Salesmanship may get less press than it used to in the wake of cutting edge, indirect digital advertising techniques. However, a good salesman is still essential to the core of most business models. The secret to sales success in the modern world is training your team for the modern world. Here are the training essentials that you need for your team to succeed.
What is your team all about? Are you just selling products, or can every single one of your team members explain to a prospect why your company is the preferred choice? This is much more than memorising a script, and this tip is number one on the list for a reason. If you have any questions at this stage, stop reading until you fix the problem. Nothing else will work until your value proposition is clear and understood by everyone on your sales team.
Team SWOT Analysis
Before you can begin adding new technologies and processes to turbocharge your sales process, you need to go back to basics. Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your current team.
- Strengths – What does your team already do well? Do you have standout performers, and how can the rest of the team emulate that performance? Perhaps you have people who work well together as well. Make notes of it all. You will have a much easier time presenting weaknesses to your team once they know you recognise their strong points as well.
- Weaknesses – Where does your team lack confidence? Are there individuals that are pulling the group down? You cannot be afraid to look these problems in the eye, because your internal compass is set by how you react to your weaknesses.
- Opportunities – Where can your team achieve the highest ROI for an investment in improvements? Are there holes in the market that you are not taking advantage of? Make sure that you quantify your opportunities so that you can prioritise them. Your team will be looking to management for this guidance.
- Threats – Are there competitors that are making life hard for you because of a superior process or salesmanship? Is your product becoming obsolete, making it a tough sell for your salespeople? Take notes on all threats, especially external threats, that are keeping your team from achieving their best performance.
Clarity in the Sales Process
Do you have a tried and true sales process, or do you simply hand out scripts and hope for the best? (Although not all sales scripts are created equal. Some are gold.) Are your sales agents handling customer service calls, taking their time away from bringing in money? It helps to be completely clear about how to handle every situation. Within a strong framework, your best salespeople will learn how to subtly modify their pitches to keep your brand intact but personalise the conversation to the prospect in front of them. As you become aware of these new processes, you can add them to your sales process.
Be aware that throwing more money at an unclear sales process will not help it. Moreover, throwing more TIME at it will also achieve fewer results than you think. When you find the right process, one that fits with your company culture and the team you have on hand, you will find time and money in excess. Just as importantly, you will understand exactly where to put your money and time to achieve best results.
Your Cost of Sales
Your salespeople may be doing a great job, but your company is not earning a profit because of your cost of sales. This inevitably returns to the sales team as pressure to sell more, which doesn’t help the problem because the per unit or per sale cost math never worked in the first place.
Make sure that your cost of sales are in line with a successful industry standard. Do not suck your resource base dry, but don’t blame your sales team for the bloat that could possibly be sucking profits away from your revenue stream. For best results, map your projected cost of sales output to projected sales so that you know well ahead of time how much you can afford to spend in order to sell.
Creating the Proper Metrics
Even if your salespeople are doing well, the management and executive levels will not know about it if your metrics do not properly quantify the performance. Make sure that the metrics your company is tending to match with the process that you are giving your sales team. If the company is focused on visibility and information acquisition, then it makes no sense to punish a salesperson for achieving a high follow-up call rate but a low close rate.
More importantly, does your sales team know what your company is trying to achieve at any given time? Do not make the mistake of dumping all of your frontline sales business on the sales team, hoping that they will somehow create enough revenues to pay for your marketing and operations. Sales, R&D, marketing and operations should all run as two way streets. Your salespeople need the resources to make their job easier. In turn, they will create the revenues to make everyone else’s job easy.
Your Sales Compensation
Are you properly rewarding your good salespeople with rewards that keep them motivated? Keep in mind that this does not always mean money. Recognition is just as important in some cases, although monetary rewards should never be off the table. After all, these are the people who are bringing you cold, hard cash. It is only right that you give some of that back as cash in turn.
A mix of recognition and monetary rewards is usually the best solution. Psychologists also tell us that the best way to deploy these rewards is intermittently. If your sales team realises that you give away free tickets to the ballgame at the end of every month, you might guess that motivation will peak around that time and level off at other times. Gamification is a great way to ensure that you are giving rewards without the office politics. Automate and publicise the gamification process so that everyone on the sales team understands how to achieve the rewards.
The Right Salespeople
Management can do everything right in terms of setting the stage. However, if you have a group of people who simply do not work well together or don’t have good sales skills, you will not ever achieve the results that you want. Take a hard look at the results your team is achieving before and after the external changes that you implement. If you don’t see much change, then you may want to look at changing your sales personnel.These are the sales training essentials that you must put in place during your training schedule and sales training courses. Make sure that every salesperson that you onboard understands exactly where management stands in relation to the sales team and where the team stands in relation to the company. From here, you will be able to easily implement new technologies and processes, because they will be laid on a strong foundation. Keep your ear to the street so that you will be abreast of these new technologies and processes for your team!