Successful selling requires a certain set of behaviours, but those behaviours are constantly evolving. As new sales challenges and new developments emerge, salespeople must adapt or face losing out to competitors that have understood and reacted to changing behavioural requirements to support their sales strategies.
It's important that companies communicate the latest behaviours that sales people should be demonstrating and encourage and support them to understand and successfully integrate those behaviours into their daily sales activities when dealing with prospects and customers.
Here are five behaviours that are becoming increasingly relevant in sales:
1. Understanding generational differences
Younger generations often get a bad rap from their elders. Take the millennial generation now representing a large percentage of the workforce. Millennials are often criticised for being reliant on technology, constantly glued to their phones and users of dumbed down language and writing. But instead of criticising, salespeople need to embrace and partake in the way younger generations communicate. They need to understand their expectations and see things from their perspective. Different portions of your target market will be represented by different generations. Use social selling to engage with different generations in the way they're used to engaging with others, demonstrate an understanding of their world view and talk about things from their perspective and you'll build better business relationships.
2. Building personal brands
In a world where people concentrate on their online personas almost as much as their real selves, everyone has a personal brand. Businesses need to embrace this as an opportunity and make the most of the tools available, such as social media and thought leadership opportunities, to help build the brands of their salespeople, positioning them as industry experts. In doing so, they can amass an online following where your business can be freely promoted, while your salespeople build reputations of trust and expertise. This also increases the opportunity for engagement with prospects digesting the content that your salespeople are putting out there. Your salespeople don't need to be skilled writers – the content itself can be created with your marketing team, an agency or a freelancer.
3. Embracing ‘scary' tech
Scaremongering headlines often deride technologies that have been developed to make our lives easier. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one such technology that improves efficiency and intuition in the sales process. AI can take over the management of many of the basic, time-consuming tasks that slow down your salespeople, from creating contact lists, logging communications with prospects and generating sales proposals. The market for smart sales tools has exploded and continues to grow. Businesses embracing and implementing these solutions are removing the menial tasks from their sales people's workloads, enabling them to place a stronger focus on what they're best at – selling.
4. Becoming customer centric
When it comes to selling, businesses are becoming increasingly customer-centric. This approach, sometimes referred to as Account Based Selling (ABS) means building a sales strategy around each individual prospect. Each prospect will have its own requirements and its goals that differ from every other prospect. By placing those requirements and goals at the centre of your sales approach and tailoring your offering around them, you will set your business apart from your competitors. Today, prospects have unbridled access to information about the products and services available to them, so a solution that can be carefully tailored to their needs will make your business stand head and shoulders above the one-size-fits-all solutions that are also being offered to them.
5. Maintaining the human touch
Instilling any new behaviour in your salespeople, your leadership or across the wider business requires a careful blend of self-led study and group-based learning activities. While digital training solutions have become popular for allowing people to fit training around their busy schedules by enabling access to online content and activities where and when it suits them, the human touch is still an important aspect of behavioural training. Blending online self-study with face to face and group learning activities will provide both flexibility but also builds a support system by maintaining the traditional collective element of workplace training.
Embracing these 5 behaviours will enhance your businesses sales activity, but embedding the behaviours successfully will come down to how well you tailor behavioural training to your sales people's needs. By adopting a blended approach across a sustained learning programme broken down into bitesize learning activities, you can ensure your people thrive in the ever-changing world of sales.