Take Your Sales Force to the Next Level
When you are truly ready to devote the time, energy and resources to lift up your sales performance, focus on three field tested solution selling essentials to lift the performance of your sales team:
1. Hire Only the Best
When it comes to people, don’t ever settle. A great solution selling sales team can be the driver of success; a poor sales team can be a company’s ruin. The first of three solution selling essentials is to create a profile of what it takes to succeed in consultative sales for your specific sales strategy, culture, offering and marketplace.
Be sure your recruiting and hiring team is well versed in behavioral interviewing techniques and give them the time and space to deliver top-notch sales candidates who fit your profile. Keep in mind that it is better to focus on interpersonal than technical skills. Especially with a team-based sales approach, you need sales reps who know how to collaborate with their team mates and how to build trusting relationships with their customers.
You can train for technical and product knowledge, not for a person’s basic attitude and working style. Then stay in touch with what steps in the sales process may need extra attention and development. Provide proven, targeted and customized solution selling training opportunities and skilled sales coaches to guide and embed desired new sales behaviors.
2. Compensate Fairly and Strategically
The second of three solution selling essentials is to know what customer-based behaviors spell success and then proportionately reward them when they happen. Yes, we know how hard it can be to craft a sales compensation package that pleases everyone and yet encourages desired behaviors. We recommend that you work with the team to put together a plan that rewards high performance while, at the same time, supports sales team achievement if any collaboration is required to meet your sales targets.
You as sales manager will have the last say, of course, but your genuine interest in finding out what the sales team values will go a long way toward their acceptance of the final package.
3. Know Your Sales Team
Get to know your sales team on an individual basis so you know what motivates them, their aspirations, and their strengths. Only then can you manage their performance in a way that optimizes their special talents and minimizes their weaknesses. Then, too, you can assign roles that will take advantage of what individual sales team members like to do best.
Stay close and available so you know when concerns or conflicts arise. If you have established a standard of open communication and trust, you will know of problems before they grow out of control.
The Bottom Line
Be the sales manager who can point with pride to a well-oiled, cooperative and high performing sales team by following these solution selling essentials. Done right, you will see your revenue, margin, win rate, portfolio mix and deal size lift to higher performance.
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