Increase Your Sales Force Staff Without Adding People
Every company needs sales. As Mark Cuban from Shark Tank once concisely put it, “No sales, no company.” That’s why you have an expert team of sales professionals, ready to close the big deals. It is important to keep in mind, however, that selling does not end with your sales team. If you want your business to be as successful as possible, every part of your organization that touches a prospect or client must be selling or at least influencing.
Everyone Is Selling
From accounting to project management to customer service, anyone who makes contact with a client is responsible for helping with the sales effort. These members of the team may not have sales functions included in their job descriptions, but their roles are vital to facilitating sales. How long do you think a customer who is treated rudely by a customer service rep or project manager will remain a customer? Not very long.
Should you call Alec Baldwin’s character Blake, in the 1992 sales classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross to scream at your receptionist and cut them off their coffee “privileges” until they start closing? Probably not.
However, there are certain kinds of sales training and sales skills that non-traditional salespeople will benefit from. Even your sales stars themselves may be able to learn a thing or two.
Sales Training For The Entire Organization
So what kind of sales training might work for both your sales team and others at your company?
A key underlying principle when it comes to sales training today can be traced back to an article from Harvard Business Review in 2012 called “The End of Solution Sales.” Gone are the days when prospective customers had to rely on salespeople to get knowledge early in the process. According to HBR’s statistics, in an average B2B transaction, the customer will complete almost 60% of the purchasing decision before making contact with a supplier. If anything, that trend from 2012 has only picked up speed.
The rise of the ultra-informed customer means that sales people and non-sales employees alike need to embrace some sales techniques that are different from the brute-force sales tactics of yesteryear. For example:
- Talking Less and Listening More. As our friend Yoda once said, Two ears one mouth, listen twice as much as you speak. This is perfectly relevant for salespeople, when it comes to strategizing how much we speak versus how much our customer speaks. This is important for the entire organization. Listening is critical to getting to the bottom of a customer’s or prospect’s needs.
- Change Your Motive. It is relatively easy for most customers to tell what you want out of an interaction with them. You may even have commission breath. Knowing this, everyone at the company, including salespeople, must approach customer interactions with the intention of doing what is right by the customer, not closing a deal or getting them off the phone. Your motive is transparent. Everyone should be prepared to answer the question, “Why should I do business with you or spend my valuable time talking with you?” What’s in it for the customer?
- Don’t Overload Them with Features. It is a common mistake for salespeople to ramble on about what their company can do and why their product or solution is the right one. Do not make this mistake. Instead, when you do talk with your customer, focus on clarifying the needs of the customer or making suggestions about how they can solve their challenges. Focus on their problem, not your solution. Lead with what is on their whiteboard, even if it is only tangentially related to what your organization offers.
It is important to remember that when it comes to motivating non-sales employees – for whatever task – money is not the only factor. In Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell is Human, he discusses how everyone must influence people every day, at work and at home.
We all have moments where we are trying to convince someone about something. If you feel that you need to provide incentives for non-sales people, focus on team goals so that customer service reps, order entry, service schedulers and technical support personnel are motivated to sell what they can, but also pass on the lead to a seasoned sales rep when appropriate.
With these tips in mind, it will be much easier for everyone at your organization to be part of the bigger picture and build value for clients, which will increase customer satisfaction and make life easier for your sales team.
ASLAN specializes in helping all kinds of people learn how to sell, even if they have no previous experience in selling. Please feel free to reach out to us and see how we can help you instill a sales culture at your organization.
The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.