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Why You Should Invest In Sales Training And Coaching

If you want to build the best sales team, regular training and coaching sessions are necessary. This gives your sellers the knowledge and skills necessary to better grow and support your client base. The result? Empowered, competent sellers who can deliver better value for your organization. 

Why Sales Training Is Important

Training and coaching all starts with sales leadership. Sales leaders have to understand why training is needed—not just the impact it will have on their teams, but also how it drives accountability.

There’s a saying that goes, “inspect what you expect.” In this case, the frontline sales managers need to be capable of inspecting their teams for green flags and red flags—the right and wrong things their sellers do. They should be able to coach their sellers and hold them accountable, building upon green flags and correcting red flags. 

This is where sales training comes in.

With regular sales training, frontline sales managers will be more knowledgeable about the latest and most efficient selling methods. They will be equipped with the leadership skills necessary to lead a team and can incorporate everything that they’ve learned into the sales strategies they prepare. 

Once your sales managers are ready to be accountability coaches and leaders, they can gradually transfer this knowledge into the sellers’ hands. Sellers typically consume information in bite-sized chunks: They learn a skill, apply that skill in the market, and then they amplify that skill with the other skills they know.

This whole loop typically happens over a period of 60-90 days.  If this keeps compounding week over week, your sales managers could build a business case—a creative, actual live opportunity in the market.

And it all begins with a great training program.

The Importance of Sales Coaching

Here at Sales for Life, we’ve always underscored the importance of sales coaching. While it’s included in the sales training programs we offer, we highly encourage the sales leaders we train to make it a permanent part of their one-on-ones with their sales team members.

Not only does regular coaching establish an actionable feedback loop that, through practice and repetition, help sales reps improve their performance, but it also allows sales managers to improve their established sales processes, honing their training techniques by pinpointing their teams’ areas of progress and improvement. 

When to Schedule Sales Coaching

Sales coaching is most effective when it’s integrated into a broader enablement strategy, implemented alongside training, upskilling, tools investment, and other seller development initiatives. It should be a formalized process based on data, with a regular cadence and measurable KPIs.

If you want to establish an optimal sales one-on-one practice with your team, we suggest that sales leaders schedule one-on-one sessions with each member of their team every week. We call this a $500-value creator, in which the sales leader would spend a period of time identifying an inflection point in a coachable moment, which they can use to help the seller improve.

We recommend a series of regular weekly coaching sessions—52 weeks of 52 different coaching moments that will be analyzed and actioned upon through the year. One-on-one sessions can also follow a read-and-react model based on feedback from the seller, wherein both manager and seller focus on how a particular moment could be improved.

Regardless of the coaching format you implement, one-on-ones need to happen every week in order to properly track your sellers’ progress. This way, you can have 52 opportunities in a year, as a leader, to transfer knowledge and add tons of value to your sellers, contributing immensely to their personal and professional development.

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digital selling training Sales Enablement sales training Social Selling Social Selling Training

How To Choose The Right Sales Training Program

Now that most sales motions are happening digitally, it’s never been more important to invest in your team’s digital selling skills.

The easiest way to achieve this is by investing in a digital sales training program that will standardize and formalize the way your revenue team’s prospecting, account growth, and account retention efforts.

Your efforts to modernize the sales process should be supported by the entire organization, from the top-down. Everyone needs to be on board, from your revenue leaders down to your frontline sales reps. The sales training program you choose should also be integrated within your existing oversight and coaching framework.

This way, everyone in your sales team can properly receive the sales coaching and guidance that they would need to succeed.

Your organization’s leadership committee also needs to be involved. As this might be new information to them, they might not see the need for digital sales training. By involving them in the process, they can better understand why a digital sales transformation is necessary. 

But how can sales leaders choose the right sales training program for their organization?

What makes a good digital sales training program

There are dozens of sales training programs available for all types and sizes of businesses, focusing on different aspects of the sales process. With so many options available, choosing the right one for your team can be daunting.

Here are four criteria that you should consider when deciding on a digital sales training program for your organization.

