Recently, we interviewed a client who is in a business for almost 25 years and their sales are primarily done from the field. The conversation went as follows:
Q. When was the last time you took up sales training intervention?
A. In our 25 years of working, we have never done training for the sales staff.
Q. What prompted you to go for the sales training intervention now?
A. We are constantly facing sales pressure over the last many years competing with many newer low-cost players and not able to increase margins. The new product launches are quite weak and we get sales from a few large accounts only.
Q. Why sales training only?
A. We had plans to take up one for a very long time but it always got postponed. But, this year we decided to enable our sales team competency on priority to make it a part of our learning initiative, and here we are.
Most businesses are struggling with sales challenges, but do not consider sales enablement in the form of training or coaching as a solution to increase sales.
Sales professionals do get trained on product skills, but when it comes to selling competency, sales skills, or account management intervention, there is no clear rule book in many companies.
In this blog, based on our experiences of working with multiple companies of different industries, we have the following 6 circumstances where sales enablement in the form of training or coaching is mandatory.
depends on few star performers
Sales are happening, but results are not uniform. It varies based on markets, products, or even on a few star performers. As a part of motivation, it is best to bring uniformity in results by helping the sales team learn best practices and adopt a unified process.
2. Entry of new competitors affecting sales
Market dynamics changes due to competition. If you are in a monopoly or duopoly market and a new player enters and creates disruption, most salespeople struggle to adapt to new dynamics. This is the time for the sales team to master new skills and increase capability.
3. Changing buying patterns
In today’s world, especially with events like COVID19, the buyers and buying environment is constantly changing. Most buyers today want to do a lot more research by themselves before interacting with salespeople. Also, there is a shift in remote buying. You can read the 20 sales trends post covid here
This calls for the sales team to adapt to the new environment and acquire the latest skills, tools, and attitudes. This is where sales intervention helps the sales team become productive quickly which otherwise can take a long time and also make many good performers demotivated.
4. Low sales conversions
If you have data that shows salespeople not able to close sales, struggle to handle objections, or lose on margins, then a quick way to increase sales is to upskill the team with advanced selling skills.
5. Salespeople working on easy accounts
There is a tendency among many salespeople to rely on their past success and find an easy way to work. They do it by bringing business from known accounts and becoming satisfied with completing their quota of sales.
They lack the inner drive to explore new markets, upsell, or cross-sell. This generally is due to a lack of skills, not having the right tools to explore difficult clients. Sales intervention definitely helps sales teams to explore new opportunities in their existing as well as newer accounts..
6. During new customer development or product development
Entering new markets, selling new products to existing markets require different strategies, tactics, and also skills to implement the same.
Sales teams who have never been part of acquiring newer markets or part of new product launches require significant upskill in terms of tools, clarity of activities, and also attitude.
We listed situations where organizations can explore sales enablement in the form of training or coaching as an intervention mechanism to help increase sales.
But most forward-looking organizations don’t really wait for the situations to arrive and then take up the intervention.
The right approach would be to make sales enablement initiatives in the form of training and coaching as part of core sales activity.
This can be made only when the organization keeps continuous learning and building sales competency as one of its core values.
“The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there.”Jack Welch, Winning
When this happens, the sales team competency continues to increase and sales training intervention helps sellers be more successful. Successful sellers mean more sales!