This blog has focused recently on the new realities facing B2B sales organizations as buyers take increasing advantage of more information, analysis tools, and online feedback from fellow buyers. Indeed, sales teams have ceded much of the power that traditionally enabled them to enter into the sales funnel and control the flow of information on everything from product/service comparisons to pricing. But it stands to reason that if access to knowledge and effective tools has tipped the scales in favor of buyers, B2B organizations can use their own collective intelligence and technology to create a more prepared, better equipped and nimble sales force.
Today’s empowered business buyers are better educated and have a clearer sense of they want and require even before a traditional sales conversation takes place. To meet their needs, the best performing sales personnel will adjust their approach to offer a more authentic, personalized experience, rather than roll out a procurement process heavy on technical speeds and demos of the product at hand. The conversations and interactions between a sales representative and a customer matter more than ever before, and therefore adequate preparation, short- and long-term training and real-time coaching are absolutely critical.
In accordance with the increasingly tech-savvy buyer community, sales organizations have rapidly mobilized to support anywhere/anytime/any device selling. Yet when it comes to training and knowledge-sharing, these sales groups are far too dependent on traditional, instructor-led, classroom-based training sessions and annual sales meetings that overwhelm the team with content, yet do little to reinforce best practices, message absorption, and rarely result in authentic buyer/seller relationships.
In the coming years, the most successful sales organizations will focus their efforts on deploying just-in-time video learning platforms to optimize how they teach, coach, and share their way toward better selling techniques:
- Video platforms will of course reinforce some Selling 101 basics, but will be invaluable in helping personnel rehearse, course-correct and eventually perfect their pitches.
- To avoid jargon and generic messaging, video is the ideal medium to create and share genuine, customized talk-tracks for specific presentations, while still drawing on the experiences and knowledgebase of the larger sales force.
- Experience and research shows that real-time coaching for live sales deals adds tremendous value to enterprises capable of deploying data-driven sales management techniques. Encouraging and enabling more meaningful collaboration, video is the most natural and effective platform for anywhere/anytime coaching and feedback between individual sales reps and their managers.
- According to Aberdeen Group, 46 percent of the Best-in-Class sales organizations are more focused on aggressively teaching objection handling, compared with under-performers. Successfully mastering this technique and ultimately making a buyer feel good about their purchase is key to developing long-term customer satisfaction. Practicing and coaching through video-based training reinforces the honesty, earnestness and compromise that the strongest sellers must use to overcome what can often be an emotional negotiating process.
- Despite rumors to the contrary, the personal touch is going to continue to be a sales necessity, especially in B2B engagements that are complex and technology-rich. Aberdeen has found that 41 percent of the top-performing sales teams are more focused on presentation and demo skills than others, making video-based presentation training a natural platform.
These are just a few of the reasons why, according to Aberdeen’s study, video-enabled sales teams achieve 9.1 percent stronger customer retention rates and see 8.0 percent more individual contributors achieving quota.
It’s apparent that the age of the hyper-informed buyer is here to stay, and it will require sellers to counter with their sharpest presentations and most prepared teams. To raise the game, sales reps need better training and development, delivered within a platform best suited for learning and collaborating on-demand in a mobile world.
About the Author
Mark Magnacca is the president and co-founder of Allego, a mobile-video just-in-time (JIT) learning platform for sales enablement and training. He has spent the last 15 years helping sales leaders shorten the sales cycle and distribute their best ideas faster. Over the last five years, Mark has been instrumental in coaching leading sales teams to deliver a consistent message in the marketplace by integrating mobile technology into their sales process. He has worked as a presentation coach with a wide range of financial service companies by delivering innovative, practice-development and business-building strategies.