2017: The Year of Higher Quality Sales Interactions Greg Flynn, Brainshark CEO
Today’s executive buyers feel that 80% of the sales meetings they take are a waste of time, even though sellers have more information and technology at their disposal than ever before. Senior sales leaders say their biggest problem is reps struggling to have “business conversations.” With those key issues in mind, it should come as no surprise that 45% of sales reps don’t hit their quota.
Why it Matters
Sales leaders will realize more isn’t always better.
Many sales leaders feel the only way to close more deals is by having more conversations, more prospects and a larger pipeline. But these tactics don’t guarantee a bigger pipeline will be filled with good leads. In fact, it’s often just the opposite – bigger pipeline gets jammed up with poor leads and makes it more difficult for reps to advance even the best opportunities. The key to increasing sales productivity isn’t just about having more conversations or a larger pipeline; it’s about having more personalized and helpful interactions.
It’s been shown that top-producing sales reps spend more time planning prior to calls. Instead of just purchasing tools to increase rep efficiency and give salespeople more time, companies should focus on helping salespeople hone their product, industry and customer knowledge. Only then will they be able to better engage with buyers and have valuable business conversations. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Organizations will ensure value propositions are personalized and communicated consistently.
In one study, a company that spent three hours per month coaching reps achieved 107% of its sales goal. Additional research shows that firms providing optimal coaching to salespeople realize rates of annual revenue growth 16.7% greater than firms that do not provide any coaching to their salespeople. These valuable coaching interactions help reps master their message, product details and the competitive landscape. That mastery enables them to earn the trust of prospects and add value to their conversations.
Every organization has new hires, new products and a changing competitive landscape. Without coaching, it’s difficult for sales managers to know if new reps are ready to interact with customers and prospects. It’s also difficult to know if experienced reps are appropriately communicating value propositions. More companies will start enabling managers to better coach sales reps and have more powerful customer interactions.
Sales onboarding, training and coaching will finally be recognized as revenue drivers.
Analytics increasingly prove these activities are shortening new reps’ time-to-first-sale, empowering reps to have more effective sales conversations and closing more deals. Although sales goals are mostly quantitative, sales is still very much an art. It’s about building relationships, establishing trust and helping customers reach their objectives. When we meet these needs, we will also achieve our sales goals.
I look forward to a year of better sales conversations for both salespeople and buyers alike.
Greg Flynn is CEO of Brainshark, Inc., a leading provider of sales readiness software that equips businesses with the training, coaching and content creation capabilities to achieve sales mastery and outsell the competition.