In this, the third of Dr John Heaford’s Four Friday Blogs, the focus is on the changing role of technology in the Sales Process. Throughout, he explores the notion that sales professionals use their technological knowhow to record reams of data, but do not take full advantage of the innovation that lies before them. By planning ahead more thoroughly, higher levels of effective activity stand to be gained.
|Why Sales Training Programmes Fail|
|Friday 6th November||Failure Signals|
|Friday 13th November||Training Reinforcement: An Essential Practise|
|Friday 20th November||Training Reinforcement: The Role of Technology|
|Friday 27th November||Training Reinforcement: The Power of Analytics and Enablement|
Friday 20th November: Post-Training Reinforcement: The Role of Technology
As our Head of Sales Methodologies, Dr John discusses how a change of focus can reverse these current shortcomings.
- CRM tool deployment.
The growth in CRM platforms has driven organisations to encourage, or even demand, sales professionals to record factual data about their current and targeted customer base. Alarmingly, however, the training in the deployment of such tools is often limited to data-entry and the regular upkeep of information. As a result, the capability of many tools is overlooked, thus leaving valuable data untouched, which can help steer and educate the salesperson.
Speaking from experience, there is a decline in the training time allocated to sales professionals – no matter how senior their role. This approach sees training programmes squeezing content into a lecture, where the main focus is often on the deployment of the software tool as a recording device. Once upon a time, This training agenda would have occupied a 2-day workshop, with opportunities for delegates to engage in a ‘drill & practise’ of their chosen tool, whilst also gaining a fuller understanding of the fundamental methodologies that underpin it. We must not grow to accept this as a norm, and should instead demand more from technology than a simple input/output relationship.
- The Best-in-Class approach.
If cutting down on training time and investment is unavoidable, then salespeople should at least be provided with a ‘playbook’ for sales call execution: So as to avoid this becoming a ‘sheep dip’ of generic sales practice, software tools should be taken full advantage of. Many of the “best-in-class” companies for example use technology to empower their sales professionals to segment their vendors by value, in order to determine their strategic value to the organization. Ultimately, the sales professional can then apply the appropriate sales process depending on which market they are selling to.
The goal of this segmentation strategy is to provide a predictive framework that helps salespeople anticipate customer behaviour. By providing the salesperson with a deeper insight, based upon past interactions, they are able to conduct more cogent sales calls, whilst also educating and preparing colleagues who may also attend the sales meetings.
Building sales plans that align closely with customer’s needs may seem obvious, but by some professionals, it is overlooked. Therefore, truly great sales organizations should take care to intimately understand the thinking processes of prospective decision makers. Regardless of cut backs on field training, it is paramount that full advantage is taken of the technology at your fingertips.
Next week, in my final blog in this series, I will share with you some newer discoveries around the fast-growing presence and importance of Analytics in the professional sales arena…