Finding new customers is the number one goal of most businesses. In order to find their next customer, most companies raise brand awareness, conduct cold outreach, incentivize referrals, and build partnerships. They leave no stone unturned in pursuit of new business – and yet too often, they miss a vital element that hides in plain sight – sales training.
According to Salesforce’s analysis, on average, 13% of leads convert into opportunities while 6% of those opportunities convert into deals. This means for every 1000 leads, you’ll sign roughly 8 deals.
Now let’s take a look at another set of statistics to put things into perspective:
- 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared
- Only 24.3% of salespeople exceeded their quota last year
If you add that all up, the picture is quite clear – one of the key reasons businesses sign fewer deals is simply because their sales reps aren’t performing well enough. Contrary to what most businesses think, the secret to accelerating demand generation doesn’t lie in getting more leads or boosting brand awareness – it’s simply training your sales team to sell better.
The specifics of proper sales training depend on the market, the product, its USP, and more. Here are a few broad considerations to drive the point home:
Race Against Time
According to HBR, salespeople who reach leads within an hour are 7X more likely to have meaningful conversations with their decision-makers. Yet, only 37% of companies are able to achieve that. Of course, salespeople are busy and they can’t always respond in such a short span, but if you train your sales reps to see time as a resource, they will learn to be more flexible in their workflow. The email they are drafting can wait an hour. That prospect won’t. They shouldn’t see form fills as leads that they can convert into opportunities, but rather, as opportunities that are rapidly decaying into leads.
The initial discovery call is probably the most important call in your sales process – and yet most sales reps fail to align what they want with what their prospects need. Reps are trying to qualify the potential buyers. The buyers are trying to get a feel for whether the product or service is a viable potential solution to their problems. To that end, the number of questions a seller will ask drastically impacts the outcome of the call. Ask too few questions and the buyer thinks you are underprepared. Ask too many and they think you haven’t done your homework. To assist, sellers should use good enrichment tools to get a sense of what the buyer needs and use the discovery calls as an opportunity to confirm that information and build on it.
Recognizing Dead Ends
One of the reasons salespeople struggle to bring in more deals is that they simply spend too much time flogging dead horses. Around 50% of prospects aren’t a good fit, so the sooner they weed them out, the more time they will get to engage with qualified prospects. As discussed earlier, sales reps work too hard on qualifying topics that eventually turn counterproductive. The buyer might initially appear to be a good fit, but after a few calls, they may realize the buyer does not have the budget. Or the project has been postponed indefinitely. A better approach is to tackle the most common objections and deal-breakers as soon as possible so that the ones who do qualify are most likely to sign the deal.
Use the Right Words
The importance of using the right trigger words in the sales world can’t be emphasized enough. If a sales rep writes long emails and uses words like “Discount” too many times during a call, the buyer will soon lose interest. Collaborative words like “We”, “Us”, and “Together” tend to have a much higher impact than “I”, “You”, “Your”, etc. A sales rep who is well-trained in what words to use and where to use them is bound to have more engaging conversations and close more deals.
A final important note to close on -, too often, sales training is something that most companies offer as an employee incentive. It is a program that makes them look good and is something employees can add to their resumes. In reality, it is much more – the difference between mediocre and successful companies.
The statistics back it up. Take our earlier example. If you increase your conversation rates by even 2%, you will end up winning 50% more deals! So if you want your sales team to win more deals, you must train them for it,use sales training software to ram faster, and improve their skills.