What is Field Sales?
Field sales (also known as “outside sales”) is the practice of selling a business’s products or services outside the office. Field sales professionals often travel to the customer’s location to engage them directly in a sale.
Field sales training is particularly important for sales organizations today because more stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions than before.
Addressing these groups requires training for interpersonal skills to conduct successful in-person meetings. Face-to-face engagement is critical for getting sophisticated and large deals across the line.
Roles and Responsibilities
Achieving business goals has become more complex than ever. This trend stems from increased competition.
Positioning solutions that address these challenges requires training sales professionals on deeper questioning, which is sometimes best achieved on site with the customer. Fully-engaged customers yield longer-term relationships and greater revenue.
Being adept at customer-facing scenarios is an essential skill for field and outside sales. Field sales professionals must be able to approach the conversation with authenticity by engaging in a questioning strategy that uncovers the customer’s needs.
The field sales process can be difficult because it forces both sides to acknowledge the stature of the business challenges. Openness illuminates the specifics that will give effective professionals an edge over the competition. Simply put, field sales professionals need to be trained in being able to build relationships.
Top Challenges in Field Sales
Outside sales training must require professionals to have a superior skill set. One-quarter of business sent out for bid is never awarded to any sales team. This inertia means leaders need to train a field sales team that can perform at a level which earns the customer’s trust.
Earning the customer’s trust is more difficult than it has ever been. As technology advances outside sales professionals face escalating business needs and aggressive procurement practices. Reaching quotas means training professionals to deliver on these challenges. Failing to do so carries a heavy expense given that 71 percent of the sales force today consists of field sales professionals.
Critical Skills for Field Sales Professionals
Time in front of the customer is short and outside sales professionals need to make every interaction meaningful. Doing so means engaging in consultative selling characterized by a shared commitment to the business challenges at hand.
Research from McKinsey underscores the value of this skill. One company credited a move from transactional selling to consultative selling with “$500 million in new bookings and a 40 percent improvement in productivity.” The difference comes from deeper customer relationships. This depth cannot develop without authenticity.
Our Approach to Field and Outside Sales Training
Field or outside sales professionals, by definition, are frequently out of the office, and training requires a flexible engagement style. The solution is digital learning.
Mobile-optimized tools afford the option of training on the go without having to step off the field.
Mobile learning leverages the power of recency; users can take skills learned just moments ago and immediately apply them to real-world selling interactions.
Mobile learning is especially effective in selling scenarios requiring a team of field sales professionals.
This flexible training engagement ensures that skills become uniform throughout the field sales team. Synchronicity is critical for teams that need to be cohesive in front of the customer.
Developing these skills often requires some classroom training as well. Though field sales professionals want to limit their time out-of-market, there are a few learning techniques that are best achieved with instructor-led training, namely, role-play exercises. This approach gets learners comfortable with being uncomfortable. It pushes them outside their comfort zone so that when faced with the pressures of a high-stake sale they know how to perform.
Want to learn how Richardson can help your team achieve outside sales success? Contact us to speak with a sales expert today.
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