What’s your focus for improved sales results this year?
Cleaning up my office this week and the biggest stack of papers on my desk is my “Session Notes” pile. It’s the colorful print outs of PowerPoint decks and session worksheets that are scribbled on in blue, purple, hot pink, and aqua (I love my colored sharpie fine points).
I jot down notes when I’m doing the last few run-throughs – “use this personal example” or “this was brought up in a sales meeting last week” … lots of customizations and tweaks and questions, stories, or examples shared from participants during the session are added to the notes and the content after the session.
I keep these paper piles and refer to them before each corresponding Skills Building session to make sure the content and learnings are super fresh, super relevant, and super impactful to the teams of sellers in the sessions.
Always learning. Always perfecting.
So, what’s in this big pile?
There are three specific areas of focus most every company is looking to improve: Business Development, Revenue Growth, and Sales Team Performance. I thought I’d share with you what we’ve developed in response to addressing the most prevalent organizational sales challenges our clients experience.
What were the top challenge areas and requested Skills Builder sessions requested by sales leaders last year?
- Business Development Focus – How do we grow market share and acquire new customers?
- More effective messaging to increase Prospecting Responses (Jedi Communication Skills Builder)
- Convert more leads to opportunities (Micro Campaign Skills Builder)
- Revenue Growth Focus – How do we expand within current clients and improve profitability?
- Account Expansion, and Cross-Selling (Sales Weaving Skills Builder)
- Overcoming Pushback, Retaining Margin and Price Integrity (Using the Force Skills Builder)
- Sales Team Performance Focus – How do we keep sellers focused on result driving activities?
- Organization and Effective Time Management (Blocking and Tackling Skills Builder)
- Productivity (Productivity through Priorities and Processes Skills Builder)
These are NOT one-off training sessions – boxed and packaged for generic audiences. Revenue challenges are complex with intricately related variables of team members, competition, strategy, and timing.
That’s why I caution prospective clients on booking “one-off” training events. A cookie-cutter sales workshop will yield very minimal impact. It’s difficult to expect your team members to advance their skills without a tailored approach that fits your strategy and your specific challenges.
Improving results takes a full-blown strategic battle plan … which makes a half-day “sales training workshop” hopeful, but largely inefficient in moving the needle on results.
We’ve even booted the term, “Sales Training” in our firm in exchange for “Skills Building” – to set the expectation for learning, improvement, and outcomes. The expectation for “Sales Training” is usually either 1) product updates or 2) techniques or tactics. Either way, the expectation going into sales training (from my own experience and shared by others) is not usually positive: “some knowledge will be dropped and my time will be wasted”.
Plopping knowledge on a plate rarely improves revenue (See Improvement Takes More Than Information).
We’ve found a 3-pronged approach to revenue improvement is most effective with your sales team:
- Set Your Go-To-Market Strategy
- Focus on the Skills to Execute your GTM Strategy, and
- Provide Skills Gap Coaching for individual contributors to practice and reinforce skills that serve the strategy
Lastly, there must be accountability to the strategy through activity – that’s on you to pull through your organizational expectations and culture.
Now, for this next year, we’re adding a few more Skills Builder sessions to complement those mentioned above. They will have pithy names and entertaining and educational components with opportunities to practice and improve and build upon your go-to-market strategy, of course.
My crystal ball (i.e. – sales team meetings, client calls, and coaching sessions) tells me these are the most needed additional Skills Focus for this next year:
- Growth Mindset – Avoiding complacency, burnout, and being agile in a dynamic marketplace.
- Client Leadership – Positioning yourself as a consultant, expert, and leader, to influence decisions and impact outcomes (no “order takers” here).
- Referrals and Introductions – Create a practice for R&I and earn the opportunities to ask and convert.
- Create Organizational Gravity – Create memorable and meaningful experiences in the customer experience.
So, now you know what we’re over here working on for our clients to help them drive forward in the New Year …
Did we nail YOUR sales and revenue challenges, or do you have more to add to our list?
What are you working on to improve revenue results this year?
Let us know in the comments below or reach out through our CONTACT form!
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!