Whenever I speak or write about what makes a truly excellent sales leader, I always end up talking about coaching. That’s not because coaching is the only thing that makes a great sales leader. It’s just really, really important.
Coaching is something that eludes a lot of sales leaders, and most training efforts fail to reach their objectives. Why?
The answer lies partly in what’s expected of sales managers in the eyes of senior leadership.
Most sales cultures lead a sales manager to believe that reporting numbers is their top priority.
It’s obvious that their top priority should be improving numbers – what’s often not so obvious is how that is accomplished.
Improving a sales organization’s ability to consistently hit its number is accomplished through coaching each representative up to a higher level of sales performance, which results in increased sales.
When all that is asked of a sales manager is to create pivot tables and reports, sales managers become inspectors and not coaches.
Pivot tables and reports are nothing more than exercises of examination, and constant inspection of them creates a false sense of security among sales leaders because they are working under a common false assumption: that results will improve with higher levels of inspection.
Ironically, the opposite is true. Just ask any sales professional or manager how many hours they have spent presenting data and what observable difference it made in their ability to improve revenue.
Actually, don’t waste your time; the answer is virtually none.
For an outside-of-sales example, just imagine a football coach whose team is trailing at halftime.
Once in the locker room the coach attempts to inspire his team by shouting, “I looked at the scoreboard. You didn’t score enough points! You need to score more points!”
How is that helping his team improve? It’s not.
He’s just stating facts about numbers -- numbers his team already knows. He’s inspecting, not coaching, and the second half of the game will be much the same as the first.
So, if inspection of numbers doesn’t move the needle on revenue, what does?
Coaching. Focused skills, tactics and strategy development through one-on-one coaching of sales professionals with their managers is the answer.
When I find organizations steeped in introspection and short on coaching, it’s usually because of a lack of understanding of how to coach up or an unwillingness to invest the time and effort.
I am here to assure you that you can learn to be a good coach and doing so won’t be incrementally more difficult, time-consuming, or onerous than what you’re doing now.
In fact, done well, effective sales coaching will save time by replacing many of the counterproductive activities you’ve likely taken on.
Here our top 3 tips for effective coaching:
1. Use motivation other than money.
We tend to think that salespeople are only motivated by money and that they’ll do anything to get more, but the data suggests the opposite. Most sales reps today are intrinsically motivated.
When coaching your sales team, you must remember that each person is unique, and likely motivated by different things. Think outside the box with competitions around a specific goal -- a prize for the winners -- or rewards of extra vacation time. Conduct a formal evaluation of your sales force to help you determine the source of their motivation.
2. Clarify your expectations.
For ongoing coaching sessions to really move the performance needle, everyone must begin with a common goal. Clarifying your expectations upfront is, therefore, essential.
Hold each other accountable to a schedule, create clear goals, and focus on building and nurturing your relationship. A deeper connection will improve your results.
3. Share a Common Way of Tracking Progress
No one is more accountable for the team reaching its goals than the sales manager, therefore, the manager needs to create a clear, effective way of tracking progress.
In theory, the path to your goal should be clearly outlined in your CRM, but, for the most part, the truly valuable and actionable information will be found in the story the data tells.
Most salespeople use their own subjective criteria when reporting on their pipeline to managers and themselves, which leads to inaccurate forecasts and missed goals. A shared way of tracking progress is essential.
When it comes to sales coaching, there is no magic wand to wave, and there are many more characteristics that make up a great sales leader and a great coaching program.
When you’re ready to implement a coaching program that will produce a dramatic difference in the output of your sales organization, give us a call.
When we talk about Sales DNA, we’re talking about how a salesperson thinks.
We’re talking about how their thinking drives their reactions in certain key selling situations. Their thoughts, positive or negative, will have a significant impact on their actions and therefore their results.
When sales DNA appears as a weakness, it’s what sabotages a rep’s ability to execute.
We have a tendency to think of Sales DNA in very black and white terms: you either have positive DNA/thoughts or you don’t. And, while there is an element of truth to that statement, it misses a very big opportunity: that those salespeople whose thoughts are not always supportive can (and should) improve upon it with practice.
