I worked with a BD executive at a construction company who was passionate about sales. Brendan didn’t start out in sales. He filled a temporary void and found that he really enjoyed it, and he was good at it. He had a strong technical background, a pleasant personality, and connected easily with customers.
Like all great salespeople, he had a process, a formula for the number of meetings, calls, letters, and sales presentations he made each year. Eventually he became the SVP of a large BD team. He wanted his team to be successful, so he focused on the same activities that he used to win work.
Brendan tracked his team’s activities relentlessly. He set activity goals for each BD rep and tracked them in a custom report in CRM. The weekly sales calls devolved into discussions on the number of emails, calls, meetings, and sales presentations. “Don’t drive past three industrial plants on your way to a meeting at the fourth one. Get appoints at every plant and maximize your time,” Brendan would say with a twinkle in his eye.
Within six months, the BDDs were filling CRM with meetings, calls, emails, and new client visits. How many new opportunities were closed as a result of all this activity? Zero.
Tracking activities and expenses is necessary, and often is indicative of a salesperson who needs to step up her game. Too many sales leaders are hyper-focused on behavioral metrics without helping BDDs develop the skills they need to be more effective in their job.
Build Effectiveness in Your Sales Team
My colleague Brendan had exceptional sales skills. He knew how to build rapport, ask questions, overcome objections, and move an opportunity through the sales funnel. He was superb at crafting a winning proposal strategy and made killer presentations. The problem is, he assumed that his team had these same skills.
Proper sales training changes behaviors and equips sales professionals with the right skills for each stage of the buying cycle. Here are some skills that you can help your team develop to win more work.
Develop a script. Sellers need to have a script or guide that will help them talk at all levels of a client organization and at any stage of the buying process. Help them uncover and solve client issues. Teach them how to establish trust and credibility with prospects, ask good questions, listen with intent, and focus, and develop a rapport that will carry them through contract negotiations and project execution.
Provide technology that supports customer relationships. Help you team identify prospects and gather information they need to tailor messages and secure appointments. Provide a sales enablement solution that makes it easy to create value-added content and to measure buy engagement.
Measure leading and lagging indicators. Lagging indicators such as increased revenue and margins, transaction size, and the number of deals won are very important. They usually indicate which reps are performing client research and discovery calls, developing account plans and capture strategies, and engaging other parts of the organization as the opportunity moves through the buying cycle. By measuring leading indicators, your team will learn that planning, preparation, and effective time management makes a seller more successful.
We are a data-driven business community and there is value evaluating performance metrics. But the truth is that all sales are transacted among humans who are hard-wired for connection. A sales professional who can help a client solve a problem and make a confident buying decision will always be in high demand.
Guide your team by investing in the right mix of training, technology, and metrics so that they can become strategic business advisors. Get this right and watch your business soar.
If you need help getting your sales team on the right path, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary meeting.