Saturday, 19 September 2015 09:36

Are Your Reps Ready? Insights From the Experts

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Making a sell is harder than ever. What use to take 3 contacts to close now takes 14 contacts today, according to Tony Robbins. Plus the pace of changes, turnover and the like is more rapid than ever. Are your reps ready for this new age in selling?

Today, it takes 4.3 months to get a new sales rep up to speed according to Trish Bertuzzi, CEO, The Bridge Group. And, they average rep stays for only 24 months. Companies need to shorten the ramp up time with on-boarding strategies and provide a roadmap to success that competitors don’t offer. An added challenge is the sales management tenure is only 18 months on average, according to Walter Rogers, CEO of CloudCoaching International.

On-boarding Process

Today, 38% of companies do not have an on-boarding process according to Joe Gustafson, CEO, Brainshark. Measurement of on-boarding training is sorely lacking. Training of new team members needs to be a systematic process and not one left to the line manager. The barriers to success are focus and time. There is not a roadmap to success and inadequate time to train.

The biggest on-boarding problem is focusing too much on company products and not focusing on the customer and their needs. “Teach them about buyers first… and how solutions help them build a better business,” reports Sharon Little, Research Director, SiriusDecisions. To be effective, the system also has to measured. If it is not measured, it won’t be funded.

Role of Continuous Learning

“If you are not learning, you are dying,” claims Rogers. Customers are changing rapidly and teams are learning differently. Training needs to be personalized, bite-sized and accessible. “Continuous learning use to be difficult. There was no technology to support it. Now that is not the case. Delivering learning in the moment of need with content delivered within context is doable,” concludes Rogers.

“Learning is the new coin. Millennials want skills development more than money,” touts Trish Bertuzzi, President, The Bridge Group.

The coaching role has become more critical now. There is an important role for coaches in facilitating on-the-job skill development. “In the past, managers would get 1-2 days training and expected to be a good coach. But…coaching is not a natural skills. Formal coaching programs are needed to perform the function effectively,” reports Rogers.

To develop effective coaching programs, companies need to do three things. First, when using internal sales management as coaches, take work off their plate to provide time to effectively coach. Second, coaching is not a natural skill but can be trained. Use outside resources to train coaches or use as coaches for your internal teams. Finally, measure the impact of it. “Collect better data on what is actually going on and focus on the outcomes measured,” says Gustafson. “Use the tools available in salesforce,” adds Little. The data is collected there from hire, train to retire.
There are 9 disciplines to focus on with the data to support focus,” says Rogers. They are outlined in the Pathways to Success series offered by CloudCoaching International.

Content

There is more sales content than ever available to sales teams. Which investment is driving revenues? Most companies don’t know.

“Today, 100% of companies measure revenue, 30% measure knowledge, but less than 10% are measuring revenue from the content that drives it, “reports Gustafson.

“You must tether your content to revenue. Finance knows the expectations, so go ask them if you don’t,” reports Little. “First identify which products drive the most revenues to the organization. Then identify the selling motions of those sources and the process to convert it to revenue,” adds Little.

The day of updating the content archives every 90 days on automatic are over. New content should be viewed through a governance process before being launched. When the content goes live, it can be hosted on a trackable cloud video system, like Brainshark, which reports view, tracks buyer interactions and links to the client record. Tools like these are sales accelerators for the sales team.

The Wish List

What improvements do sales organizations need?

“Availability of useful data and apply it to remove the pain of failure,” claims Little.

“The sales readiness role needs to move from training to the sales team. The trainer needs the street sales experience to know buyer challenges,” claims Bertzzi.

“We need to be aware that success is 80% psychology and 20% tools,” concludes Rogers.

Source: Are You Reps Ready? Insights for Better Sales Conversations, Dreamforce 2015.

Participants: Trish Bertuzzi, President, The Bridge Group, Walter Rogers, CEO, CloudCoaching International, Joe Gustafson, CEO, Brainshark and Sharon Little, Research Director, SiriusDecisions

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