It seems that uncharted territory is now the new normal. To navigate this changed landscape calls for a new approach as sales professionals. In many ways this has created a stronger sense of community, where we are learning from each other and adapting together with our customers. Thought leaders are stepping up to inspire us as they explore new solutions.
Sales itself has become a more collaborative experience, and we are all learning from customers, partners and sales experts along the way.
With this in mind, we have gathered the best sales tips from leading sales experts in three communities - sales leaders, sales ops and sales reps.
Each of the three 21 Pro Tips ebooks is split into chapters, covering:
Never has such advice been so relevant in the sales arena. As customer expectations continue to soar, including everything from personalised communications to mobile access to trust and purpose, sales professionals have a lot to gain by sharing insights.
So what nuggets of knowledge are you likely to glean from our sales superstars?
Technology offers sales leaders greater insight than ever into customer behaviours, sales team performance, individual team member motivations and much more.
However, success is never just about technology. Sales professionals know that a major part of the role will always be about being human, and that begins at the top.
The culture of a sales team or department begins with its leaders and develops from there. Great sales leaders boost employee and customer experience via their own behaviours and the tools, practices and processes they put in place.
In 21 Pro Tips for Sales Leaders, Trailblazing sales leaders share insights on leading a winning sales team in 2021. Here’s three that resonated with me:
“Dedicate time every day to training. We dedicate 20 minutes every morning to role playing and mixing and matching people around the floor, from newer reps to the more experienced. This is also great for building team culture and creating energy for the day ahead.”
- Ezra McInnes, Managing Director, The Wine Group
“First impressions count; you want to be honest, genuine and understanding to your customer and their needs to build trust. If you can’t solve someone’s problem, be honest and explain why you can’t solve it. They will remember your sincerity and potentially come back to you in the future when you can solve their problem.”
- Emma Rutter, Senior Learning Solutions Consultant, Go1
“Take a blended approach with in-person and digital interactions. Online customers have certain expectations, such as speed of response. In person they need human triggers. Using both will help build trust and grow your business.”
- Eoin Geaney, Regional Business Leader, Transportation & Electronics Business Group, 3M
The Sales Operations role has been building in relevance and importance over the last decade to a stage where it’s now an invaluable strategic function for any sales organisation.
For a sales team, the sales op function gives them a view around the next corner, plots new courses and guides the way safely through uncharted territory. And we’ve all been in uncharted territory for quite a while, now.
Data tells us:
Data does this and more, but if it is inconsistent or irrelevant, it can also mislead.
In 21 Pro Tips for Sales Ops, industry experts share how to strategically scale up processes and performance.
Here’s just three of the tips from the e-book:
“Sell the benefits of your digital transformation and have internal champions. Then use real-life examples of how those champions have improved their workflow by adopting the new technology.”
- Miling Harpur, Head of Sales, SME Corporate, Flight Centre
“Consider the relationship between customers and sales teams and make this inform your systems and processes. Too often ops focus on the business side instead of what tools your salespeople need to best connect with the customer. Talk to your reps.”
- Charmaine Keegan, Founder, Director & Lead Trainer, Smarter Selling
“Be very clear on metrics and why each metric is there. Ask – what insights does this give and why do I care? What does it mean specific to my business and my customers? Metrics need to be useful and drive a subsequent action.”
- Leisa Epplett, Group Sales Enablement Lead, Spark
2021 has taught us a few things, mostly that we are now reliant on digital services and are shifting to on-demand products.
As sales people, we can learn from brands that we buy from often. They know who we are, and what we want and can deliver consistently.
Why do they succeed? It has everything to do with customer insights, and this means an excellent handle on their data.
So, in a data-driven professional environment in which there is more information, access, opinion and choice available to sales people and customers than ever before, how does a sales rep become a high-performer?
In the e-book 21 Pro Tips for Sales Reps, industry leaders offer insight and experience that can be put to immediate use to improve processes, relationships and results.
Here are a few snippets from the wealth of information in the e-book:
“Become educators, not sellers. Buyers now expect more than simply to be sold to. They want a trusted advisor, someone who will inform them of current trends. Share broader industry news and be knowledgeable on matters outside your product such as specialist topics like diversity and inclusion.”
- Sue McEvoy, Head of Sales Australia, FCM Travel
“Think about what else you could add to a deal to make it bigger and different to your competitors. This will also broaden the conversation with your customer on aspects they might not have thought of before.”
- James David, Associate Director of Enterprise Sales, Datacom
“Early engagement affords you the opportunity to sell efficiencies aligned to the supply chain or your own company structure; build tension and utilise ‘soft closes.’”
- Bob Barsdell, Auckland Regional Sales Manager, Placemakers