Monthly Archives: November 2016
Who are those people on the other side of the conference table? Why are they there? Why do more of my key sales meetings seem like they involve a cast of many? And why does “my guy” seem more and more powerless? Team selling today is no longer just required for blockbuster B2B sales pitches. Whether you are a B2C home remodeler, financial advisor or surgeon; or a B2B consultant, money manager or technology provider, pivotal meetings with clients and prospects more often now involve more people – on both sides of the table.
The purpose of this post is to spotlight what’s driving this dynamic, and what you can do to adapt to this reality.
Defining Team Selling
I define team selling as when two or more people from an organization (and its affiliates or co-selling partners) join forces at a customer touchpoint, in-person or virtual, to advance an opportunity or retain an account.
Why Team Selling is Becoming More Common
You’re a good salesperson, so why the need to involve others?
Here are some examples of recent developments that have impacted how your customers make buying decisions:
Mobile communication and Wi-Fi Crowd-sourced reviews (i.e., Yelp) On-line discussion forums (i.e., LinkedIn interest groups) 2008-09 financial crisis
The first three technology advances enable customers to gain information about their options – faster and without you. The fourth event, The Great Recession, created mistrust and » Continue Reading.
For Learning and Development organizations to deliver the most relevant, effective, and meaningful training programs to Sales organizations, they need to ask their internal customers the right questions.
L&D may have a clear direction for its mission in developing employees and have a good sense of the population it serves, but to be a strategic partner to Sales, it also needs context around skills or behaviors that may be lacking.
Such context for training is best found in the tools of the Sales organization itself:
A formal sales process that provides a repeatable, effective progression for sales professionals to move opportunities through the sales pipeline A CRM in which the sales process has been integrated, allowing rapid analysis of the stages where sales opportunities may become stuck or lost The best way for L&D to be aware of where sales professionals excel and where they need help is through the sales process. So, the first question for L&D to ask Sales is: Do you have a sales process? Next, try to assess how formal and well-adopted it is versus just having some informal procedures that may differ in implementation across the organization.
The kind of sales process we at Richardson work with clients to develop is a formal, dynamic one that includes metrics for measuring progress. We believe a consistent sales process drives better results — and achieves results as quickly as possible. The foundation is » Continue Reading.
Is your company setting up its sales personnel for success? Is it targeting sales competencies that reflect the 21st century business landscape? Our sales training research reveals some answers that might surprise you.
In Q4 of 2016, Richardson and Training Industry, Inc. partnered to perform new sales training research, surveying 288 companies across more than 14 industries that ranged in size from less than 100 to over 50,000 employees to examine organizations’ approaches to identifying and developing sales competencies.
The goal of this sales research project is to provide sales organizations and L&D professionals with insight to help them develop sales training programs that better align with the goal of helping sales professionals master the competencies that are most important for business success.
Sales Training Research Results
The study found that there are significant gaps between the sales competencies reported to be most important for business success and the competencies that are effectively developed through training. Specifically, the research suggests a widespread gap in the effectiveness of training for the following competencies:
Targeting buyers Prospecting opportunities Knowing the market Understanding customer needs Effective presentation skills Expanding current accounts
Potential causes of this gap are a mismatch between training goals and business goals and lack of consistency in training across departments.
Additional Research Findings
This research also offers insight » Continue Reading.
When it comes to sales training, the obvious goals are to improve the performance of sales professionals, win more opportunities, and develop the kinds of skills and behaviors necessary to compete successfully in a changing business environment. The secret to achieving these results as quickly as possible is using the sales process as a framework for training. While this sounds intuitive, it doesn’t always happen this way.
Internal Perspectives on Sales Training
What we find at Richardson is that training requests can originate in either of two functional areas: Sales or the Learning and Development organization. Each speaks a different language and focuses on different things when it comes to training. Sales talks about building rapport, positioning solutions, sharing insights, and negotiations. L&D talks about learning methodologies, skill transfer, and knowledge retention.
Bridging the gap between the two points of view and focusing the conversation on specific training needs requires the framework of the sales process.
Using the Sales Process & CRMs to Develop Effective Training Programs
The sales process is already an invaluable tool for the sales organization. Research shows that companies using a formal sales process generally saw an 18% boost in revenues (Harvard Business Review, January 2015). Yet the sales process is often overlooked as a tool for discussing sales training needs with L&D » Continue Reading.
Consider this scenario:
When Richardson people talk with prospects in a Learning and Development role, the conversation tends to focus on a training solution, skills reinforcement, and maybe, a change management initiative. When Richardson people talk with prospects in a Sales leadership role, the conversation tends to focus on the sales process — and only after the sales process is thoroughly reviewed will the need for skills training or behavior change be addressed.
This makes sense because primary interests are related to the function of the job. L&D leaders are responsible for developing the knowledge, skill level, and potential of their people. Sales leaders are responsible for achieving sales results through their people. However, with different optics come different views of what the goal line looks like. In this post, I’d like to offer a way for each group to easily check that they are aligned.
Achieving Rapid Alignment Between L&D and Sales Leaders Through the Sales Process
To rapidly achieve alignment, I recommend using the sales process as a bridge between L&D and the sales organization, helping them work more effectively together. If you think of the sales process as what to do and the knowledge and skills as how to do it, then aligning the two becomes a quicker and more effective way to get the kind » Continue Reading.