Improving the Functional and Technical Skills of Sales reps
With a well trained and well informed sales representative, your clients can be assured of better customer experience in their buying decision journey., With Outsell, one of India’s leading online sales training software , your salespersons can gain product knowledge and sales skills that help them perform at their best during customer visits..
The best sales teams in the world are led by sales coaches and not by sales managers. Developing soft skills and product and technical knowledge can lead a sales team to achieve its short-time goals as well as to inspire a culture of learning and self-improvement, which ultimately leads to achieving the long-time goals. Sales people always know what they sell and they always sell what they know. It is thus very important for them to have knowledge about their industries, their customer needs as well as their company’s products and services. Otherwise, they will not be able to sell a full suite of solutions to their clients. However, it is not that easy a task. That is why sales coaches need to train them on these skills. Sales skills include two different types: the functional skills and the technical skills with some skills being both functional as well as technical. In this article, we will discuss about these skills.
A Few Essential Skills
Every sales rep must have these following skills and hone them to grow as a professional:
Product knowledge is the basic and first thing, a sales rep must have. To have product knowledge means to know:
- How does each product within the product portfolio work;
- its business value and financial RoI
- how is it different from the competition and
- why should it appeal to the customers?
If your sales rep do not know the answer to these questions, they will be ineffective. This is why it is the very first thing you need to do with your newest recruits – train them on product knowledge. We will see how to do that later on.
Buyers nowadays bring value to the table and that is why your sales reps do not need to just sell, rather provide your clients with new ideas and thus expand their horizons. Survey shows that an educated buyer is more likely to have a long-term business relationship than others who are not.
Well you may ask how to do it? Let us take an example; say you are an automobile sales rep. The first thing you must do is to assume that you client knows what they need; they have researched on the model, make and colour of the desired car beforehand even if they have not and that they have already performed a competitive price analysis and know what features they are looking for.
Once you start your conversation, you can check it all out and if your assumption is true then instead of telling them what they already know, tell them what they do not. You direct them towards your newest models and the ones in line to be released soon; maybe present some case studies where people are already using your newest models. You need to provide them with not just information but with value that they will not get elsewhere.
With Outsell’s extensive Training and Coaching functionality, your sales representatives can gain insight, as how to educate your clients with prospective. They will become much more efficient in educating your clients about your products and what upgrades you have made on existing products and what new products you have to offer them .
Building rapport on call
Inside sales reps are always at a disadvantage, as they are not meeting the customers face-to-face. Their job thus gets harder as they need to build up a rapport over the phone with busy and sometimes hostile strangers. They will need to work hard.
Rapport building is very essential and some have a natural talent for it; they can instantly build up a rapport with whomever they speak to on call or face-to-face; they only need to hone their skill. For those who cannot, they can take up the practise of researching their clients and find out common grounds where they can sympathize with the clients.
Outsell, one of India’s top providers of online sales reps training, is well capable of training your sales reps to build up a rapport with their prospects on call. Their dynamic elearning training content and services, are used everyday by more than 5000 sales reps across the country.
You need to build trust with your clients; that is the most important thing. It helps a lot in the long rum and for that, you need to listen to your client’s needs and understand them. Only then, can you provide the exact solution they are looking for and thus become trustworthy to them. Inbound sales methodology requires a sales rep to:
- Prioritize their buyers according to their activeness in the buying process;
- Build up a trust base with the buyer; engage in online conversations, personalized massages and idea sharing are quite helpful;
- Personalize presentation according to each buyer as well as adjust the whole sales process according to his or her timeline.
In order to be able to smoothly execute these above steps you need to listen to your clients and only then, you will be able to provide them with a solution. You need to assure your clients that you understand their goals, pains and desires, because these days even the buyers are sophisticated enough to know their own needs and if you do not listen to them you will never understand them.
Once again, Outsell can help your sales rep to gain knowledge as to why it is important to listen and understand the client needs. Outsell’s online training programs are unparalleled in this domain.
- Demo Skills
In case of B2B products, demo skills are critical to start a sales process. Understanding the product alone will not do, you need to be able to demonstrate it abilities to your clients effectively (don’t forget to show off but only a little). However, before giving a demo, reps must be aware of the benefits that the particular client will get from a particular product or service that you sell. You cannot overdo it and confuse your buyers with too many features and informations.
Say you are looking to establish a training institute for CAD/CAM softwares and want to hold workshops in the engineering colleges around your establishment. Your potential buyers are these colleges and they would ask you for a demo class before engaging in paid seminars with your institute. They will need assurances that your facilities are capable of teaching the students what they need to learn. You will have to arrange the demo in a most professional way, so that the students get the general idea about CAD/CAM softwares and thus peak their interests in the subject. You need to display the basic features in order to get them excited about the advanced features; always keep them wanting for more and they will return to you for it.
We at Outsell strive to train sales reps to have every tools in their arsenal, even negotiation skills to ensure a demo service to your clients and when and where to use this skill.
- Closing Techniques
Once you have convinced your buyers and they are ready to buy the time has come for you to close the deal. Coaches’ needs to train reps on how to engage prospects, follow-up on the last conversation, ask for orders and get it signed fast. It is very common for prospects to delay the purchase by a few weeks or even months, whereas you rep is trying to meet a monthly or quarterly goal.
