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Should sales be considered a science or an art?

by jcp

By Shabri Lakhani, CEO of SalesWorks

The sales industry has changed significantly over the past few years. No longer can businesses rely on the traditional system of ‘sink or swim’ when it comes to onboarding sales reps. Sales teams now need to take a scientific approach to developing an efficient team.

There are obvious elements to sales that require artistry and creativity as representatives need to be confident and able to think inventively when approaching clients and customers. However, the sales process is becoming more scientific with the increasing reliance on tech-enabled platforms. To put it simply, sales enablement platforms are tools available to bring together people and technology to improve the sales cycle. This may be keeping teams organized in their day to day, aligning sales and marketing teams, or improving the onboarding process.

Sales enablement platforms must also come alongside a team that are willing to learn and continually develop their practices. Failing to prioritise both individual and team development will cause businesses to miss out on critical opportunities. Therefore, in 2022 if businesses want to produce a successful sales cycle they must take advantage of tech-enabled sales platforms alongside long-term training of team members to ensure teams are effective.

Investment in tech-enabled sales platforms

Sales teams can only be as efficient and data accurate as their tech stack allows them to be. The trouble is, there are no ‘silver bullet’ sales platforms, just different tools with different functions. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that many sales teams are taking advantage of these tools as the highest performing sales teams use between three and eight tools in their day-to-day operations.

Sales leaders must evaluate their sales process and select the right tools for their purpose. When choosing a new platform, it can be daunting therefore when evaluating which option is best for the business, teams need to take these three points into consideration:

  1. What business problems are being solved through adopting the platform?
  2. What’s the team’s budget for adopting new services?
  3. Does it have a simple user interface that will allow all team members to engage?

Teams also need to be certain that once they have adopted a platform, they are getting the most out of its functionality. Ensuring all team members have training on the platforms will create efficiency across the team.

Maintain long-term training beyond the onboarding process

Implementing sales enablement platforms is only one aspect to developing a successful sales process. Training needs to come hand in hand with structural changes to ensure that teams are working to their best ability. Having a structured training system in place will also have a significant impact on employee retention. This is an issue that is currently facing the sales industry with 44% of millennial salespeople stating that they plan to leave their job within two years. To improve retention and efficiency of sales teams, businesses must instate a long-term system of sales training.

Research shows that 45% of employees would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they offered more skills and training, therefore businesses need to create an environment that encourages learning. Transforming the sales teams into a place of learning and development where team members are presented with opportunities to develop their skills will not only benefit the representative but the wider business.

However, to benefit the wider business, training needs to remain in line with the business’s goals and objectives. Aligning and measuring training against the business’s KPIs and revenue goals is important to both determine the progress of sales training and to satisfy the wider business.

In 2022 if sales teams are to be productive, they must take a scientific approach to the sales process. No longer can teams rely on minimal training and simply hiring those with confidence and creativity. Investment in tech-enabled sales programmes alongside implementing long-term training of staff will improve any businesses sales cycle.

To learn more about SalesWorks please visit: https://www.salesworks.io/

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