Professional athletes all have natural DNA, both mental and physical, that supports excellence on the field, but every one of them still practices for hours daily to improve their performance.
If they slack off, they lose their edge.
If they slack off self-defeating thoughts and insecurities can begin to creep into their minds. They’re not exempt from practice simply because they’re naturally gifted.
The same goes for good salespeople.
In training, salespeople learn how to improve their execution of sales process, listen and question better, qualify prospects better, so that, when they’re actually in front of a prospect, they don’t become overwhelmed and revert to old, familiar selling behaviors.
And, that’s the really difficult thing -- to overcome the tendency to backslide into old ways of selling.
It’s like a coiled spring: You can pull on it and it feels as though you’re changing it, but the second you release the tension, it reverts back to its original shape.
Improving Sales DNA requires much more effort and time than improving selling tactics and techniques because any one of a salesperson’s six Sales DNA competencies -- which are what comprise a rep’s Sales DNA Score -- can present itself as a weakness:
How can you change the shape of a spring? You just keep stretching it -- over and over again, stretching it further and further each time you do it.
Eventually, you’ll change the characteristics of the metal, and it won’t return to its original shape anymore.
But, that takes time and tremendous effort, and most people will quit during the process.
Sales leaders are no different. Most find it very difficult to help their salespeople overcome their DNA weaknesses because the work is not easy. It requires tremendous amounts of repetition, positive affirmations, permissions, workarounds, and role-playing.
Change doesn't occur quickly.
When you’re coaching a good sales rep and you see their DNA snap back into an old place, don’t quit. Picture the spring, and know that, with additional attempts, you’ll eventually change its shape.
It won't happen immediately, but your salespeople will eventually change and overcome negative sales DNA provided neither of you gives up.
Coaching like that is hard work. Practicing like that is hard work.
When you’re ready to get help, give us a call.
One of my greatest passions is helping sales executives improve the efficacy of their sales training programs. Unfortunately, I find a lot of them in bad shape.
Companies routinely hire sales reps (often hurriedly) and then fumble through a few weeks of product training and shadowing (unfortunately often with reps that are not setting the best example). It’s all a bit haphazard, and it’s often designed to be “fun” and “easy” so as not to intimidate the new hire.
Again and again, this approach to sales training fails.
Companies experience excessive ramp up time, dry pipelines, customer churn, inconsistent sales approaches and processes, and high employee turnover rates in the name of “not too difficult” training.
To vastly improve your sales team’s performance, you must go beyond easy sales calls and random basic training exercises.
Here are my top 3 tips to vastly increase new sales:
1. Lead by example.
Salespeople, especially rookie salespeople, need their leaders to model success for them. Research shows that employees work more proactively when they view their leaders as empowering and capable. In other words, your team is watching you. Set the example, and show them the way!
A good approach is a strict practice regimen.
Sales reps should be role-playing calls weekly with a colleague and a coach. Face-to-face group practice sessions should also be implemented weekly. Newer and/or lower-performing sales reps should practice daily.
Lead by example by being the first to jump in the hot seat. Encourage your team to come up with curveball objections, and allow them to challenge you. Maintain your sense of humor, and always remember your team is watching you. If you project the image that you’re too good to practice, they will adopt that attitude as well.
By the same token, don’t exempt anyone from practice, not even your highest performers.
Everyone practices. Period. A true practice culture means no one is exempt. A great way to get your seasoned reps involved is to ask them to be a mentor and provide support for the newer reps.
The data agrees: A study published in Performance Improvement Quarterly reveals that a well-coached salesperson displays superior performance, with coaching accounting for 2.9% to 6.2% of the performance difference between employees.
I’ve seen similar results across multiple companies, and the positive impact on team morale is clearly visible.
2. Make practice harder than actual play.
If you follow sports at all, you’re likely familiar with the incredible accomplishments of NBA star Steph Curry -- 3 NBA Championships, 2 time MVP, 5 time 3-point leader, 3 time free-throw leader, just to name a few.
