I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Research shows that 55 percent of people selling are in the wrong profession. Another 20 to 25 percent have the essential attributes to sell, but they should be selling something other than what they are currently selling. An efficient salesperson is one with many impeccable characteristics.
The most importance qualities in successful salespeople are being conscientious (as per a study by American Psychological Association), being respectful of clients’ time, listening and being persistent go-getters.
A sales ninja is no ordinary sales representative. Sales ninjas are the ones who help achieve business objectives. Not everyone fits into this category. These are the people who have the right attitude and personality and approach to work. The presence of such salespeople in organizations can change the fate of businesses.
The good news is this is possible by creating the right kind of environment within and outside the workplace, which fosters the transition of an average sales rep into a successful one. Fortunately, we live in an age dominated by technology and mobile devices, which can help create strategies for salespeople to become their best self at work. Here are five ways in which you can convert your average sales representative into a superstar:
Provide on-demand learning opportunities
Customers believe that sales reps are 88 percent knowledgeable on product and only 24 percent on business expertise.
We all know that salespeople are always hard pressed for time. Making them sit through boring classroom lectures or speeches for some motivational dose is never going to work. Instead, a much better way could be to give them access to a pool of content which allows them to look for and explore topics that they want to learn about on any device of their choice and at any time that they may want. As per a survey, 95 percent of millennials are willing to pay for their own professional development and training. Such professional growth is possible if sales reps are given the tools and technology to access power-packed content in different formats at the touch of a button. The very nature of sales jobs is on-the-go, which is why mobile devices and power of the internet can revolutionize the way sales reps learn, and which also makes learning fun, accessible and engaging.
The workforce today needs to keep up with the dynamism of their professions which is why they constantly are on the lookout for any kind of knowledge that can help them learn better. Organizations need to empower them to be able to do this hassle free.
The vision for the entire sales team needs to be clearly set from the beginning so everyone works toward a greater common goal. This vision needs to come from the sales leader, who needs to be inspiring and motivating enough for the sales team to look up to. Communicating the vision in the right way can actually help foster a sense of deep attachment to achieve goals. Steve Jobs always made sure he communicated his vision to his team and met them as often as possible to keep them updated and charged. This can work better if leaders meet their executives at least once a week and create an atmosphere that fosters a healthy two-way communication.
Feedback is not a one-time phenomenon or an annual event. Feedback is supposed to be captured on a regular basis and treated as a continuous process. As per Gallup, one of the main reasons for disengagement among millennials is the lack of timely and relevant feedback from managers. For example, if there is any kind of sales training program being organized for the sales staff, participants should be asked about what they would want to learn and what their preferences are. This helps create a better understanding of specific requirements, thereby also enabling learning professionals to craft sessions as per the needs of the learners.
Similarly, there should be feedback after training sessions to discover what worked for participants and what didn’t. Managers need to give personalized feedback to employees about their performance and progress at every stage and on a regular basis. The world of feedback is exploding as more and more organizations are beginning to realize its importance. There are technologies that allow the scope for real-time feedback at various stages of a sales process that helps sales reps perform better.
As important as feedback and communicating vision is, personal commitment and active participation in the work lives of sales reps can make the most difference. The best coaches work closely with their people to understand their issues, closely study them and suggest the way forward with an effective action plan. Effective coaching is also about asking more than telling, to find out what the reality on the ground is and how effectively it can be tackled. The best coaches ask the right questions and give constructive feedback on how to improve. Such coaching and guidance is critical not just from an achievement of sales objectives view but also for ensuring higher employee engagement levels.
Any kind of employee development initiative is a waste if its effectiveness cannot be measured. In order to improve the performance sales teams, organizations should find a way to figure out how well they are actually performing now so that future strategies can be developed more effectively. Companies need to invest in systems and technologies that help them track sales performance throughout the sales cycle. For example, training should be followed by interactive assessments, the performance of which should be tracked in detail so that it is easy to find out the areas in which employees need the most help. Mobile devices like tablets and laptops can help trainers capture the learning journey of their students through detailed analytics and reports. Such insights can help in framing better strategies for improved performance.
Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a product specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises.