The success of your sales team is based on their ability to communicate effectively with prospective clients. Communication is vital for moving the deal through the sales funnel. To improve lackluster sales performance, to reduce the risk of missed opportunities, your sales force needs to be evaluated, coached and mentored in the best behaviors and practices for use during each vital component of the sales process.
An Effective Sales Force Requires an Effective Coach
Coaching effective sales behavior empowers your sales force to connect the dots between your services and the needs of the client. Although most sales managers understand the benefits of sales coaching, too few coaches are equipped to identify the behaviors and practices that require their attention.
The components of the sales process are far too important to leave to chance. The most successful sales representatives rely on the coaching and mentorship of effective sales managers. The most effective sales managers have the ability to identify, evaluate, and score these crucial behaviors, measuring the success of their coaching efforts.
The Skills Necessary During Every Phase of the Sale
While companies may use slightly different terminology for each attribute of the process, the successful implementation of each of the critical sales behaviors will empower your sales team to close more sales.
During every phase of the sales process, it is essential for your sales team to effectively deliver your message to the client. Your sales representatives need to convey professional poise while differentiating your product from the competition. There is no margin for error. During every phase, your sales force will be called upon to:
- Establish a clear agenda
- Execute a fluid and engaging delivery
- Differentiate your services from your competitors.
- Anticipate and overcome objections
- Established themselves as a knowledgeable expert in your field
- Execute their established agenda at each step of the sales process
Your sales representatives need to distinguish themselves as credible, knowledgeable solution providers. Your entire sales force needs the ability to anticipate, recognize and overcome objections while building a positive rapport with prospective clients. Your sales force needs to align your services with client needs at every phase of the sales process.
While the lines between the beginning, middle, and conclusion of any sale are a bit blurred, your sales reps need the confidence and ability to overlap and reinforce these essential components throughout the sale.
The Early Stages of the Sales Process
Prior to meeting with a prospective client, your sales rep will gather information about your prospect and determine how your services could best suit client needs. During the discovery process, active listening skills help your sales representative identify client pain points. An effective discovery call is crucial for aligning your services with the needs of the client. This can be best accomplished by:
- Establishing an Agenda – to help maintain focus and objective clarity for the rep and the client
- Asking Open-Ended Questions – to gain valuable insight into the facts and feelings of the client
- Uncovering Business Pain Points – using layered questions for exploration and discovery
- Prioritizing Key Issues – to confirm business issues and which issues need immediate attention
- Creating a Compelling Vision of Use – aligning product benefits to the needs of the client
- Uncovering the Power – confirming the identity of those with purchasing authority
- Confirming the Intended Timeline – the timeframe anticipated before deciding to purchase
- Creating a Plan of Action – between the rep and the prospect to advance to the next step of the sales process.
The success of the discovery call will often depend on the representative’s ability to express the value of the solution being offered. Until sales representatives are coached in effective discovery processes, there is only a fifty percent chance that a sales representative has articulated the value of your company to your prospect. Value proposition is an important component of the process that should be unified between all team members, without ever sounding flat or rehearsed.
Moving Through to the Next Phase of the Sale
The ability of your sales representative to execute their agenda, to provide value and create a plan of action, will likely result in forward momentum. Now it’s time to fine-tune the approach. The following sales attributes are typically involved mid-process:
Restating Business Challenges
Your sales representative now has a better understanding of client pain points and business challenges. Now that there has been an indication of willingness to further pursue your business relationship, your sales representative has additional opportunities to confirm the benefits of business alignment. Your representative will likely take this opportunity to restate their knowledge of the prospect’s problem and confirm your business will provide the best solution. By acknowledging the needs, feelings, and benefits of moving forward, your sales representative has nurtured the client relationship.
Providing Tailored Value or Vision
There is no easy, one-size-fits-all approach to Your sales team must have the ability to align their sales approach to the unique needs of the client. To be effective, your sales force needs the ability to communicate the value of your service by detailing the value and offering a vision of the future for the client. Communicating value helps your customers think differently about their current mode of operation and foresee the benefits of the solution offered by your company.
Engaging in Storytelling to Build Trust
While engaging stories can be a valuable tool at every phase in the sales process, telling a memorable, relatable story takes a fair amount of rehearsal. A sales representative with the ability to tell relatable stories gains client trust. Stories of other clients who benefit from your services validate the credibility of your business. When hearing a story of how your company provided benefit to others, the client is more likely to determine that enlisting your product or service is a wise decision.
Confirming the Solution and Closing the Sale
Your sales representatives used their skills to establish themselves as dedicated professionals who offer a solution to an existing problem. While there may be more questions to answer, objections to overcome or details to be addressed, chances are the client is ready to move forward once again. At this point, your sales representative will move towards completion of the process by:
- Confirming the Business Solution – by reestablishing the problem and the solution, your prospective client is reassured that your sales representative is offering a solution to fill their business needs.
- Confirming Value Alignment – your sales representative will confirm the value of your offering while confirming the value and the validity of the client’s favorable decision. Confirming value alignment is necessary to move forward to closing the sale
While many sales representatives, and their coaches, believe that effective salesmanship relies on instinct, it’s important to know that the best practices are learned. You can empower your sales force by providing your sales managers with observational software that helps coaches evaluate and refine the skills of the entire sales team. Data-driven coaching and progress tracking ensures your sales team takes advantage of every opportunity by engaging in effective sales practices, every step of the way.
If left to their own devices, chances are that only 55 percent of your sales force will hit their quota in any given year. To learn more about sales manager and sales team development, contact CommercialTribe. Our step by step sales coaching programs empower your sales managers with the tools they need to generate verifiable sales results.