How to Bridge the Sales Competency Gap in Your Business

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Selling pre-pandemic required perseverance, business acumen, and sometimes a little bit of charm. However, selling in the digital era requires all that, and so much more.

Salespeople today are expected to build trust and rapport with buyers while primarily communicating via Zoom or Google Hangouts. As such, selling today has an added layer of complexity and salespeople who are still using traditional selling techniques will fall flat. According to Showpad’s State of Selling Survey, although 71% of sellers believe their organization is investing enough in tech to support sales teams in B2B digital sales, 53% say they could use more training on digital sales and 20% have little or no training on it. Therefore, closing the sales competency gaps is one of the most pressing issues in the workplace today. And, especially as we approach a recession and selling becomes more difficult, it’s essential that the gap is closed immediately for salespeople.

Personalized learning experiences

During the onboarding process, salespeople can be overwhelmed by the amount of information they have to learn in a short period of time. By offering shorter learning modules powered by AI, learning and retaining that information becomes more streamlined and impactful. This approach helps sales managers to rapidly onboard new hires across teams, regardless of geographies. With fully virtual or hybrid learning with live classes, managers can create repeatable onboarding curricula at scale which can be tailored to each seller’s specific needs.

When learning is scalable, it creates consistency in sales messaging. Using a standardized sales playbook, salespeople will be privy to best practices in messaging and positioning and have a strong sales foundation. Ensuring that marketing content and messaging are centrally accessible also makes it easier for everyone to learn from the company’s top performers. When salespeople have access to stellar sales techniques, they can better engage with buyers and create an improved experience for them.

Streamlining sales coaching

When sellers have access to real-time coaching and methods to improve sales effectiveness, they will be able to turn every conversation into an opportunity. Managers can review pitch recordings and use it to coach and verify whether a seller can translate selling strategy into practice. Managers will also be empowered to provide recommendations on additional training or skills modules the salesperson should take based on how well they did during a live meeting.

Adequate coaching allows for salespeople to strongly articulate the unique value proposition to every prospect – especially based on the buyer’s needs, industry and/or persona – leading to more opportunities to identify cross and upsell opportunities. For example, using a guided selling experience, salespeople can help buyers to easily visualize an entire product portfolio. By scrapping outdated selling approaches, the modern salesperson can effortlessly create interactive sales plays that build a more compelling buyer journey.

Utilizing a role-playing platform

When there is a change in product or brand messaging, it’s essential that salespeople are prepared immediately to make adjustments to their pitch. By creating role-specific training, sales teams get access to a digital learning experience which helps to ensure that every salesperson is delivering a consistent story. When salespeople can review their pitches during live sales meetings, they can identify areas for improvement, especially when it comes to nonverbal cues. This gives them the opportunity to practice and certify themselves when they are ready to engage with buyers again.

When sales engagement data is connected to revenue and performance data, managers can also gain a clear understanding of what top performers are doing differently in sales meetings. They can evaluate the courses top performers take, their behavior in meetings, and the content they share in follow-ups and ensure low performers are using these techniques as guiding principles. Engagement metrics help to drive deal velocity and improve win rates.

Selling in our hybrid world requires new approaches to sales which understands that the buyer’s time is sacred and knowing this will only make a salesperson more effective at their job. Using actionable insights on competency and knowledge levels, sales managers can prepare more salespeople for the field. By using targeted training and coaching to close key knowledge and skill gaps, salespeople will be well on their way to deal closures.

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