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Good Sales Executive / Bad Sales Executive

Inspired by Ben Horowitz’s Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager

· Account Executive,Best Practices,B2B SaaS

Good sales executives execute prospecting campaigns, schedule meetings with customers, and spend time learning information that enables them to provide value in moving the sales cycle forward. Bad sales executives complain that they spend all day working on RFPs and sales administration. Good sales executives anticipate customer requests, possible objections, and have prepared themselves accordingly. Bad sales executives put out fires all day. Good sales executives know to check in on customers regularly, and invest in building relationships both vertically and horizontally across an organization (even when there isn’t an immediate project with an available budget). Bad sales executives wait for their customers to reach out to them, and lament that they don’t have access to decision makers when trying to close deals. Once bad sales executives fail, they point out that they predicted they would fail.

Good sales executives focus their efforts on qualified opportunities and making their existing customers successful. Bad sales executives lack focus, chase every opportunity, and don’t care about customer satisfaction. Good sales executives consistently close deals and have a well defined and repeatable sales methodology. They proactively look at ways to move the sales cycle forward. Bad sales executives occasionally close deals, while pretending to use a loosely defined sales methodology. They are consistently reactive and unable to get ahead of the competition.

Good sales executives negotiate from a point of strength and are able to create a compelling reason for their clients to purchase. They are able to quantify benefits, and clearly articulate the value they create against the competition. Bad sales executives negotiate on price and end up in a race to the bottom. They end up getting very confused by the differences between delivering value, matching competitive features, and articulating benefits.

Good sales executives think about how their customers perceive them, with the hopes of generating referral opportunities when closing deals. Bad sales executives think about how their colleagues perceive them, with the hopes of winning awards and boosting their egos when closing deals. Good sales executives err on the side of transparency, ensuring they are always honest with their customers. Bad sales executives are short sighted, and very quick to conveniently leave out details in order to close deals. Good sales executives assume their customers are very smart and prepare themselves accordingly. Bad sales executives assume they can fool their customers and then inevitably get themselves caught.

Good sales executives work efficiently versus working hard. Bad sales executives are always working too hard on the wrong things. Good sales executives define their job and their success, by executing a win plan for each opportunity. Bad sales executives want to be told what to do next in the sales cycle, inevitably leaving their success to chance.

Good sales executives update their CRMs regularly, delivering accurate forecast reports because they are disciplined. Bad sales executives forget to update their CRMs and have huge fluctuations in their forecasts, because they don’t value discipline.

Are you in the B2B software space and struggling with sales? Leave me a comment or email me at , I’d love to hear from you and help in any way I can.

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