HR has a stake in this as the governor of company-wide behavior modification, including the Sales Department. SBI’s research has uncovered some essential Rep behaviors. Sign up for our Make the Number tour to learn more about how top performing companies will change Sales in 2013. Receive a package of tools including this Top Ten Sales Rep Competencies list.
These are the behaviors to change among Sales Reps for 2013 followed by actions HR should take to help make this happen.
1. Centricity (as in Customer-centricity): “We have the best product, so everyone needs to know about its features.” (says the Sales rep)
- Product- or seller-centricity does not match today’s buyer. They already know about your product and feature set and are almost 60% down the buying path (per the Sales Executive Council).
- What buyers need your help with is if they’ve correctly diagnosed their issue in the first place. Also if they’ve used the proper criteria when deciding on a solution.
- Customers need to learn something new about their own business and industry. This is not your product’s feature and specifications.
2. Teamwork: “These are my accounts and contacts!”
- Sales can’t do the job alone. Sales needs Marketing to generate demand, educate leads, and supply qualified opportunities. Sales can then do what they should be doing, which is selling, not prospecting.
- Let Marketing help expand within existing accounts by nurturing contacts for the Rep (via inbound marketing and lead management.)
- Let Customer Service/Customer Experience into your world of contacts and accounts to improve on all aspects of dealing with the customer: product needs, buyer wants, customer behaviors.
3. Delegation: “I will take care of that issue for you, Mrs. Customer.”
- Handling account issues post-sale impacts your selling time dramatically. If your firm hasn’t begun to “shift and lift”, start now.
- Sales Reps need to train their customers to use Customer Service. If not, they develop an unhealthy dependency on the Sales Rep long after the deal has closed.
- Sales Reps that insist on being the middle man for account issues actually degrade teamwork, putting pressure on Customer Service to get something handled now! Instead, the Sales Rep should be relying on Customer Service notes about the account in the CRM system and trusting that Customer Service is ably handling issues.
4. Process adherence: “My method works quite well, thank you very much!”
- Reps may think their talent is what gets the sale, but talent is only half the equation (the other 50% is performance conditions).
- The buyer has changed dramatically over the past few years – has this Sales Rep’s method changed along with it?
- Research shows that a Sales Process aligned with the buyer’s process coupled with strong lead generation, will result in 33% more closed deals in half the time with two times the average selling price.
- A world-class Sales Process spells out what resources should be used to what degree at what times. This avoids things like monopolizing the time of Sales Engineers for less-profitable deals.
- This also includes any required deal tracking and maintenance in your Sales Force Automation/Customer Relationship Management tools.
5. Social Selling: “I don’t need that newfangled web stuff.”
- Since more buyers are using the web for self-education and networking, Sales Reps should be in the mix. That means using LinkedIn, Google+, and other communities to identify, pursue, educate and relate with potential buyers.
- Sales Reps should also be participating in social groups by posting and answering questions – with the idea of educating with value, not pushing your brand.
- Reps must be able to social map an organization they are trying to penetrate
How can HR help Sales with this? Working together, HR and Sales can:
- Develop effective 2013 individual development plans for Sales Reps that include changing the above behaviors.
- Ensure appropriate training and educational materials for these sales behaviors (at the Sales Rep and Manager level.)
- Review current metrics and goal systems in all departments that touch Sales to ensure they encourage these new behaviors.
- Review the sales compensation plans and make changes if the wrong behaviors are being unintentionally reinforced.
- Ensure that the Sales Managers are capable of supporting a Rep behavior change – which includes enabling them first. This is also a good time to update your Sales Leader development program.
- Most importantly, develop a change plan with scheduled communications. Organize the parties to execute it including HR, Sales Leaders, Marketing help, and the C-suite! The most important part of the messaging is WHY behaviors need to change and how Sales Reps will benefit.
Call to Action:
Changing of behaviors at the Sales Rep level has rippling effects. The rewards will be worth the effort. Join your peers at the SBI “Make the Number” tour to learn how 2013 can be a company’s best year yet! Register for accessto many valuable tools including a list of Top Ten World-Class Sales Rep Competencies.