Generally speaking, the best sales teams do two things better than their competitors:
- They spend more time interacting with high potential buyers and prospects.
- They are more skillful at using a proven interactive sales process and are more credible and convincing when explaining their products, services and competitive advantages than their competitors.
There are obviously other elements that factor into sales results like product/service quality and price, convenience issues, barriers to changing suppliers, familiarity with current supplier etc. However, the two things a sales professional usually has control over is how much time he/she is going to speak with high potential buyers/clients and what he/she is going to say and do in that interaction. The best sales people spend more time talking to people that can buy more of their products and services. This seems so obvious but thousands of companies ignore these simple indicators of success and ultimately this is why so many sales people never reach their full potential.
Many sales executives get bluffed out into thinking more computer based tools and account planning and forecasting processes is the answer. There is certainly nothing wrong with have a good CRM system and using planning processes that give management better visibility into the pipeline, but these tools rarely increase a sales person’s activity level and have virtually no impact on how skillfully the sales person communicates important things like competitive advantages, and differentiating factors from the competition.
From working with hundreds of sales organizations, we have learned that the vital elements of a high powered sales culture include:
- An intense focus on making sure every member of the sales team masters the ability to communicate the critical sales information that generates business.
- A real commitment to using a proven consultative sales process that generates rapport, finds needs and tailors solutions.
- A clear understanding of the transferable best practices that must become strengths of all members of the sales team.
- A strong focus on coaching and training from sales managers so they don’t waste too much time on data analysis and looking at computer screens.
- A method of finding and sharing success stories that highlight strong selling performance so that all members of the sales team can learn from one other’s success.
- An unbending commitment to identifying who are the most important buyers/customers to speak with NOW and a proven strategy to generate those selling opportunities.
- Compensation and incentives that reward the right things.
R3’s approach toward helping sales teams transform is simple:
- Focus on the best practices that generate the best results. Force members of the sales team to really clear the bar in terms of being able to communicate persuasively and credibly with customers/buyers.
- Identify the bad habits that sales managers and sales people have gotten into and execute a plan to change this quickly.
- Create a more intense focus on spending more time talking to the customers/buyers that have the highest capacity to create more business.
- Conduct rigorous training so that all sales people can effectively communicate the Bedrock Sales Communication Tools and apply an effective consultative sales process.
- Train sales managers to quickly transition to a more coaching intensive relationship with their sales teams.
Simple, but not easy. We have learned how to execute these steps better and better through many projects with good, bad and ugly sales teams over the last 20 years. Our training and coaching processes are more rigorous and demanding than our competitors and sales teams love it. R3 believes repetition and practice is needed to be able to effectively verbalize critical selling information under pressure.
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