In the past, the best high-tech sales training focused on real situations, often contained live scenarios and looked at the instant application of strategies and tactics to in process deals. If you have not been employing these tactics, your sales enablement is not attaining the best results. Of course, this assumes you have highly experienced trainers who have a solid grasp of real deals in your sector with your types of products and services.
Many of our clients tout such sales enablement designs. What is often missing is not a stellar sales training event, but sustainable support that instills continuously evolving best practices across the entire sales team. The following outlines how our best clients have transformed high tech sales training into sustainable sales enablement practices.
What is slowly evolving in big deals and accounts is the creative analysis and use of data. For example, many companies evaluate relationships. What they sometimes miss is truly looking at relationships based upon the types of services you offer, markets you support and emerging players. If you are a global high-tech firm, big four, law or engineering firm, how you analyze and foster relationships is very different. The reason is your repeat business from these accounts has different patterns. In our work with one large technology firm, how they fostered partnerships and relationships was focused on who they knew and not blended with emerging market players who were key influencers in their market. This high-tech firm was too conservative for their market and they were getting crushed. They realigned with new relationships, tracked and dedicated resources and intentionally balanced their existing relationships within this new focus. The results were swift and positive.
Another pattern emerging from the best performers is detailed account administration to cull small details about what works and what does not. The data analysis is not to give the best reps a pat on the back or reprimand the poorest performers. It is a detailed analysis of what the best performers do and why. In one technology company we worked with, we had detailed conversations around what the business development team was saying and at what point in the conversation. We also looked at who they were saying what to, tracking the results and evaluating conversations.
Part of the development of evolving sales best practices can be readily observed in how sales training has morphed over time to sales enablement. These are two very different terms. Sales training is a subset of sales enablement. Sales training is simply a component of developing your work winning team. Sales enablement includes so much more. One of the best sales enablement developments is the inclusion of big deal coaching by seasoned experts who are often not the sale managers. The best companies blend internal and/or external support to acquire a wealth of experience that can literally change the shape of deals and account relationships. These deal coaches are also expert at facilitating change, a fundamental key in shaping skepticism into willing behaviors.
Another emerging behavior within the most advanced companies is that they have a framework that clearly and effectively communicates the priorities of everyone’s roles and how they may vary across deals and accounts. This is to make work winning cycles as efficient as they are effective. Therefore, training is not an event solely for sales reps. It is a distillation of who influences accounts and deals, and often this includes people external to your organization who can heavily impact a certain account or deal. The insight from many of the external influencers can be extraordinary. It also helps them become more vocal advocates of your efforts.
The intent was not to find out what the best reps were doing and then make the lower performers better. It was to find out what all the best reps were doing, look at how their conversations and approaches could be made better and make everyone better. If the right data can be culled from AI searches across your calls, the output can be invaluable. Otherwise, this type of personal analysis should be done so that the right variables can be tracked in the calls. This is an essential ingredient to significant improvement. We are now seeing more clients initiate this type of sales optimization analysis on a much deeper level.
There is a new era emerging. Sorry sales people, winging it is dead.