A good digital sales training program…

1. Should Sufficiently Address Skills Gaps
To create a tangible impact in your organization, start by identifying the most prevalent sales skills and performance gaps that your revenue team is facing. This is how you can find opportunities to upskill the members of your revenue team. Here are some of the most common issues that should be addressed immediately:

  • Lack of communication skills: Communication is a two-way street. While most sellers are great at talking, not all sellers can listen well. The best salespeople actively listen to their prospects, asking intelligent questions and using both verbal and nonverbal means to get their customers to warm up to them. Low performers usually spend at least 70% of their calls and meetings speaking.
  • Lack of preparation for sales conversations: You’d be surprised at the number of sales representatives who go into sales calls and meetings without a back-up plan or even a specific objective. There are even sellers who take on calls without knowing anything about the prospect or how your product would specifically benefit the customer.
  • Lack of a prescriptive sales process: Your whole revenue team needs to be consistent when it comes to your sales process. You can’t have a seller skipping certain steps or adding unnecessary ones—that’s how they can miss important tasks like following up with leads or sending email sequences. Even the smallest inconsistency or inefficiency could affect your whole bottom line. 
  • Lack of social selling knowledge: While the term social selling is well-known, not all sellers are aware of the techniques and best practices it involves. They might know that LinkedIn can be used for networking and prospecting, but they don’t necessarily know how to do so. And if your organization doesn’t have a prescriptive process for social selling, it’s pretty much like the blind leading the blind. Which leads us to the next point…

2. Should Teach Social Selling Skills
In this age of digital networking, social selling is no longer optional, but a must-have. It’s an incredibly important skill set that drives actual pipeline and sales. And with pipeline creation being one of the most crucial aspects of the sales process, your team needs to utilize all tools and resources at their disposal.

3. Should Be Incorporated Into Your Existing Sales Process
Training wouldn’t produce results if it’s not aligned to your company’s goals, values, and strategy. That’s why the concepts that will be taught in your chosen sales training should be integrated into your existing sales process to make it more efficient and effective. A good digital sales training program should optimize your sellers’ style, adjusting specific actions for better results instead of dictating a non-negotiable list of things to do per situation.

4. Should Be Reinforced for Optimum Learning
Reinforcement of skills is also important, as long-term growth is rarely produced by one-time training. Learnings need to be applied, and tested, a feedback loop should be established, and sales managers should be able to provide coaching and mentorship.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to your sales team’s performance, there’s always room for improvement. A good sales training program is necessary for developing your sellers’ skills, tapping into their expertise and talent to increase sales and profits, drive growth, and cultivate a high-performing work environment. 

While there’s no harm in investing in marketing, recruitment, or tools, companies shouldn’t forget about their current sales force—your most important asset and revenue-driver. By enabling your sellers’ transformation into high-performing salespeople, you’ll be better equipped to blast ahead of your competition.

Categories
b2b sales Digital Sales Transformation Sales Management

How To Hit Your Sales Goals: Reverse-Engineering

Achieving your sales goals is easier said than done. There are so many circumstances that can give even the most experienced sellers a hard time meeting their sales targets.

Case in point: The global COVID-19 pandemic, which forced revenue teams to replace in-person, face-to-face networking events and client meetings with social media interactions and Zoom calls.

In order to conquer the curve balls thrown your way, you should first recognize that the only things that you could control in order to achieve your sales goals are actions and activities. Everything else is an influence, aligned to something beyond your control.

For example, you couldn’t control when it would rain. But you can plan ahead to ensure that you’d be ready in case of a sudden downpour. You can always carry an umbrella or a raincoat in your bag, or you could map out a shaded route that you could take while walking to work.

The same principle applies in sales. Keep in mind that you can’t achieve your desired sales goals by yourself. You can only influence them and align with them so you’ll end up in a favorable position.

Working Your Way Backwards From Your Sales Goals

To have the best chance of hitting your annual sales goals, you should create your gameplan by reverse-engineering from your target.

Imagine that there are stepping stones leading towards your sales goals. These are your sales objectives, or milestones, and they indicate your progress towards goal completion.

Milestones inform your revenue team about what success should look like at a certain week, a certain month, or a certain quarter. They help your sellers stay focused and motivated, and prevents them from being overwhelmed by your main sales goal.

For example, if your sales goal is achieving a total annual revenue of $1 million, one of your milestones could be closing a certain number of deals by the end of Q3. Achieving this milestone will indicate that you’re on track to achieving your sales goal.

Take note that hitting all your milestones wouldn’t guarantee a 100% chance of achieving your sales goals. As we’ve said before, you never know when life decides to throw you a curve ball that could derail your strategy. You will, however, have a higher likelihood of hitting your goals since you’ve already made the necessary preparations for it.

Actions and Activities: The Building Blocks of Your Sales Goals

Now, the milestones you set are influenced by the sales actions and activities that you undertake. These are the things that you and the rest of your revenue team can actually control, such as the messaging of your content, the cadence of your emails, and the videos you send to your prospects.

That’s why these sales activities and actions should be carefully planned and coordinated. Cooperation between the sales, marketing, and enablement teams is critical. The whole revenue team should be aligned and focused on one thing: To achieve the sales goal you set for yourselves.

If the revenue team isn’t properly aligned, some departments could find themselves unnecessarily spending time doing arbitrary actions and activities that can boost their own profile, but don’t really propel them towards their milestones. It’s a distraction; a waste of time, effort, and resources.

