AchieveGlobal recently completed a comprehensive research initiative on sales effectiveness. The research is impressive in its scope: more than 1,000 sales and sales management respondents. AchieveGlobal Product Manager Mark Fears and study author Mark Marone will deliver a webcast on the research next week for the Sales Management Association community (the webcast is open to non members).
We caught up with Fears and Marone to ask a few questions in advance of the webcast.
[Join us Wednesday August 17 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern US time for the live webcast.]
Sales Management Association: Why did you decide to study sales and effective techniques
Mark Fears: We have noticed that the sales profession has fundamentally changed in the last few years. Customers are smarter, more demanding and the pressure from competitors has increased. Technology has also changed the sales process. E-commerce has made product pricing and information more transparent. Customers now also have global access to alternative solutions with the Internet. Among the goals of this study were to understand how these events have impacted selling – and, in particular, how the skills and behaviors associated with successful sales professionals have evolved.
Sales Management Association: I know you will be sharing the results in the webcast, but can you give us a preview of the significant findings
Mark Marone: Sure. When we asked respondents to tell us what personal selling attributes were most important, the more successful sales professionals said:
– Be direct and honest in all communications (66% of high performers)
– Treat prospects, customers and partners with respect (58% of high performers)
– Maintain high ethical standards (55% of high performers)
These were rated higher than other attributes on the list, like: “being organized,” “exhibiting tenacity,” investing time and effort,” and “securing needed resources.”
We also looked at actual selling skills, and some of the top-rated ones were:
– Having knowledge of products and services (70% of high-performers)
– Configuring solutions to meet customer needs (64% of high-performers)
– Clearly explaining links between benefits and client needs (63% of high-performers)
This list points to activities that are strategic and reflect need for market intelligence, not just honesty or integrity, for the salesperson. Together, market intelligence and integrity can help a salesperson convey a genuine interest in the client’s business and an understanding of how to help them succeed.
We will cover these topics and more in the webcast.
Sales Management Association: Did anything come up in the survey that surprised you
Mark Marone: We always knew that coaching and training were important, but the data showed that these variables have an even stronger influence than we expected on sales performance. One example that stood out for us was the higher amount of training and coaching received, the higher the average deal size and the larger the increase in personal sales revenue.
Join The Sales Management Association for a free webcast (open to non members) on the AchieveGlobal Sales Effectiveness Study.
Wednesday August 17 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern US time