We are living in some really strange times, and the ongoing effects of the coronavirus mean that doors continue to remain shut on businesses across the world. Whilst many elements of business have paused or temporarily halted, many teams have been moved to remote working and sales teams across a range of sectors continue to drive sales processes from their own home. With these facts in mind, Ciaran Connolly caught up with SalesSource’s Ray Tobin to discuss sales processes, time management and how small businesses can continue to grow their sales through the pandemic.
As we get the interview off to a start, Ray takes us on a brief walkthrough of his personal and professional background before joining SalesSource as Sales Director. He highlights a 30-year career in sales, during which he has been fortunate to work with some amazing businesses and organisations. “Some of the bigger companies include six years with Fed-Ex – four years in Ireland and two years in a global sales role,” he explains. He recalls an exciting period during his global sales role, visiting 22 different countries, delivering presentations and meeting clients on behalf of Hewlett Packard and Intel.
Three Decades in the Sales Profession
After a jet-setting career with Fed-Ex, Ray moved on to a Sales Management role with British Telecoms. “I learnt so much from these guys in the five years I was here, and I was always looking at how I could apply these skills to a new industry. I then discovered that the IT industry and the freight industry are quite similar, both involving the exchange of information from various networks,” he remembers. Following this, Ray returned to college to study sales coaching, prompting him to go out on his own in 2008 with the establishment of SalesSource.
In his current work with SalesSource, Ray enjoys the buzz of working with a large range of businesses and organisations, regardless of their size or nature. Indeed, it is his long-developed industry experience which allows clients to place their trust in him, often leading to long-running and profitable relationships. However, embedding yourself deeply within their business and understanding their sales process is a critical element of success. “I’m very conscious of being contemporary. Even if you’ve been selling since the 80s, businesses aren interested in selling today, and catering to today’s trends.”
According to the SalesSource founder, all good businesses and organisations must have a sales process. “They need structure, and most sales people like structure. The quality of the conversation has to be based on not only what you say, but how you say it,” he explains. “Not having a hymn sheet to stick to just isn’t good enough. There just has to be a beginning, a middle and an end.”
But who are SalesSource, and what services do they offer? The company has been in business for over 12 years, and Ray’s role currently involves working with various businesses and organisations to create sales processes. “You’d actually be surprised how many of these larger organisations don’t have a sales process,” he shares. “I’m looking to find out what’s being said and what the staging posts are in your process. We also talk about things like pipeline and forecasting – essentials for any organisation. When was the last time you did a sanity check on your sales pipeline, for example?”
Using Time to Maximise Sales
The Sales Director is also an expert in time management, offering consultation and services around improving sales to save time. “Time is the fairest thing we have – we all have the same amount of time in a week. How do we use our time properly? Well, we’ve found that people are more productive when they’re working from, for example. I also work on campaigns, identifying how a company can bring in new business. I say to my customers, don’t rely on customers finding you on Google. Instead, be proactive and go after your target customers yourself.”
Ray argues that a key element of success in sales is resilience, highlighting that many sales professionals tend to give up after their first unsuccessful call. For all of these professionals, Ray suggests familiarising themselves with AIDA – a sales mantra that has been in use for over a century. “The first question of sales should ask if you’ve got your customers attention. Attention, Interest, Desire and Action – that process has changed very slightly since 1912. However, if you think about your day and talking to clients, working off this basic principle can get you off to a great start.”
How will the sales industry be impacted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic? Whilst Ray highlights that we will see a huge increase in sales over the phone and over video conferencing tools, other changes will have their impact. “Body language, for example, won’t be as important as it should be. So, we’ve got to think about not just what we say, but how we say it. Honing your coaching skills will be more important than ever. Regardless, businesses with proper processes will survive.
Ray’s most valuable piece of advice? “In sales, you’re going to have more ‘no’ answers than ‘yes’ answers – and that’s just something that you need to come to terms with. The customer doesn’t owe you anything, and the key for businesses is to identify their ideal customer. Doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of madness, and too many sales professionals are guilty of that.”
**Those wishing to learn more about SalesSource and the range of services they offer can visit the company via their official website. Interested parties are also invited to reach out to Ray Tobin directly to make enquiries around sales processes, time management improvement and more via LinkedIn.**
Ciaran Connolly’s interview with Ray Tobin joins ProfileTree’s award-winning Business Leader series, recently recognised with the Best Content Marketing Award for a Video Series at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards. To pitch your business or organisation to the series or to discover how our content marketing services can transform your online presence, get in touch with our expert team today.