Success in any endeavor requires mastery of the fundamentals. This concept is never more true than with the performance of your sales team. Your sellers must have complete mastery of the fundamental skills needed to prospect, consult with potential buyers and lead them to the close. Below are four reasons laying a solid foundation is key to a successful sales enablement strategy.
1. Address the Root Causes of Your Team’s Most Pressing Sales Challenges
Sales organizations often recognize they have challenges preventing them from success but fail to accurately diagnose the root cause.
A sales team that struggles with closing deals is likely neglecting the importance of the front end of the sale, for example. Its sellers may be self-focused and rush to the finish in hopes of closing. Focusing on closing strategies, however, typically backfires by degrading trust with the buyer and ultimately turning them away.
By identifying the root cause — most often a lack of a standardized sales process — your organization can avoid training that doesn’t solve your team’s most pressing issues. Instead, you can focus your attention on a sales enablement strategy that will drive the most impact and maximize your training ROI.
2. Establish a Common Language to Streamline Communication
Consistency brings organization and efficiency to your sales team’s daily activities. Instilling the foundational steps of a common sales process gives every team member a consistent language to use when discussing sales opportunities.
With this common language, sellers understand which stage of the process they’re in with every prospect or customer and the activities that must follow in order to progress the sale. Sales managers can quickly uncover the information they need in order to provide the most effective coaching and spend more time on the important activities that result in business.
When you establish a strong foundation and sales process, it becomes your organization’s operating system. You’ll no longer have sellers “winging it” on sales calls, hoping that their actions are successful. Instead, they can confidently follow a system that streamlines their time and is proven to obtain results when executed consistently.
A common, foundational language around sales ultimately leads to a stronger sales culture and a cohesiveness that improves team dynamics. It can even become the groundwork that connects sales with the other departments in your organization, including account management, marketing, customer service and beyond.
3. Sellers Can Master Basics and Continuously Layer on Advanced Skills
When developing a sales enablement strategy, focus on creating a path that takes your sellers from walking, to running to high-speed execution. Using this approach of instructional scaffolding helps your sellers feel comfortable and confident while learning new skills and continually increasing their acumen over time.
Instead of overwhelming or overloading sales training participants with too much instructional content that will ultimately result in scrap learning, focus on developing a solid foundation that they can build on. In a sales performance function, this solid foundation is a standardized, buyer-focused sales process. The process itself should be simple enough to quickly learn and apply — but backed by a sophistication that’s effective in all selling situations and with all levels of decision-makers.
Mastering the fundamentals of the sales process will naturally alleviate many of the sales challenges your team is faced with. From there, you can begin to layer on more advanced selling skills that allow sellers to deepen their acumen and elevate their success. More advanced skills training might include programs on negotiation, territory planning and communicating with different types of buyers.
4. Strengthen the Impact and Return on Investment (ROI) of Sales Training
Early wins in your sales enablement initiative create buy-in from your sales team and motivate them to further develop their skill set.
Lay the foundation with sales process training that builds momentum within your sales force as team members begin to apply what they’ve learned and see real results with their customers and prospects. In order for skills training to be effective, learners must use it in the field, and the more your sellers trust and use their foundational skills, the more the process will become ingrained as “the new normal.” Sellers will quickly come to realize that the training directly benefits their performance, and their engagement in future training, coaching and reinforcement programs will increase.
When sales enablement initiatives fail, it’s most often because the organization placed its focus on the wrong area. If you’re looking to improve and sustain your sales team’s performance, focus on building a solid foundation that helps your team find its footing and continuously develop its sales acumen.
Enable your sellers with a foundational sales process, and you can make sales excellence the new normal for your team — today, tomorrow and into the future.