Sales is a science; it’s not luck or guesswork. Successful sales leaders understand the importance of following tried and tested methodologies that deliver consistent results.
Why ‘wing it’ when you can put processes in place that ensure you succeed?
We could write an entire book on the science behind selling, but in the interest of brevity we’ve compiled some of the most important findings to keep in mind if you want to coach and lead a sales team to new heights.
Extraordinary salespeople share similar traits
According to extensive, and ongoing research by Dave Kurlan of the Objective Management Group only 26 per cent of salespeople have the skills to be successful with 6 per cent being elite. He also notes that this can be narrowed down further to four key elements – desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility.
“These findings hold true the world over,” says SalesStar head of marketing, Steve Bambury, “and we successfully test for these, along with a multitude of other things, for our clients and gather valuable insights that enable better decision making”.
“In his whitepaper, the Modern Science of Salesperson Selection Dave goes into a lot more details about his research and the findings are a real eye-opener” says Steve. “It is a great read and well worth investing 20 minutes of your time if you are interested to wrap some well-researched science around the profession of selling” he says.
Sales training often does not work
Did you know that most sales training programs do not work? It’s amazing the amount of money that companies waste on training when it’s not producing a return on investment.
“We encourage everyone who invests in sales training to track ROI – although be warned, the results might shock you,” says Steve.
“The science behind sales training suggests that in order for it to work, it needs to be highly customised to the unique challenges facing your organisation. You can’t take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.”
For more information on training for success, see our ebook: Six Strategies to Make Sales Training Stick.
Mindset is incredibly important
An incredible 80 per cent of a salesperson’s success comes down to mindset. Not skills or intelligence or experience – but mindset.
When salespeople have a positive, supportive mindset, they are more likely to close deals and reach their targets. On the flip side, those who suffer from anxiety or self-limiting beliefs tend to fall short, and struggle to consistently hit the numbers they need.
There are six well-documented hidden weaknesses that can impair sales success. These are:
- Money weakness
- Difficulty recovering from rejection
- Non-supportive buy cycle
- Self-limiting beliefs
- Need for approval
- Controlling emotions
“You can have the best, most well-defined sales process available, but if your team suffers from some or all of these hidden weaknesses, then they will fail to consistently execute,” says Steve.
“This is quite fixable – but a failure to address these weaknesses will result in poor performance. Ignore them at your peril.”
One way to avoid these issues is to recruit staff with the right mentality from the outset. Our sales recruitment ebook can show you how to find great salespeople that will take your sales to the next level.
A sales process is a must-have
According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review, organisations with an effective sales process in place tend to generate more revenue.
A sales process isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s essential to the success of your team. It creates a collaborative team culture where everyone is working towards a shared goal, and it also improves consistency allowing you to make accurate forecasts.
That said, having a sales process isn’t the same as having a good sales process.
“Over 90 per cent of CEOs and sales leaders believe they have a sales process in place. However, when we go a little deeper and ask some telling questions, their answers tell a different story,” says Steve.
Here are some questions to ask to test your sales process:
- Does it mirror and reflect the activities and behaviours of your top-performing reps?
- Do your sales managers regularly coach and hold your sales team accountable to this process?
- Is your sales process aligned with the buyer journey?
- Are all of your reps capable of executing your sales process?
Often, the answer to these questions is a resounding NO. In fact, a recent compilation of data from hundreds of salespeople across Australasia showed that only 4 per cent of sales managers and 3 per cent of salespeople have a strong, milestone-centric sales process.
“To truly tap into the science behind selling, you must first fix your sales process,” says Steve.
Want to lead your sales team to the next level this year? Download our free ebook, Highly Profitable Sales Leadership Tools for 2017.