18. It takes 10 months+ for a new rep to be fully productive
New salespeople need time to learn and gain confidence. Speed up this timeline by investing in sales enablement strategies, pairing new reps with seasoned team members, and using online training.
As a new salesperson, do you have a strategy and timeline for learning? Is practice part of your strategy? Do you OWN your learning engagement and information or do you rely on your manager to bring it to you? I invite you to make it your own and to measure yourself regularly – not just to know what you don’t know (yet) but to build confidence in what you DO know. And support knowledge with skill as selling an only be practiced to gain confidence. Theory doesn’t get the job done.
If you don’t have an initial training program that covers 60 months, you are missing an opportunity to get and keep new salespeople. Include skills in product and services, selling, technology, communication, managing actions in time, marketing…all of it. As their sales leader, you need to make skill development part of the culture of creating excellence – and be the example of it.
17. Only 13% of customers believe sales reps understand their needs
Take the time to listen. Too many buyers complain that salespeople do not fully understand their needs and problems. You cannot sell a solution for a problem you don’t know about.
It is said “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and listening deeply is a fundamental skill for every salesperson to take on as a process of continuous learning. Forever. Take it on as a practice, like meditation and yoga. Find different ways to learn questioning skills – as a form of communication, connection, and problem-solving – and not just as a selling skill. Practice asking “Tell me more about that…” in EVERY conversation. Practice BEING inquisitive and interested. Practice asking questions to take a conversation deeper than surface level and see what happens.
AS a Sales Manager, BE the example of listening skills and practice. Ask yourself:
• Do I ask questions to help my sales team members to discover solutions or do I tell them what to do?
• Do I consciously practice developing MY questioning skills with my salespeople, with support people, with customers?
• Do I fully appreciate the skill of asking questions and deeply listening to responses?
Is there room for me to grow in this area? Am I willing to take that on?
#13 78% of sales reps who use social media outsell reps who don’t
It’s crucial for sales reps to be easily accessible. Having active social media profiles is a great way for your reps to connect with prospects and customers.
Salespeople Put this action on your weekly calendar and don’t rely on memory or instinct to guide you to do this. Talk to other salespeople (in other industries, and in different B2B or B2C sales positions) about what they are doing and what they are achieving with social media. Don’t reinvent the wheel…do what is working for some as you learn and expand your skills…but do it.
You may have some challenges with the marketing department on this one. It’s up to YOU to have the conversation with marketing to know what the sales team can say/not say and post/not post on their ‘personal/business’ page or other social media pages. This is an opportunity for training and measuring results. And everyone shouldn’t be required to do it…let the ones who want to expand their reach and are comfortable with the format experiment and learn…and then share it with others.