We can’t stress enough how crucial it is that each member of your revenue team should know what their top priority should be. If a certain sales action or activity can’t influence your milestones, then it can’t lead you closer to your main goal of achieving your sales targets.

To Summarize

To achieve your sales objectives, you need to take to heart these two notions:

  1. Understand that you can only control actions and activities. Everything else, you can only influence to achieve an outcome that’s favorable to you.
  1. To achieve your sales goals (or any goal for that matter), start planning at the end. Reverse-engineer your progress towards goal completion by determining the milestones indicating that you’re on track to achieving your target. Then, figure out the actions and activities that will help you achieve those milestones. 
Categories
modern selling

6 Modern Selling Mistakes Sellers Should Avoid

A lot has changed in the past year. Though the world is slowly heading towards a state of cautious normalcy, the drastic changes to the sales landscape seems to be permanent.

While the transition to modern selling was inevitable, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace, turning what was supposed to be a gentle, gradual shift into an adapt-or-die scenario. Read on to learn about 6 major mistakes that should be absolutely avoided in the age of modern selling.

6 Modern Selling Mistakes That Today’s Sellers Should Avoid

1. Not putting the buyer first

Almost every company says their buyers come first, but their words don’t always translate into actions.

According to the LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021, “just 43% of sales professionals say their sales org stays actively engaged after the sale to ensure value delivery all the time.” This is worrying, as after sales service is indispensable for promoting positive word-of-mouth, increases customer retention, and strengthens brand value.

2. Delivering misleading product information

As children, we were taught that it’s bad to tell a lie. But with age comes the realization that the world is not stark black-and-white, and that it’s sometimes necessary to twist the truth a bit to get what you want. Unfortunately, some sellers carry this mentality in their work, overstating product benefits and making promises that cannot be fulfilled. After all, how much damage can these little white lies do?

The answer: Possibly a lot.

Even the tiniest bit of false information can lead to complaints, negative feedback, lost revenue, and worse, lost customers—all things you’d like to avoid.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When you make a purchase, you place your trust in the seller to deliver as promised. And if you find out the hard way that the seller has given you inaccurate information or has made false promises about the product, wouldn’t it leave a bad taste in your mouth?

So don’t risk it—it’s never worth it.

3. Not understanding the client’s needs

You could be selling the most modern product in your industry, but no one will buy it if they don’t want it or if they feel like they don’t need it. 

That’s why you should make an effort to clearly understand what your customers want and need. This should be at the center of all your business’ efforts. All your sales communications should be anchored to this. Only then can you effectively persuade your customers that you are the best choice for their company.

4. Not understanding your own product or service

Knowing what your customers need is only half of the battle. To convince them to purchase from you, you have to effectively communicate how your product can address their needs.

An intimate knowledge of your product’s details, benefits, and capabilities can help you answer your clients’ questions and objections, and can go a long way in convincing them that your solution is the one they’re looking for.

5. Not maximizing the sales tools at your disposal

With the pandemic taking away most opportunities to safely meet clients face-to-face, salespeople have turned to technology to fill in the gap. According to the LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020, only 43% of sellers use sales intelligence tools—a 54% increase from how it was in 2018, but still not the majority. 

Knowing how to use sales tools to your advantage can help you outperform your peers by leaps and bounds. Tools allow for a data-driven approach to selling, effectively making the prospecting process prescriptive. Tools also allow for the automation of tedious administrative tasks, letting sellers focus on what they do best: Providing value to their clients. 

6. Not boosting their social media presence

If you’re a seller, a strong social media presence isn’t merely nice to have, but a must-have. With face-to-face meetings minimized, social selling, particularly on LinkedIn, is now one of the most optimal ways for B2B sellers to find prospects, build brand awareness, and strengthen relationships with potential and existing clients. It also shortens the sales cycle, cutting down on the time you’ll normally spend researching accounts and finding opportunities.

What’s nice is that it’s not exactly difficult to reap the benefits of social selling—you just have to be diligent and consistent. Start by ensuring that your social media profile is complete, up-to-date, and professional. Then, gradually expand your network by connecting and engaging with your peers in the industry.

Along the way, create and share relevant content to establish yourself as a thought leader. Try to make it a daily habit and track your posts’ engagement to see what kind of content best resonates with your prospects. 

Wrapping It Up 

 The biggest mistake a seller can make these days is to be stuck in the mindset that things will eventually go back to how they were pre-COVID.

While we all want things to be back to how they were before, we can’t deny that it’s all wishful thinking at this point. Modern selling is here to stay, and the sooner you adapt and embrace change, the faster you’ll see your business grow.