Sales is potentially one of the most innovative and fast paced professions to have ever existed, and with technology being the main driver of this it’s not looking like slowing down any time soon. Long gone are the days of a sales representative making 10 appointments a day and hoping the law of averages will see them close a deal. The modern era of sales has taken over and is showing its professionals more and more each day that inside sales is the way forward.
Inside sales representatives rely on data driven playbooks that are specifically designed to increase conversion rates and minimise time wasted speaking to prospects that will never be converted. Through an understanding of the specific market, inside sales representatives identify the key decision makers in a buying process and begin to unpick the best way to not only engage with them, but to form new relationships that inevitably lead to deals being closed.
These sales plays are always changing and adapting based on results. If one form of messaging is not delivering results, it’s changed to one which will. Similarly, if there is a common objection that many prospects have, content will be produced to overcome this. This adaptable and data driven approach is not just limited to messaging and content, it applies to the team’s entire playbook. Everything these professionals are doing is tested, measured and then optimised to increase conversion rates and to get the maximum ROI from a sales team.
As simple as this sounds, there are a number of stumbling blocks that most sales team leaders will face. Firstly, a lot of salespeople are stubborn and have been selling the same way for years and are set in their ways. Secondly, with the pressure these teams are under to hit quotas, investing the time and energy into learning new plays does not always seem like an effective use of their time. These professionals believe that because they are currently hitting their targets there is no need to change. It’s a valid point but what they often fail to understand is that they are hitting their targets for this current playbook. The conversion rate of playbook 1 may sit at 0.5% while the conversion rate of playbook 2 sits at 4% meaning that the sales team leader wants to make changes to sales plays so that they can get a more effective ROI from their efforts. Finally, as technology advances, some team members may struggle to keep up. A sales professional with experience is always an exceptional asset but at times they may struggle to get to grips with the latest trends and technology.
Here are some simple ways to overcome these issues and facilitate the adoption of new plays within your sales teams;
- Educate the team- By providing the team with full insight into why the plays are changing, the data you are using to drive these changes and how you expect results to change, it will become a much easier sell. If you can get someone onboard with your ideas as opposed to following what you are asking them to do, you will likely get a more willing team member who works closer to maximum efficiency and adopts plays quicker and more effectively.
- Encourage a learning ethos- By promoting personal development within a team and supporting your sales team in taking specific time out (maybe half a day a week) to dedicate to learning and growth, you are providing them with time they require to adopt these plays. The other benefit to this is that if teams are spending designated time within their working week researching and learning, your plays will develop a lot faster because there will be more team members who are being exposed to fresh ideas and data that they can bring to the table.
- Recruit carefully- When bringing new members into your team take the time to decide if they have the ability to rapidly respond to changes in sales plays. If they don’t then they are lacking one of the most crucial skills that you should be looking for.
- Show the benefits to them– Most salespeople make money on a commission basis (which again can be why they are so stubborn to take the risk of changing plays in the first place). If you can prove that taking the time out of their day to learn new plays will earn them more commission, the chances are that they will listen!
- Lead by example- This one is as simple as it sounds. If you lead by example and relay your successes back to the team, they will gain confidence in what you are suggesting and adopt it themselves.
Sales is changing so quickly that the people within it are struggling to keep up. If you can have an open and honest relationship with your sales teams and encourage growth and provide clear reasoning behind your decisions to adopt new sales plays, you will benefit from an open- minded approach being adapted by an enthusiastic team.
If you can get someone to believe in your strategy and grow with you, it’s a much easier ride than telling someone to follow you.