How to identify inherent sales strengths in your sales team?

December 20, 2022

Although the world, the market situation, and purchasing behavior are changing, the sales process still includes certain steps without which it is difficult to succeed. Very often, a single salesperson handles several steps independently. Does that make sense? In modern sales, could different stages of sales be distributed to different people? Or alternatively, could the sales process be more strongly adapted to the inherent behavior of the salesperson, without compromising on the customer experience/purchase experience?

One clear and perhaps simplistic way to examine these questions is to divide sales strengths by stages in the sales process:

Building success on a sustainable basis requires an understanding of the market, competitors and trends, a constant review and analysis of this "big" picture. It is also necessary to identify potential customers and the elements that influence their decision-making in order to know how to contact the relevant people with the right message. Although many people have the impression that cold contacting is irrelevant for anyone, it is not true. For some salespeople, it is their natural strength and it produces success, if the target group is right and the customer is understood and trust is built from the first approach.

You have to be able to find out and understand the customers' needs, but none of the above is enough on its own if the solution has to be built in a customized way. Building a solution requires a special kind of know-how, and if it is a product to be sold, this development has taken place at an earlier stage, and possible further development is constantly taking place in the background. When it comes to your own business, it's always good to think that all these steps and strengths usually don't belong (fortunately) on the desk of an individual salesperson.

It is good for salespeople to study negotiation skills, but even in them, the best "closers" are naturally strong negotiators. They move the customer forward, naturally ask for interim approval and set goals and clarify the counter-arguments that are relevant to the sale, maybe taking care of them already at the beginning of the sale. Naturally good negotiators often don't end up asking "what do you want to buy" or "shall we make a deal?". In the end, the negotiations have already been taken care of and it is easy for the customer to make a purchase decision.

In my sales duties, I have often heard the expression "the tail lights are visible", which is the customers' genuine concern about the seller's empty promises and disappearance after the contract is made. What has been promised, what is actually delivered and with what quality? Are the processes in order and is it clear to everyone what their role is and how to get the most flexible and pleasing end result from the customer's point of view? Do we keep in touch with the customer and are we genuinely interested in nurturing long-term customer relationships? We listen to the existing customer, we are awake in terms of the market and we follow the trends, and in a way, the wheel starts again.

I recommend you think about who is responsible for these different steps for your own organization. The wheel won't turn for long if even one part suffers. At the same time, we know that only 3% of salespeople have four sales strengths, and 62% have one or two. We also know that if too large a slice of the work is spent working on one's own weaker areas, it consumes. It's exhausting, it's draining. Potential is wasted, and customer satisfaction also suffers. It is much more productive to invest in your natural strengths and strengthen them. There are salespeople for whom the independent work from prospecting to closing goes at an average level, and there are those who have exceptionally strong strengths in certain areas, but performing in some other areas requires a lot of effort, constantly.

What is interesting in the midst of all this is that it is easy and quick to map these strengths with the help of technology, and this data can be utilized at the individual level, at the team level, and in the big picture, also at the strategic level.

Are you interested in mapping your team's sales strengths in different sales process stages? Fill in the form and we will tell you more:

Halla Hänninen

DEI & Sales professional

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