Salesforce Essentials for Sales Excellence opened with a video testimonial of Philly 311 that hit its mark with the hometown crowd. Although Philly 311 is a contact center built on Service Cloud, it is a great example of how to connect with customers and deliver success.
Evans Kileen, Salesforce Area VP helped attendees identify three obstacles that cause missed sales targets – not enough pipeline, not enough time selling, and underperforming reps. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome each obstacle in order to grow sales faster.
For the first area, not enough pipeline, understanding the buying cycle is key. Over 57% of the buying cycle is complete before a sales person is contacted. The old adage about getting the right message to the right person at the right time is more important than ever. By implementing marketing automation and sales tools together, generate more leads along with actionable insight on prospect’s interests and intents. Pardot along with Sales Cloud enables a united buyer journey from lead generation through sales call and signature.
On the next topic, not enough time selling, we all are familiar with the pain points that Sales Cloud solves – mobile access, chatter for collaboration, automated workflows and approvals, etc.. While it may be surprising to learn that the typical business-to-business sales rep spends 21% of their time conducting research and $700 billion of revenue is lost due to bad data, there is a solution. Data.com provides company information from D&B along with millions of crowd-source contacts. Your own Sales Cloud data can be cleaned and augmented with a single click as well as subscribed to ongoing updates.
On the final obstacle of underperforming reps, coaching is the key. Although often used interchangeably, coaching is not the same as training. Training is focused on structured learning of new skills to do a specific task, typically in a group setting. Conversely, coaching is used to improve performance and behaviors through reflection and critical thinking in a one-on-one session. To provide better coaching tools, team alignment and additional motivation, many companies have turned to Work.com. Through the use of Work.com and a commitment to clear V2MOM (Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures), Salesforce has cut the time it takes to get a new rep up to speed from almost a year down to 6 months.
For the session keynote, Scott Collins, Principal Executive Advisor at CEB shared new methods to guide diverse stakeholders through the purchase process. In the past, products and services were sold as standalone transactions. Today the focus is on solution selling, which is a more complex sale. With more complexity, more individuals are involved in the buying decision – 5.4 on average (although I have yet to meet .4 of a person).
These 5.4 buyers are also more diverse than ever, representing disparate roles, teams, and locations. All of these members to say yes to close the deal. With a large group, there is often few common goals, priorities and beliefs. Typically, the core areas of overlap are on low price/saving money, doing nothing, or picking the least disruptive/risky option. All areas that we do not want to compete on when selling solutions.
So what can we do to increase the chances of success? As the intersection between individuals is small, we need to increase the overlap through collective learning. Have the buyers argue and debate around the problem definition and solution identification. Team members need to come to a consensus with a shared understanding of each other’s perspectives in order to move forward.
How can we help drive consensus among the stakeholders? By deploying three traits of successful sales people – teaching, tailoring and taking control. Prospects are always intrigued by learning something new that can save money or increase revenue. High performing sales reps put the customer teaching up front and tailor the message to the audience. Finally, taking control is not about being aggressive in the sales process, rather pushing back when necessary and guiding the sales process.
Finally, looking for allies among the stakeholder groups is a key to success. Typically, there are seven categories of behavior encountered in the sales process. Only three of the following will help drive collective learning. See if you can figure out which ones.
- Go Getter – delivers results and gets it done
- Skeptic – concerned about the details, often focused on the implementation
- Friend – always takes calls and meetings
- Teacher – loves spreading new ideas
- Guide – helps you find your way through the organization and provides insight
- Climbers – looking to move ahead
- Blocker – the anti-stakeholder
High performing sales reps sell to mobilizers – the Go Getter, the Teacher and the Skeptic, as they attach to ideas and move forward. Go find your mobilizers and see what happens.