Selling today isn't easy. Buyers have greater needs and expect more of sales professionals, while decision-makers complain about the sales experience. All of this suggests that salespeople don't create enough value.
It is a mistake to train salespeople, especially new reps, with the outdated legacy approach B2B buyers reject. Too often, the result is salespeople who book a first meeting but are unable to schedule a second one. The reason is that the client decided the first meeting was a waste of their time. This is the result of the legacy approach, which doesn’t emphasize value creation from the buyer’s perspective. There is no reason to train anyone in an approach that causes salespeople to fail. You need to train new B2B sales reps with sales techniques that create value for decision-makers and the stakeholders who will have a say in what they buy and who they buy from.
Sales managers who want their sales force to build a sales pipeline and close deals will need a sales training program that creates salespeople who are adept at consultative selling. These salespeople will need the sales skills and competencies to help lead clients through purchase decisions. They'll also need sales strategies and a process that differentiates them and their company.
When training a new B2B sales rep, you want to build a foundation that will support more advanced strategies and sales trainings after they have gained some experience. It's important to start the development in a way that ensures success in sales. Some of these sales courses may be new to you, while others will be familiar.
Sales Course 1: Information Disparity and Value Creation
You wouldn't buy from a salesperson who knew less than you about the decision you’re facing. You'd want a salesperson who could help ensure you succeed.
Information disparity is the major strategy in a modern sales approach. It allows the salesperson to create value for the client by helping them understand the nature of their challenges and what they need to know to improve their results. Because prospective clients measure a salesperson by their ability to create value, this sales course is the cornerstone of new B2B sales training.
Most sales organizations make the mistake of onboarding a salesperson by teaching them about their company and their products and service offerings. This is what sales organizations have done for decades, and the goal is to use that information to differentiate the sales organization. The problem is, it doesn’t work. Every salesperson using a legacy approach is sharing the same information set—company history and products and services.
The problem is that this information is not valuable to buyers.
The ability to command a meeting depends on the value proposition the salesperson offers when first reaching out to schedule one. The promise of value allows a busy decision-maker to say yes to a meeting. Instead of giving an overview of your company and its offerings, start with the strategic outcomes the client needs. By explaining what buyers need to know to make the best decision for their company, the salesperson can create value for their contacts in every sales interaction.
An effective sales training course needs to provide the salesperson with the ability to teach the client something that they find valuable when making a purchase decision. If you have not already enabled a sales conversation based on information disparity and insights, go here for help.
Sales Course 2: Delivering an Executive Briefing
One way to establish the salesperson's credibility and authority is by delivering an executive briefing. Not only does this establish their authority, but it also allows the salesperson to immediately create value for the client. This approach results in salespeople converting second meetings 85 to 95 percent of the time.
An executive briefing helps the client recognize the nature of their poor results by explaining the trends and forces behind them. Asking decision-makers about their problems reduces the salesperson's position. An executive briefing proves that the salesperson is someone who can help them improve their results and is already aware of the client’s challenges and their implications. This approach differentiates the salesperson from the competition, providing the salesperson with an extreme advantage in winning the client's business.
These two first courses solve two problems for new salespeople: 1) acquiring a first meeting, and 2) failing to prove they are the best person to improve the client’s results. These first two courses require training, development, and role plays to practice the sales scripts and talk tracks.
Once these training courses have been completed, the salesperson can move on to the next block of courses.
Sales Course 3: Consultative Prospecting
A salesperson who cold calls a prospective client and offers them a chance to learn about the salesperson’s company, products, and services will have a difficult time getting on the buyer’s calendar. Instead, the salesperson must make a value proposition to secure a meeting. In their communications, they must make it clear that they will trade something valuable enough to warrant the client's time. Only then will a client agree to a 30-minute meeting to deliver an executive briefing.
Consultative prospecting is more than simply smiling and dialing. Instead, it starts with research and a theory about where the client needs to improve their results. This enables the salesperson to practice strategic empathy, which means knowing and addressing their client's concerns. For example, a chief marketing officer will need to acquire new customers at a cost that allows the company to succeed.
Sales Course 3.1 Enabling Course: Self-Discipline
Sales roles come with more autonomy than most other roles in business. A new salesperson may not have the self-discipline to temper the autonomy. By training the sales force to practice several daily disciplines, you improve the salesperson's results. It's better to protect 90 minutes each day for prospecting than to fall behind.
Sales Course 4: Overcoming Objections and Resolving Concerns
Most sales teams haven't been taught that there is only one prospecting objection: that a meeting would be a waste of the client’s time. That objection is rarely stated directly. Instead, it is communicated in several ways. The salesperson will hear: "We are happy with our current provider," or "Can you mail me some information?" or "Can you call me next quarter?"
Your sales force will book more meetings when they can prove that a meeting will not be a waste of the client's time. They will be able to do this because you have trained them to create value for their prospective clients. With confidence that they can help the client, they can easily address the client's real concern.
Because the new sales rep will acquire meetings, they need to be prepared to resolve the concerns that would prevent a prospective client from moving forward and taking the next step. This requires the ability to gain commitments.
Sales Course 5: Gaining Commitments and Closing
Effective selling requires conversations and commitments. The sales process that was once linear is no longer a straight line from target to close. The changes to how companies buy have made it more difficult to manage the sales conversation. Now more than ever, the salesperson needs the competencies to lead the client through their buyer's journey. The salesperson who struggles to gain commitments will be challenged to hit their sales goals.
Every conversation a salesperson has with a client results from their gaining a commitment. The inability to trade value for the next commitment will harm their results. There are at least 10 commitments that occur in the sales conversation, but these can often be secured in fewer than 10 meetings.
Closing a deal is the outcome of gaining the buyer’s commitment to have the necessary conversations to move forward. Some commitments, like closing, are easier, while others, like building consensus and resolving client concerns, are more difficult.
Building Effectiveness in New B2B Sales Reps
The first two courses, “Information Disparity and Value Creation” and ”Delivering an Executive Briefing” are the building blocks of a consultative salesperson, one that can create value and win big deals. This is more important than positioning your company and your products.
If the buyer doesn't want to buy from your salesperson, your offerings and your company don’t matter. The order in which you train sales teams will either put them in a position to win or to lose to a salesperson with a better approach and a better sales experience.
The second block of courses includes consultative prospecting, self-discipline, overcoming objections, and gaining commitments. These skills will be necessary for a new salesperson to control the process and lead their contacts, educating them and helping them with a decision they are rarely called to make.
This combination of training is how you build a sales force that offers your organization a strategic advantage in creating and winning new deals and hitting their targets by helping their clients improve their results. If you are ready to build the sales force you need to reach your goals, click here to schedule a sales strategy meeting where we can help you with a plan to field a highly effective sales force.