Welcome to your weekly roundup for Aug 4 - 11. This week we’ve got advice on how salespeople can get buyers to pay attention to their outreach, where sales and sales enablement leaders should focus their training effort and 7 ways managers can spot burnout in their salespeople.
“In this age of relentless deadlines, limited bandwidth, and a sea of technology solutions, companies find that their customers are developing immunity to their prospecting outreach,” aptly writes David Priemer, VP of Sales, Influitive. As competition intensifies, successful salespeople will need a better understanding of how to earn mindshare with their buyers. Here are some ways to do so:
Try a new (or old) medium. Jamie Shanks found video increased his email open rates 2-10 times. Priemer says he sees the same results at Influitive as well—even buyers who give a hard no say they’re impressed with video outreach. Old-school also works: handwritten notes, personalized gifts and even pinatagrams—personalized pinatas—help you stand out from the crowd and personalize your outreach.
Rethink your messaging. “The best messages are bold, polarizing and educational,” couldn’t be more true. Instead of touting your own horn, teach your customers something they didn’t know about themselves or their business using insights you’ve discovered from other team members and/or publicly available stats/information.
Add clear value early and often. The majority of salespeople know the value of reciprocity in the sales process. However, less known and even less practised is if the value is given in advance rather than afterward. This is why before you ask a buyer for their time, attention, etc., make sure you have something to offer in return. The key here is to never reach out for no reason.
*This is a summary of Salespeople: Here’s How to Get Prospects to Pay Attention to Your Outreach by David Priemer.
“Prospecting is now dominated by social selling interactions. Selling skills required for success have radically evolved,” writes SBI Engagement Manager Eric Estrella. In this post, Estrella explores how to identify gaps in your reps’ performance, and what to do about it.
To start, ask yourself, “Do my reps have the right skills to be effective?”
Look for the answer by identifying lagging indicators, such as:
- High turnover
- Numerous reps not hitting their number
- Talent gap widening between top reps and under-performing reps
- Sales process is not widely adopted
- Sales cycle is increasing
- Close rate is decreasing
Evaluate sales reps on skillset and accountability:
- Social selling
- Accountable to things such as activity metrics, lead management, forecast accuracy, quota attainment.
Next, identify gaps in rep competencies:
1) Decide which competencies are the most relevant to your business.
2) Spend time in the field with your most successful and unsuccessful reps to see what works and what doesn’t.
3) Work with HR to develop tests and scorecards for required competencies.
4) Have sales management assess talent and provide feedback.
Plug the gaps by:
- Incorporate competency specific training into your enablement program.
- Create or course content that reinforces the training.
- Incorporate this learning into the Individual Development Plans. This is where you engage with your HR partners and sales management.
Did you know the annual turnover rate of salespeople is 20%? With the cost of onboarding and ramp up time, retaining sales talent is in companies’ best interests. However, sometimes it’s just not the right fit, and laggards need to be let go.
It’s important to differentiate between a low-performer and top-performer who is just going through a tough time. The best managers know how to identify and step in when this is happening. Here are some tell-tale signs to look for:
1) They Don’t Have Mentors. If you’ve ever been in sales, you know what an emotional rollercoaster it can be. Mentors act as sounding boards, and can offer anything from career advice to objective advice on daily activities. If the mentor relationship is thinning, it might be a sign they’re feeling overwhelmed or out of touch.
2) They Don’t Have the Right Tools. With over 700+ sales tech tools on the market, it’s easy for salespeople to get swamped and rely too much or too little on technology. Make sure you’re choosing an effective tech stack for salespeople, keeping in mind much of their time is still spent on administrative tasks.
3) They Don’t Know How to Measure Success. Of course, quota-attainment is the ultimate goal—but be sure to emphasize the importance of sales activities that help salespeople achieve that quota.
4) They’ve Stopped Caring About Professional Development. The best salespeople know what they do is more than a job; it’s a career. When salespeople stop investing in lifelong learning, it could mean their success and happiness is at risk. Keep a steady stream of motivational/inspiring thought leadership from influencers like Grant Cardone, Daniel Pink, or Jill Konrath.
5) They Lack Motivation. If they just aren’t hitting their number and don’t seem to care, it’s time to decide which route is best: encourage them to take a few days off, put together a performance plan, or be willing to discuss parting ways.
6) They’re Increasingly Negative. If sales is becoming bitter or cynical, it’s best to address it immediately. This kind of negative energy is never a good thing in the workplace, and can affect other employees’ performance.
7) They’re Unwilling to Change. If you have a salesperson who refuses to try a new tool of skillset, it’s a red flag they’re struggling with burnout. Proceed by making the change a requirement, offering training, monitoring adoption and rewarding changes in behaviour.