Sales Capabilities Required to Compete Today
Build Agile Sales Skills to Engage the Modern Buyer
The Right Sales Capabilities Differentiate Your Team
Developing diverse selling capabilities helps sales professionals become more agile in their pursuits. They are equipped to move with the increasing pace of change and adapt in the moment to their customer’s needs.
Types of Sales Capabilities
Every sales capability falls into one of four skill categories that link to a specific part of the selling process:
- Create opportunities
- Win deals
- Negotiate to maximise value
- Grow accounts
Here, we break down the specific skills that form each of these four capability categories.
Prospecting into new or existing accounts is one of the greatest challenges facing sales teams today. Gaining access to decision-makers and earning the right to a target customer's limited time is increasingly competitive.
To effectively create new opportunities sales professionals need to develop the following capabilities:
- Territory Management: Identify territories with the greatest potential, prioritize current customers and prospects, and create a schedule that commits to a set of actions
- Target Prospects: Understand common buyer profiles and identify key prospects
- Value Messaging: Articulate the solution’s value in ways that make the product or service feel at home in the context of the customer’s business
- Manage Gatekeepers: Build trust with influencers and researchers to gain access to higher-tier decision-makers
The primary goal of sales reps is to win new business. To do this they need to build competencies to agilely respond to their customer's changing needs, effectively engage and communicate, and build momentum towards the close.
These competencies include the following:
- Call Planning: Prepare for sales calls to ensure value is delivered early in the conversation.
- Risk Positioning: Help customers define and evaluate the risks associated with decisions including the status quo.
- Understand Needs: Use questioning skills to understand and then convert customer requirements into insightful positioning points.
- Storytelling: Appeal to the customer's emotional side by articulating the meaning of their solution within a narrative flow.
- Resolve Objections: Embrace objections as an opportunity to get to the root cause of an issue and use that knowledge to reinforce the value of the solution.
- Virtual Engagement: Communicate with customers across digital mediums
- Access Decision Makers: Earn access to the right decision-makers who have control over the different levels of the buying process
- Compelling Presentations: Compellingly articulate value in accessible, clear language.
- Drive Consensus: Identify and address the concerns of diverse stakeholders and drive alignment towards a decision
- Sell with Teams: Build and lead selling teams comprised of sales and non-sales roles to answer buyer questions and describe the full scope of the solution
- Co-Create Value: Collaborate with buyers to define the aspects of the solution they believe are valuable and connect their priorities to the solution.
- Leverage Insights: Reframe the customer's thinking to help them explore challenges and solutions from a different perspective
Negotiate to Maximize Value
The last mile of a deal is negotiations. This is often where great opportunities fail. Sales professionals need to build their confidence and ability to successfully negotiate deals to mutually beneficial conclusions. The skills required to execute this critical step include:
- Negotiation Strategy: Confidently navigate the negotiation conversation by strengthening relationships, emphasizing value, and avoiding any adversarial moves
- Proactive Control: Preserve the scope of the sale by finding ways to address the customer’s needs without reducing the size of the potential sale
- Reinforce Value: Build trust and credibility, even when negotiations are complete to strengthen relationships and lay the foundation for account growth.
- Intentional Trading: Avoid making concessions in favor of collaboratively trading with buyers
- Convert Demands: Address customer demands by treating them as unmet needs and highlight how the solution addresses them
- Protect Price: Understand the levers that can be used to protect pricing like flexible payment terms or value reinforcement
Selling into a customer's white space is critical for ensuring positive customer lifetime value and improving relationships with clients. The competencies sales reps need to build to proactively grow and expand accounts include:
- Account Planning: Optimize account coverage with effective planning to maximize revenue and customer lifetime value
- Account Strategy: Deliver differentiated value with high-quality solutions and even higher quality customer engagement
- Value Articulation: Meaningfully articulate the ROI of solutions to different stakeholders
- Expand Access: Build rapport and credibility with multiple stakeholders in an account by maintaining and expanding relationships within the account
- Account Team Alignment: Ensure customers have a consistent experience with all members of the selling organizations team
- Navigate Politics: Tailor value conversations to different buying personas to develop broad buy-in for solutions
- Competitive Defense: Act as a trusted advisor by constantly looking for opportunities to add value to defend against competitors
- Identify White Space: Identify the white space within accounts to uptier and cross-sell additional solutions
- Channel Management: Engage different channel partners to maximize coverage and provide value to different kinds of customers.
Building Sales Capabilities with Richardson Sales Performance
The competencies listed above create a comprehensive list of selling capabilities required to compete today, however, our team recognizes sales reps in different roles need different levels of mastery across each competency. Further, there are scenarios where focusing on building one or two skills will deliver more immediate results than a more generalized program that's why our solutions are always highly customized.
We help you to define what good looks like for each role within your team, assess gaps in capabilities, guide learning journeys, and provide tools to ensure ongoing coaching, adherence to best practices, and continuous development.
We work with you to map the competencies required and the proficiency level needed for each sales role to bring your competency framework will come to life as seen in the example below.
Take a deeper dive into the process of building a sales competency framework in the blog Defining a Sales Competency Framework to Drive Top Performer Behavior
The result of these efforts is a complete skill development roadmap that strategically drives meaningful return on investment now and in the future.