March 1, 2021

5 CRITICAL Reasons You May Need Sales Training

You've Got a Long Sales Cycle

You're finding that there's not enough velocity in your pipeline. In other words, what this looks like is pregnant pipelines.   They’re big, you've got a lot of deals in there, but they just seem to take forever (IF ever) to close. 

So the challenge with this is that you've got an issue from stage to stage. You need to figure out which stage(s) first. 

In my experience, most roads lead to poor qualification.  Salespeople are dropping opportunities into the pipeline just based upon the fact that someone says, “yeah, I'm interested.”  Of course, they want to stay on top of the latest trends in their industry, but that does not convert to business. 

Or maybe you get to the point where you have the opportunity to do a demo with a prospect. And the feedback is fantastic!  Again, they're gleaning information from us and once they've got the information, they go away. To ponder.  While a salesperson checks-in, circles-back, follows-up, touches-bases, and bubbles up to the top of their inbox.

Sales training is a highly effective way to develop discipline on your team with respect to how they go about uncovering pain in prospecting and qualification, and believe it or not - even in demos. 

Salespeople Are Discounting Too Often

If your team is consistently coming to you telling you that they can close a deal if they offer a discount to a prospect, you’re killing your margins.  You’re also creating a crutch for salespeople and a belief that the value of your product or service offering does not support its cost.  That’s dangerous.    

At its core, this means that your sellers are unable to cover enough pain in discovery to drive a value proposition in the investment in your solution is significantly less than the opportunity it presents for your prospect.  B2B sellers are not selling vacations and diamonds, we’re selling pain resolution.

So how do you solve this problem? You teach your sellers how to uncover the cost of the problem in the sales process so that discounting becomes a ridiculous proposition. 

You Want to Increase Deal Win Rates

If you're in a competitive marketplace and you've got folks on the team who are dealing with conversations that they don't seem to win, it could be an issue of them identifying whether or not they're having conversations that fall into their winning zone. 

The winning zone is the area where your product or service excels. This is why you've built your product. This is why you've honed your service. This is the conversation you long to have because you know, you'll close it. 

There are two other places where selling conversations can land. One is called the battlefield. The battlefield is a race to the bottom. This is when it's hard to hold margins because your prospect views you and your competitors to be pretty much similar. So there's no brand loyalty. There's no allegiance whatsoever. You are commoditized.  When you are trying to have selling conversations in this area you have no leverage and instead, you’ll find yourself in a race to the bottom on price.  Do you sell the cheapest thing in your market segment?  I didn’t think so.

Then there’s that real danger area called the losing zone. I am always surprised at how many B2B salespeople will spend inordinate amounts of time trying to convince prospects whose needs fall clearly in the losing zone. Sellers need to emotionally detach and be able to realize when prospects either shouldn’t be buying from them or simply won’t.  

The death of a salesperson is tied to spending too much time with the wrong prospects. Putting junk in your pipeline and using the resources of the organization and their own time and energy, trying to pull them across the line.

Sales training helps sellers to clearly define, identify, and navigate winning zone conversations and disqualify losers.  This creates high probability opportunities and quickly disqualifies those that aren’t a good fit.

You Want to Grow Existing Accounts

All right. This is key for companies that are trying to grow. I always say love the one you're with. That means the more you can sell to your existing customer, you increase retention thereby reducing churn, and there is significantly lower friction in the sales process.  Not to mention all of the benefits of customer references, testimonials, and loyalty. 

Reducing churn takes allows the sales team to be more strategic because you're not constantly trying to plug a hole in the bottom of the revenue bucket.  

So what do companies need to do here? We need to constantly be searching for new opportunities to expand through cross-sell, or upsell. Now, some folks might say, “Hilmon, this doesn't sound like a sales training opportunity, it sounds more like customer success.”   

Shhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell.  I know your success team doesn’t like to think of themselves as “sales” and that’s totally fine. Let’s keep it that way.  But, let’s provide them with some tools how the heck do you coach someone on something they haven't been trained to do? 

It’s Hard to Coach Your Sales Team

If you've got salespeople who are online all day long, going from guru to guru and blog to blog, picking up a tip here, a trick there, a piece somewhere else trying to stitch these things together into a repeatable process - how the heck do you coach them? 

I’m dead serious.  5, 10, 30 salespeople who are all off on their own trying to “figure it out” and even when they stumble upon something that “works” they have no real idea why?

This is an impossible situation at scale. You have no accountability, transparency or collective culture.  Just a group of highly-motivated folks doing their best.  Well leadership’s role is to bring out the very best in each individual and coaching is actually the least costly, most consistent and most impactful activity that management can do to move the needle on sales performance. 

There’s just one catch.

You cannot coach someone on something they haven’t been trained to do.  It’s unfair. 

And what happens to today’s salespeople when they are not offered professional development or a commitment to growth?  They move on.  How costly is that to your organization and sales team?

Get folks level set on a common language, common process, and a methodology that has some rigor and accountability.  The best sales teams create a learning culture in which salespeople can say, “I learned something on Friday, applied it on Monday, failed at it on Tuesday, calibrated it on Wednesday, had some success on Thursday, and I owned it on Friday.”  Rinse.  Repeat.  

If you're interested to learn more about these five specific issues and how they may be impacting your organization, click here to book a conversation with us. 

Hilmon Sorey

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