Top performing sales reps are like natural athletes. They instinctively know what step to take next to advance towards their goal. They’re adept at continuously targeting the sales conversation to gain trust and respect from buyers. Imagine the boost in sales productivity if more of your “B” reps produced like your “A” reps!
Some “B” reps eventually become “A” reps, given the right combination of natural abilities, good coaching and, most critically, experience. To improve overall sales performance, you can hope and wait for the rest of the reps to gain skills and experience (which may take years) or you can accelerate learning and replicate some of what “A” reps do naturally, by providing better sales training and content.
- Provide sales content that helps reps target their conversations
Salespeople must be prepared to communicate and discuss their offerings’ unique value in a way that’s relevant to the specific buyer. In addition to traditional marketing content, designed for demand generation, reps need up-to-date content that helps them prepare for targeted, valuable conversations – industry insights, value statements, objection handling messages and more, for each offering and each buyer persona.
- Deliver sales training at the point of work
Traditionally we fire-hose our sales teams with training during onboarding or annual sales kickoffs. Reps are asked to learn all the value statements for every offering and then for each industry’s buyer personas (an overwhelming number of statements to learn and remember). Adults simply don’t learn in that way, and that’s why traditional sales training fails. Instead, offer training material and modules in the context of the sales rep’s tasks. For example, a best practices video on how to sell to the banking industry should be offered as content within the opportunity record of a prospect in that industry. Since the rep is viewing the record to prepare to sell to that industry, that sales training content is much more relevant and will be easier to learn and remember.
To be most effective, make sure that your sales training is engaging and memorable. It must also be available via mobile devices so that reps can view it at home or on the road, whenever they have a few minutes of down time, or to refresh their knowledge just before they head in to a sales meeting.
- Give access to subject matter experts and their content
Great reps have figured out who to go to within their company to get information and content that will help them advance opportunities. To help the rest of your reps, start a program to capture more expertise and content from subject matter experts. For example, record short videos of SMEs explaining new challenges faced by an industry and buyer persona.
Make sure that reps know who to contact for questions or help on important topics. This can be done in many ways – as simple as providing a list of subject matter experts, or via a CRM, using tags and bio information in employee profiles so SMEs can be easily identified. Some sales enablement platforms offer the ability to make rep-to-SME connections fast and effective.
- Eliminate tasks to give them more time to sell
According to SiriusDecisions, 65% of companies believe their reps are spending too much time on non-selling activities. To make your team more productive, offer sales tools and complementary content, such as email templates and social media copy to use for each new piece of marketing content and campaign. Also, to cut down on time spent on looking for content, make it fast and easy to find, providing it in the context of each opportunity as discussed earlier.
- Track what sales content “A” reps are using
Find out what content they’re sharing with which personas and at what stage in the buying cycle. Then have the rest of your reps replicate this behavior. Track how they share their content as well and see if they’ve changed their behavior and if results improve.
To put these tips into action and make them part of a continuous process, you need a sales content strategy. Read our ebook to learn about the 5 steps to making this happen.