Buyers are busier and more attacked than ever. 

I say attacked as they get calls and emails in copious amounts daily. The book Selling to Big Companies argues that prospects are afflicted by decision fatigue. They are drowning in internal processes and meetings and have to face an endless number of salespeople trying to get a piece of them.

Sales has become more challenging simply because buyers demand more from the sellers approaching them. Unfortunately, the sales training reps receive is inconsistent with the standards of the market. 

According to Biznology, 82% of B2B decision-makers think commercial/industrial salespeople are unprepared. Over four out of five prospects are unhappy with the service, which will have catastrophic consequences on those underperforming teams.

The attrition in sales jobs is at an all-time high, causing a vicious circle. The Great Resignation is a contributing factor, yet the average tenure for junior roles is dropping below 12 months in some industries (SaaS being the prime example).

The sellers are not performing and move to greener grass, to fall from the frying pan to the fire. Consequently, buyers get more frustrated and become harsher towards the reps. 

There is a silver, if not a golden, lining. Whenever there is a gap in the market, there’s a chance to increase your market share.

The fundamental question is: how can you make your sales representatives “battle ready” as quickly as possible?

There are many ways to skin a cat; I will give you a few tips to cut down the ramp-up times I have seen work consistently.

sales training uk
  1. Focus on essential sales skills.

Product knowledge is excellent, but it is useless without the backing of sales skills. Many training programs focus heavily on educating sales reps on the product, throwing them to the wolves regarding selling. 

The priority should always be to improve your team’s sales-readiness. Training and mentoring on active listening, powerful questioning, pitching, and objection handling should be the cornerstone of your upskilling process. 

According to Highspot, high-performing companies are 2x as likely to provide their sales teams with ongoing training. Furthermore, there was an improvement of 29% in sales training effectiveness for companies with a dedicated sales enablement function (TaskDrive).

Another interesting result is that the more salespeople feel invested, the less likely they are to leave. 

Many sales leaders feel that training and coaching their salespeople is too time-consuming; unfortunately, the long-term cost is far more expensive.

2. Upgrade your on-the-job coaching.

A solid training program is an impressive start; it will alone put you ahead of your competitors. However, educational science is adamant: the best learning happens by doing. 

Sales managers are so busy they can barely keep an eye on pipelines; coaching the underperformers is rarely a priority. 

Shadowing and supporting your sales reps is the best way to improve their performance. It will also create buy-in towards their coach and the company. 

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; bringing your lowest performer up to speed will positively impact the team. To implement this, you can either nurture a coaching culture in your sales management team or create a sales performance improvement function. Again, both these options will seem time-consuming and will not bring immediate results, but will set you up for success in the long run.

 

sales training uk
sales training uk

3. Improve your targeting.

Hubspot and LinkedIn are the most reliable data sources for B2B sellers. They produced a shocking study: almost 50% of the time, salespeople contact buyers who have no use for their product or service. Perfect targeting is an illusion, yet even a 10% improvement could mean tens of hours saved per month by each rep. 

There are many ways to improve your targeting. First of all, a continuous review of the ICP is mandatory. Many reps don’t fully understand how to identify prospects, ending in a colossal waste of time.

Secondly, your outbound team may be rewarded only on meetings and throwing junk at the wall to see what sticks. Another culprit may be a poor tech stack not maximising the time saved. 

The bottom line is crystal clear; you can increase productivity by cutting down on wasted time targeting the wrong prospects.

4. Modernise your product knowledge education.

In an ever-growing market, the difference between products and services is slimmer. It’s complicated for sellers to communicate their USPs effectively and even harder to influence the buyers. 

Many of the “modern” product education programs I have encountered are shockingly backward. They are usually self-learning videos or, worse, documents.

The new generations prefer to learn in a more interactive, fun way. Coaching is rarely the best tool for this type of learning, but workshops and live sessions will get much better results.

sales training uk
sales training uk

5. Ensure your sales process is optimised.

As much as 81% of sales teams don’t audit sales processes regularly (Datadwell). 

It can be challenging to train and coach your sales teams consistently. It can be even worse to modernise your sales process, especially if it’s not been done in a while. 

The market is moving and changing quicker than ever; sales processes should reflect that. A convoluted process will push your reps to focus on that instead of the more essential parts of their jobs (like prospecting). It will also delay how fast they will be battle-ready. 

If I could change one thing for my clients, it would be their process in nine cases. Why fix it if it’s not broken? Because the sales process is the funnel through which your whole sales power goes. Imagine turning a 0,76 multiplier of your revenue into a 0,81; how much more would you gain?

Take care of your process before it takes care of you. I’ve written a longer article on this topic; feel free to look at it on my blog: https://www.underdogsales.com/blog/.

Improving the overall readiness of your sales team is no easy feat. It is a complicated and expensive process; it will, however, bring exceptional results in the long run. 

It’s hard to always look at the future, especially when pressing issues are keeping us in the now. Nevertheless, as Steven Covey argues in the eternal 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, looking at the important-not urgent quadrant of our lives is what truly successful people master.

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