Sales professionals with a long tenure have an established approach while those who are new have a different style. As these disparate groups come together, an unevenness sets in.
This challenge intensifies as the organisation’s solutions grow and change. As the products and services become more holistic and sophisticated, they often require new selling skills to fully articulate the breadth of their capabilities. Too often, the selling organisation becomes a patchwork of inherited practices and bold new initiatives.
The solution: adopting a consistent selling methodology and a common sales language across the organisation.
Consistency leads to:
- Accurate Performance Measurement
- Increased Efficiency within Sales Enablement
- A Cohesive Support Network
- An Enhanced Customer Experience
Accurate Performance Measurement
Consistency drives accuracy in performance measurement because all sales professionals are measured against the same framework. It is true that some metrics like win rate, quota attainment and contract value are general enough to capture the overall performance of differing styles. However, if any of those figures reflect poor performance, leaders will not be able to uncover the underlying reasons.
Some leaders respond to this challenge by adopting a multitude of measurements in an effort to cover a diverse range of selling techniques. This approach invites problems by taxing internal systems that might not be equipped to generate such a diverse group of metrics. Leaders become burdened with time-consuming measurement responsibilities that lead to the counterproductive tendency of focusing only on the measurements that reflect a favourable picture. What follows is a culture in which leaders are “managing to the metric” rather than focusing on revenue-generating activities like driving prospecting efforts and expanding existing accounts.
A consistent selling approach solves this problem by prioritising selling behaviours above measurement. That is, leaders first choose the optimal selling behaviours, then support those behaviours with a right-sized set of measurements.
Effectiveness in Sales Enablement
Sales enablement is a function and discipline designed to empower sales professionals with the relevant content, coaching, training and analytics to improve their selling capabilities. Sales enablement professionals are focused on helping the sales professional apply the right tools at the right time to advance the sale. This function is responsible for driving sales efficiency and effectiveness and, ultimately, sales results. However, sales enablement becomes less efficient when it must serve a disjointed array of selling methodologies. This distraction means that sales enablement teams risk losing sight of one of their core functions: sustainment.
Sales enablement must sustain a set of best practices that coalesce to a repeatable sales process. Without sustainment, the sales enablement function is unable to gauge where skills are lacking and how to serve emerging customer needs. Sales enablement capabilities like these are more important than ever as sales professionals are positioning complex solutions that support the digital transformation of today’s organisations.
These holistic and connected solutions are complex and demand a sophisticated set of tools to properly articulate the value behind their dynamic, broad and abstract features. This demand, however, only becomes more intense as sales enablement professionals struggle to accommodate disparate selling practices.
The burden of accommodating different selling styles means that enablement risks losing sight of the customer. As enablement becomes accustomed to working within a uniform methodology, they develop more resonance with the touchpoints in the buyer’s journey. They develop a sense of what will motivate the customer given their advancement through the purchasing process. This feel for the sale matters because sales enablement teams do more than dispatch materials, tools and marketing collateral. They also make judgments about which of those tools is most appropriate given the customer, their need and the progress in the buyer’s journey.
A Cohesive Support Network
Selling is becoming a team effort. Increasingly sophisticated and complex products require the presence of subject matter experts, executives and implementation professionals. The challenge, however, is that these additional team members are not trained sales professionals. Bringing these professionals into a selling environment requires careful planning, rehearsals and communication. When there is a single, shared sales methodology, it is easier for those who are not sales professionals to learn the framework once. Otherwise, they must learn a different framework each time they are included in the sales presentation. Success and speed come from coordinating around the same playbook. Coordination, however, becomes a challenge amid incongruent selling methods. Customers see this incongruence as a sign of disorganisation and imbalance. An effective team selling engagement requires seamless transitions, concise messaging and a consistent narrative flow. All of these elements demand a single core selling practice.
Consistency also matters after the team sale because debriefing is where progress occurs. It is difficult for sales professionals to assess effectiveness when different styles are in play. As a result, the team coach is likely to resort to short-term fixes like telling sales professional what went wrong and how to fix it. This practice undermines the development of critical selling skills and inhibits long-term growth. Effective coaching arises from instilling a sense of shared goals within the team. When the approach to selling is inconsistent, those goals are dispersed. This dynamic leads to a pattern in which coaches frantically work to push individual deals across the line rather than empower sales professionals to nurture the sale on their own. Finally, a consistent selling process enables new hires to reach time to productivity fast.
An Enhanced Customer Experience
Customers need a consistent experience. This consistency allows the customer to develop confidence in the sales professional and their solutions. Moreover, consistency drives efficiency. Today, customers need effective solutions fast. Competing priorities and limited time mean that sales professionals must get to the root of the challenge earlier. A universal selling methodology uncovers the customer’s needs without wasting valuable time. With a stronger customer experience comes improved customer retention. This is a key area of focus for successful companies because, on average, companies allocate a disproportionate amount of resources to customer acquisition without giving retention the focus it requires.
To learn more about building a consistent selling methodology for your organisation download the brief, The Four Critical Benefits of a Consistent Selling Methodology.