Advantages of Task Selling

Advantages of Task Selling

top sales task selling

Selling should and must be fun

For many, the information below will represent a profound change in how the sales function is perceived and managed.

If executed properly, Task Selling will either deliver incredible results or allow you to know quickly that your herd is munching dirt in the wrong field.

Below is an introduction and general overview of some of the aspects of Task Selling.

Traditional approach to sales

In the traditional approach to sales, the emphasis is on the consequence and not the cause.

In other words, management focuses on financially lead monetary sales targets and simply expects sales people to achieve those targets – perhaps using nothing more than brute force effort kicked along with inspirational talks or implied threats when clouds of despair soak the room.

Sales people are then placed under pressure to deliver sales without constructive consideration to the mechanics as to how this is to be achieved other than praying with desperate enthusiasm to their chosen god.

That sales order intake board on the wall is either crammed with numbers and scribbles of confirmation that life is wonderful or a fat white gap of a window into the abyss.

The phenomenon of phone gazing and excuses become the routine.

The consequences of the traditional approach to managing the sales function

  1. Potentially great sales people leave the company and even change careers.
  2. Sales is not seen as a profession but something reluctantly endured because there is no other job.
  3. A frantic sales approach can quickly become hassle to prospects and this provokes an undesirable reputation for the company – causing damage for the future.
  4. A desperate sales person may over-promise on product performance or delivery.
  5. There is pressure to make “price discount” the first proposition.
  6. Prospects can smell desperation and a seasoned buyer will use this to advantage.
  7. The unstable traditional approach can compound the problem and actually diminish the financial health of the company.
  8. No fun.

“Never again should you leave selling to desperation and luck.”

Creating a Task Sales function

The task-lead approach separates the desired result from the tasks required to achieve that result.

In other words, it puts cause and effect in the right order.

The cause = a calculated and coordinated chain of tasks executed to an expected level of competence.

Provides consequences = results.

The result may be excellent or disappointing – but it is a result. And this is a variable you can work with.

The result is defined by the following four elements.

Reality: An accurate and logical assessment of your propositions, your company’s capacity to deliver, the market and the competition. This process will present the available opportunities.

Expectations: This means choosing from which of the available opportunities you desire to be your sales objectives.

Tasks: The logical sequence of actions required to convert those Expectations into tangible sales.

People: The ability to execute the Tasks with the required level of competence.

Your function as boss is to confirm and deliver the equilibrium between reality, expectation, activity and competence.

Logical expectation should therefore reflect the results delivered from this equilibrium.

Any other expectation (objective) is simply delusion.

Equilibrium means your sales function is optimised to take advantage of the reality of the market.

Equilibrium delivers the maximum amount of efficiency in converting opportunities that are both available and desirable into tangible sales.

Maintaining equilibrium is an on-going process.

This task-lead approach is good news because:

  1. The mystery of achieving on-target sales is removed.
  2. You have complete control over the sales process.
  3. A good sales person now has to simply complete defined tasks with professionalism and not be concerned with the intangible chore of hitting sales targets. Sales is now a consequence of competent task execution.
  4. By removing the illusion of luck, you now have a defined way to measure the competency of your sales force.
  5. Sales people will work the variables with calculated precision. They will no longer sit back on the practice of mindlessly chasing scattering rabbits around a large field. Evolving skills and experience means the ability of each sales person should increase.
  6. The contact experience of your customer is improved and made more relevant to their needs – a natural consequence of the evolving task-lead approach by your sales team. For example, the frantic end of month sales push is avoided.
  7. Task selling introduces consistency and measured persistence: vital to being in the right place at the right time for the sale.
  8. Now that tasks are defined within the variables of execution, team members will help each other and bring the quality of the whole team to new levels. The sales office culture could even become a self-generating and potent force of positive synergy.
  9. You have the opportunity to develop a winning formula: a winning formula that is unknown to your competition or is hopefully alien to your competitor’s culture.
  10. The winning formula of tasks and how they are executed and an enhanced sales function will together provide value to the business that is not easily presented as a tangible asset other than its results in revenue and profit. From a marketing perspective, this is good news because it makes it difficult for competition to unravel why and how you are being successful. They cannot emulate what you do because they only see the speed and not the engine.

What to do if the sales effort is delivering disappointing results

If the sales team is completing the tasks as instructed and the results are not as calculated then you must either review and change the tasks in order to provoke the consequences that will deliver those expected results.


