Posted by Rachel Clapp Miller, GrowthPlay
Many organizations start the year with plans to implement new sales methodologies. Unfortunately, many of these plans will fail to boost sales productivity, and many will simply fade away as the year progresses.
If you want your new methodology to stick, don’t treat implementation as the final step. What you do after implementation is every bit as important as what you do before and during. Here are the five ways to ensure that your company is among those that succeed.
1. Structured Practice
Simply understanding the new methodology does not necessarily translate to actual day-to-day use. Old habits die hard, and busy salespeople often won’t slow down long enough to change their operating rhythm. To overcome this inertia, organize formal role-playing opportunities to practice and reinforce the new methods. Institute official debriefs and feedback from practice calls and meetings. The more often your team practices—and receives feedback on—the new habits, the more effectively they’ll incorporate them into their daily activities.
2. Best Practices Collaboration
Highly effective sales teams have something in common that merely adequate teams rarely possess: a high level of sharing among salespeople. When individual performers hoard information and best practices, it may benefit them individually in the short term, but it does nothing for the whole team.
In order for a new methodology to take root in your company, discourage hoarding and encourage collaboration. Sharing successes and best practices among the team will accelerate adoption and performance among the whole team. Start by instituting a sharing portal to make it easy for reps to learn from one another. Most sales people enjoy “bragging” about their successes, and an internal sales portal will encourage them to share what they’re doing to achieve that success. Reward collaboration and build shared success.
3. Proof Points
The best sales methodology in the world will fall flat if it doesn’t connect with what customers genuinely want. Similarly, your buyers want proof that you can do what you say you can do. Effective proof points speak to the priorities and the perspective of your customer, demonstrating the value and differentiation your prospects are looking to achieve.
Help your reps demonstrate the value of your solutions. Develop a consistent process for your sales team to gather proof as soon as possible after a successful engagement. Then leverage the skills and resources of your marketing team to turn that information into compelling, easy to consume proof points.
4. Follow-up Training
Even the best training in the world will fall flat if it only happens once and there’s no plan to reinforce it afterwards. The human brain is not wired to absorb and execute on information that is delivered all at once and only once. Provide your team with benchmarks for success, and schedule refresh sessions throughout the year to reinforce new practices and measure performance against the new methodology.
5. Social Technology
Social media tools are no longer only for socializing. The most successful sales team leaders use multiple social media approaches to reinforce sales training, encourage collaboration, and communicate important information to their teams.
LinkedIn groups are an effective gathering place to share information, provide key reminders to team members, offer motivation around key initiatives, and share success stories from top performers. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds are a good place to cut through the email clutter and reach your teams with reminders, reinforcement tips, and success stories.
Reaching out to your team on social media allows you to reinforce the language, habits, and collaboration expectations of the new methodology. Integrate social with the tools they’re already using—sales enablement platforms, CRMs, etc.—to achieve highest engagement.
Put these five steps in place and watch your sales methodology take root inside the organization.