A Sales Rep-Centric Approach to Change
The value of customer centricity – the strategy of putting the customer at the center of efforts to grow the business – has been touted for decades.  Organizations want to change best practices for sales organizations and recognize that better sales depend in large part on understanding the customer’s business, priorities, needs, issues, and customers.  Why not apply the same “other-centered” mind-set to improving the performance of your sales force?

By understanding the way your sales reps think, behave, and thrive, you can facilitate changes in the way they interact with your customers that leads to greater success.

Effecting Behavioral Change
Flip the way you attempt to change your reps’ behavior from a “do it this way” approach to one where you look at their job from their point of view. Effective organizational change requires that new business sales training skills be relevant, practiced, reinforced, and coached until they become habit.

Treating Sales Reps like Customers
Using change best practice feedback from our change management simulation, here’s how the sales rep-centered approach applies to boosting the performance of your sales team.

  • Ruthlessly Focus on Relevance
    To really get the attention of your sales force, you must speak their language and persuade them of the benefits of the change – for them both personally and professionally. Generic appeals have very limited impact. Instead, consider your specific audience. Sure, they want to improve their sales performance; it’s up to you to convince them that the new sales skills and approaches will make it happen.

    Show that you understand their jobs by communicating in their language and creating a compelling story. Understand your sellers’ behaviors, habits, and motivations. Think about how your sellers interact with their customers and the activities of a typical day.

    Craft a message that is designed around the unique context and needs of your sellers.

  • Provide Personalized, Frequent, and Consistent Sales Coaching
    When sales reps receive consistent sales coaching and are held accountable for the way they sell, win rates improve by almost 20%, they outperform their peers 4-to-1 in terms of revenue and margin, and their forecast accuracy improves more than 25%.

    To embed new sales behaviors into the day-to-day routine of your sales reps, you need to invest in personalized and proven sales coaching. This is akin to adapting your customer approach to the specific customer’s buying habits and their sphere of influence.

    When you get to know your sales reps on a personal basis, you can observe their strengths, their weaknesses, and what drives them. Accompany them on sales calls, set up role plays for practice, and provide consultative selling workshops geared to developing specific and relevant selling skills.

    Your time as a coach shows that you care about their success.

  • Stay Connected
    Just as you would set up a system to stay in touch with customers on a regular basis in order to influence their buying behavior, have a method to maintain frequent connections to your sales force to influence their selling behavior. Meet one-on-one in person or on the phone when you can, send personalized emails on a regular basis, or text them to reinforce your support and interest in their success.

The Bottom Line
Your plan to boost the performance of your sales reps may be well-intentioned but will it be effective? Change best practices for sales and incorporate what you know about connecting with customers to the approach you will use to change your reps’ behavior. Then watch their sales performance increase.

To learn more about how to improve sales performance, download Research on the Right Amount of Sales Pressure to Put On Your Team

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