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When you are building a sales force or a sales team, you will hire people that have been trained by other sales organizations. The range of different sales training will go from no training to a one-day sales training to a professional level of training that included a development plan and coaching.

One of the challenges of achieving your sales goals is the variation of competencies and skills across your sales force. The unevenness of results stems from these competencies and skills, but a large part of the variation of results comes from salespeople selling in a way that causes them to fail.

In a time where how you sell is more important than what you sell, reaching your goal requires you to provide and impose a B2B sales methodology that creates value for your prospective clients.

What Sales Leaders Believe

Suppose a salesperson’s resume shows that they have had three jobs in sales. This doesn’t tell you anything about the training and development they have had, nor does it say anything about how they sell. The hiring manager hires this person without a single question to determine how they will go about calling on the company’s prospective clients.

Most of us in sales leadership take it on faith that salespeople know how to sell, until it is clear they are falling behind on their targets.

Believing they don’t have time, many sales managers and leaders have never observed their salespeople in front of clients. As many salespeople work from home, outside of virtual selling, it is difficult to assess the salesperson’s approach.

Other sales leaders and managers are afraid to impose a methodology on their teams because their salespeople are mature and they don’t want to cause complaints. Many managers also believe they will not be able to get their sales force to make behavioral changes.

First Decision: Imposing a Sales Methodology

The first decision a sales leader needs to make is how their sales force will sell. Very large companies with sales enablement and sales operations are more likely to have a B2B sales process and a sales methodology. Regardless of the size of your sales force, hitting your targets means imposing a sales approach that will improve the sales effectiveness of your team.

It is your sales team. You are responsible for their results. Because this is true, your sales force is responsible for selling the way you determine is best for them, your organization and your clients. This first decision of a sales leader is one that everyone must follow.

I’ve Got My Own Style

You will hear salespeople suggest that they have their own style. I speak fluent salesperson, so I can translate this for you. When a salesperson says “I have my own style” it means they have no sales approach and are winging it. These individual “styles” are what creates a greater variation of results.

At the time of this writing, many salespeople have had no real sales training, and the ones that have been trained were trained on a legacy approach that no longer works in this sales environment. Increasingly, these salespeople struggle to win deals because they sell the way they were trained.

As the sales leader, you are responsible for replacing these “styles” and the associated legacy approaches with a modern sales approach, including the sales training and development necessary to ensure their competency in the new approach.

Why Your First Decision Matters Now

Buyers and decision-makers complain that salespeople don’t know enough about their business or their industry. They also score salespeople low when it comes to sales experience, which buyers find lacking. The sales research continues to find buyers are less likely to speak to a salesperson, choosing instead to do their own research and pursue their own path without the help of a sales professional.

Sales leaders who believe that the contest is between their company and their solution and their competitor’s company, and their solution are mistaken. The contest is between your salesperson and their approach versus your competitor’s salesperson and their approach.

As a sales leader, open your B2B sales pipeline and look for any opportunity that has had a first meeting without a second meeting. This exercise will show you which of your salespeople failed to create enough value to get a second meeting. This is evidence that how these salespeople sell isn’t working for their potential customers.

The longer it takes for sales leaders to choose a modern sales approach and provide their salespeople with sales training, the farther they fall behind buyers and the competition.

How to Choose a Sales Methodology

Making the first decision means determining what value your clients need from you and your sales force. In complex sales, you might look for an insight-based approach that includes managing the consensus process. These methodologies need salespeople with the will and skills to lead their clients.

A simple, transactional sale requires a different sales approach, one that creates the right value for their prospective clients and customers. In this scenario, having the product available at the right price is enough. Transactional selling doesn’t typically rely on the conversations that one has in a complex sale.

You will need to train your sales force to use the new strategies and enable them with the talk tracks they need. The best way to help your team get comfortable with the language is by role-playing the new and better sales conversation. With guidance and training, they will have effective conversations with their prospective clients.

Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 29, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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