There is evidence that a diverse team are more creative and has a significant positive impact on your company’s bottom line, sales teams have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and sales revenue growth.
Scale Your Sales expert guest, share many experiences and stories and examples of best practice through sales Tips and people development.
Top Sales Tips from the Experts
Jo Harding stated that specification selling has become even more challenging previously you could influence the architect, but now the seller must influence the whole team. Having to uncover the type of contract, who has the design liability, the power and influence, it is like a chess game! More emotional intelligence is required in specification and complex sales as there tends to be a lot of characters, emotions and political game-play between the various teams on large projects.
If you want to launch in a new category or need to be aware of the landscape and market changes whether it’s a unique opportunity of updating your existing customer Camilla Hasler declared, you must invest in data you can trust. Assumptions do not carry weight with investors or customers.
According to Paul Lewis, the only things that my teenage daughter does not do with their phones is make a call; the way we communicate is changing. You must get on board now to the new way of communicating.
Carolina Castillo recalls her most successful meetings with clients are when they do 80% of the talking. It is so tempting to talk about yourself, your product or your organisation. Salespeople should ask questions, even provocative ones, declared Carolina. Lead the buyer to new thinking, can share examples of what they’ve seen in other industries and then ask the customer their opinion or experience. This tactic gets the conversation going, it might sound fundamental advice, but Carolina still sees salespeople at all levels taking over the meetings and giving very little space for the customer to speak. She says it drives her mad!
Buyers are busier and expect sellers to do their homework, Niraj Kapur voiced. Sellers are not always savvy, many are still using the same sales techniques from twenty years ago, and this doesn’t work efficiently in today’s’ competitive world.
Paul Lewis affirmed that traditional sells methods are not finished, but new approaches are coming in to augment these methods. Sellers must get on board to Social Selling.
Carolina Castillo recalled her dad said to her, sales in the first line in the P&L. The most important thing that should exist between buyers and sellers is trust. This is true for any relationship. When there is trust, it is easier to find agreements and achieve a win-win. Without trust, it’s simply painful. It is upon the salesperson to make the first move to build trust.
Marlen Von Roth agreed, it is all about relationships. In the end, customers and buyers, buy from people they like and trust. This has not changed in her opinion.
Glen Williamson remarked that the relationship is a fallacy. The relationship is not the reason people buy from people – selling is all about creating value.
Not having a sales proposition is random and the reason why salespeople fail to connect.
Done correctly, they are only three conversations: the problem, results and the transformation – then the discussions are pure value, declared Glen Williamson.
Carolina Castillo conveyed, what is true is that buyers have more information than before at their fingertips. That is great, as it means they are better informed, and through their research, it is probably more evident to them what they would like to buy.
Alice Kemper articulated you go in with different questions; “bring me up to speed with the problem” “what you have done and what you need from me?” This is the differentiator. That’s a whole different conversation that opens the discussion and presents you as the business strategist rather than the salesperson.
Paul Durrant agreed that a salesperson now must guide buyers and offer valuable insight, to help buyers make an informed buying decision.
Buyers conduct their research, talk to the shortlisted salespeople and then go back to the supplier website to confirm. Too often, the websites do not support the salesperson, do not speak the same language and not consistent in the focus and message. Alice Heiman affirmed that all collateral must help the salesperson and align the sales process.
More sales are lost by not asking the right questions and then listening to the answers, asserted Judy Hoberman, always be interested in them not interesting to them.
Done right, you can get a great result combining both online digital and offline trade shows, described Alice Heiman. Use digital before the show and spend most of the time on the pre-show, making the plan and preparing one too many messaging about the show and the topics of conversation, sharing great content. Build brand awareness and develop interest, then salespeople can build 1 to 1 messaging on top of this and book many more meetings.
There is a method to the madness of selling. Have a method, follow it, master it, hone it and keep developing it. Alice Kemper professed that repeatable results in producing processes work to scale your sales.
Alice Heiman said, use trade shows and events to draw your ideal customer to you and then engage them in an insightful and memorable experience.