Curry himself credits his success to an insane practice schedule that looks nothing like a real basketball game but sharpens his skills nonetheless.
Have you ever tried to catch a tennis ball while dribbling a basketball, or dribble a “heavy” basketball and a regular one simultaneously? What about continuously bouncing a ball between your legs while also maintaining a regular dribble with your other hand? It all sounds impossible, but this is Steph’s daily practice, and it contributes to making him great.
It’s tempting to go easy on the new guy or toss softball scenarios to an underperforming rep, but you’re doing them (and yourself) no favors when you do that. In fact, you’re just wasting your time.
Practice should be harder than a real-life sales call so that salespeople are prepared for any objection a prospect offers up.
Have reps practice over the phone as well as face to face, and don’t help them when they get stuck. Don’t let them break out of their roles by feeding them answers. Ask follow-up questions until they find solutions themselves.
With this strategy, practice is essentially a type of exposure therapy that prepares your sales reps to handle the unexpected moments in calls and meetings without panicking.
3. Practice everything, not just the first cold call.
When I ask sales executives about their training programs, almost all of them report practicing initial sales calls, but very few report practicing the calls and meetings that follow. This is a huge mistake.
Ninety five percent of all B2B deals are closed in the follow up process. Second only to a dry pipeline, an ineffective follow up process is often the reason for a lack of sales success.
Take the time to go over follow-up messages and the subsequent sales calls and meetings. Great sales teams excel in all types of interactions, so don’t limit practice to just the initial contact.
Commit to implementing a thorough practice program to help your salespeople hone their skills until they’re sharper than ever. We’re here to help.
Renowned sales expert Dave Kurlan of Objective Management Group has a wonderful training video on sales resistance, and it mirrors what many experts posit about sales: that the art of selling is every bit as much about reducing sales resistance as increasing sales acceptance.
Recently on LinkedIn, Tom Hopkins, one of the most respected sales trainers in the nation, said the same thing.
If that is the case, that good selling requires reducing sales resistance (and I agree that it is), then salespeople must find a way to anticipate that resistance.
Most salespeople don’t get this key point about anticipation. They are solely focused on developing relationships and being accepted. Relationships are good, but relationships in and of themselves do not eliminate or lower conflict or resistance. Everyone’s difficult uncle at the family reunion is proof of that!
To reduce resistance, salespeople must learn to recognize the actions or behaviors they exhibit that cause resistance in the first place. Are yours?
Most salespeople are so bad at anticipating resistance that they often do one of two things:
One of the reasons representatives don’t anticipate resistance is poor listening skills.
Only 25% of all salespeople emphasize listening over talking. If you’re not listening, you cannot hear and identify the resistance building in a prospect's voice. This is what I mean by “missing the signs”.
What causes that? Two things.
One, very few salespeople think “strategically”. They are so focused on “selling/telling” that they remain stuck “pitching” their products and services versus thinking like a business person with a broader and longer term perspective.
Second, a high percentage of salespeople don't listen because, while their prospect is speaking, they are thinking of what they are going to say the moment the prospect stops and takes a breath. What they’re not doing is paying attention and remaining in the moment where the action is.
If they aren't paying attention with their ears, then they certainly aren't paying attention with their eyes. Noticing changes in body language is key to sensing resistance. Again, distraction and a lack of focus is the issue.
When salespeople are busy contemplating their next move, instead of paying attention, they are not controlling their emotions and they miss the opportunity to participate in a rich two way business conversation.
You may notice there’s a big self-awareness issue.
Most salespeople lack self-awareness. In other words, they don’t notice how prospects are reacting when they (the salespeople) answer a question a certain way, ask a particular question, become defensive, rattle off their talking points, evade direct questions, or appear untrustworthy. They just keep on pushing the sale, and the prospect grows silently more resistant.
