Your Salespeople Should Be Business Experts
Here is my problem, Ronan. I have a great sales team with mixed experience levels. The challenge is that they are following our Sales Process. But, they follow it too rigidly.
What do you mean by “too rigidly”.
It is hard to describe it. I sit in on their calls to assist them, and they don’t seem to dig deep enough. They ask the right questions. But it is as if it is a case of question answered. Box ticked. Now move on. Rather than question answered, but there is not enough detail to move on yet.
So, they understand the question but not the context of the answer.
Yes. As you know, we put together a strong questioning process. And they follow it. However, it is as if they actually don’t understand why the questions are being asked. So, yes, it is context.
Let me ask you a question. Do your sales team understand business?
I don’t understand your question, Ronan.
Well, do they know how business operates? How business makes profits? Do they understand how businesses work and trade? Do they understand the dynamics of doing business globally?
Actually, answer this question. Do they read the business books? Do they read the business sections in newpapers, websites or their favourite news APPs?
I doubt it. In fact, I’m pretty sure they don’t.
OK, so if I am a salesperson who doesn’t regularly read about business. If I am a salesperson, who doesn’t understand margin and markup. If I am unfamiliar with market trends. How do I communicate effectively with business leaders who eat, sleep and drink this stuff?
Basic business know-how is what you are talking about, Ronan.
Yes. I mean if I had a software product focused on the retail market in the UK. And I was unaware of the Walmart/Asda acquisition of Sainsbury’s. Would I be disadvantaged?
Of course. I see what you mean. And the more I think about it. It is the missing link. Our sales team are brilliant on our technology. But how the technology works for business is what matters most.
As I listened to you, the cogs in my mind were spinning. So often I hear conversations that follow the Sales Process. Omit the context. Then quickly jump into a product demo. Which means we are losing the value reinforcement.
If you are a C-Level executive and you are having conversations with people who don’t really understand their world of business. You quickly realise it. Conversations are no longer peer-to-peer because a salesperson cannot add value in a manner that they appreciate.
It is so true. And I guess I have noticed it. But I couldn’t put my finger on it. I instinctively understand how to question more deeply. It is because I do understand how business actually works. I feel like I can step into their world. Talk at their level comfortable. And deliver value to them.
Imagine if all of your team could do the same.
They could. I just haven’t realised where the skill gap is. I have been looking at the wrong areas. I feel energised now. I can see the potential in upskilling my team on business. We know the technology. We need to know how to step into our buyer’s world. And see it from their perspective.
So, what do you suggest?
I’m going to assess the strength of the team. I want to understand some basics. Can they read a P&L? Do they understand how to generate profits? Do they know the numbers that are important to our clients? Then we can create a simple plan together to improve these skills. Any suggestions on some books we should be reading, Ronan?
No, problem, I’ll send you through some suggestions. But, first, let’s stick with your suggestion. Assess the team and then focus on the quick win areas.
Great, Ronan. Let me revert to you, and we can continue this discussion. I’m pretty pumped up now.
Great, talk soon.
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Ronan Kilroy | Insthinktive Sales Leadership Ltd. | Blanchardstown, | Dublin 15, | Office 01 8220523
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