Sales is a game of strategy and relationships. Top sales performers excel at executing a near-flawless strategy as well as building strong relationships from scratch. But what worked ten years ago, or even one year ago, to achieve this isn’t going to work in the same way for people selling right now. That’s because the world of business is constantly changing. Factors like technology, current events, other players, consumer trends, supply chains, and more all affect potential customers’ decision-making process. This year, market inflation and global recession are at the forefront.
Consequently, the successful salesperson’s approach should continually adapt and evolve. Gartner’s research finds that in the current marketplace, a sale involves 6 to 11 decision-makers engaged in the buying process before the sale closes. If teams of people are involved, salespeople need to continually improve because the sales strategies used last year (or even last quarter) won’t be enough to drive success. Sales managers will need to create a thought process where evolution is expected. The sales team should never expect to reach a “good enough” sales capacity. Rather, they’ll always be learning and continuing to improve.
Cultivate a Learning Culture
As the first step to transforming a sales team, sales leaders need to create a culture of 24/7 learning. Salespeople need to be in a mindset where skill-building matters greatly to their success. For that to happen, sales leaders need to set an example by showing their teams that they are also highly committed to learning and improving their skills. They should talk about the books they are reading and bring new insights by crediting where they learned them instead of taking the credit themselves. They can work with a sales leadership coach in a 1:1 setting that TaskHuman provides and be open about their coaching work with their team.
When you’ve got the leadership part in place, bring the focus down to the sales team. Make learning a part of their day-to-day activities. Ask salespeople to share what books they’re reading to improve their processes and skills. Salespeople should become experts in their target market’s industries and be able to ask highly relevant questions. They should anticipate buying cycles and know their prospect's processes beyond just the purchasing process, and all the functioning arms of the business. Associates will do well working as a team sharing the information they learn and leveraging one another’s individual relationships to glean valuable prospect knowledge.
Sales managers should encourage reps to speak up when they encounter a new rebuttal to benefit the team. Sales reps should feel comfortable and safe sharing with the group the details about what went wrong with a prospect. Sales managers can remind their teams that failing forward is perfectly acceptable. By sharing mistakes, sales teams can prepare for new objections. They can do the research needed and practice new communication around the prospect's current concerns. With guidance from their sales manager and regular meetings with their personal sales coach through TaskHuman’s 1:1 coaching platform, sales reps can remain on top of their communication plan throughout the industry and marketplace changes.
Fine Tune Technique Regularly
Put the tools in place for salespeople to easily sharpen sales skills. Even if a sales rep stays up to date on their customers’ upstream and downstream workings, there could be a technical issue that needs to be polished to unleash every bit of their sales potential. An associate may use a monotone voice. They might talk too fast or too slow. They may use filler words without realizing it, or they may not leave enough silence at key points in the conversation. These subtle delivery aspects could distract the prospect or worse, sew doubt about the sales rep.
A sales coach could be valuable for perfecting communication and confidence in the sales associate. Instead of having them gain hours of practice on valid prospects and risk losing a deal, why not have reps work out the kinks with a seasoned sales coach? New and veteran sales professionals can benefit from a consistent study on their delivery. TaskHuman’s sales coaches are available to role-play conversations, listen to recorded discussions, and fine-tune the sales technique on an as-needed basis, like when there’s a huge opportunity on the hook or when a salesperson gets stuck in the dreaded sales rut. Even better, the coaching relationship can solidify a continued focus on refinement with weekly meetings. Regular coaching can keep salespeople on the right track so that ruts don’t happen as often and salespeople are less likely to deviate from their superb technique.
Assuming you hired the right people, you must put the tools in place for them to devote themselves to improvement and ultimately lift your salespeople beyond the status quo. Then use the tools as a shining example and champion the learning process the same way you would champion meeting the monthly quota. Because if you do that, the quotas will work themselves out, and you can spend more time celebrating wins than lamenting lost opportunities.
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