Your salespeople. They are knowledgeable and well trained. They are often the face of your small business and brand.
Your brand strategy. It’s the culmination of countless hours, resources and an enormous amount of energy spent establishing what your company looks and sounds like.
Therefore, sales and marketing are more effective when they work together, using brand strategy as their guide on how to represent your products and services. But that is not to say that a sales team should hand over the brand strategy on a silver platter. Oh, no. To do so would be to ignore those who know your products, services and customers best.
In order to achieve a marketing brand strategy that works well, your sales team should be involved and present at the very earliest stages, and it should end with the right sales training. It should never be “sales vs. marketing”—it should be sales working together with marketing on a brand strategy.
A typical step during the development stage of a thorough marketing plan is to gather customer feedback about the product or service in order to revise and smooth things out that don’t resonate on the company and customer sides. In the real world, customer feedback is researched in the beginning stages, very seldom is the sales force involved early enough.
Your sales force provides an incredibly important benefit as critics because while customers’ input is generally about features and benefits, the sales force can identify customer objections to the closing of a sale. Remember, much of sales is overcoming customers’ objections. If marketers know beforehand what hesitations a customer will have, they will be able to nip them in the bud by creating product messages that address these objections well before the sales call, and it’s smoother “sale-ing” from there.
Besides product messages, with this valuable information from the sales force, marketers can better prepare their sales team to support and reflect the brand. This is ideal because when your sales team radiates your core brand message, they will get more sales and strengthen the brand.
The ability to execute brand strategy properly is usually the difference between success and failure in sales.
There’s something else to keep in mind when training your sales team to reflect the brand and close sales. Every company is different and will require sales training that is unique to their product or service. However, there are some universal selling skills that all sales teams should know.
Understanding and implementing these core skills will get better results. They include:
Your sales team should be trained to become better prospectors by targeting their customers using the same demographic and psychographic profiling that is used by direct marketers.
Listening and asking questions.
This not only builds trust, but it also helps the salesperson collect valuable product information directly from the customer. Your sales team should report back to leadership all gathered customer feedback.
Anticipating customers’ needs.
This goes back to gaining valuable knowledge of what a customer will object to and being ready for that objection with a solution. Work together with your sales team to implement both their knowledge and your own research in order to train them to translate this learning into a sales advantage.
Demonstrating knowledge of the product or service.
Nothing destroys credibility with a customer quicker than the salesperson not knowing the details of a product or service. Time spent educating your sales team on the product/service and brand is time very well spent.
Building rapport and establishing trust.
The customer should feel comfortable with the salesperson and should be able to trust what they say. The best way to ensure this happens? Keep your sales team updated with the latest advertised sales, discounts, or promotions so they are well informed and won’t have any inconsistencies with what the customer already knows (or thinks they know).
Educating the customer.
The more a customer knows about a product or service, the more likely they are to purchase it. A sales team that is well-trained in their brand and service will improve their selling effectiveness.
Delivering features and benefits.
Consistency is key. The features and benefits described by the sales team should be the same messages that the customers are seeing on any other sales and marketing channels.
It’s very important to properly train your sales team to communicate with customers on a variety of channels, in a professional manner that always reflects your brand. This is important regarding nurturing relationships. A salesperson should be just as prompt and professional through an email or chat as they are on the phone.
These time-tested core sales skills and training techniques are highly effective and must be implemented when training your sales team. When you properly execute a sales training program that teaches your sales staff to keep the brand and the marketing strategy firmly in mind, you will see your sales force thrive.