3 Skills Sales Reps Need to Hit Revenue Targets in a Tightening Economy
Rising economic headwinds are changing the selling landscape for your sales organization. As revenue pressures mount and buyer pushback increases, help your salespeople weather the storm and come out stronger.
Right now, elite leaders are identifying opportunities to strengthen their salespeople’s core selling competencies, so they can better serve customers and maintain pipeline through this season. These are the three must-have skills your sellers can use to sell consistently in a challenging economic climate.
1. The Ability to Align the Sales Conversation to Evolving Buyer Problems
When buyers are affected by economic pressure, deals come under additional scrutiny. Successful sellers will be the ones who can articulate the value and differentiation of their solutions in a way that defines a return on investment tied to their buyer’s most critical priorities.
Adapting the sales conversation to buyer problems begins with great discovery. It will be imperative that your sellers are able to identify their buyers' most critical goals and problems. When early conversations are focused on listening to the buyer, rather than sharing features and functions of your solution, sellers will develop a more complete picture of the buyer’s position.
The sellers who can consistently initiate a customer-centric sales conversation will be able to align their solution’s differentiation to their buyer’s decision criteria. Give your reps the knowledge and skills to execute buyer-focused conversations that lead to demand and urgency for your solution.
As a sales leader, the priorities you set at your sales kickoff will be key in keeping these crucial discovery steps top-of-mind for sellers all year. Force Management Managing Director, Brian Walsh, digs deeper into the process of defining a customer-focused message and strategy in this webinar conversation.
2. The Ability to Influence Decision Criteria With Your Differentiation
In a difficult economy, many organizations struggle against shifting buyer budgets. Without an early and consistent communication of value, deals will be negotiated at the lowest common denominator: price. When battling a price-gouging competitor, elite sellers use their discovery approach to influence buyer decision criteria with their solution’s differentiation. This skill is critical to minimize discounting and increase wins, regardless of the external selling environment.
Enable your sales team to confidently establish value and differentiation early in the sales conversation. Start by defining how your key value drivers can be applied to the current market context for your buyers. Align your whole organization behind the competitive differentiation of your solution and a value-based messaging framework that enables reps to leverage that differentiation. Your SKO is a great opportunity to make it happen.
To reach cross-functional alignment, everyone in your commercial organization should have a unified buyer-focused answer to these essential questions:
- What mission critical problems do you solve for your customers?
- How do you specifically solve those problems?
- How do you solve those problems in a way that's different or better than competition?
- What’s your proof?
Weave the answers to these key questions into your organization’s vocabulary and align your sales collateral accordingly. Operationalizing your solution’s value and differentiation in this way will give your salespeople the skill and knowledge to close high-value deals, regardless of current state.
3. The Ability to Qualify Opportunities Early and Accurately
In enterprise sales, a business deal often involves more sign offs and decision makers. When facing a down economy, ensure your salespeople can navigate conversations with these critical buyers and determine key information to capture a collective yes for your solution. Each of these decision makers has their own buying criteria that your reps will need to uncover and align behind.
Elite salespeople leverage their qualification methodology to test for gaps in their knowledge of critical buying criteria. Operationalize this focus across your sales team. Use this time to build and support a culture of accountability around qualifying deals and testing for gaps, early and often.
As a sales leader, you can support sellers in implementing this skill by providing a custom qualification methodology (like MEDDICC) that helps sellers pinpoint gaps in customer knowledge that they can then fill to effectively progress their deals. When successfully implemented, a customized qualification process drives revenue consistency and enables a clear view of the pipeline at any time.
Use your SKO as an opportunity to operationalize this qualification methodology. Coach managers on how to ensure that this consistency is ingrained into the organization and maintained by sales teams, new hires and organizational leaders.
This conversation offers strategies for how to successfully implement a refined qualification approach to ensure that reps focus all of their time on the highest-value opportunities.
Strengthen Vital Sales Skills with Your SKO
As you consider how best to leverage your resources for the upcoming year, there’s no doubt that training on key organizational competencies is an investment in revenue potential. Successful sales organizations execute sales fundamentals in an elite way and adapt to rapidly changing customer needs.
If you’re looking to provide your sales organization with the toolkit they need to be successful in an economic downturn, it’s important to maximize the impact of your SKO. In a recent conversation, Force Management Managing Director Brian Walsh shared five action steps leaders are taking in SKO planning to drive sales numbers next year. Watch the webinar now.