Your sales reps are a critical part of your customer interactions. Each one represents the experience that customers will have with your brand and how they choose to interact with you in the future.
Success for sales reps often means generating qualified B2B sales leads and setting up appointments with account executives to close sales. In order to effectively create that success, your reps need the proper training.
Taking the right steps to provide it can help transform the way your sales reps interact with their customers.
#1: Clearly Define Sales Goals
Your business has clear goals that define what you expect of your sales team — but does each member of the sales team know what’s expected of them and how they need to participate in order to effectively meet those goals?
Make sure your sales goals are calculated in a way that will allow your reps small victories over the course of the sales period as well as larger, long-term victories. Then, make sure that those sales goals are clearly defined.
Your sales reps should know how many customers they’re expected to interact with, what percentage of their leads should be closed, and how many overall sales they’re expected to achieve.
Not only should you define goals clearly, you should communicate with them in a way that your reps can easily view and check back on often.
#2: Try Hands-On Training
Does most of your sales training take place in an isolated environment, away from customers?
While that’s a great way to learn how to use computer programs or a cash register, it’s less effective when you’re training sales reps in how to interact with people. Instead, opt for hands-on training. Bring your sales reps out onto the floor and let them work directly with prospective customers.
Try some role-play scenarios that will allow them to interact with ‘prospects’ when there are no stakes attached. Experienced salespeople who have worked with your prospects in the past can help improve those training scenarios and make them more realistic. Then, let new salespeople interact directly with prospects. Providing feedback as early as possible in the training process will increase the chances of success.
Additionally, role plays are still great when people begin and are valuable as an extra strategy to help touch upon weaknesses and enhance strengths found when people move through training.
You should always be looking for new ways to improve your team’s sales skills.
#3: Improve Communication Between Departments
Your sales team has the potential to accomplish incredible things for your business, but only as a team! Make sure there’s clear communication between your departments.
Sales and marketing, for example, should have an open avenue for communication to help ensure that both team knows their goals, roles and that there’s minimal confusion. As the ones who interact most frequently with customers, the sales team often has additional insight into what customers need or want most. This helps marketing with targeting particular audiences and creating relevant content that will educate them.
Your sales team should also communicate with other departments. To ensure they get the information they need, alignment with the operations department is key. That way, they know exactly what they’re selling: what the product’s strengths are, what the weaknesses are, and what features are offered. It’s typical to hear operational departments complaining about impossible jobs after sales teams over-sell. Clear processes, hand-offs and comms can help avoid this and will lead to an increase in customer retention.
#4: Teach Them How to Prioritize Leads
There’s no sense in wasting effort on people who aren’t ready to buy. Reluctant leads are unlikely to make an immediate purchase no matter how talented your sales team might be — and that means they’ll be wasting time that could be spent on a lead that is more likely to convert.
Instead of falling into this trip, teach your sales team how to rank leads and even provide them with tools to do this for them. Using a ranking system or lead scoring to clearly define prospects that are more likely to convert to sales will result in better results.
#5: Conduct Performance Reviews
When your salespeople interact with customers, how are they doing? What steps could each salesperson take to improve their performance and increase sales?
If you aren’t conducting regular performance reviews, you probably don’t know what your salespeople need most!
Take the time to listen in on sales calls or to trail your salespeople while they’re in action. You don’t have to hover over the top of them while they’re interacting with customers, which can be off-putting, but you can stand nearby.
Consider how salespeople interact with customers. Observe them on a regular basis, then offer tips and suggestions that will help improve their overall performance. This isn’t just a strategy you should utilize with new trainees; rather, make performance reviews a regular part of your interactions with the whole sales team.
#6: Utilize Your Best Salespeople
Chances are, there’s a salesperson somewhere in your business who is able to achieve top goals. They’re the one who always seems to meet their targets each month, and they regularly convert customers that others throughout the business thought would be impossible.
But what’s their secret?
In some cases, it’s something indefinable: some personality trait that simply makes it easier for them to convince customers to buy. In other cases, however, you’ll find that your best salespeople have plenty to teach the rest of your team.
Whether you’re training new employees or giving existing sales reps the tools they need to move forward, let your best sales reps come in and work with the team. You may be surprised by how a few simple tips can transform your team’s interactions with your customers.
#7: Provide Known Incentives
When the members of your sales team meet their goals, what’s in it for them?
While most team members will be eager to help hit business goals for your workplace, it’s important to offer the right incentive to help encourage salespeople to dive in. Personal rewards, from free lunches to financial rewards for meeting sales goals, can help provide additional incentive to sales reps.
Get creative with your rewards! It doesn’t have to be a bonus. Consider offering extra paid time off, providing more workplace flexibility, or another incentive that has meaning to your employees.
Make sure that new employees learn about those incentives as part of the onboarding process.
Sales Rep Success = Company Success
Your sales team is the front line for growing your business. With thorough training, they can go from effective to incredible!
By utilizing these key training methods and suggestions, you can improve your sales team’s success and ensure that they’re more likely to meet their overall goals:
- Clearly Define Sales Goals
- Try Hands-On Training
- Improve Communication Between Departments
- Use Lead Scoring
- Conduct Performance Reviews
- Utilize Your Best Salespeople
- Provide Known Incentives
What steps could you take to improve the success of your sales team?
This article was contributed by Tom Jenkins.