In our work, we meet a lot of sales and marketing leaders who are puzzled as to why their salespeople avoid conversations with executives and miss all the potential benefits those conversations might yield. Salespeople may have the ability to get the meeting, but they don’t feel as though they’re equipped with the right strategies to engage executives and provoke responses. PowerPoints are too dull, and interrogations don’t leave a great impression or elicit a positive response.
Companies are always looking to have more effective customer conversations. To achieve this, salespeople generally go through annual product training, but seldom do they retain knowledge from this kind of training or adopt the methods it prescribes. In our work with hundreds of companies and thousands of salespeople and sales leaders, we’ve gained valuable insights into how best to approach employee learning.
We’ve found that there is often a sizable divide between sales and marketing teams. Marketing teams focus on strategy, positioning, and creating demand. They can get frustrated by the Sales team’s lack of alignment with those initiatives and with the inconsistency of messages delivered in customer conversations. Marketing needs their strategies to be implemented. Sales needs to have compelling conversations and needs the right training to help them do that.
Most B2B companies care about and invest in their sales culture, but often forget the importance of building a sales leadership culture. Their best sales reps are promoted into a sales management positions, but continue to focus on all the activities they did so well as a sales rep, like closing deals. Meanwhile, only the top performers on the sales team are doing well, and the rest are just supporting the manager. No one taught the sales manager how to enable the sales team to generate higher revenue by focusing on coaching, leading, and developing their sales team.
Anthropologists are looking carefully at signs of evolution, caused by changes to the fitness landscape brought about by the digital revolution. Right before our eyes, we can see a new species emerge. The new species of salesperson is outselling the older ones. Move over, Homo Salesii. Make room for the Homo Digitalis Salesus.