Understandably, 2020 has been a unique year for many sales reps. Many businesses have delayed or canceled investments in products and services until the COVID-19 pandemic is over and they can more accurately plan for the future, others have seen a surge in demand and require quick action and product education. In both scenarios,, the business-to-business (B2B) market is growing increasingly competitive.
The good news is that your team can always add new skills to their selling tool belts that will help them better serve your customers, even in this unprecedented year amid a highly competitive B2B sales climate.
5 Skills for Successful Selling
To better meet your customers’ needs now, encourage your sales reps to work on honing these skills:
1. The Art of Sales Communication
People buy from those they trust. Research shows that 88 percent of people will buy only when they see their salesperson as a trusted advisor. Only a small minority of business owners close a sale the first time they meet a client, so sales reps should expect to be in communication with their prospects over time. This takes patience and a willingness to see the big picture.
Most buyers make a purchase only after they know, like, and trust their sales rep, at least to some degree. A sales conversation is a give-and-take: The customer provides information and opens up to the sales rep, and the sales rep gives them their expertise. The more your reps can be curious about the customer and ask “why,” the more invested they’ll be in what they have to say.
You can help your reps continually improve their sales communication skills by hosting training sessions that include role playing. Have them practice key sales communication skills, such as paying full attention, practicing active listening, reading body language, and showing empathy.
2. The Science of Technology
Although the art of conversation is important in sales, technology is just as vital.
“By embracing new trends in sales technology, companies can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales team, augmenting the buyer experience across every touchpoint to foster stronger, more profitable relationships with their customers.” Don Williams, Executive Vice President of Sales, Validity
Challenge your sales reps to improve their knowledge of your company’s technology. Today’s B2B customers value technology to make well-informed purchasing decisions through data and statistics, and it’s important for your sales reps to meet customers at their level.
Meanwhile, sales reps can become more familiar with the sales enablement technology you use to qualify leads. Here is an opportunity for them to better leverage big data and analytics to gain insight and streamline the sales process. In doing so, your team can drive more effective and efficient lead qualification and fill in gaps across datasets.
3. Proactive Customer Success
These days, the Buyer’s Journey is driven by a positive, relevant, and engaging customer experience. For a growing number of B2B companies, Customer Success is a vital component of a successful customer or partner experience.
Customer Success is a proactive strategy that involves working with customers throughout the sales process, helping to ensure a smooth onboarding, managing their experience and, ideally, ensuring they become brand advocates.
The sales reps on your team can sharpen their skills around Customer Success in many different ways, such as:
- Learning even more about the features and benefits of your products or services
- Building an understanding of how a customer deploys your products or services, as well as some common challenges or questions they encounter
- Practicing tactics for upselling/cross-selling and securing renewals
These types of skills can help your team to reduce customer churn, a challenge that costs U.S. companies nearly $136 billion every year.
Like communication skills, the ability to network well is one of those “soft skills” that can be invaluable in sales. Encourage your sales reps to continually grow their networks, both online and through in-person events, because you never know where their next customer may come from.
Also, invite them to team up with an experienced mentor. The mentoring process can bridge the generational gap and encourage sales reps to learn from each other, which helps to improve retention and inspire long-term outcomes. A great mentor can teach a sales rep practical knowledge they won’t learn from cracking a book, while also providing new reps with a greater sense of community and loyalty.
For sales reps, differentiation means defining their personal attributes and values and backing both with an ability to add meaning to the products they sell. Challenge your reps to consider what makes them different from other salespeople. Ask them to look past the features and benefits of your product and determine how they add value to the customer’s buying experience.
Successful sales reps strive to find meaning and value behind their company, and then they apply it to their personal brand. They have a clearly defined reason why clients should buy from them—from your company—and not the competition.
Leverage Skilled Sales Reps Through Outsourcing
As the field of B2B sales grows increasingly competitive, it can be challenging for in-house sales teams to juggle all aspects of the Buyer’s Journey, from lead qualification to closing the sale to Customer Success. Leveraging outsourced sales reps gives you immediate access to highly skilled sales teams that can easily scale as needed. With Sales as a ServiceⓇ, your sales reps can focus on their core competencies, such as servicing your high-value accounts, to ensure all your leads and customers receive the personalized attention they need.
Interested in learning more about outsourced sales teams? Read our guide, Embracing Customer Success.