Sales closing rates vary wildly by industry but generally range from as low as 10% to near 50%. In its evaluations of 1,884,457 salespeople, salespeople scored an average of only 24% in the Closer Competency and only 6% of all salespeople have the Closer Competency as a strength. (See stats on all 21 Sales Core Competencies)
If 75% of salespeople are not really paying attention, we can deduct that resistance goes up in at least half of their sales calls (which is 37.5% of all calls assuming all salespeople make the same number of calls) without the salespeople knowing it. Failed closings average 70%, so if resistance occurs 37.5% of the time, then in roughly 1/4 of the cases, resistance is responsible for salespeople losing the sale.
It’s more than reasonable to put lowering resistance at the top of your to-do list.
Now, for some good news. If resistance is an issue for you, you’re in luck. There is no sales tactic that is easier to learn than learning how to lower resistance. We can help you get started.
People often choose to work in sales because they think it will give them more freedom and less structure.
They’re not wrong.
Working in sales does give you a certain degree of independence, but that independence does not negate the need for a formal sales process.
In fact, a formal sales process is what will make your team more effective, improve performance, and even help you close sales quicker.
It’s common to think of a sales process as a script your team must follow or an exact way of doing things. It’s not.
A sales process is simply a set of repeatable steps that a sales person takes to move a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale.
Think of it as a roadmap for taking a potential customer on the journey from realizing they have a need for a product to making the actual purchase from you.
Typically, a sales process consists of the following: preparation/research, prospecting, initial approach, discovery/questioning, presentation, handling objections, follow-up and closing.
Most sales executives and their teams are aware that they go through these steps, but not many of them decide to outline and standardize the process, leaving it all up to individual sales reps to decide what steps to take and when. In addition, we find that many salespeople often take shortcuts in an attempt to speed up the process which is usually a strategic error.
As long as salespeople keep closing sales, how they do it is their own business, right? Wrong.
Let the numbers do the talking:
Yet, according to my partner organization, Objective Management Group, a whopping 68% of all salespeople do not follow a sales process at all! Do yours?
Something needs to change.
A formal, defined sales process can help you do the right things right and know for sure what works and what doesn’t.
Your sales team can:
As a sales manager, following a standardized sales process allows you to concentrate on the things that matter most: coaching each rep up to a higher level of performance, tracking qualified deals through the pipeline process, attending joint sales calls, as well as making more accurate sales forecasts and smoothing out the onboarding process.
Here are the four best practices for sales process implementation:
Ultimately, a formal sales process is what will increase your team’s performance and help you realize more revenue. You must define your sales process, commit to good pipeline management, and enable your managers to carry it out. Only then can you expect to hit your forecasts, hit your quotas, and see your sales reps succeed beyond what you thought possible.
When you’re ready to formalize your sales process, we’re here to help.
If selling was easy, companies would pay high school kids minimum wage to do it instead of investing millions in hiring, training, process development, and incentives like lucrative compensation plans.
Selling, particularly in today’s information-rich, buyer-centric environment, is hard for even the most seasoned sales reps. For reps new to the industry or the organization, the task of selling becomes even more difficult.
The bar is set high, and the learning curve is steep. You can’t really expect success right away but people do. I think that’s why so many sales reps quit so early in the game (or get fired). Lack of immediate success in making quota is incredibly disheartening.
It is tricky to say exactly how long it should take for a new sales representative to be selling with the company and closing enough deals to be making quota.
It depends on quite a few variables including whether the sales person is coming into a lead-rich environment or if they’ll be responsible for generating their own leads. In a lead-rich environment, the time frame for success could be mere weeks. Sales reps responsible for their own leads could have a ramp-up period of several months.
But, leads aren’t the only issue, and it’s important that you know what to expect from your team so that you can:
I’ve had the pleasure of directly hiring and promoting amazing sales reps across different geographies and industries, as well as coaching sales executives on how to successfully do the same. While no one can pinpoint exactly when a salesperson will be up and running at full speed and meeting sales goals, there is a way to roughly set your expectations.
There are six factors in total that determine the time to success, 3 on your side and 3 on the salesperson’s side.