Diversity in Sales
Judy Hoberman asserted that women want to be treated equally, not identically. Give us the opportunity and let us fly.
Stephen Kelly points out that so many traditional sales practices, like sales meetings that end in going out to dinner, are destructive for childcare and family responsibilities. Stephen declared you must ensure that at every stage at the life journey of the salesperson that barriers removed and that they are given choices so that they are comfortable with themselves.
Only 16% of salespeople are female and especially in the IT environment that I’m in, stated Marlen Von Roth, female sales and leaders are scarce. Women must work twice as hard to proof their sales acumen and often get stereotyped. This will only be solved, remarked Marlen, if we women hold together and keep pushing against this. Having two daughters, she wanted their lives to be easier than hers.
Carolina Castillo shares that her experience was different to many others, and if there is an issue, she believes it is down to confidence. Sales are competitive and require a lot of confidence and resilience. Carolina Castillo suggests a colleague of hers was recognised by the Women in Sales Awards last year. The Awards was a massive inspiration for all in the company to follow.
Stephen Kelly conveyed his disappointment about the gender pay gap stating that transparency is a driver of positive change; driving fairness, equality and change. He advocates publicising all pay declaring that you must have transparency to close the gap.
Niraj Kapur remarks he was lucky, he grew up with a strong Mother and Grandmother and has a strong Daughter, and so not intimidated by Women. He said it doesn’t scare him like he knows it does other men. Many men, Niraj articulated, cannot comfortably work for women as it hurts their egos. Sharing that many of his bosses have been women and they were tough and fair decision-makers.
When Alice Kemper started in sales, she was the eleventh woman to be hired and then the third women to be promoted to middle management, and even now, only 17% of sales managers are women. Alice suggests women salespeople must lean in, speak up and stand their ground. Unfortunately, women must be better than everyone else; she affirmed that it’s a mindset and a perception that we all need to challenge.
Camilla Hasler talks about the benefits of a mentoring programme and her experience of having a senior female mentors influence. Camilla Hasler also promotes having a mentor outside of her team and company, which helps to build a broader business perspective.
Judy Hoberman discussed women in leadership positions and the men that champion for change. Stated that some of her greatest mentors that were male supported her in her sales career. She asserted that we need to identify those men that are champions, allies and advocates. There are so many industries that don’t have enough women in positions to mentor or coach.
Stephen Kelly remarked that traditional sales are still a macho environment; he believes there is no explicit discrimination. However, there is a substantial ingrained bias and advocates; blind screen on CV, skill-based CV and diverse interviews teams.
Paul Lewis remarked that sales organisations that prioritise diversity realise the power and impact that a diverse sales team can have on the bottom line. Including a broader range of mindsets and backgrounds, that results in a breath of thinking and innovation. to truly connect with the global customer.
Timothy Hughes states the sales operation of the present needs to embrace diversity, as sales teams need to reflect the diversity of the world, we live in.
Glen Williamson declared in his experience; the more diverse sales teams are better they are at understanding their customers, which is critical in sales. Glen Williamson advocates that as the deal becomes more complex, the diversity becomes more important.
Sources of Inspiration from Guest of Scale Your Sales Podcast
My personal favourite when Stephen Kelly said his wife was his soulmate. “People do not see the sacrifices you have to make; there is always a cost, I could not ask for any more support from my family, they have allowed me to pursue my career, for which I am grateful.”
This article is compiled from the first 13 episodes of Scale Your Sales Podcast. I have selected some of the many insights from the guest experts. Some of the words were adapted to ensure that there is a flow of content. Some of the guest answers are selected from the questionnaire completed prior to the guest interview. And some text was taken from the audio interview transcription.
I hope you enjoy the article, click here to read part 1, please do go to the original Scale Your Sales Podcast guest interviews where you can select the guest interview and listen to the full interview.
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Janice B Gordon helps enterprising companies adapt their sales approach and grow key customers. This has led her to create the popular Scale Your Sales framework. Janice is the Customer Growth Expert an Author, Educator and Consultant ranked 25 of the Top100 Global Business Influencer 2017. Contact Janice to talk about Scaling Your Sales.
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