4 Ways To Balance Sales Skills Development With Sales Culture Shift

Sales Skills Development

When implementing a shift in your company's sales culture, the goal is to move away from traditional sales skills development, training reps on step by step cookie cutter selling tactics, and towards a focus on the customer experience.

Rather than overtly selling, which is becoming less and less effective, the goal is to help them solve a problem, while working with them to gain their trust.

Typically, "here's what you do to land a customer," skills and training no longer apply. However, that doesn't mean you don't need to develop certain skills.

There are still methods to use to maximize your sales skills development plan's effectiveness, and training to be done to acclimate everyone to the new culture. The trick is striking a balance between sales skills development with your culture shift to customer focus.

4 Ways To Balance A Sales Culture Shift With Sales Skills Development

Leadership Training

Most companies focus on training their employees in the ins and outs of their company policies when they're implementing a sales skills development initiative.

This is important, certainly, but the important work involves training senior execs on the "why" behind the "how" when implementing a sales culture transformation initiative. And just as important is to train frontline sales management on vision, as well as the policies.

Your company leadership needs to understand the changes being made, what they're designed to do, why they're necessary, and what the benefits will be. Otherwise, they'll never be able to help your sales reps understand them.

Hiring Practices

If you're going to shift your sales culture, it's important to hire people who are better suited to your new focus. This is partly about skills and training, but more about innate personality and behavioral traits.

Some people are natural "hunters," when it comes to sales, and others are "farmers." Know which one you want and look for people who fit those criteria when seeking new sales reps.

Language Use

When your sales culture changes, the language you use when selling also needs to change to reflect it. This is a skill that you can train your employees in: how to migrate away from traditional "sales language" that focuses on making a pitch, and towards more helpful, problem solving language.

Rather than making statements, ask questions. Rather than listing benefits, determine the customer's needs. This type of sales skills development is crucial in the context of your new sales culture.

Sales Tools

One of the most effective ways of shifting focus from your company to the customer's needs is through your use of sales tools.

You can use online content such as blog posts, videos, white papers, and customer testimonials to help customers understand their needs better and fulfill them more effectively. But that's a marketing tactic, isn't it? How does it relate to sales?

Well, based on what content customers view or download, you can gauge what specific areas they're interested in, and target your sales presentation accordingly.

Once you've pinpointed their interests, you can then provide them with more content directly, that will also be beneficial to them. This way, you can build customers' trust and establish your company as an expert worth listening to.

Balancing sales skill development with a shift to a customer-focused culture is tricky. Many companies fall into the trap of emphasizing blanket tactics over individual customer experience. But without basic skill development, your sales efforts will be unfocused and ultimately ineffective. If you can strike that balance, though, your new sales culture will be much more effective and lead to great success and increased sales.  

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Striking the Balance Between Sales Culture Shift & Sales Skill Development

In the past, the focus was on closing deals: get the customer to buy your product at virtually any cost. As a result, people have developed an innate distrust of salespeople and a subsequent dislike for the companies that they represent. The old ways of selling are no longer effective.

WRITTEN BY

Will Brooks

As Chief Operating Officer of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Drawing from over 15 years of experience in the training and development industry, Will combines his deep institutional knowledge and client experience to optimize operations at The Brooks Group.

Published on April 29, 2014

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