Let's start with you. Consider:
All of these work together. If you have a six-month sales cycle, a three-month learning curve, and it takes 3 months to transition from their old world to your business, that translates to 12 months of pipeline building before you can reasonably expect your new salesperson to start closing business.
On the salesperson side, consider:
Wouldn’t it be great to know those things before you hired them? Can you imagine the frustration it would prevent? The money you’d save? A good hiring strategy will allow you to select the right salespeople from the start, experience far less turnover, fewer delays in growing revenue, and stronger sales teams.
If you’re interested, give us a call. We have access to the most predictive, accurate, and customizable candidate assessments in the world and can help you on your journey to smarter hiring.
Bottom line? Know what to expect and when to expect it from new sales reps.
When people make decisions, they base them on a number of factors, some logical and some emotional.
We know this somewhat intuitively. Yes, we take deliberate steps like weighing pros and cons, comparing costs, etc. -- but, we also sprinkle in a bit of intuition and desire to satisfy our “want” for a certain thing.
Here’s an example: It’s time to buy a house. I’m first going to determine what I’m looking for -- number of bedrooms, an updated kitchen, an easy-to-maintain yard, and so on -- and begin scouring listings.
I’ll read a lot of reviews about neighborhoods, talk to my friends about where they live, look at tons of pictures, and carefully consider the initial and monthly investment in making my decision of which house to buy.
Those are all logical factors. I’ll ultimately choose the house that makes me feel “at home” the moment I walk into it. That’s an emotional factor. Decision-making is always comprised of both.
Regardless of what decision we make, there is a process involved in making them and criteria that need to be satisfied.
Using my home buying example, my process would be to make a list of other houses I’ve owned and enjoyed. My personal favorites are my current home in North Carolina and the last house we owned in Connecticut before moving south. I’ve really loved them both.
Next, I’d identify the criteria that are important to me. My criteria for a house include location, physical condition, the features I mentioned above, price, and personal feel.
My point in sharing this is that your customers go through the same decision-making process and steps in satisfying criteria when they evaluate you as a potential vendor as you do when making a personal decision.
Success in sales requires an understanding of your customers’ decision-making process and their decision-making criteria. How certain are you that your sales team understands them both?
The truth is, most salespeople do not know the difference between their prospects' decision-making process compared with their decision-making criteria. What’s worse, they often fail to ask.
Data from my partner organization, Objective Management Group, reveals:
Only 27% of all salespeople are strong qualifiers. Most salespeople aren’t asking.
The danger in not understanding a prospect’s process and criteria is that it prevents your sales team from being able to differentiate your product or service. If I can’t identify what my prospect needs and desires, how can I possibly make my company stand out as the one to solve their problems? The answer is, I can’t.
It’s a well-known fatal blow to an organization to become seen as a commodity -- a situation where products and services have slipped into purely price-based competition because they seem like every other product or service on the market.
Not understanding their prospects’ decision-making process and criteria puts salespeople in real danger of falling into the commodity trap.
The only consistently effective way to differentiate is to take a consultative, value based approach to selling, featuring listening and questioning skills.
Unfortunately, most salespeople are unable to identify compelling reasons to buy, create urgency, and get their prospects to "must have."
Our approach teaches salespeople how to uncover more than just business issues. If you’re ready to begin the process of truly differentiating your company from your competition, give us a call.
Sales leaders are taught to set sales goals, both for individual salespeople and the organization as a whole, and that by doing so they’ll sell more, make more money, and climb the ladder of success.
I want to ask you, has that promise come true for you?
For most people the answer is no, or at least not completely.
I can say this with certainty because not hitting budget is the number one reason people reach out to me in the first place. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with sales leaders across the country revealing the frustration of people who have set sales goals and failed to consistently achieve them.
The issue is that sales goals by themselves don’t work for most people.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions. Goals are important, and I believe you must set them in order to find success in sales.
The issue with the simple advice of, “Set goals,” is that it’s incomplete and fails to reveal the reason why salespeople so often miss the mark and fail to achieve those goals.
