I will often hear sales managers confess that their most tenured, and sometimes best traditional sellers, struggle when it comes to selling more or higher value digital solutions.
As consumers spend more time with digital media and digital marketing budgets increase, it is no longer viable to have your best sellers not participating or fully participating when it comes to digital sales.
So, what is the best way to help your most talented sellers who haven’t found their digital groove?
Helping Veteran Salespeople Increase Digital Sales
When it comes to veteran salespeople, the answer is rarely more product training.
The challenge usually boils down to a lack of confidence in having digital forward conversations. This is different from knowing the features and benefits of your capabilities. These are veteran sellers – they have worked hard to build credibility and demonstrate their expertise with clients. They don’t want to damage that reputation. If they are unsure of how to respond to the questions that they might be asked, many will avoid the conversation altogether.
Increasing the confidence level of your veteran sellers so they can better identify digital opportunities and engage in those conversations is paramount to their success. As this is rarely a one-size fits all approach, here are a handful of effective strategies for your consideration to do just that.
1. Give them a safe environment to practice.
To improve the confidence of your salespeople, give them a safe environment to ask questions and provide potential responses. Role-playing in your sales meeting or in your IFM is a great tool for this specific reason, but don’t go easy on them. Ask them questions that their clients might have so they know how to respond. If you don’t truly prepare them for the conversation, you might have the opposite impact.
2. Help them prepare.
Make sure they have a game plan going into the conversation with a prospect. Review their website and current marketing.
What questions might they ask? What might they bring up in conversation?
If you or a digital expert will be going on the call with them, make sure everyone knows their role, and don’t let your veteran sit on the sidelines while someone else runs the show.
3. Coach them.
Get out in the field and observe them run the sales call. Provide them with feedback – starting with what they did well, then discussing what could have gone better. Talented salespeople want to be coached. They want recognition for what they do well and want to be challenged in areas they could be doing better. Coach them on growing their strengths to drive performance instead of placing all the focus on their weaknesses.
4. Make sure they are using your capabilities.
If they aren’t already users of your various digital solutions, give them assignments to ensure they understand the user experience.
5. Go beyond defining digital terminology.
Yes, it is important for salespeople to know key digital terms and what they mean, but to increase the confidence of your people, make sure they know why they are important to the conversation.
Understanding why each term is important to their solution and the discussion around results will dramatically improve the quality of their conversation. It will move them from throwing up a lot of empty “digital speak” to more productive conversations about how we can help solve problems and show results.
As you consider which of these strategies will be most successful for your team, choose the approach that will complement the talent and experience of each individual.