The topic of sales intelligence is our fourth installment in a series about the SAVO AMPs, a group of sales enablement services. One hot topic: How to improve pre-call prep to maximize the impact of every sales conversation and improve post-call follow-up’s efficiency and effectiveness. Face-to-face selling is not inexpensive, therefore we must equip our sales teams for the all-important meeting.As a sales enablement leader, I receive calls constantly from vendors with the next best solution to enhance my sales team’s efficiency regarding the time they spend with customers. Better research tools, new standardized pre-call planners, refined sales methodologies, improved pitch decks… the list goes on forever. The funny thing? I am rarely impressed by how these sales people, who are selling me the latest and greatest sales tools, actually sell! (So much for social proof!) Often, they rely on a decade’s old approach and focus only on the product’s features. Clearly, they did not avail themselves of the types of sales intelligence tools that SAVO provides sellers. If they made the effort to learn more about my needs and attempted to connect via some of the sales intelligence areas, they might have a better chance at the sale. (These sellers could also benefit from reading the prior post about product promotion.)
Where do we find the latest and greatest ideas for engaging customers in a meaningful conversation? Bob Moore, Chief Sales Officer at Freeman, will tell you to look to your top performers. Bob joined Freeman in 2004 and has led programs to systematically collect the tribal knowledge in his organization and harness the genius of his best sales people. He said, “After nearly seven years, I continue to uncover best practices that will further improve how we interact with customers.” This means a lot coming from the world’s leading provider of integrated services for face-to-face marketing events.
Freeman made this a part of their culture, and they are still uncovering great ideas. This solution is not about only about sending a business process analyst to collect all the best ideas. You have to adopt a culture of best practice sharing and storytelling to make this happen.
Early in my career, I worked for Kinko’s (now FedEx Office). Most people knew Paul Orfalea, the founder, was dyslexic. So, he didn’t like a lot of memos. But, we had a voice mail system that we used like we use e-mail today. In the early 1990s, only the U.S. Government had a higher volume of voice mail distribution. Everyone in the company had a voice mailbox and could record and send messages to one person or to groups. (I think Paul was the only one with no limit on the length of his messages.) He had a habit of stopping in a 24-hour Kinko’s copy store location at 2 a.m., identifying a best practice, recording a message to recognize the employee and sending it out to the whole company.
Kinko’s made sharing tribal knowledge an important part of their culture – it was everyone’s job. As I progressed through leadership ranks, I remember annual reviews that focused on the frequency that I found and distributed best practices.
Today, we have many sophisticated tools available for knowledge management that greatly improve on the voice mail system. However, you still need to create the culture and organize the information in a way that makes it easy for your sales teams to digest. This is where advice from SAVO will be helpful.
Having worked with scores of organizations over the years, SAVO found that strategically
leveraging sales intelligence can quickly take a company to the next level. When all the collective genius in a company – including competitive intelligence, success stories, objection handling and tribal knowledge – are accessible to the entire sales team from a centralized location, in real time, companies experience great results. Sellers strategically choose which information will suit their sales situation best, based on past experiences, instead of taking a stab in the dark. They can ask questions and receive answers quickly. And, most importantly, they can share valuable information with the entire team.
This was originally a guest post on SAVO’s blog.