numbers is essential. What is the revenue target? How will I achieve it? What is the size of the average deal? How well do I know the client landscape – that is, who is who and what is their role and influence? How well do i understand the competition?

Today’s sales management tools are too complex and heavy and demand too much. If a sales professional spends time using tools that address every possible issue in excrutiating detail, for the sake or order and transparency, he will spend less time on the actual act of selling. Further sales professionals have their own reasons for not always wanting to reveal all their cards. Such tools are therefore looked at sceptically and, at best, tolerated.

But some system is necessary. At least for personal use. Sales cannot be reduced to an art of instinct and talent, both of which are certainly important components. Strategic preparation and tactical readiness are important.