Sales Skills Training
Sales skills training should empower the salesperson to reach a higher level of sales performance when selling to customers and prospects. We know that the role of a salesperson is evolving at a faster pace since sales skills were codified over 100 years ago.
The main catalyst for the changing role of salespeople has been the amount of information buyers can access on the Internet and social media. In fact, reports now show that the B2B buying process is not too dis-similar to the way consumers purchase, hence the growth in the SaaS and Freemium models. This has had the knock-on effect of the traditional sales process being no longer valid placing an onus on sales skills training to accurately reflect todays buyers journey.
The challenge for both the business and the individual is to invest more time in sales skills training to learn and understanding the core selling skills for today’s digitally driven buying environment.
Sales Skills Training List
Empathy; This is the sales skill to take the time to really understand a prospect’s needs, challenges and the market they operate in. Put aside the sales pitch and the features list, it’s about taking the time to ask meaning questions that learn about the person (buyers are people!!), their business, their role and then see the answers from their viewpoint. Empathy is the use of emotional intelligence and is the key to nurturing successful customer relationships.
Research; A new module to sales skills training for salespeople is research skills. From understanding market trends to honing in on news and information relating to a customer’s business can unlock deeper conversations. It’s about conducting research via the Internet and social media to identify insights, trends and influencing factors that could trigger a buyer’s journey if presented effectively. Research skills are also used to identify the right target profile of customers and how to engage them in a multi-channel sales world.
Acumen; Business acumen is knowing that the show up and throw up sales strategy no longer works. Successful salespeople have a genuine interest in how a business works and also display a characteristic of business curiosity. They use business knowledge to engage customers in intelligent conversations and then create opportunities where they may not seem to exist. They use empathy and research to plan out the right questions to ask plus they seek out the right people to ask those questions to, along with finding the answers.
Content; Modern buyers demand more than sales words, they value relevant content and expert insights that helps to bring clarity to challenges. Salespeople need to be skilled at sourcing and selecting content to engage customers to move the sales conversations along. However, this needs to be really useful content that supports them to move out of the status quo and convince others that taking action is necessary. Also, sales people need to use content to engage prospects plus content being shared needs to be of high quality to have social reach, be liked and valued by the target prospects. This likeability of any content type can be increased by including content sales skills training so salespeople can select content matched to a buyer persona or ideal customer profile. The sales skill is to have the right content for the right customer profile at the right time in their sales interactions.
Multi-channel Engagement; B2B buyers are also self-educating similar to consumers and spend as much as 27% of the purchasing time conducting research online. Being skilled in multi-channel customer engagement (social media with content, social selling, phone calls, webinars etc) is about maximizing every interaction with a prospect or customer. This parallel sales pursuit is where a wide range of sales touch points are built to support buying activity along the entire purchase journey.
Value; Bringing value and being seen as valuable to a buyer is about understanding their perspective and then tailoring the sales process according. Smart buyers understand the value of a supplier that can contribute to the success of his or her business. This is about salespeople getting sales training so they know their overarching value proposition, – helping to lower the customers’ costs, – improving their productivity, – speeding up their process, – helping them identify new opportunities etc. At an even deeper level, does the customer rely on the business for advice or direction? In other words, does the customer consider(value) the salesperson as a supplier or as a trusted partner.
Vision; This skill is the ability of a salesperson to craft and tell stories that reverses a buyer’s perception that leaving their status quo is high risk. It is sales skills training where salespeople learn to show a prospect that doing nothing puts them at greater risk and that the option to change is the safer, better route forward. Can they create stories that inspires a buying vision so their solution is the best option to solve a prospects challenge?
Credible; It’s about selling like an expert and not like a salesperson. Train the sales team to think like their clients when they set out to solve a problem. Selling remains a people-oriented business requiring a customer-focused approach. Credibility selling is based on the philosophy that customers buy when they are convinced they are making a good decision based on what they feel is valuable to them and their business.
Mindset; A winning mindset in sales “is not a question of do you know it, but rather of one ‘Do you want to do it?”. Because “If any salesperson wants to do it, they will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.” In the sales process, a salespersons most valuable asset is not their sales patter, nor their value proposition, nor their customer base. Their most valuable asset is their mindset.
MOST sales skills training
M = Mapping out the buyer’s journey and key contacts in an account.
O = Objectives for sales conversations and multi-channel interactions.
S = Strategy to engage customers based on facts, trends, understanding and reasoning.
T = Tactics to be used from social selling, phone calls (scripts), content, information and insights.
Sales skills training should equip salespeople to have the habits of successful sales professionals to confidently address this reply from over 1000 B2B buyers when asked “what they expect from a salesperson?”
“Come to me with industry knowledge, put something in my mind that I have not thought off plus give me options I have not considered before”