Sales is an integral component of any business. As one of the few profit centers within an organization, building an effective sales team is critical to growing your revenues. Yet, sales training is not a focus area many companies. One study found that less than three percent of buyers trusted their sales reps. A major reason for this is because sales development representatives (SDRs) are often not trained to view themselves from a prospect’s perspective. One survey found that only 17% of sales reps considered themselves pushy whereas nearly half of prospects viewed the SDRs in the same light. Sales force training is extremely critical to achieving your business revenue targets.
Create Role Model SDRs
The best form of learning comes from emulation. Identify the best performing reps within your sales force and create incentives for them to share their success mantras with their fellow sales reps. One of the most effective ways to collaborate is launching ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ sessions every week or month. Such sessions may be used by sales force members to ask questions to their model SDRs and thus understand their approach to sales. It is also a good idea to document the lessons learned in a knowledge management software so that the lessons are passed on to new SDRs who join your sales force.
Invest In Learning Management
Sales teams within organizations are often distributed across geographies and this makes collaboration among the various city teams difficult. AMA and other knowledge sharing sessions are thus restricted to local sales force or relegated to a biannual or annual affair. This is not an ideal scenario. Invest in a learning management system (or LMS for short) that can aggregate lessons from various teams into one dashboard. Also, modern LMS tools also come with video conferencing and webinar options and this provides an opportunity for the various city sales force teams to follow the discussions and lessons gained by sales reps from other geographies.
Traditional onboarding may not be effective for sales force training since an effective sales team is built with on-the-field experience. One way to train your new SDRs to become effective is to let them shadow better performing senior SDRs. This is an extension of the ‘role model’ strategy and helps new recruits learn from observing their experienced counterparts.
Contrary to popular opinion, sales is not a numbers game. While it is true that reaching out to twice the number of people should logically bring you twice the number of leads and subsequently double the conversions, your energy is better spent through more targeted outreach. This is possible with the help of data analytics. Predictive data analytics along with machine learning can help your sales force identify the most targeted prospects along with the most opportune time to reach out to them. This makes your outreach more qualitative and can dramatically increase the conversion rate of your pipeline.
Refine Your Follow Up Strategy
As much as you hate it, follow ups are integral to any sales process. But SDRs need to tread a fine line with respect to following up with their leads. Frequent follow-ups can be an annoyance and prospects tend to distrust SDRs who are aggressive. At the same time, infrequent follow-ups can derail the sales process and undo all the effort you have put into creating awareness and desire among your leads. There are two components to building the ideal follow-up strategy. The first component is the frequency – make use of data analytics from past conversions to identify the sweet spot for your industry. Secondly, it is also important to know how to follow up. Merely calling your prospect to ask for business may not cut it. Build a follow up strategy that involves reaching out to the lead with insightful new information (either about your business or relating to the industry they are in). This makes your prospect all the more open to receiving your follow up call and is thus quintessential to converting them into a paying customer.
Building a successful sales force is not an overnight process and can take months, and sometimes even years. As a business owner, you must be looking at incremental changes to your sales force KPIs. Over time, such improvements can bring about an exponential change in your sales force effectiveness.