The truth is that there is a small percentage of sales professionals for which setting goals is highly motivational and routine. It is the personal characteristics of those individuals that cause goal setting to work or not, and that is the variable you need to consider.
To understand how to make goal setting an effective catalyst to your success we need to look at the DNA and skill set of a relatively small group of salespeople for whom goal setting is known to be effective in achieving their desired outcomes. Once you know what those characteristics are, you can begin to identify strong candidates when hiring and alter the behavior of your current sales force so you can achieve a higher level of sales success.
The Secret of People Who Achieve Their Sales Goals.
There are two core characteristics or abilities that drive the achievement of sales goals: a sense of urgency and a willingness to consistently take action.
In order for salespeople to be successful, visualization of goals is not enough. They must also have a strong internal sense of urgency, desire, and commitment to achieve those goals.
For these salespeople achieving goals is priority #1. It’s not a “nice to have” or something that can get tackled later. Successful sales people are constantly in pursuit of greater success and achievement.
In addition, “smart” goal setting is really important because your salespeople must be able to believe that their goals are a reality even before they are achieved. That’s where strategizing with a coach can be very effective -- someone who has the tools to effectively evaluate each salesperson on your team and provide you with the insight needed to understand which of your existing salespeople possess this internal drive.
Nothing will come from simply asking for it. Your salespeople must do the work, and this time with more purpose, more intensity and more consistency.
Work produces results. It’s something I discuss with every client, that when salespeople finally begin to execute a well thought out process with consistency, when they laser in on the actions that will deliver results, the pipeline builds and new business begins to close. This is not “wishful thinking”. This is reality.
The reality is that a relatively small number of salespeople have a natural sense of urgency combined with the commitment to take consistent action, and that’s the reason so many goals fail to be met. The secret to achieving sales goals requires both urgency and action.
Now that your wheels are turning, you’ll want to focus on perfecting a hiring process that identifies the characteristics of a strong sales candidate. Note that a sense of urgency and action aren’t the only components! There are actually many; but, urgency and action are two of the most impactful.
As for your existing sales force, if you have the right people in the right roles, we can take steps to improve their behaviors. That will come as we begin to develop your overall sales process. Of course, there is a strong possibility that you don’t have the right people in the right roles and will need to make some changes. We’ll address that, too.
You now know some of the secrets to achieving your sales objectives. When hitting your revenue numbers hits the top of your priority list, give us a call.
Social selling. By now you’ve certainly heard of it, but are you entirely sure what it means, or why it’s so important?
Often conflated with social media marketing, which is about creating content targeted for each platform in order to drive user engagement and “sharing”, or social media advertising, which is literally ad creation, social selling is something entirely different.
Social selling allows salespeople to laser-target prospects, establish rapport, and maybe even reduce or eliminate the need for cold calling.
By leveraging their own social network to find the right prospects and build trusted relationships, salespeople experience better lead generation and sales prospecting process, ultimately leading to the achievement of sales goals. Why? Because building and maintaining relationships is just easier within a network that a customer trusts.
Make no mistake: Social selling is not just about gaining access to contacts. Social selling is about building relationships and listening for the right moment to join the conversation and present a solution to a problem. The goal in social selling is to address a pressing need to make the prospect’s life easier, not to become another online pest that bombards strangers with solicited tweets and private messages (that’s just spamming -- don’t ever do it).
So, why should you care? I’ve provided a lot of statistics in the next section that speak to the importance of social selling, but here’s the most compelling reason to care: 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who are not engaged in the practice. Social selling works. Period.
Here are a few more points to consider:
1. Social selling produces real relationships and real results.
Salespeople have traditionally relied on the (dreaded) process of cold calling to build rapport with prospects, but with minimal results: 90% of top decision-makers say they never respond to cold calls.
By contrast, social selling allows you to listen in on conversations relevant to your industry—known as social listening—giving your sales team the ability to identify new leads that are already talking about your business, your competitors, or your industry, so you can reach out to them slowly with useful information when the time is right. The first point of contact is personalized, relevant, and helpful -- instead of intrusive and cold.
