The 5 Factors Beyond Talent Needed to Sell Solutions
It’s great to find a salesperson with raw, natural sales talent but, as solution selling training experts know, it takes a lot more than sales skills alone to build a high performing sales team.
Of course, when hiring new sales reps, you want to look for people who display the characteristics you know work for your specific sales culture, industry and strategy. You want motivated, confident, curious, empathetic sales folks who are driven to perform, serve their customers and to build long lasting relationships with them…people who know how to juggle the many demands on their time with a focus on lasting business results.
But to achieve maximum performance from the sales team as a whole, factors other than simple talent must come into play. And these factors fall into three main arenas:
- Sales Strategy: First, you need a clear, believable and implementable sales strategy that defines target customers, how you differentiate yourself from the competition, how success is measured, what sales processes matter most, roles and responsibilities, and the key barriers you must overcome to succeed. It all starts with your sales strategy. Sales strategy accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.
- Sales Culture: Second, because a strategy must go through your culture to get implemented, you need a high performance sales culture that defines “how things get done” in a way that aligns with your sales strategy. Sales culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.
- Sales Talent: Lastly you must be able to attract, develop, engage and retain sales talent in a way that fits within your organizational culture and aligns with your sales strategy. Sales talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.
According to solution selling training experts there are five factors in addition to talent required to effectively sell solutions.
- The Overall Goal
Be clear about the overall plan to win. You need to define your ideal customer to help salespeople identify those most likely to buy. You need to understand what sets you apart from the pack and why. You need to provide training for the sales methodologies, processes and systems you know work in your market and with your buyers. In other words, you need a company-specific sales strategy to guide your solution sellers toward sustainable success.
- Organizing the Team
Who is responsible for what? A high performing sales team is one in which roles and responsibilities are clear. Different salespeople have different strengths and relate differently to customers. Match your talent to the challenge so you deploy your team members in the most efficient and effective way possible.
When team and individual goals are clearly set and agreed upon, the best salespeople hit the deck running. They are challenged to do their best and know they will be held accountable for their part. And as they reach those goals, they expect to be recognized and rewarded in a meaningful manner. This is how you keep a sales team motivated and heading in the right direction.
Sales managers must ensure there are sufficient resources available to back up the sales effort. Salespeople need access to information about their customers; insight into who, internally, can help adapt operations and delivery schedules to customer needs; and technology to streamline customer contact info in order to plan how to spend their time most fruitfully.
- Continuous Learning
Selling should never get stale. Solution selling training teaches that solutions should fit the customer. If each customer is different, so should the solutions crafted for them. Keep your sales team on their toes with targeted, relevant training that will help them succeed and give them what they need to know to constantly improve.
To learn more about increasing the performance of your sales team, download, The Truth About Sales Coaching and the Biggest Mistakes