By Andy Champion, VP and General Manager, EMEA at Highspot
Consistent success is most frequently found within organisations where sales leaders are committed to an ongoing culture of coaching.
Coaching allows sales leaders to drive long-term behavioural change aligned with best practices, which is a fundamental component of modern leadership. It ensures that sales reps are supported and equipped to hit, or exceed their personal quota and significantly increase the chances of achieving their team goals. This creates a competitive advantage that can lead to significant bottom-line results and drive efficient growth.
WIthout an effective coaching system to reinforce new skills, approximately 87% of training sessions are forgotten within 7 days. New and innovative tools help businesses to avoid this loss by assisting their sellers with technology which enables them to quickly replicate the best practices of top performers.
Training is a continuous commitment
In the current business climate, sales teams are challenged more than ever to win deals, manage their time, engage with buyers, and meet targets. A common reaction to this increased pressure is to double down on training, add new content and focus even more on individual activity levels.
Whilst this is a tempting natural reaction, it rarely works in the mid-to-long term because it does nothing to change the behaviours of salespeople. A more effective approach to sustained changes in rep behaviour isolates effective behaviours and collates these into sales plays that help all reps understand what to know, say, show and do in given selling scenarios.
Sales training should never be isolated. By integrating training, deliberate practice and coaching, growth will become the standard for your team and the impact will be felt in revenue, retention and morale.
AI-powered analytics fueled by sales data
Sales is part art and part science. The part that is art, as we have already discussed, can be improved through deliberate practice. As for science, the rise of revenue technologies and the data associated with them has transformed the way sales teams think and feel in recent years. And whilst intuition may be in the driver’s seat, sales data has taken the wheel.
One reason for this stems from the innate difficulty that all salespeople face when trying to pinpoint what they’re doing wrong, and in complex interactions of conversations, emails and meetings they ‘lost the deal’. By leveraging AI-powered analytics fueled by sales data, subjective commentary can be replaced with empirical evidence and the insight that results can then be used to make objective adjustments to future engagements.
Data can also highlight how and where your team is functioning most effectively and where they would most benefit from additional resources, training or support. A data-driven sales team will save your company time, energy, and money.
The winning sales recipe
A sales enablement strategy’s fundamental purpose is to provide salespeople with the content, tools and coaching they need to engage customers throughout the buying process effectively.
Sales Enablement is a relatively new functional area for many businesses in Europe, however, the weight of evidence from North America as to the benefits of a well-executed strategy means that it is one that should be a standard business practice for anyone seeking to grow revenue, increase sales productivity and improve customer experience.
If you buy into the concept of ‘if you give people a recipe, they’ll know what to do’, then the first question to ask is where to go to build your recipe. Experience suggests, that we should go to our top performers. In the business world, that means looking at our top sales performers to understand what they’re saying and doing to win the hearts and minds of customers versus the competition.
Research from Techvalidate has shown that when companies commit to this approach through using Sales Plays, they experience a 19% increase in the amount of sales personnel reaching quota, and a 24% reduction in ramp times for new reps*. For many organisations, this translates into millions of dollars, pounds, or euros and a way more efficient growth path than before.
So, it turns out that creating ‘the winning sales recipe’ really is the secret sauce that gets your salespeople to hit their annual quota consistently.
A consistent culture of coaching
Deploying a well-curated sales enablement solution equips sellers with the content they need and addresses challenges with the misalignment of sales and marketing that many businesses experience. A consistent culture of coaching ensures sellers are trained on how to land the content in a compelling way and with consistent impact. And, finally by tracking content throughout the entire sales cycle, one will gain actionable insights and a single source of truth for all content.
Sales enablement is, in many respects, what Google is to search, and as sales leaders, it is our responsibility to empower our teams by embracing the role of technology in sales management.