For sales managers and leaders, empowering sales reps and improving customer satisfaction has always been a top priority. But that’s not always easy to achieve. Most often, salespeople are effective at generating leads, maintaining communication, and responding to requests. But many still struggle to close the deal in the most critical selling situation—when they are in front of a customer.
Whether your organization is big or small, there are several core strategies that can help salespeople better perform in front of customers. Here are six pieces of actionable advice and best practices that can be implemented across all types of organizations to improve the bottom line.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Selling is just like riding a bike. Well, maybe not quite. But selling in front of a customer is all about confidence, and that confidence comes from repeated activity. Being successful with customers is about the ability to listen to their needs, and then present a compelling case that helps them understand and learn from the sales process.
Being able to achieve that success takes time and requires practice. For sales leaders, ensuring sales teams get the practice they need can be made easier by the adoption of sales enablement tools that let management oversee, count, and monitor client engagement sessions and sales rep activity. With that type of insight, you can really help to get reps’ confidence flowing.
Learn From the Best
In any sales organization, there are always naturals—the Babe Ruth of salespeople—who easily make their numbers without really knowing or being able to explain why. However, one of the best ways to help salespeople perform better in front of a customer is to use the behaviors of their successful peers as a model that can be faithfully replicated across the entire team. As a sales manager, if you can't get the top sellers to tell you what they are doing, use tools to get that valuable insight instead. Either way, this will help you relay those winning strategies to the rest of the sales team.
Implement Training That Works
Sales and product training is a key part of the life of a sales person. This is how they learn the product and market, prepare themselves for the selling situation, and then (hopefully) win the deal in the big customer presentation. But the advent of the mobile device has caused the very nature of training to change.
Traditionally, sales teams gathered at company headquarters twice a year to learn about the latest products and approaches. But today’s sales teams are always on-the-go and mobile in a way they never were before. For sales leaders, this means introducing a new kind of training—one that understands salespeople need access to training in their “mobile moment of need” instead of a couple times every year.
By delivering training inside standard content tools—the same tools used by reps every day to present to customers, and not in some old legacy Learning Management System (LMS) accessed from a PC on a VPN—sales management can shift how salespeople use training and help them acquire the knowledge necessary to win deals.
Use Interactive Materials
Sales cycles are shortening. Prospects are doing more of their own research upfront, which means they are drastically more educated on the product they want to buy before even engaging with a salesperson or entering the sales cycles. Trying to sell today’s prospects on a PDF brochure that is downloadable via a company website is guaranteed to fall flat. It's 2017 and it’s time for that to change.
For sales managers, this means creating powerful, interactive, and dynamic presentations that help sales teams tell the product story—anytime, anywhere. Further, interactive content acts as a powerful tool for reps to change the conversation and engage the customer in a way that is now within reach of every business.
Mobile devices are part of our lives. We use them for social media, messaging, the latest news, and even basic tasks like email and web browsing. But mobile devices can be even more powerful when used in front of a customer. They can help a salesperson keep a sales situation on track, help a new rep be confident by structuring materials for him or her in real time, and provide the platform for customers to touch and engage directly with interactive content.
Mobile is not just a new paradigm for computing, though. It’s a new way of selling where the salesperson, the content, and the customer merge together around a glass screen. For sales leaders looking to modernize their organizations, this means investing in the mobile tools that are going to empower sales reps to engage with the customer when it’s most important—in-person.
These previous tips don’t have to operate in silos. By taking inspiration from the previous tips—training, learning from others, interactive materials, and mobility—sales leaders can help introduce a new, important concept: guided selling. The power of guided selling is in its ability to help sales reps know what materials and content to use at every part of the sales cycle.
Through machine learning and AI technology, guided selling tools can make content recommendations based on a comprehensive set of contextual variables. They also can guide sales reps through a set of actions that have proven to be successful. With guided selling, sales managers can help sales teams be more confident in knowing what materials they have at hand, and dynamic enough to adapt as situations change. Guided selling is critical in changing how world leading organizations empower their sales teams.