It’s no secret, great salespeople are competitive. They want to win. They have the drive to do whatever it takes to win. But, even the most driven salespeople can’t succeed on their own. As was observed in a recent Harvard Business review article:
Even the best natural sellers need a strategy around target products and markets and a defined role, along with systems and processes to enable their success and align their efforts around common goals of customer and company success.
Even the most promising “natural seller” will fail miserably if her company fails to provide the knowledge, playbook, and resources that she needs to succeed.
At Clozd, we’ve seen firsthand that one of the most common ways companies “fail” their “natural sellers” is bogging them down with boring, impractical training. It’s like the sales team at Adobe Systems that spent two days in back-to-back trainings from the product marketing team. At the end of the training, the head of product marketing excitedly asked for feedback from the sales team’s manager. “That was a complete waste of our time,” was the reply.
If you’ve worked in sales, you can undoubtedly relate. Everyone in the org wants to train the sales team, but more often than not the trainings lack the relevance, practicality, and credibility to resonate with sales. Before the agenda slide is finished, texts are already flying between reps about how “this is such a waste of our time.”
So, how do you captivate sales with meaningful training?
The answer is simple. Make it real. Base your training in real stories, about real customers, from real deals. Does this surprise you? Probably not. It’s common sense. Insights and examples drawn from real interactions with real prospects will boast the power to captivate the sales team and change their behavior.
If you think about it, “realness” is critical. If you gave sales reps a choice between an impromptu and unplanned training from a top-performing sales peer and a carefully crafted, media rich presentation from the marketing team, they would overwhelming opt for the former.
So, if “realness” is what you’re after, here are two tips that can be game-changing for how your sales trainings are received and adopted:
Get Real with Pipeline Data
Meaningful insights from pipeline data will resonate with sales reps. After all, it’s data that they have been logging about real-life selling situations. More importantly, pipeline insights can sharpen a sales rep’s understanding of which deals are worth chasing.
For example, educate the sales team on the characteristics of both won and lost deals. Highlight patterns that will help them identify deals that are and aren’t worth chasing. Educate them on how win rates vary based on factors like deal size, competitor set, or product offering. Show them the data so that they can make their own educated choices about how to prospect more effectively and where to invest their time and energy.
Get Real with Win-Loss Interviews
Meaningful insights from interviews with actual buyers at won and lost accounts will also resonate deeply with salespeople. There are few things that can make a training more real than basing it on actual feedback from the buyers they have been selling to.
Contact the decision-makers at accounts that were recently won or lost. Try to balance wins and losses. Ask the buyer why and how they made their purchasing decision. Drill into the sales process and what the winning salesperson did or didn’t do to make them successful. Consider leveraging a third-party, like Clozd, to conduct the interviews on your behalf. Buyers tend to share more candid and open feedback when speaking with a third-party. Treat the interviews as an ongoing initiative and establish a cadence. Provide frequent trainings to the sales team to convey the key insights, trends, and stories that are being harvested from the interviews. Doing so will give them a constant pulse on the competitive landscape, help them relate more to the buyers they sell to, and ultimately help them win more.
We created Clozd™ to help companies become more competitive by understanding why they win and lose. One of the core tenants of our platform is creating the single source of truth all sales reps so that tribal knowledge becomes digital and scalable. Download our win / loss analysis guide.