Sales has come a long way from the days of a man travelling door-to-door in a checkered suit selling vacuums, but many sales reps and managers stay mired in the old approaches of the past. Between canned presentations, high-pressure techniques and stilted communication practices, these antiquated sales approaches prevent the meaningful connections that help leads find true value in solutions.
In other words, modern salespeople need to learn how to make the sales process a more natural conversation rather than a one-sided interrogation. By listening to buyers, employing innovative techniques and helping buyers discover value, salespeople can outpace the current practices and become leaders in their field.
In that light, here are five trends for improving sales performance that will help sales reps dominate their profession while meeting the needs of their clients better than ever.
Sales as a Partially Self-Guided Process
Part of the advantage door-to-door sales types had in the past was limited information. If they claimed their vacuum cleaner was the only one on the planet with a certain feature, then a captive audience had to take their word for it. If a salesperson tried that with a software product now, a lead could easily find out through a quick online search that they were being misled.
In truth, free access to information is a great thing for modern sales. Companies trying to connect people with solutions can put tons of lead nurturing content out there that engages, informs and even entertains. The more well-made sales materials a company provides, the better educated a client lead will be about what options are available.
In this self-nurturing scenario, the salesperson is there to serve as a navigator who helps answer questions, steer clients towards solutions that solve their unique pain points, point out value propositions that they may have missed and carry them to the next step of the process. No one is forced to buy a solution that is a bad fit; instead buyer and seller collaborate to arrive at the optimal conclusion.
Improving Sales Performance Through Adaptive and Improv Techniques
We have heard the old sales pitches a million times before to the point where they have become punch lines. Leads who hear blatant hard-sell angles will not only want to walk away, they may even feel disrespected because the rep only seems to care about their own needs.
Instead, modern sales interactions should start by developing a rapport. Reps should engage in conversation to genuinely learn what the lead’s needs are, their common pain points and how they pitch value to their own customers.
Adaptation and improvisation are keys during these interactions. Reps must stay engaged with the long-term goal of closing while adjusting their approach to fit the situation. If they are able to think on their feet and keep the conversation interesting, they can help nurture a lead further towards a close.
To get to this point, we train our own sale representatives to practice classic improvisation techniques like “yes, and…” so that they can feel comfortable adjusting on-the-fly and never bore their audience.
Video as a Key Sales Tool
Speaking of boring your audience to tears, most people are tired of receiving the same stilted sales emails that they never truly want to read. To really connect with someone in this day and age, you need to give them a real human presence.
Video cloud hosting platforms can help reps give this presence even when they are not speaking to leads live. Our own reps use the 2Win Bridge tool to send pre-recorded videos that can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes updating their lead while suggesting an article or piece of content they may find interesting. Best of all, our cloud platform can queue up related content in case the lead wants to view more, and reps get to track viewership statistics to see who has been watching and for how long.
Determining Where to Add Automation
As mentioned several times above, a genuine human presence is key to modern sales, but sales reps and managers do not have all the time in the world to manually interact with each lead at every touchpoint. Sales automation can help pick up the slack, sending off automated emails as follow-ups and adding client contact info directly from lead capture forms.
The key for modern organizations is to decide when these tools should be on autopilot and when a person should step in to continue the conversation. Ideally, the leads will never be able to tell the difference. To get to this point, sales VPs must establish a workflow that inserts automation sensibly during stages while bringing in knowledgeable reps at key waypoints.
Sales VPs expect employees to Be Innovators, So Don’t Wait for Instructions!
All of the above trends introduce flexibility into the sales process, meaning modern reps and managers have more decisions to make than ever when it comes to using the right tools and right message at any given time. They should never be afraid to take initiative that introduces innovation or clever thinking into the established sales process.
So make sure to educate yourself and your team on the latest options and practices out there to really put sales into overdrive and revolutionize the way you offer value to customers.