Just last week, a sales leader told me something simple, yet profound: The best sales teams never stop learning. This may sound obvious—but after years in it can become easy to get complacent and believe we know it all. Constant improvement takes significant, ongoing effort from each and every sales rep, but the dividends it pays are, quite literally, never-ending.
In the spirit of constant improvement, here are a few ideas from well-known sales thought leaders to inspire a different way of thinking about sales in 2018:
The new ABCs of sales
The traditional salesperson knows the ABCs of sales—always be closing. However author and speaker Daniel Pink has a different vision for the ABCs of sales. Pink suggests the new ABCs of sales should be:
Buoyancy—Sales can be demoralizing. Buoyancy means internally asking, “Can I do this?” This question prompts healthy “self-talk”, where we positively encourage ourselves to face a challenge and do better work.
Clarity—Finally, it’s up to the sales rep to bring clarity to a muddy situation. A great salesperson makes sense of problems by clearly communicating about their product or service. A posture of helping the prospect solve their issues is an indicator of a great sales rep.
Pink’s ideas aren’t radically new to sales leaders—but the simplicity of his ABC model is a helpful reminder of these invaluable deal-closing tactics.
Ask great questions
Sales guru Rick Roberge calls himself a “trusted advisor to 21st-century sales rock stars, founders, entrepreneurs, and startup executives.” One of his most powerful insights is remarkably simple: ask great questions. Roberge compiled an extensive list of questions for salespeople to ask themselves, their teams, or their prospects to inspire better performance. Some include:
What am I best at?
What’s the question behind that question?
Are you after a lifestyle business or world domination?
Are you ahead of the competition or lagging?
Is your business on an upswing, downswing, or flat?
The full list of 100 questions is available here.
9 rules for inbound selling
Brian Halligan, the CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, has been instrumental in shaping sales over the last decade. His self-proclaimed rules for selling will refocus any sales team on the basics of their craft.
Rule #2: Don’t force sales on a bad prospect.
Rule #3: Simplify the customer’s buying experience.
Rule #4: Be a world-class listener.
Rule #5: Be an expert in your field.
Rule #6: Make prospect research a habit.
Rule #7: Delight your customer.
Rule #8: Embody a copywriter.
Rule #9: Connect at the optimal time.
Want to dive into these rules more? Read Brian’s full blog post.
Use benchmarking to inspire performance improvements
Benchmarking—or comparing one team or company to the rest of the industry—is often a challenge. Compiling actionable data from a large-enough sample set takes significant time and effort. Thankfully for sales teams, our friends at OpenView have done extensive sales benchmarking research. Here are some basic stats they’ve discovered from sales teams across the nation:
The average lead-to-opportunity rate in sales (the percentage of leads that actually become real sales opportunities) is approximately 12%.
The average sales rep has 29 open opportunities at any given time.
In a month, the average sales rep closes 3.7 new customer deals.
These are just a few of the benchmarking stats that research teams like OpenView’s have discovered. Comparing an individual rep or an entire sales team to these numbers helps provide perspective on areas of success and opportunities for improvement. Here’s the latest benchmarking from OpenView.
Lessonly is built for the sales team that never stops learning
Lessonly’s sales enablement and training software helps reps learn, practice, and perform their skills in order to close more deals. Whether brushing up on competitors or reviewing product pricing, Lessonly’s powerfully simple interface empowers reps across the globe to do better work, faster than ever. Take a tour of Lessonly today.