Tips for Sales Leaders
As sales leaders, we face tough challenges. With inaccurate forecasts, personnel turnover, and an ever-changing competitive landscape, our revenue goals can seem like they are slipping further and further away. So how can we combat the challenges that are part of our job description while empowering our reps to surpass quotas? Here are some tips:
Focus on what your buyers care about
Your reps can call a thousand leads, pitch a thousand pitches, and send out a thousand proposals, but without a thorough understanding of what your buyers truly care about, your win rates will always suffer. By gathering feedback from your buyers after every deal – won or lost – you’ll be able to see patterns in your win loss data and get a better understanding of what is most important to your buyer when making a purchase decision. In a recent study, we found that buyers thought 36% of losing vendors could’ve won the deal by making a change during the evaluation process. Most often, buyers described missteps in the sales process as the reason for lost business – even ahead of price! How would it affect your revenue goals if you were able to identify those missteps in your sales processes and win 36% of your lost deals?
Understand your rep’s strengths and weaknesses
Every sales rep is different. Your team may be a mixed bag of seasoned reps who have years of experience and new reps who are still finding their footing in a changing sales environment. No matter where a rep is at in their career, it’s important to identify their specific strengths and weaknesses so you can best enable your reps to reach their quotas. Running a win loss program is a great way to collect specific buyer feedback for each rep individually. This will give you insights into why your reps win and why your reps lose on a granular level, so you can adjust strategies with confidence.
Customize training sessions per rep
As a sales leader, you probably don’t have time to sit in on every single one of your rep’s calls to take notes about what they did (or didn’t do) well – and even if you did, this feedback would come from your perceptions, not your buyer’s. So how can you understand where your reps need help and customize training without spending hours auditing and shadowing calls? Use buyer feedback. Your buyers will tell you why your reps are winning and losing! When you’re able to collect buyer feedback for your team’s deals, you’ll be able to see a heat map of weak spots in your sales pitches and processes – all on an individual rep’s level. And because you’re able to drill down by rep, you’ll know exactly how to empower your reps through sales training, eliminate the common attitude of “When I lose it’s never my fault”, and monitor improvement in problem areas.
Understand your competitors
When companies don’t differentiate their offering clearly enough from the competition, buyers are likely to eliminate your product or service from their evaluation. As a sales leader, it’s crucial to understand who your competitors are and how your company compares – both positively and negatively. It’s also important that this knowledge is communicated down to your reps. Sales teams may not have the specific information or technical knowledge to counter competitive claims confidently while speaking to buyers who are shopping around. Use battle cards to see how your product or service compares to each of your competitors in a digestible report that your reps can reference within seconds. Understanding your competitors and how they are perceived in your space also allows you to adjust your pitch, make changes to processes or product, and stay steps ahead.
Avoid being blindsided at renewal
With many organizations, sales isn’t involved with closed-won customers after onboarding. Instead, they are brought back into the picture when a contract end date is forthcoming. This can put your sales rep at a disadvantage because they likely haven’t been involved in the customer experience and may not know how the buyer perceives your company. Don’t go into a renewal blind. Instead, work with you CX team to conduct a customer experience analysis a few weeks before the renewal discussion. This will give your rep context into your customer’s true perception of your company’s product, service, and experience. Your rep will then be able to tailor the renewal discussion to address any concerns upfront and combat those concerns with solutions. This proactive approach can help increase renewal rates.
It’s an uphill battle, but as sales leaders, we can leverage our buyer data to empower our reps. By collecting buyer data that is relevant to your team on an individual level, you’ll be able to increase win rates, better train your team, combat competitive claims, and decrease customer churn. Your buyers will tell you why your reps are winning and losing – you just have to listen.