The lone-wolf sales person is a thing of the past. Today’s modern sales organizations are built on team-selling and repeatable best practices. Best practices can take the form of elements like marketing content to engage prospects, sales coaching to overcome objections, and subject matter expertise to shape a vision.
These sales approaches can be flexible — they are often fine-tuned with a seller’s expertise to address a prospect’s needs. But they exist for real reasons: to increase consistency of message, predictability of results, and revenue itself.
Sales management has a critical role in supporting the use of best practices. Not only by simply motivating team members to spot new approaches that can be replicated and encouraging sellers to adopt them but also in using metrics to guide best practice selection and adoption.
Metrics provide a critical tool for sales managers to support best practice use. How? Let’s look at five metrics that leaders can use to increase adherence to best practices across their sales organization.
Are Sellers Using Training Resources?
It’s a fast-paced business you’re in. Your team is launching new products, entering new markets, and hiring new team members every day. How can your sales team — especially new hires — get up to speed on your offers quickly? How can they be expected to sell effectively if they’re not getting trained and coached on what’s new?
Sales managers must treat training and guidance not as a nice-to-have but as an imperative. So, they need to know which sellers are accessing and using their training resources on an ongoing basis. Especially considering that 80% of sales training is lost within weeks of its use. Reinforcing process and training is key.
Consider setting up reports that look at training use by your sales teams. You could launch a report that looks at the consumption of “New Product Training Assets”. This helps managers identify which teams, and specific users, are consuming these resources. Those identified teams and users can be coached on using the right sales enablement assets for better results.
Which Teams Are “Crushing” their Results and Using Marketing Assets?
95% of sellers want more marketing content to use in their sales process. Why? Because they recognize how valuable content is for engaging and advancing prospects. But how do you know which teams’ content use should be replicated across the rest of the team? Here’s another way that metrics can help.
If you see that a specific team has deals that convert at a higher rate, or at a higher average deal size, or close in less time, you should start there. We see our customers experience all three of these improvements as a direct result of getting more of the right content used across their sales teams.
Your managers can generate reports that help identify which teams are producing the best results and see which content they are using in their sales process. These correlations can help identify best practices that should be used across other units.
Which Resources Should be Used and When?
Timing in sales can be everything. If a seller pushes pricing to a prospect before there’s been a business case developed, the opportunity may fall apart. If a seller shares technical details of implementation with a business user, they may not only fall on deaf ears, they may scare the buyer.
As a result, it’s important to identify when situational guidance should be accessed and used. By providing sellers with ‘just in time’ training and supporting materials, they can be radically more effective.
Here I suggest you look to reports that track content use by sales context. You can identify when content is used in the sales process; whether content is used in the face of competition; if content is used in different ways by industry, deal structure, deal size, etc. When you can spot what marketing content and sales guidance is used by sales situation, you can better promote best practices across the rest of the team.
What Content Should Be Built?
A common misconception about sellers’ use of content is that it’s all on the seller’s shoulders. That’s simply not true. A sales person may ignore sales training material because it is not built for their role in the organization. This often happens to sales development teams who may only get some limited value from training assets built for account executives.
A similar problem exists for marketing content, which may have been designed for a top-of-funnel use that has limited use for late-stage or complex sales situations.
Sales leadership can report on which content is getting used — and which isn’t. They can quickly spot gaps in the content portfolio. They may see heavy use of, say, a case study of a bank with manufacturing prospects. Or, they might see a total absence of training resource use in competitive deals. Both situations indicate the likelihood that there aren’t relevant assets available for sellers to use. If these are revenue producing areas then this should be a priority for sales training or marketing to build out relevant materials.
What Subject Matter Expertise Matters?
A lot of sales success comes down to your people — internal experts and practitioners who know your products, customers, and market. Sellers that rely on these internal people resources should be able to count on them for timely insights that advance deals.
Of course, sellers can call or email an expert and get their opinion. But that’s not very reusable. A more effective approach is to have a forum-like experience where frequently asked questions can be stored and accessed by other sellers — and enriched by other experts.
As a sales manager, you want to encourage this kind of activity. So, a key metric might measure sellers’ usage of your forums. And on the flip-side, it might be looking at how frequently experts reply to questions and what the lead time is. By understanding this data, managers can encourage experts to participate more frequently and provide more resources and replies for the sales organization.
Content and other situational guidance is critical for sales success. And when you can measure the use and impact of your content you can better guide the creation of more impactful materials and their correct use across the team. The result is more repeatable and effective sales processes — and that means more revenue.