In such cases, reps need to draw up a timeline and engage the prospects to close the deal within that timeline. Reps need to have the right combination of knowledge and skills to close a deal successfully.
Outsell helps your sales reps to learn this skill.
- Post-Sale Relationship
You may think that once you have closed the deal your job is completed, but it is not at all true. Your job is not finished yet. Most of us forget to thank our buyers and continue maintaining the relation even after the sale. It is always important to appreciate your buyers even after the sale is done irrespective of whether they wish to do further business or not. It is a common courtesy.
In addition, you need to be an appreciative sales rep if you wish to grow professionally. What’s more is that you would never want your clients to turn you over and go to your competitors? Another benefit you can gain from this is recommendations. If you keep a good post-sale relation more often than not, you will get new clients from your existing ones.
Relationship really matters, a good post-sale relation can get you a purchase from a client who did business years ago just because you have maintained contact with them. This is a key factor for a long-term customer base, and so every sales rep must be made aware of this.
At Outsell, we always encourage our sales reps to focus on this key skill and train other sales reps to do the same. This is a very important skill to build a business relation that runs for a long time.
Improving technical skills
It is imperative for every sales rep to improve their technical knowledge, from product knowledge to information management, resource and planning and ultimately to problem solving.
- Improving product knowledge
We have already seen that it is important for every sales rep to have product knowledge. Without that, they will not be able to ask the right questions, understand customer needs, and match the right product to the right customer according to those needs thereby positioning their company as superiors to other options that the customer might have. If they fail to do so, they will never be able to hold a masterful sales conversation that leads to lost sales.
Sale skills and knowledge are the two sides to the same coin: sales. While the former is very essential, it cannot give the best results without the latter. Your knowledge drives your skills and thus your sales. Without the knowledge of your services and products, you cannot hold a persuasive conversation with the client and convey them about what customer needs your products and services aim to solve and how, the market and the current regulations in effect and finally about your company and its value proposition.
You need to build a top-notch sales knowledge base as well as manage it, with presentations, spec sheets, brochures, etc so that information is readily available to your sales reps and in abundance. This really helps to build a great product knowledge that in turn enables your sales reps to speak more fluently and professionally.
One of the best sales rep-training firms is Outsell. This is a firm based in India and one of their most outstanding services is their approach to product training.. However, with Outsell’s online product training programs , your sales reps will be the top ones in the market.
Many sales organizations use Customer Relation Managements or CRM softwares, which helps to organize and use customer data that is collected and maintained there. CRM softwares are very useful for collecting and storing client profile details, record notes on them and even track buying histories with them. Your sales reps thus need to have the ability to use the CRM user interface. For this, they would need solid computer literacy and the ability to collect, update and use the data to improve their sales efficiency. These days, most of them do know how to use these softwares but they do not keep it in practise. As a sales coach, one needs to address this fact and make them aware of the benefits of these softwares.
Once again, Outsell’s content management training helps the sales reps to centralise their sales assets in one location. It can significantly simplify the process of finding, presenting and sharing of sales assets among your sales rep teams.
- Research and Planning
This is not a typical technical skill rather a functional one. Nevertheless, it needs to be done efficiently. Every B2B seller, needs to research on their prospects buying processes and needs. For this, they need to visit their client’s website and go through it thoroughly. Doing that will:
- enable them to know what kind of business their clients run;
- the buying processes they undertake;
- their needs from your business.
These information can help you compare your own products and services with the customer needs and plan a sales strategy. Once the research is done, your sales reps need to plan-out the method of approach and prepare relevant presentations to each client before they make the appointments.
We at Outsell understand how important research and planning is for any and every business. Thus, our sales rep training programs focuses on educating them about each and every essential functional and technical skill including the need for research and planning and the ways to do that.
- Problem Solving
If you plan to build up a long-term relation with your clients, you need to be a problem solver. This is because, your prospects will always come to you with a problem hoping that you will be able to provide them with a feasible solution and you must be capable of doing that.
Let us say for example, you run a car dealership with a garage and a client comes to you in need of a mode of transportation since his/her car has broken down. Firstly, you need to know your client’s needs; whether they are looking to fix the car or buy a new one and whatever it is you need to have enough resources to provide them a solution. If the customer wants to repair the car, walk them through your processes and costs.
On the other hand, if they are looking to buy a new one, show them your available models and best ones at that after listening to their needs; features and budgets they are comfortable with. Sometimes your customers may come looking for a rental car for the day or for few hours. Once again, walk the through the process if you have such a service. In short, you need to provide them with a solution to their problems.
With continuous training of your sales reps from Outsell’s schemes, they will become adaptive to the tricks of the trade. Outsell’s programs aim at teaching sales reps about the basics of problem solving. Even though this skill is acquired through experience, but an on-the-job- training will always boost their skill level and your sales reps can become brilliant problem solvers.
Thus, we have seen how we can improve various essential functional and technical skills for your sales reps. The duty of your sales coaches will be to educate your sales reps on the skills they would need and how they can improve these skills, but it all comes down to the sales reps themselves to keep practise. That is why a good working environment is necessary; pressurize them when the deals are critical to your business and praise them and keep a relaxed environment in the office when they successfully close the deals.
With Outsell, your sales reps can become much sturdier in their execution of projects. Outsell’s dynamic online sales rep training programs enables your sales reps to perform at their best every time they are in a client call.