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Tips for sales leaders to develop their teams & ace the B2B prospecting process.

A sales leader’s success is defined by the number of times he navigated his team towards closures with high win rates. For most sales leaders, winning the trust of the customers, nailing big deals, ensuring more business for the organization are part of big prospecting for sales process, but it all starts with a small step. The small step is the magic moment when leads get converted to sales and the order conversion creates high win rate.

To ensure this, leaders must work on a sales process and create a culture of developing and nurturing better sales professionals. Building better sales professionals can help in creating an ecosystem where every professional can use the right tools to accomplish greater win rates. But first, he should confront his weaknesses that might prevent him from gaining more order conversions.

Challenges a sales leader might face:

-Lacking “Higher order sales Skills” which can lead to a disengaged team whose productivity gets reduced over a period of time.

-A fixed mindset knowing that things will not getting any better, refusing to try new methods

-Zero accountability, tendency to blame others for challenging situations

-High attrition rate after team members feel disconnected from their assigned roles.

One of the greatest ways of helping a leader overcome this challenge is by upskilling the team members. With the right upskilling, team members can gain a lot of self-confidence. Learning together can help team members bond better and collaborate successfully on different deals. They will also learn to approach problems with a growth mindset to accomplish effective results.

A successful prospecting for sales team is geared up for evaluating customers and identifying the right opportunity, navigating the stakeholders and validating the opportunity size, ordering conversion and increasing the WIN rate. In case of challenges, it is necessary to be stable and consistent and remember that quick fixes cannot solve problems in these areas.

Leaders with high awareness on evaluation of customers, sensing the right opportunity and navigating stakeholders often draft a consistent plan. Earlier, sales personnel would focus on one-time training, but now it is important to be consistent about plans to accomplish greater results. 

A systematic and consistent approach is required for long term results in sales as learning to implement takes time. Once a leader can instill learning habits in his team, results will follow. Developing a learning culture is imperative to the success of future team members.

Note: Design a Consistent Learning plan where team members   Learn Apply and Validate results.

While plans need to be consistent, it is important to remember that customers and their preferences are constantly changing. Today, a sales leader cannot limit himself to a traditional way of selling. The leader has to take up the responsibility of gearing up with “Higher order sales skills” so that they seem valuable and insight driven during the meeting with customers.

Questions your team can ask:

  1. Are the team members spending their valuable time on the right potential customers?
  2. Are they able to map and identify business opportunity size with the existing/ new customers?
  3. Have they mapped the influencers / stakeholders / decision-makers?
  4. Are they able to generate the “Potential Problem statement” and understand what challenges customers want to overcome, why and by when?
  5. Can they design and link the financial implication that the customer can save for their organization?
  6. Is the cost of delay established to the client clearly to ensure decision is moving in the right channel faster?

If majority of the question are not answered or lack clarity, it is necessary to take support from experts who can design plans to accelerate the performance of the sales team. It also means it is high time for creating shift in transformation selling mindset.

Every team member in a sales team wants to aspire and grow by serving the customer best and increasing the brand share in the market. This is merely possible with the right guidance and support from the Leader. If leader does not play the role of the growth enablement, develop the team members; it would create an alarming thought for them to leave the organization and find a place where they would grow and evolve.

It is important that a sales leader never underestimates his power in the face of critical challenges. Adversities often open up roads to innovative solutions and help sales teams achieve greater business goals. The process involves Persuading, Influencing and Negotiating (PIN) for customer success. As a sales leader, it is necessary to impart knowledge about this process and how customers have been handled differently to sales team members.

Back in 2018, I was part of a new strategic product that was getting launched in India. All the team members where new to the consulting approach being used on the customers. The customer discussion should happen only with the executive management team of the organization. 

The process of handling customers had drastically changed by then and it was important to shift from transactional to transformational selling. This wasn’t an easy process. This is when our sales leader taught us the important ways of unlearning what we had been doing, developing a growth mindset, thinking beyond the obvious solution to the problem, adapting quickly and stepping into the zone of the consultant.  

Having built the foundation, the leader and topical expert team dived into the specifics. A 70 -20 -10 model of learning experience was designed in such a way that after a month’s time, the entire team was geared towardsaccelerating the market with a customer transformation mindset. This learn-apply and validating process was activated consistently for 3 months through a 30-60-90-day Execution Plan.

I am talking about this to share an important learning. This is one time when I learnt that theory and design can only go so far and it’s necessary to know the art of implementation on the field.

I began simulating my leader and doing a role play with a few existing customers in mind. I imagined the initiation conversation and the potential challenges and objections. The simulation helped me navigate the right solutions for different problems. It also helped me take a leap of faith before meeting the customer. My rehearsed solutions helped me to crack the deal and I got my first order in the very first meeting. I could handle all customer objections with clarity, adding value to the organization.

This moment would not have been possible without the inspirational role that my leader played. My sales leader’s mentoring and coaching made a stark difference to how many of us imagined the conversation with our customers. It is then that I learnt the value of a leader stepping in to grow the team with higher order sales skill contributing to our growth and success.

Today, things have changed, and a sales leader needs to be more accountable and conscious of the shifts in business and customer preferences. Without accountability it is tough to be effective sales leaders and prevent potential crises. It is also necessary to build a sales coaching culture so that your team members can keep themselves abreast of all that is happening in a volatile business world. The learning ecosystem can help more sales leaders rise and transform lives. Every salesperson has it in him to be an effective leader, it is only about investing patience and keeping a few things in mind before you are ready to take on the world.

C H Srinivas Rao is a Digital Analytics and business Insights specialist who is passionate about adding value to the business and to customers by providing well researched business insights. When not being wide eyed and curious about everything, Srinivas likes to unwind with a game of chess.
Chandrani Datta works as a Manager-Content Research and Development with almost a decade’s experience in writing and editing of cross-platform content. A former journalist turned content manager, Chandrani has written and edited for different brands cutting across industries. The hunger for learning, meaningful work and novel experiences keeps her on her toes. An avid traveller, Chandrani’s interests lie in photography, reading and watching movies.

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