A repetitive approach to sales isn’t sustainable for any company, regardless of shape or size. Without a regular injection of motivation and innovation, salespeople will merely rely on their tried and tested pitches, and by doing so, risk missing lucrative opportunities to bring in new business.
The question is: what prevents good salespeople from becoming great? To answer this, we surveyed 280 salespeople, including a number of whom operate in the cleaning supplies industry, about the ongoing challenges they face in their roles. The results highlighted several common concerns.
Fifty percent said that their main stumbling block when attempting to take a more proactive approach to sales is an inability to spot a decrease in customer engagement before it was too late. Eleven percent of respondents cited general administrative tasks as a problem, as these divert their valuable time away from pursuing prospective business.
For salespeople to overcome these everyday challenges, there needs to be a fundamental change in the way they work. Here are three features of a successful sales culture – and how you can achieve them.
New technologies can solve many of the daily challenges salespeople face. There is plenty of software on the market that can automate routine, administrative tasks like reporting. Advanced data analytics tools can help your salespeople interpret and take insights from customer buying preferences and patterns – enabling them to sell more effectively. Mobile-enabled devices and cloud-based applications allow salespeople to access information on deals in progress and customer queries when on the move, while CRM systems analyze how the business is communicating with its customers, and where it can improve relationships.
The real benefit of technology is that when it’s used correctly, salespeople can act faster and more efficiently. That said, they may not always respond to new technology enthusiastically. You need to engage your team throughout the implementation process and highlight the positive results. When salespeople see first-hand what technology can do for them, they’ll be far more likely to adopt it.
Establish regular training and mentoring programs to help coach your team towards success. Even the most experienced salesperson still has something to learn. Your salespeople will appreciate the investment in their career development and feel much more motivated in their roles.
It’s important that salespeople get to know each other out of the office. Encourage teambuilding activities from time-to-time that will help strengthen these working relationships. When in the office, make sure your internal processes and platforms are clearly communicated and easy to follow. This will maximize collaboration and efficiency, while minimizing distractions.
For all their perceived downsides, millennial salespeople have many perks. They are typically more tech-savvy than your traditional salesperson and can comfortably navigate their way around new platforms and applications quickly. They are enthusiastic learners, hungry for training and new skills. They are eager to prove themselves and can encourage more experienced salespeople, who may be slightly stuck in their ways, to try a new approach to selling.
Of course, real learning is never one-sided – your younger generation of salespeople can learn a lot from their older counter-parts too. Get your industry veterans and marvelous millennials to give each other a pep talk – you’ll be amazed at what they can learn from each other.
To remain profitable and relevant in the highly competitive cleaning supplies industry, your sales team must become more proactive and efficient. The right approach to technology, training, and teamwork can help them embrace change and sell better.
Kevin McGirl is President of sales-i. Kevin is the driving force behind sales-i’s go-to-market and business development strategy and has been instrumental in helping companies maximize their sales and marketing ambitions.
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