How to Reach the Solution Selling Summit
The profession of solution selling is mostly taught through the crucible of experience. Selling complex solutions cannot be learned simply in a classroom but on the job in frequent, direct contact with customers.
When you are looking to create a high performing sales culture and want your sales reps to reach the pinnacle of success, you need to take this into account. Give your sales and support teams every opportunity to learn in an environment that supports them. Set up your business to recognize and promote the following characteristics of selling success:
- A clear sales strategy
Strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales organizations. Each and every member of your team should make the focus of their sales activities and decisions based upon the specific sales strategy that you have adopted for success. It’s not just about getting out there and hawking goods to anyone who will listen. You need to have established a clear value proposition and an ideal target client profile that paints a picture of where the best opportunities lie. Sales reps need to be clear about who needs what they sell and where they can offer differentiated value to their customers.
- An understanding of how to build client-centric value
The tougher the competition, the more critical it is to build meaningful value at each and every step in the sales process. Value can come in different shapes and sizes. It can be through helping a client identify opportunities they had not seen or in evaluating the unanticipated consequences of a decision. It can be linking your client up with a resource that adds to the service you bring. It can be providing a meeting with a subject matter expert who can shed light on a problem they are struggling to solve. Or it can simply be sending a white paper that expands on a topic that interests them.
- Skilled sales coaching
The best way to boost and accelerate learning about how to sell well is through consistent on-the-job coaching. In fact, sales reps who receive consistent coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1 in terms of revenue and margin. Sales managers who carve out time to accompany their reps on sales calls and then help them debrief the experience reap the benefits in their reps’ more rapid learning of how to do it right. When managers can observe and then provide on-the-spot feedback, sales reps are more inclined to make behavioral course corrections. Sales managers can also help reps plan account strategies and overcome obstacles in the sales process. The time spent coaching for sales success pays off very quickly in increased revenue, margin and client satisfaction.
- Tracking and measurement
High performing sales teams operate not by “gut feel” but by actual data. However, you can easily go overboard by paying attention to too many sales metrics. The key is to measure what really matters most. Analyze which sales activities actually produce sales results and then keep track of them. Look at sales metrics like opportunity management, sales call management, territory management and account management. Determine which matters most to your sales outcomes, then measure and coach to them to improve overall sales results.
- Sales as a process
Look at how your top producers sell and then identify which client-initiated pivot points in the sales process are most likely to end up in a deal. When you have a short list, design key milestones for each stage. This is what you then can use as a road map to boost the sales productivity of the less successful and the new sales hires so all can ramp up more quickly to full quota.
Every sales manager wants a high performing team. Create the environment that promotes a culture of success.