When people talk about the “pace of innovation”, they typically focus on its impact on development teams and how they are struggling to keep up. But what about the people that have to sell those innovations? Today, the sales environment is changing so rapidly and it’s all too easy for your sales reps to fall behind. According to CSO Insights almost every aspect of sales is evolving. Complexity of the product line is expected to increase for 46% of salespeople. Over 53% of sales reps will see the breadth of their product line increase and 57% expect an increase in competitive activity.
You don’t need to be a 60-year-old guy making phone calls out of your rolodex to be behind the curve – you only need to miss one component change, one industry news report or one email. I see it all the time – the minute a customer references a new study or technology the rep hasn’t heard about, they go a bit blank and the customer starts to lose confidence.
Your team can’t effectively sell what they don’t know, and with the fast paced changes occurring it’s becoming harder and harder for them to stay current. And here’s some tough love: it probably isn’t your sales team’s fault. It’s probably yours.
In a constantly changing market, it’s your job to give your team the tools and information they need to keep informed. Here are a few areas you can focus:
The modern sales rep knows that prices for individual components, for different territories or with different discounts can change every day. Trying to keep track of all these changes becomes impossible to maintain in a spreadsheet, and mistakes start getting made.
Instead, automate the price-configure process with a CPQ solution. This ensures quotes go out with the best pricing based on the customer’s exact requirements, the configured solution and the customer’s purchase history. When prices are updated, in progress proposals automatically factor in the updates, guaranteeing every quote will have the most up to date price list.
In order to sell effectively, your team needs to stay up-to-date on the industry.
But Eyal, I don’t want my reps spending all day reading industry news, I need them selling!
I completely agree! Staying informed doesn’t have to take all day or be too in-depth, but it should give them enough information to speak intelligently to customers working every day in the space.
To prevent this from becoming a time waste, streamline it as much as possible with RSS feeds, Google Alerts or e-newsletter subscriptions to a trusted source. They don’t need to read a lot of news, they just need the right news presented to them in a simple way.
The sales department doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and hopefully the rest of the company is out there making some major moves too. If your sales team tries to live in that vacuum, they’re going to miss important input from others.
When your sales team is creating proposals, supply them with the tools they need to make it a collaborative process. Marketing, engineering and product management should all have the chance to add the latest and greatest product features and marketing material to your proposals.
To facilitate this collaboration, your proposal and configuration solution should offer real-time sales collaboration so all departments can communicate. Approval workflows and proposal version tracking can also help to keep everyone on the same page as proposals are modified.
We all want our sales team to be selling more effectively. Your team wants that too. By giving them the tools they need to stay up-to-date on all of the information they need you can make sure they are selling effectively without wasting time hunting down this information on their own. Sales enablement starts with you – get started.