31% of B2B professionals say that social selling tools allows them to build deeper relationships with clients.
Better yet, building a strong network through various social media channels allows you to seek out introductions to new sales prospects through existing mutual connections, creating an immediate sense of trust and rapport. That trust is an incredibly important resource for both clients and salespeople, with 87% of B2B buyers saying they would have a favorable impression of someone introduced through their professional network.
The numbers just don’t lie. Internal LinkedIn data shows sales professionals with a strong social selling index—a measure based on how well salespeople build their personal brand, focus on the right prospects, engage with relevant content, and build trusted relationships—have 45% more sales opportunities than others and are 51% more likely to hit their sales quotas.
Objective Management Group, my partner organization, agrees with the science behind sales force excellence:
-38% of companies who use social selling report that they have more opportunities in their pipelines, and:
2. Prospects are looking for you, too.
Just as sales professionals use “social listening” and other social research strategies to identify and get to know potential clients, those potential clients are using their own social listening and social research strategies to find their potential vendors.
75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use contacts and information from social networks as part of their purchase process.
Your customers are halfway through the purchase process before they ever engage with your sales team. If you’re not actively engaged in social selling, you’re missing a lot of sales.
Beyond the initial sale, keep in mind that customer loyalty is driven by a salesperson’s ability to deliver unique insight, a skill that salespeople can initially demonstrate through their social media content sharing, and later confirm through their ongoing social connections with past clients. Teams engaged in social selling have a higher customer renewal rate, too.
3. Social selling is a “must have” in the new job market
A whopping 71% of all sales professionals—and 90% of top salespeople—are already
using social selling tools. Among younger salespeople, the numbers are even higher, with 78% of all millennial sales professionals using social selling tools and 63% saying those tools are critical or extremely critical to their sales performance. If you’re not allowing your sales team to use social tools and equipping them to do so, it will be more challenging for you to recruit top sales performers, especially from the millennial demographic.
Is social selling a standalone strategy? No! By no means am I advocating that salespeople hide behind their computer screens and hope that their mere presence will magically put opportunities in their pipelines. By contrast, the data shows that the most effective hunters use all available means to win prospects while non-hunters shy away from all available means. Great salespeople are motivated enough to adapt and leverage all tools that are available to them.
Check out this data from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations of more than 1.7 million salespeople:
If you have not yet incorporated social selling into your funnel, you’re likely already losing business to more socially savvy peers. If you’re ready to get started implementing best practices and how to get started, give us a call.
Whether high turnover at your company has resulted from failure to use a sales candidate assessment tool to help you hire wisely, troubles with the company culture, or a lack of coaching, it is a problem that requires your immediate attention.
Sales turnover hovers at around 35%, and the cost is significant. Just consider:
The answer is simple, and it may be hard to hear, but here it is: Most companies simply don’t know what makes one person able to sell and another not.
A very high proportion of “salespeople” across the nation cannot sell. Can you identify the ones on your team that are elite salespeople?
Do you remember when you became an elite salesperson? Not a presenter or quoter of services, or even an order taker (anyone can do those things), but a true, consultative salesperson who asked the kind of difficult, deep questions that changed the conversation and won you business. When you consciously began asking these types of questions on every sales call, you became an elite salesperson.
Consultative sellers change the conversation, change the prospect’s perspective, and win more business. They are the “elite” salespeople.
Becoming truly consultative is a skill that only the best salespeople master: The top 7% have it down and the next 15% work at it pretty effectively. The rest? Not yet. And, that’s a huge part of turnover.
Of course, there’s a science to sales force selection, but here is a quick summary of the top 10 requirements -- skills and sales DNA -- that salespeople must possess to become masters at consultative selling:
Sales management expert Duane Cashin has lead award-winning sales organizations and trained sales teams for companies of all sizes. He’s earned membership in Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, successfully built and sold his own multi-million-dollar business, and enjoys sharing his passion for sales.