Why Sales Reps Fail
I frequently hear VARs lamenting that they aren’t getting enough sales and they don’t know why. They want to throw out their sales team and start over. In situations such as this, there are several areas to examine before making drastic changes. In today’s post, let’s consider the one area you lay the blame most often: sales reps.
Yes, often the sales reps are the problem. But is it because they can’t sell, or they can’t sell your solutions? And if they can’t sell your solutions, is it because they don’t know how to sell your type of solutions, or is it that they don’t understand your solutions well enough to sell them?
We frequently encounter good sales reps who just don’t understand how to sell and position their services and solutions. VARs often expect when they hire an experienced sales rep that they can set them up with a list and the rep will know what to do. The problem with that approach is that the sales rep needs to know two things:
- How you sell your solutions today
- Why customers buy your solutions
How You Sell Today
If you don’t teach reps how you sell today, you leave it up to them to draw on their sales experience using trial and error to determine which strategies are most effective. They won’t know a strategy isn’t working until they realize they can’t find any new opportunities or the opportunities they do have don’t close. And if you have a three-to-six-month sell cycle, that’s a long time to wait to figure out the sales approach they’re using is wrong.
Think about how well you know your customers. You or someone on your team sells to them regularly. You know the key contacts to work with. You also know the most effective techniques to uncover their requirements, build consensus and gain their agreement to close the sale. Withholding this information from your sales reps puts them at a disadvantage.
Teach your sales reps the selling techniques that work for your company right now. Yes, they come to you with extensive experience, but give them a launching pad to leverage that experience into quick sales. Then give your sales reps the flexibility to enhance what you’ve taught them and evolve how your organization sells, making it more effective and efficient.
Why Customers Buy
The other place that sales reps frequently fail is in positioning your solutions. They simply don’t understand the value of your solutions to your customers. As a result, they aren’t able to articulate it.
You know what makes your solutions important to your customers’ businesses. You know how your customers use your solutions in their businesses. You also know the results customers get from using them.
These are the same factors your sales reps must know to successfully sell your solutions. They use this information to identify which types of companies to target with their prospecting. They can now create compelling value propositions to secure first meetings. And, it helps them determine the key questions to ask to not just gather technical solution requirements, but also to financially justify their recommendation.
When we create custom solution sales training modules for VARs’ sales teams, we view this as the most important learning for their reps. We place less focus on the technical aspects of the solution and more on why customers buy, because this is the information that will propel your sales reps to full productivity.
Include why customers buy from you and what they value about your solutions in your new-hire sales training to get new reps off to a fast start. If you aren’t certain your current sales team understand what customers value about your solutions, train them — right now.
Yes, it may be the sales team’s fault that you aren’t closing enough sales. But is it because they can’t sell, or is it that they need more information to apply the skills they already have?
Next up: How your sales process may be getting in the way of closing sales.
By the way, if you plan to be at CompTIA Breakaway next week, stop by the KLA Group booth in the Tech Fair and say hello! I’ll be there!