To ramp up sales performance and strengthen your sales pipeline, you have to develop your salespeople’s confidence, inspire them to be more proactive, improve their ability to build trust and rapport in an increasingly digital world, and equip them to engage in buyer-centric, results-driven conversations.
The sales business went through rough times in 2020, but it’s time to get your sales plan ready and your team geared up for the future.
With the economy strengthening and experts predicting a dramatic upturn in spending over the next 12 to 24 months, what can you do to optimize sales effectiveness and fortify your sales pipeline? Where are the opportunities in this new environment, and what do sales leaders need to address to ensure their salespeople are prepared to capitalize on them?
Just like consumers who are anxious to get back out there, businesses are sitting on a pile of cash today after pulling back dramatically on spending last year, loosening the purse strings, and releasing budgets. Business investment got off to a strong start in 2021, and experts expect that trend to continue.
For leaders who saw sales performance fall in the second quarter of 2020, this is welcome news. But there’s something else to be worried about: FOMO. Leaders are grappling with the fear of missing out because their sales teams aren’t ready for it.
3 Critical Steps to Optimize Sales Effectiveness as the Economy ReboundsIf you don’t confirm your sales strategy, you won’t be able to achieve the market share and margin growth that’s going to be available. It’s not enough that the impetus to spend is there. To ramp up sales performance and strengthen your sales pipeline, you must improve your salespeople’s confidence and ability to be more proactive and drive conversations toward results.
Here are three things sales leaders need to do right now to address these gaps and alleviate the FOMO:
Be ready for virtual sales performance.
This is a territory coverage play. Because of the explosion of virtual selling and the level of comfort sellers and buyers now have, one sales rep can have many more meetings in a day than they used to have. The sales efficiency and effectiveness gains can be huge.
The biggest challenge of virtual selling is distraction. Everyone knows how strong the pull to multitask can be. For your salespeople, this means they’re not just leading a sales call; they’re managing a customer experience. There are probably a dozen things or more that need to be planned well, from technology, sound, and lighting to navigating team handoffs to sharing documents to asking questions and understanding Behavior Styles. If your salespeople aren’t “virtual ready” across all of them, the meeting can be derailed and the deal put at risk.
It’s also important to recognize that virtual is here to stay. Many customers now prefer it, which means even if your salespeople are willing to travel, the number of virtual meetings they’ll be conducting will continue to increase.
Move your sales approach off the immediate need.
As budgets are being released and more customers are looking to buy, salespeople need to step back and have broader, deeper conversations exploring what the customer is trying to achieve. Otherwise, they risk losing the full sales business that’s available to them. Don’t take what could be a large opportunity and turn it into a small client by just responding to the need that’s right in front of you.
This isn’t just about asking a whole bunch of questions, though. Salespeople need to have the mindset and skills to engage in diagnostic conversations that the customer will get value from.
Differentiate your sales approach through the human experience.
The digitization of sales is inevitable. It won’t be long before most purchases will be automated and you won’t need to talk to a salesperson. If you’re in the sales business, this can sound like bad news. But it’s also a tremendous opportunity for salespeople to rise to the occasion and lift their game.
If there’s one thing that the pandemic reinforced, it’s the need for human connection, empathy, understanding, and reassurance. The opportunity is there for salespeople to become trusted consultants by solving a customer’s business problems, listening, asking insightful questions, and sharing insights.
During the next two years, your sales plan needs to focus on how your team will build trust and rapport in an increasingly digital world and what they need to do to familiarize themselves with the buyer’s goals, problems, and pain points. With more and more products now viewed as a commodity, differentiation won’t come from how well a salesperson describes your offerings. It will from how effectively they can deliver on the human experience throughout the buying journey.
The #1 Driver of Sales PerformanceThere’s one more critical component of a sales plan to capitalize on the coming wave: the role of self-belief, attitude, achievement, drive, and purpose in sales performance.
When we ask sales leaders what contributes to their top performers’ success, they tell us that at least 75 percent (if not more) is the intangibles: who they are, their attitude, their confidence, their drive to succeed. Product knowledge and selling skills, by comparison, are much less predictive of sustained sales success.
Few of them say they’re focusing much training—if any—on these key sales success drivers.
We’re at a pivotal moment, and there’s too much at stake. We must address the whole person by developing the skills, mindset, and attitudes as well as the product knowledge, techniques, and tools. This will require expanding salespeople’s belief boundaries and identifying potential inner roadblocks that could be holding them back from achieving their true sales performance potential. If you’re not doing that, then you’re jeopardizing your ability to capitalize on the coming wave.
Now is a great time to be in sales. Don’t miss out! Make sure your people and your organization are ready to reap the benefits of this rebounding economy.