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Out of all the components of sales training, where should you focus your attention to achieve greater effectiveness? There are five areas that have the greatest impact on sales enablement. After studying the comments from chief sales officers (CSOs) at more than 1200 companies, Accenture has identified some of the most powerful ways to prepare your team for more effective sales.

1. Integrate sales, marketing, and customer service

Unfortunately, these three interrelated divisions have been at odds traditionally. While many companies are using social listening, too many waste what they learn through poor communication with sales. Customer hand-off points from marketing to sales to customer service are critical and should be part of this certification program. According to Jamie Shanks, speaker and Social Selling expert: “Is it important to create viable training processes that incorporate all the key players that are ultimately involved in the buyer journey: marketing, customer service and, or course, sales.”

Recommendation: Establish a Social Selling certification program and train new sales team members to concentrate on the customer hand-off between departments for a single, customer-centric experience.

2. Pay more attention to customer loyalty

Nearly 42 percent of CSOs say that they need to improve sales to existing customers. Paying attention to how clients interact with you can have an enormous effect on repeat business and referrals. Shanks pointed out how the sales environment has changed significantly in the past few years. “Today, 90% of the buyer journey happens online,” he explained. “Clients rely mainly on search engines and social media to gather information about products and services.” Going where the customer lives using social selling demonstrates an understanding of what is important to them.

Recommendation: Make customer experience, including their preferred interaction channel, a priority in order to reduce churn rates.

What is Social Selling

3. Streamline sales processes across the board

The most effective sales teams choose one sales methodology and apply it consistently. On average, sales professionals are spending 65 percent of their time on activities other than sales, such as lead generation and administrative tasks. One third of them won’t make their quotas, putting a heavier burden on the rest of the team to make sales goals. Establishing a single methodology makes it easier to manage and assist everyone on the team.

Recommendation: Reevaluate and iterate your sales training if it is not continuously improving your sales effectiveness results. Regularly examine where the failure points are occurring.

4. Devote more resources to sales training

Currently, almost half (47.5 percent) of sales trainees take over 10 months to make a contribution to sales goals. Shanks pointed out how new tactics like social selling simplify on-boarding by concentrating on two of the most important KPIs: “The success of a Social Selling program can be measured based on two main metrics: new opportunities and, of course, revenue. If the sales rep hasn’t generated any revenue yet, sales managers could also consider variables such as online network growth and content engagement.”

Sales

Recommendation: Make new members of the sales team more productive by coaching them on simple learning models and analytics that can get them selling and help them measure their progress immediately.

5. Make sure that sales teams are using technology

Although 90 percent of enterprises have installed advanced sales technology and CRM systems, over a third of the sales teams are not using these powerful tools. While three out of four CSOs say that mobile access to CRM data would improve sales, less than half (48.5 percent) are actually providing sales agents with what they need on their mobile devices.

Recommendation: Beginning with sales training, provide sales teams with the full power of cloud-based social and CRM. Even better, make these tools available on their mobile devices.

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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