How to Lead a Revenue-Driving Sales Force in Today’s Market
What do today’s most successful revenue-driving sales forces have in common? The top teams all feature the same traits: (1) a customer-focused qualification and discovery process, (2) the ability to attach to desired business outcomes (3) and clear, tangible differentiation. How can leaders help their organization achieve these things? By operationalizing a powerful messaging framework.
A messaging framework is not a script, it’s a framework that guides a conversation. So, as the sales landscape changes due to shifts in the economy, your sales reps can shift their conversations as well. The organizations best suited to come out on top are the ones with a client-centric approach and agility in applying their sales message.
Think of your sales force as your biggest investment. Maximize the ROI you are getting from your talent by equipping them with a powerful value message. Arming your team with tools to succeed will increase your average deal size, boost win rates and maximize productivity. Set the standard now and create repeatable processes that guarantee long-term success – even through economic ups and downs.
The top revenue-driving sales teams have a messaging framework that provides these three crucial pieces:
1. Customer-Focused Discovery and Qualification Process
Purposeful discovery questions can make or break the sale. With limited time in front of decision-makers to ask questions, it’s essential for your reps to make the most of this moment by asking the right questions.
Sales managers should work with teams to fine-tune their discovery and qualification skills. Purposeful discovery serves to qualify high-value deals or uncover cross-selling opportunities. Questions that invite prospects to describe their crucial pain points and the decision criteria they’ll use to evaluate solutions can provide the roadmap to a closed deal.
Perfecting this dance requires active listening skills and the ability to react in the moment. We call this level of agility being audible-ready, akin to a football quarterback who reads the defense and changes the play at the line of scrimmage. Even the best quarterbacks don’t start their careers with the instinct for calling effective audibles. Their capacity to read and react quickly comes only through dedication, memorizing their playbook inside-out and practice.
Your sales team can become hall-of-famers with the same approach. Role-plays are ideal for fine-tuning your staff’s audible-readiness. Practice makes perfect; knowing the source material by heart enables each rep to improvise when changes arise.
2. Ability to Attach to Key Business Outcomes
Resisting the temptation to launch into features and functions requires restraint and composure. Remember, customers don’t want products; they want their problems to disappear. A disciplined salesperson knows to keep the conversation focused on the client’s business and align their talking points with the buyer’s evolving problems.
During economic uncertainty, buyers are most concerned with increasing revenue and decreasing costs. (Convenience takes a back seat.) Work with your team to outline how your offering achieves these top-tier customer priorities: driving revenue and saving money.
Understanding the desired outcomes allows the conversation to shift into playback, where the rep ensures everyone’s on the same page and restates the customer’s goals. The client knows they are being heard and begins to trust.
Trust helps, but trust alone won’t close many deals. Equipping your team with a robust messaging framework empowers them to draw the necessary connections to your product or service. They’ve outlined the desired positive business outcomes the client hopes to achieve. The stage is set to steer these conversations into the required capabilities the client needs to achieve and the metrics they’ll use to measure success.
Teams who can describe their product or service through the positive business outcomes it creates have a clear advantage over their competitors. It translates into shorter sales cycles and higher win rates.
3. Clear and Tangible Differentiation
The most successful businesses separate themselves from their competitors with true differentiation, the characteristics that drive long-lasting customer satisfaction and repeat business. Too often, unseasoned reps attempt to set themselves apart by price - but a conversation centered around the price tag misses the point and is unlikely to ever get beyond negotiating cost.
When a sales force is equipped with a strong value framework, they can readily explain the inherent features that help the buyer extinguish their pain and achieve their goals. They can articulate how your solution solves the business problem better than the other options in the marketplace.
Differentiation becomes tangible and defensible when you provide proof points from previous clients who vouch for your legitimacy. Few sales tools move the needle like a customized success story that explains how your solution solved a customer’s problems, alongside the metrics to prove it. Prospects start to believe their desired business outcomes can also be achieved; claims about your solution’s ability to drive revenue or cut costs are validated with relatable examples.
Strong leaders know the power of proof points and ensure that collecting and sharing them is built into their process and operating rhythm.
Well-oiled sales teams can serve as differentiators, too. Customers take note when a sales rep guides them through the process, helps them perceive value and discusses the solution in relation to the identified goalposts. Buyers recognize competence and excellence and gravitate toward these qualities. You can outshine the competition simply by developing an elite front line.
Start Building a Modern Revenue Machine
Economic uncertainty offers an opportunity to sharpen our skill sets and exact our methods. Don’t wait to see which way the tide turns; the time is now.
Mastering the characteristics that fuel today’s revenue leaders begins with a powerful, personalized message of value. Define your organization’s value and differentiation, then build a repeatable process that allows for evolution as buyer needs change.
Only sales forces that are agile enough to flex with the shifting market will achieve lasting success. Start transforming your sales strategy today with this guide for leaders.