I don’t envy today’s sales professional. It’s a complicated world where sales cycles are complex, information about choices is readily available, buyers are more sophisticated than ever, and achieving quota is no walk in the park. Not to mention that “performance” is constantly visible to everyone in the organization. Either you’re selling, or you aren’t. Finding a unique way boost sales performance can mean the difference between exceeding targets or having to look for another gig.
Being a sales professional in highly regulated industries such as insurance and pharmaceuticals introduces an added level of complexity. It’s a never-ending cat and mouse game as regulations, products, promotions and pricing constantly change. Staying on top of those changes is essential to maintaining an edge, but it’s an ongoing, annoying obstacle and a major time vacuum that takes away from being in the field selling.
And the reality is, many salespeople don’t take the time to be on top of it, so the balance tilts to pushing ahead with sales, in the absence of actually knowing the latest, accurate information. Of course, the result is a negative impact on performance. It’s a vicious cycle.
We’ve put together three quick tips that can enable sales managers to support their sales professionals in consistently maintaining this essential balance. The key is knowledge acquisition and retention. How do you learn the most important things, fast? Here’s how.
1) On Demand Training
Ensuring your sales team has instant, easy access to the latest product, pricing and regulatory knowledge is key to running a top-drawer sales organization. Especially in organizations with widely dispersed sales teams. At the end of the day we all know that sales people sell what they know, and if they’re selling what they don’t know… you might be in trouble.
2) Identifying & Closing Knowledge Gaps
So you’ve followed our first tip and your team has access to all the information their hearts could desire, but how does that translate into performance? As with deal bookings and quota, what if you were able set goals and metrics around levels of product knowledge and measure actual knowledge gaps, person by person? And what if you could proactively target specific information to each individual to close any gaps? With time at a premium, targeting the right information to the right people will reduce time, optimize knowledge and drive performance across the board.
3) Add Fun
Successful sales professionals tend to be positive, personable people who can (at times) have short attention spans. Whether it’s on their way to a meeting or in an airport, embedding strategically important knowledge in an experience that is engaging, rewarding and fun takes the friction out of learning something new. Employees actually start to look for these opportunities, not avoid them. Adding engagement and game mechanics like scorecards, points and even miniature games can act as a jetpack that seriously boosts sales performance.
So what’s the key? Make it instantly available, measure what they know, and make it fun so they want to learn. And watch the dollars roll in.