According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), U.S. companies spend nearly $20 billion a year on sales training alone.
Does your sales team have the tools they need to beat the competition?
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Paul, Sales Coach and author of “Amp Up Your Sales” and “Zero-Time Selling”.
We got onto the subject on the need for a sales acceleration technology and the mistakes some oragnizations make while trying to adopt sales acceleration tactics. I think sales leaders and individuals in sales will find helpful and worthy of investing the time to read this short interview.
What are your top 3 tips for social selling?
a) Have a plan. First, define what you are going to use social selling for and the outcomes that you want to achieve. Then break that down into an action plan of specific strategies and tactics that you will employ. Social selling takes time and it’s essential to know just how much time you’ll need to invest to achieve your goals.
b) Be consistent. Social selling is not a fad. If you are going to use it, then the key is to be consistent. Stick to your plan.
c) Understand the limitations of social selling: Social selling is a great tool for top of the funnel lead generation tasks like identifying potential prospects, making connections with decision makers and initiating sales conversations. Depending on your product/service and your buyers it may not be helpful beyond that.
As prospects become ever-better informed, how do you stay ahead of them and get them new and customized information, fast?
The minimum standard for every salesperson is that they have to know more about their product or service than do their prospects. The responsibility for achieving and maintaining this level of knowledge falls on both the employer and the salesperson.
Truly motivated salespeople will never be satisfied with the level of knowledge and training provided by a company. Their quest for success will drive them to invest their own time to acquire a greater depth of knowledge about their products.
More importantly, they will spend time with current customers to
a) truly understand how and why the customer made the decision to purchase their products or services; and
b) gain an in-depth understanding of how the customers are using their products or services and the value they are receiving from the outcomes they’ve achieved.
What are the biggest mistakes people make in trying to employ sales acceleration tactics?
The biggest mistake salespeople make in trying to accelerate their sales is not being consistent.
Think of it like a New Year’s Resolution. How many people really follow through on the resolutions that they make at the start of each year? The same holds true for salespeople.
It is one thing to say that you are going employ certain tactics and strategies to accelerate your sales process. But, how many salespeople truly commit to accelerating their responsiveness and everything else involved with accelerating their sales? The consistent use of responsiveness and value plans to maximize the value you deliver to your prospects will shorten decision cycles and accelerate your win rate.
What is the simplest and fastest strategy to grow sales?
Follow up your sales leads in zero-time. I’m talking about real sales leads. Not someone who filled out a form and downloaded a piece of content from your website. Potential prospects that have invested their time to fill out a “Contact Me” form or send an email requesting that a salesperson contact them are valid leads that deserve rapid, responsive follow up.
I’ve worked with clients where we’ve doubled their sales just by improving their process for sales lead follow up. But it doesn’t work unless everyone involved in sales, from a CEO or VP of Sales and down, are committed and involved in overseeing the process from the beginning.
My experience shows that once the right process is put into place, and salespeople begin to see the positive results in terms of larger pipelines and shorter sales cycles, that it is the salespeople who will take the lead to push management to fine tune the lead follow up process to make it even more responsive.
What is your number one tip for working smarter as a sales rep? A sales manager?
For the salesperson, accelerate your responsiveness. The responsive salesperson has a huge first-mover advantage and can use their responsiveness to truly differentiate themselves and build trust with prospects. (Pick up my latest book, Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions to learn what you need to do to accelerate your responsiveness).
For the sales manager, invest most of your time in coaching your salespeople. The biggest ROI you can earn on your time is in helping your individual salespeople to become more successful. Managers need their own plan to provide both the formal and informal coaching that salespeople need on a regular schedule. And then they need to stick to it.
As stated above, Sales acceleration technology gives teams a huge competitive advantage. You can hear Andy share his insights on our free upcomng webinar “Sales Acceleration – Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Ready?” on June 2nd, 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
About Andy Paul
Andy Paul is a leading sales acceleration expert, author, speaker and consultant.
He was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the leading global experts on social selling.
Andy is the author of Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions (AMACOM Books, 2014), and the author of Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales, which was recognized as one of the Top 3 Sales & Marketing books of 2011.