It isn’t easy to change how your sales force sells. When your sales force has sold using one methodology the approach is burned in. If you haven’t provided a B2B sales methodology, it can be even more difficult to change how you sell.
Sales leaders who understand the need to level up their sales force with a better sales approach are often disappointed with their results. After proving a methodology, training, and enablement, the results are not what the leader needs. The challenge here is that sales organizations believe that training and enablement are enough to change their behaviors. It isn’t, and it never has been enough.
It is one thing to provide information, and it is quite another to enable the new set of competencies required of the sales methodology. This short guide on behavioral changes will provide guidance on how to help your sales force transform. If you need help with transformation, see Leading Growth: The Proven Formula for Consistently Increasing Revenue.
Who Is Responsible for Behavioral Changes
Senior sales leaders are responsible for their sales force and their results. That responsibility cascades down to sales managers. Transformations take time and effort. When leaders fail to transform their sales team, the root cause is a failure to make the necessary changes.
It’s not uncommon for sales leaders and managers to suggest the sales methodology didn’t work. Some propose that the sales methodology doesn’t work in their industry, something that is rarely true. To be sure, the methodology isn’t to blame. Instead, it's the way we make change.
Sales managers are responsible for causing their sales reps to make the behavioral changes required by the methodology. Yet, this fact isn’t often acknowledged, let alone acted on.
Step 1: Train Sales Managers to Train their Teams
I once trained a large team. As I set up, the sales managers walked out of the room, having no interest in learning the changes their teams would need to make. Their senior leader joined in turning his back on his sales force. In another case, a senior leader attended every training, setting expectations around the change, and participating in the training.
Sales managers should not only join the sales force in their training, they should be trained first. By training sales managers to support their teams, you increase their ability to train, develop, and coach their salespeople, including behavioral changes. When you hear people say training didn’t work it is because the sales managers weren’t enabled to help and hold their teams accountable for using the methodology.
Step 2: Weekly Training
As much as some believe that transformation will take hold sooner, the truth is that it takes time. I don’t know who came up with the idea that providing people with information & materials they see only once is a good way to enable new competencies.
Role-playing in a safe environment can help develop the talk tracks and the confidence that allows salespeople to use what they learned. Some reps will have better talk tracks. Role-playing allows others to replicate good language choices.
A weekly meeting to discuss, reinforce, train, and coach their teams will not only improve the sales force’s understanding, but will also create a level of accountability to use the new methodology in the field.
Step 3: In-Field Assessments
No sales manager can know how their team sells in the field without joining them on sales calls. This is easier than it has ever been when the sales call is virtual, and it is challenging when salespeople work from home, living in their territory.
It takes time and practice to adopt a new sales approach. By assessing each salesperson’s level of competency and confidence. Sales managers discover what their team needs from them to improve their ability to use the methodology and improve their sales results. The expense of time and money is worth spending if it means you can increase your team’s sales effectiveness.
Step 4: Sharing Success Stories
If you want your sales force to believe that the new sales methodology is working, you have to share the won deals and what the individual did differently. Most sales leaders and managers tend to under-appreciate the power of sharing these stories.
When sales managers don’t share success stories, it can cause some salespeople to think that their peers are not making the behavioral changes or that it must not be working. Try to identify and share a success story every week, more if you have them.
Step 5: Reinforce the Approach
You need to continue to reinforce the behavioral changes that lead to better selling and improved results. One of the reasons transformations fall apart is that sales leaders and sales managers quit talking about, training, coaching and verifying the sales force is using the new sales approach.
Your team will get better over time, and you should think of transformation as a long-term project, one that will run for a year or more. More would be better, especially when it comes to enabling new sales strategies, sales techniques, and sales skills. Development takes time, and anything that can improve your sales effectiveness is worth the effort.
Sales Manager’s Guide To Behavioral Changes
If all of this seems to be too much, know that your life as a sales leader is far more challenging when your team lacks an effective sales approach and fails to hit their targets and achieve your sales objectives.
The sales manager is one of the more difficult roles in business. It only becomes easier when you improve your sales force’s sales approach and their effectiveness. By choosing a modern sales approach and training, developing, and coaching your sales teams, you give them a sustainable strategic advantage in competitive sales. The more time and effort you exert in building a highly effective sales force, the better your results.
What is most important for sales managers who need their teams to improve their results is to focus on the behavioral changes that would permit the to create and win more, larger deals.