Sales Success Iceberg

What do Olympic champions, professional athletes, rock stars, successful businesses, and salespeople have in common?

They are all like icebergs.

When you think of icebergs, a few words might pop into your mind:

  • The Titanic
  • Penguins
  • Polar Bears

You may also be aware that with icebergs, you only see about 10 percent of the total block of ice. Because ice is slightly lighter than water, it floats at the top, with a small percentage poking above the surface.

When you see an Olympic athlete win a gold medal, you just see them run for forty-five seconds, or perform their high jumps, or ski downhill. You do not see everything that happened prior to that moment.

With professional sports, especially football, what you see on the field during game day is around 10 percent of their whole week’s activities, from watching game film to practicing and lifting weights. You don’t see the last ten or fifteen years they have spent playing on the field or at the park.

With musicians and entrepreneurs, most people just see the “overnight” success part where they came out of nowhere and are making headlines.

For companies, that IPO that just seemingly happened is just the latest tip of the iceberg. What you might not focus on is the last six, eight, or ten years of frustration, persistence, and inspiration that got it to that point.

You are just seeing the part that sticks above the surface.

The iceberg is a perfect symbol of the sales process as well.

The part you see is the closed sale. The deal being completed. Money changing hands, documents being signed.

What you don’t see is everything below the surface of that completed transaction.

So many factors must come together for a sale to have even a chance of being completed. And if certain factors are not aligned right in advance, the sale may never come to fruition.

For example, marketing needs to be in place so people know about your product or service. Without some form of marketing, you will have to do a lot more educating of your prospect, which could become a serious barrier. When done right, great marketing or lead-generation strategies are not even noticed because everything seems so effortless.

When you spot an iceberg, you can see what is above and what’s slightly below pretty easily. The parts of the Sales Success Iceberg™ that you see near the top represent what is seen just below the surface. Areas such as marketing and lead generation are easily spotted right below the surface. This leads more people (inside and outside the sales team) to view marketing as an integral part of a sales rep’s success.

But as you travel deeper under the surface, you will see the parts of the iceberg that take more effort to discover. In sales, the critical, yet not always recognized, areas are in hiring the right people, onboarding them with the correct expectations, training them in a way that sets them up with the knowledge needed to be successful, and at the same time, integrating them into the organization’s culture.

The technology that the sales team is using, as well as what is going on behind the scenes, represents the essential tools for scalable success. Yes, sales reps can close deals without a CRM, dialers, or other fancy technology. However, you cannot reach a scalable and profitable business model without technology that is both supportive and effortless. Especially with sales teams, implementation of the tools you require them to use cannot get in the way of the sales process you have built for them. Rather, those tools should enhance it.

If your company wants to maximize the lifetime value of each client, it is critical to have systems in place to support cross-selling and upselling opportunities that benefit both the client’s situation and your company. Usually, a prospect comes to you with an issue. If you want to turn that prospect into a raving fan, first focus on amazing customer service during and after the sales process and find ways to solve as many of their problems as possible. This approach will lead to a referral-generating machine; we all know referrals are way easier to work with and come at almost no marketing cost. Whether it is achieved or not, the goal of every system built for a sales team should be to generate 100 percent of the business by referrals only. If all the parts of the Sales Success Iceberg™ come together correctly, this goal can be achieved with predictable, scalable results.

As you view this Sales Success Iceberg™ and swim deeper below the surface, if there are any areas where your organization does not have reliable systems in place, please use the contact information to set up a time to speak with us. Our goal is to help you build an inside sales team that performs at a high level. We do that by ensuring that all the needed areas below the surface of the Sales Success Iceberg™ are in place so you get the full benefit of the closed sales at the top.

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