So you just designed or bought an off-the-shelf sales system for your sales team. You now have a high-level framework so reps can structure their calls, plan for objections, tailor their messages, and develop other sales skills.
But think of your average sales team member – how well does it work for them? Are they able to take it and run with it?
If you’re here, unfortunately, it’s because the answer is no!
As we talked about in this previous article, high-level sales systems are great in many ways and necessary for a sales organization. But it’s not enough. A very small percentage of reps (<5%) will be able to take the system and run with it because of their natural communication skills or previous experience. The vast majority, though, will need additional training on how to implement the system.
In other words, the system gave everyone a cookbook with the recipe names and even some specific ingredients in each recipe, but with no order of instructions on how to prep and cook everything. Only that small percentage will know what to do with the recipe.
Here’s what that looks like for a sales team:
- The rep is told to convey confidence in the product but speaks too fast, doesn’t know when to pause and/or sounds aggressive
- The rep tries to build rapport at the beginning of the meeting but is unaware of their cold tone of voice
- The rep tries to tell a customer success story but ends up rambling with no structure
- The rep tries to the “tailor the message” to the prospect but doesn’t know what type of evidence to use to influence them (emotional vs. logical evidence) and ends up shooting from the hip
- The rep is told to “control the conversation” but doesn’t know what to say when the meeting gets derailed
I’m sure you can think of other examples, but the common thread amongst all these issues is that the rep needs training on sales communication skills – a different skill-set than sales skills (sales skills: negotiation, discovery questions, framing the call, objection handling, etc.)
Does This Sound Like Your Team?
If this sounds familiar, then I recommend finding out more with a Needs Assessment for your team. It’ll give you a clear idea of what communication skills need work so that your team can successfully drive sales.
- Find the Needs Assessment here.
- Go to the Overview tab first and read the instructions there (Make a copy of the sheet).
- Think of your average sales team member.
- Go to the next sheet “Needs Assessment” and rate them from a 1-10 scale (10 being mastery/excellence) for each question.
- Once you’re done, on the right, you’ll see a results graph with the percentage of each of the 5 fundamental speaking areas your sales reps need. The weaker areas should be prioritized first.
How to Move Forward
Based on the assessment, which areas do your team need the most work on? Because these are fundamental communication skills, we recommend having at least an 80% in all 5 areas. Any areas that are significantly below this will drag meetings down and make it hard for reps to have great conversations that move the sale forward.
To improve communication skills, we generally focus on one of the areas and spend all day giving the reps frameworks, practice and coaching, otherwise they’ll be flying blind and not know how to redirect their efforts.
If you have a motivated sales team and want to arm them with these fundamental communication skills, then schedule a call with a training specialist (link to scheduler). Your reps will thank you for it!