Helping your sales team have better sales conversations.

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The new phrase, and one that is likely to stick, is sales enablement. The question is what is your company doing to enable your salesforce to have better, more effective sales conversations? The answer for most commercial finance businesses is…drumroll…nothing.

Not that it was ever a great idea, but the days of just hiring salespeople and hoping they sell a bunch are over.

In a recent survey of commercial finance companies turnover rates for sales non-performance are at a 10 year high. Worse in 2014 than in the middle of the crisis.

Companies must start asking what they are doing to help enable (that word again) their salespeople to succeed. This is especially important as the expense related to turnover is very high and the gray hairs of the business are not exactly being overrun by new young talent.

So here are two simple, easy to implement recommendations that if employed will really move the needle for you:

Industry knowledge.

Imagine a world where salespeople can go to an intraweb site or shared drive and download the latest industry insights, weblinks, articles, research reports and the like to fill them with industry specific questions to help drive a better sales conversation. With the recent rise in resin prices, what financial impact does that have on the organization? With a shortage of qualified drivers in today’s market, how do you best position yourself for growth? As more baby boomers like yourself are thinking about retirement, when do you start thinking about how to unlock your equity in the company? How has the extended lead time in class 8 trucks affecting your ability to do deals? We could go on and on, but clearly all of these questions position your team more as advisors and consultants and less as pitchy salespeople. It also demonstrates you commitment to having a 1:1 conversation about customized needs.  If you assume your salepeople are already doing this…you’re probably wrong.  Provide this to them as a resource. Your marketing team should help.

Your experience.

Whether it is similar deal structures or industry experience, your salespeople should be able to go to each call armed with a lexicon of deal stories of how your company has solved problems for clients and be able to speak as though they were part of the deal team, whether they actually were or not. Case studies, tombstones, AUM in an industry or deal type, volume numbers, infographics and the like when combined with the ability to tell a vast array of deal stories are a powerful combo. Again, marketing should be working for you here.

Whatever you do, please don’t bring a 35 page deck into a first call. And if a marketing person asks you to, fire them. Build a real business development culture where marketing is working to build valuable tools, resources and information to make the pre-call planning process a breeze. Most of all, don’t assume your sales team is doing their homework before they go in…far too often they are not. Commercial finance companies are turning over more and more salespeople which may be the canary in the coal mine that a bigger management issue is growing.

If you ever wanna chat about how marketing can help enable better sales conversations, give us a holler.

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