Inject a dose of realism through a reassessment of the business and the market and reconsider the consequential available opportunities.

If the sales team is not completing the tasks as instructed then review your sales people.

Outside pressures that can corrupt the equilibrium

Sales objectives must be based on logical and realistic market assessment and not on hope, desire or any financial pressures brought about by a separate and sometimes unrelated story of financial structure.

Financial targets dictating to sales might be due to promised ambition or even necessity but if these targets are not correlated with market reality then the consequence is simply missed sales targets.

This means increased financial pressure and the build up of even more unrealistic sales targets for the next period.

This downward spiral results in frustration and an unjustified perception of failure for the sales team. And a compromised sales function only adds to this spiral.

A similar situation can exist where the financial and cost structure of the business dictates prices that are simply too high. Anyone can calculate a cost plus price. Whether anyone else will buy at that price is another matter. See Pricing strategy and tactics.

The golden rule for tasks

If your sales people can comprehend and have calculated control over their tasks then the demotivating aspect of luck or leaps of faith are removed from your sales function.

A healthy and productive sales environment will enable the sales team to have a voice and contribute to the strategy and the construction of the tasks.

This sense of voice and ownership is crucial in creating the instinct necessary to repeatedly fulfil tasks without drifting back into the abyss.

“Selling should not be wishful thinking – it is a profession.”

Sales people must achieve two things with competence

  1. The energy to consistently complete the quantity of tasks with measured enthusiasm (examples: daily sales call target, executing callbacks on schedule).
  2. The diligence and discipline to accurately execute the agreed approach (example: to communicate the agreed set of propositions).

Typical task categories with examples of defined tasks

These are simply task titles. Each task will contain execution content, an objective and a measurement of its competence.

A. Order taking

  1. Taking and processing the order with demonstrated competence.
  2. Selling up processes.
  3. Complementary product processes.
  4. Determine next purchase or purchase frequency.
  5. Sell in the next order – including a commitment to next actions.
  6. Techniques to bind the account.
  7. Determine additional prospect opportunities.
  8. Research: confirm the future potential of the customer.
  9. Research: market and competitor information.
  10. Research: where did you here of us, why us?

B. Existing customer maintenance

  1. Reaffirm the relationship with a demonstrated commercial advantage.
  2. Reconfirm next purchase or purchase frequency.
  3. Sell in the next order – including a commitment to next actions.
  4. Instigate any selling up processes.
  5. Instigate any complementary product processes.
  6. Techniques to bind the account.
  7. Determine additional prospect opportunities.
  8. Research: new market and competitor information.

C. Leads and predatory

  1. Confirm the contact.
  2. Justify the approach with a tangible commercial benefit.
  3. Qualify the prospect: requirements, timing, ability, value, potential.
  4. Provoke the relationship with a wider commercial value.
  5. Communicate relevant propositions.
  6. Monitor responses to propositions.
  7. Instigate techniques to bind the account.
  8. Determine the sales funnel status.
  9. Gain commitment to next action.
  10. Fallback: market and competitor information.

Simple task example: the business-to-business telephone predatory call sheet

Task target: make 50 telephone dials each working day

Simple example task procedure

  1. Make dial.
  2. If the prospect answers then go to step 4.
  3. If no answer after 10 rings or no prospect contact go to step 7.
  4. Qualify – if no qualify then go to step 7. If qualified then communicate the propositions as defined.
  5. A committed next action is then confirmed. If not, go to step 6.
  6. Execute the Fallback; gaining information such as timing to buy or reasons why a no sale. On completion go to step 7.
  7. Close the call, tick the call sheet and enter CRM abbreviated detail with next action. The task is complete.

The sales person has completed this task.

When the call sheets come back then you have data: No-answers to answer ratios, next actions, insightful fallback information and even the odd close.

Over the course of days and weeks you will have trends and patterns to work with.

It is for you to amend, test and review this and other tasks in order to approach equilibrium.

Over time you will have evolved a winning formula: a way of working that delivers maximum profit within the reality of the business and the market.

This is an example of an intelligent and tangible functioning asset to your business: an asset your competition will not possess.

To summarise

  1. Sales targets are the calculated results based on your logical assessment of the reality, the tasks you set in response to that reality and the competent execution of those tasks by your sales team.
  2. Actual sales figures are a judgement of your ability to reach and maintain this equilibrium.

Task lead selling therefore enables control over the sales function and a direction of increasing relevance and potency to the market.

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