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In our last post, we said the single most important variable in improving sales productivity is the quality – or lack thereof – of conversations salespeople are having with their prospects and customers. In fact, many people would argue that the sales conversation is the most important part of the job.

Yet having valuable conversations has become increasingly difficult. Forrester research tell us that the new buyer does 60% of their research and due diligence before engaging a salesperson. When the salesperson finally gets involved, they must be prepared to add fresh, valuable insights, positioning statements, and messaging. Plus, the salesperson must be intimately familiar with the goals, initiatives and obstacles of each persona they’re meeting.

Just how much information are salespeople expected to remember during their prospect conversations? Let’s do the math.

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In order to consistently add value, a salesperson would need to be able to address the unique needs of every prospect. That means making sure you know your prospect’s industry and vertical, the persona category they fit into, and which of your products or solutions best meets their business challenges. Then you’ll need to be able to recall the six conversational elements necessary to drive the sale forward. When you break it all down, there are approximately 3,456 different conversations the salesperson needs to keep straight, with details that are constantly changing.

Since keeping all of this information in your head and personalizing every conversation is impossible, most salespeople default to talking about their company, their product, their features, their prices. It’s a one-sided conversation. Or they resort to giving the same old product demos over and over and over – where’s the value in that?

The truth is, traditional conversations just aren’t working, and the numbers prove it: Based on the 2015 CSO Insights Sales Enablement Survey, only 54.6% of salespeople achieved their annual quota in 2015, down from 63% in 2012.

The content dilemma

Even if salespeople could remember everything they need to know to have a valuable conversation, where do they get the information they need to begin with?

Unfortunately, most traditional marketing departments are doing little to support the sales conversation or provide sales with purposeful content that they need for each buying persona, by industry, by product. When was the last time you were handed a breakdown of the messages, insights, goals, questions, objections, and competitive positioning for each of your buying personas (if you even have them)?

Instead, marketing teams are investing more and more on demand generation efforts in order to create leads for sales, only to have too many of those leads “closed-lost”. But are those leads being deleted because of “poor quality” or because of sales’ inability to have effective and value-add conversations and move the prospect to the next stage in the buying process?

Enter The Conversation Coach

So, how do you achieve more consistent, more productive sales conversations, regardless of salesperson experience level or personality? If “the key to being successful at sales is in understanding what needs drive your customer and how you can help them fulfill those needs,” then the key to having successful value-add sales conversations is having the right content with the right operations behind it.

You will need all six conversational elements for each prospect – in a place where you can easily access that information. (Because, let’s face it, notes scribbled on a notepad or your phone moments before picking up the phone or walking into a meeting aren’t an efficient use of your time, nor will they inspire the kind of confidence you need to have a knowledgeable, persuasive conversation with a potential customer.) Whether your team is struggling with sourcing the content, or producing it in a format that’s easy for salespeople to access and use on-the-go – or both – you are not alone.

Which is why we created The Conversation Coach, a mobile sales productivity applet that works on iOS, Android, and Windows devices and is fully integrated with Showpad, the industry leading sales enablement platform.

With The Conversation Coach you can prepare for the conversation, anytime, anywhere. Tap to select a persona and product, then flip through applicable messages, insights, questions, objections, and competitive positioning in a matter of minutes. You can also access Sales Tools, relevant content bundles for each unique persona for every stage of the sales process. You have options to view and share files, and even contact internal subject matter experts from your mobile device.

We designed The Conversation Coach knowing that there had to be a better way to align with marketing to create valuable content and put it directly in the hands of salespeople. Contact us to learn more about The Conversation Coach and how we can help you implement it in your organization.