The 5 secrets to boosting sales teams
Discover how you can transform a sales force with observation, personalized coaching and gamification, discover the secrets of commercial efficiency
An initial reflection
In this article we will explain the 5 secrets to boosting sales teams, analysing the advantages of using gamification, observation and coaching to improve commercial efficiency. However, I would first like to make an initial reflection. What would happen if we asked top managers what they think is the most important part of their company? These are some of the answers I have received: «we have the best lines of communication», «our SLA is the best in the market», «our drug is better than that of our competitors».
These may be true, but the most important «part» of any company is the customer, everything must be designed to bring maximum value to customers and give them the best possible experience, but do your customers know the value that your solutions bring? are you sure? who is telling them?
Drawing from the premise that your company has the best product, service or solution, the sales force is, in the first instance, responsible for showing and demonstrating the value it brings to the customer. The sales team is undoubtedly the pillar on which the business development of any firm is upheld, regardless of its size.
The secrets of commercial efficiency
The sales team plays a strategic role. It carries great responsibility since it must meet the economic objectives set by the company, attract new customers, ensure existing ones grow, open new markets and maintain productivity, among other tasks. But, on many occasions, managers get lost in weekly reports, in reviewing KPIs, the number of weekly visits, opportunity ratios won, etc. and the last time they visited a client was the year they released The Matrix. They live with the conviction that there is a Law that says there is a direct relationship between the number of visits and the results. I guarantee you that this «Law» is not always fulfilled.
Data pressure: the number of visits, pipeline coverage, results, etc. causes sales teams to suffer moments of stress, this is reflected in commercial interactions and their low efficiency.
How are the results distributed?
In sales teams we always have a percentage of «top» sellers, usually between 10% and 20%, a large volume of «average» sellers and another 10% or 15% of sales reps whose performance is not as good expected. Managers must be warned that the «whip» strategy for those below the «top» level is not sustainable over time as it generates stressed teams whose performance worsens and whose results are almost certainly going to suffer in the medium term.
Every company must try to increase the performance of its sales team, ensuring they are continuously trained, have excellent customer knowledge and are well-aware of the value provided by the company’s solutions, while ensuring the team is sufficiently motivated and works cohesively. This is why it is important to know the 5 secrets to boosting sales teams.
Do we know what makes a sales rep a ‘top seller’ for our organization?
Organizations measure activity and outcome KPIs but, in many cases, they have no idea why a salesperson is a top seller and another one is not; they don’t even know what the ideal salesperson looks like for their organization. Moreover, top management often doesn’t know whether the value input of the solution is being transmitted correctly to the customer or if the «spray and pray» methodology is simply being followed. If you’re a top manager or sales department director, I can imagine what you’re thinking, «I occasionally accompany my sales reps to meetings»… Welcome to the path to happiness.
And, since it is so important and key for the organization, isn’t it worth analysing?
The 5 secrets to boosting sales teams
1.- Discover the factors that determine sales performance
This is one of the most important factors, discovering what works for each organization and for each sales team. In our SWING sales methodology, we have defined perfectly observable areas, such as, for example, product and solution knowledge, preparation, objective and closure, as well as non-visible areas, such as emotional intelligence, customer connection, dialectical skills, time management and many others. You’d be surprised to discover the impact less visible areas have on commercial performance. In addition, the factors are different for each organization and often differ even for each product line within the same company.
2.- Establishing the ideal business profile and undertaking a gap analysis
Once we have discovered the soft skills and techniques that determine the performance of the sales team, it is time for the next step: developing the vision of the ideal sales rep for the organization. This profile will guide us to identify the gap between the ideal and the real one. When we finish our fieldwork with SWING and perform the exploratory analysis of variables with artificial intelligence, we often identify, based on their behaviour, groups of sales reps that allow us to both suggest group actions to be carried out, as well as obtain the gap for each member of the team, additionally identifying those categories that have a greater influence on the results.
3.- Communication Plan and Change Management
An adequate design of the communication plan will ensure the different parties are engaged with and committed to change. A good change management plan is essential to facilitate the implementation of actions and minimize fear or rejection. Our methodology is based on doing activities with the sales teams and allows companies to create a climate of change, as well as generate the commitment and training necessary to make its implementation and sustainability possible.
4.- Personalized and Gamified Coaching
We already know what visible and hidden factors improve performance for the organization, we have an ideal profile and gap analysis for each team member. The time has come to use gamification as a tool to provide personalized coaching; in this way, we can develop the specific skills that each team member needs at the right time and give the guidelines to managers on what to work on for each salesperson, measuring their evolution and impact on results.
Gamification consists in using the thought processes, techniques and dynamics of games in non-playful activities to enhance motivation and engagement. But why is it important? Gamification appeals to everyone: young or old, male or female, in any social context. It is a useful tool to generate habits, gamification improves the learning curve for training, encourages creativity, productivity and skill development. In addition, it encourages collaboration, generates positive emotions and behavioural changes, which is very important to achieve real change and improve skills.
5.- Reassess and change again
We must measure on a constant basis the impact and results and modify actions, to improve, in the face of any change in circumstance, market condition or situation that may affect the team. Both excessive pressure and complacency are enemies for sales teams. Maintaining an attitude of constant and challenging improvement helps us to evolve and succeed.
Analyzing the KPIs of activity and results is important, it must continue to be done, but it is not enough. In order to evolve, it is necessary to know if our teams are capable of transmitting the value provided to the end customer. It is important to know what works, where it works and why it works and above all: what each team member needs to become a top salesperson, really. No salesperson likes to be part of the «average» group, much less appear at the bottom of the rankings. We have the tools and we must help them understand what they need to change to improve their results.
Now it’s your turn, do you want to try something new?
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