Emerging Sales Training Trends
Career Path : Sales
There are big changes happening in the business-to-business (B2B) sales environment that are requiring an update in how sales forces are trained. Where once it was sufficient for sales teams to succeed by providing information about the features, benefits and unique values of a company’s products and services, today’s buyers are far savvier about their options and their marketplace knowledge. With the rise of online information, buyers are much more informed about potential solutions for their companies, which translates into better negotiating power with suppliers. Sales training must move beyond merely satisfying a buyer’s needs by effectively expanding the focus to controlling the sales process from day one and developing relationships for long-term mutual benefits.
Aligning the sales team
The fast-paced business environment is getting a little faster all the time. Sales training therefore demands the usual skills and tools integrated in ways that enable the selling process happen faster. Many companies are improving their deal approval speed by empowering more decision makers with “yes power”. Encouraging greater alignment between marketing and sales teams promotes coordinated marketing plans that are more realistic and effective. Different parts of the organization sit down together to strategize the best methods for communicating value in workable segments for specific accounts. The result is more executable strategies that ensure quick and profitable responses from the buyers.
Working with the buying team
At the same time that sales efforts are coordinated as a team, buying decisions are increasingly made by committees rather than individuals. The implications for sales training are that the team must determine the varying needs of the buying committee’s members, who often will represent diverse departments of an organization with differing priorities. When buyers already have done research and have a leg up in the negotiating game, sellers must work harder to identify areas of value that members may not have yet considered and proactively present these benefits as early as possible in the selling process. The beginning of any negotiation is always important in establishing relationship power and setting the stage for larger, more profitable results in the long run.
Technology‘s Role in Sales Trends
Many organizations have been striving to integrate technological advances into their sales strategy, with mixed results. While online training has vast potential to reinforce traditional efforts, many companies have found that compliance with management requests to access and use technology-based training has been less than hoped for. Focusing on enabling training content closer to the point of sale, applied to specific sales situations, has brought better results. In practice, this approach functions like a virtual sales coach, providing context-specific advice via mobile technology to deliver actionable ideas in real time. This just-in-time coaching delivers best practices of high performers to sales teams in manageable pieces, encouraging a seamless coordination of marketing strategy and more successful sales efforts.
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