How to dramatically improve your sales conversion ratio,
and bring every member of your sales team up to the level of a top performer
Most companies spend their marketing budgets generating market awareness and sales leads, but spend precious little equipping their sales force with the knowledge and tools to sell. And in today’s uncertain economy, selling is anything but easy.
That’s why developing an effective sales guide or presentation for your team is so critical. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a printed guide or a digital version, a good sales guide educates your sales force on how to position and sell your offerings to the prospects most likely to buy.
So lets take a look at a simple, step-by-step process that will guarantee you produce an effective and popular selling document to maximise your team’s sales conversions.
An effective Sales Guide functions as a reference tool, organizing details for quick access to help sales people take control of the sales process.
It helps to build confidence in your offering so that sales people feel comfortable presenting it to customers, dealing with objections and confronting the competition.
And a good sales guide motivates your sales force to sell.
Unfortunately, many companies publish ineffective sales guides that can ultimately cause revenue to slip. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these 6 key steps and get ready for a transformation of your sales picture ….
Step 1: Make sure you involve the sales force
Many companies develop sales guides with little or no input from the people who actually use them—the sales force. The result is a printed or digital document that is disconnected from their real-world challenges and only serves to widen the chasm between sales and marketing.
To develop an effective sales guide it’s vital that you talk to the sales team and get them to “buy in” to the whole idea of a systematic approach to their presentations. After all, it’s in their interest when it comes to earning higher commissions!
So pick their brains to learn what they consider most useful—and most frustrating—in sales guides they’ve used in the past.
Step 2: Provide a summary of up-to-date competitive information
Sales guides often paint a too-rosy view of the company’s competitive position, or contain outdated competitive information. Look at it from the sales team’s perspective—how would you like to go to war with inaccurate data on your enemy’s strengths, weaknesses, and position relative to your own? It’s like trying to win a sword fight with your best arm tied behind your back!
So give the sales force what they need to win. Get a third party to contact your three main competitors and request their literature. Take a look at their web sites. See if you can obtain their price lists. Then provide an unbiased summary of their strengths and weaknesses, and explain with detailed script guides how to handle your own product or service vulnerabilities when talking to prospects.
Positioning your product against a competitor’s weaknesses is easy—it’s the competitor’s strengths that pose a challenge.
Step 3: Motivate opening of new accounts and revenue streams
Sales people feel tremendous pressure to produce. Their jobs are always on the line, so they naturally seek out the fastest, surest route to achieving their targets.
However, the fastest route may be what’s familiar—the existing product line or customer base—rather than what’s new. Your challenge is to motivate the sales force to sell to new opportunities.
An effective sales guide must “sell” sales people on new products or applications before you can expect them to sell to others. So include customer success stories, case studies and testimonials that help build the offering’s credibility to the sales rep, as well as customers.
Step 4: Respect the sales force’s time
Sales people are constantly bombarded with information about products, changes, upgrades, special offers, etc. The last thing they need is a lengthy, disorganized Powerpoint, PDF or printed document that fails to help them find important information when they need it.
So strive to develop a concise, easy-to-use sales guide. Be choosy about the information you include. Organize your content by thinking about the natural flow of questions a sales person would ask a new prospect.
Make it easy for sales people to quickly find what they need. Use charts and tables whenever possible to condense large amounts of information, and ensure that your sales guide is interesting to read.
Step 5: Make the sales proposition UNIQUE and SPECIFIC
(This has to be the most critical step of all –so please take note).
Beware of generic messages or worn out phrases that nobody takes any notice of. This is the quickest way to guarantee the differences between your offerings and those of your competitors are lost on your customers.
Sales people need a CONCISE PRODUCT DEFINITION, a UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION, and a SUCCINCT SALES SCRIPT or guide.Without this you will be winning only a small fraction of all the business you could easily be capturing.
Step 6: Choose your writer very carefully
Sales people often complain that sales guides or presentations contain too little information to be useful, or too much technical detail to bother reading. So why do so many sales guides fall woefully short of the mark, and end up left on the shelf or unopened on the laptop?
The biases and background of the sales guide writers are usually the culprit. When written by marketing staff, sales guides may shy away from technical detail. When written by technical staff, selling information may be ignored. Neither group may understand the sales process.
And, the specialized writing and broad business skills that sales guides require are not typically a job requirement for sales, marketing, or technical personnel.
Good sales guide writers can translate technical information into simple, accessible language, but they’re familiar with the sales process and have a marketing bent.
And, they’re skilled in quickly identifying the most important elements in massive amounts of information, and synthesizing them into tight, clear writing.
If none of your employees have this combination of skills, or if the ideal candidate doesn’t have the capacity to complete the project quickly, you may want to consider hiring an experienced sales presentation/guide developer.
If you’d like help, or just an opportunity to chat through your situation with regard to your sales team, simply BOOK YOUR BREAKTHROUGH STRATEGY SESSION HERE. I’ll respond with my best suggestions, without obligation.