When it comes to a sales transaction, the buyer has the advantage. Thanks to the extensive due diligence that can be accomplished online, buyers are much savvier than ever. By the time buyers engage with a sales rep, they are already 60% complete with their buying decisions, according to Corporate Executive Board. Today’s buyers have the upper hand, so your sales team needs to evolve.
For sales managers focused on building a successful team, it’s important to strategize around four key aspects: leadership, players, customer-centricity, and conditioning.
1. Don’t Direct Your Sales Team, L.E.A.D. Them
Modern sales managers not only guide the sales process, they also lead by example. Sean McPheat from MTD Sales Training explains how a modern sales manager leads by example with the acronym L.E.A.D.
2. Don’t Draft Successful Players, Create Them
From recruitment to hiring to enabling sales teams with custom training, sales managers need to assemble players who have a proven track record and who fit the company culture but also who believe in the customer-centric process and are open to refinement. Modern sales managers evaluate performance all year long, not just seasonally, and adjust accordingly—they observe where their sales reps excel and where they fail. They assign them sales opportunities where they can leverage their strengths. Additionally, they turn to additional training (such as soft skills and certifications) to hone skills and overcome weaknesses, which helps avoid wasted resources and costs spent on recruiting and training new hires.
3. Cultivate a Customer-Centric Team Culture
To beat the competition, a successful sales team should offer something much more valuable than a solution. Members of the sales team should provide their clients a sustainable relationship with trusted advisers—sales reps—who understand their business needs and can provide critical insights. So, how does a sales team reach this point of customer-centricity?
First, the team must cultivate a different way of thinking, train for it, and then stick to it. Second, meeting deadlines is important, but building relationships should be a key objective. Savvy sellers will initiate and nurture relationships with prospects long before the deal ever comes into play. Third, research the customer and share use cases with the team.
4. Strengthen and Condition Your Players, All Year Long
It’s critical to keep your sales team primed through every season. This is accomplished through training, coaching, consistent evaluation, and offering incentives. To ensure a sustainable and scalable sales team, modern sales management should understand that the one-size-fits-all coaching approach is not an optimal way to empower a successful sales team. Training on products, business issues, social selling, and discovering customer value should be customized and continuous to keep players primed to excel. Ways to motivate participation in training can include gamification, best-in-class compensation plans, and peer recognition.
In the era of the buyer, successful sales teams will be the ones that evolve their strategy from the inside out. Implementing these four key elements will enable modern sales managers to build a team that is equipped with the right tools, the right attitude, and the leadership to succeed.
Learn more about how to build a successful sales team in this 5 Tips to Improve Sales Performance executive brief.