9 Sales Training Books That Changed How I Sell

sales training books

Sales Training Books - Top Question from Google

What are the best books to read about sales??

Here’s the short answer:

Whilst there are tens of thousands of books on sales and selling, the best books to read about sales depends on your specific needs and experience level.

Whilst I haven’t personally read every single sales book, I have read hundreds of books over the years.  

I have chosen these books not just because they were a “good read”, but because they helped me change either my mindset, or behaviour.  In sales more than any other role, change is a critical part of your development.  

Enjoy:

  • As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
  • How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini
  • Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  • New Sales. Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development by Mike Weinberg
  • Influence: Understand the impact of your words and how to construct messaging that changes human behavior by Robert Cialdini
  • To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
  • Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance by Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana
  • Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling’ by Jeb Blount.

These books cover a wide range of sales topics, from prospecting and relationship building, to closing deals and managing objections. They are not all written by salespeople or sales trainers, but they are packed with practical and actionable advice that you can use to improve your sales skills and close more deals.

If you are new to sales, I recommend starting with a book like As A Man Thinketh or New Sales Simplified. The first book will help you understand the importance of your mindset, whilst the second will give you a solid overview of the sales process and help you to develop a winning sales strategy.

If you are already an experienced salesperson, you may want to focus on more specialized books, such as SPIN Selling or Solution Selling. These books will teach you how to qualify prospects, identify their needs, and present your products or services in a way that shows value.

No matter what your experience level, I encourage you to read at least a few of the books on this list. They are all excellent resources for learning about sales and improving your skills.

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1. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

My all time favourite book is “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It is a short but difficult book to read as it is written in “olde” English.  If you can get past the text style it is such a powerful book that can help you achieve success in all areas of your life, not just sales.

In modern selling, where 42% of salespeople are suffering from anxiety and 36% have symptoms of depression, resilience, confidence, and the ability to influence are arguably the most important success factors in b2b sales.  James Allen’s classic work “As a Man Thinketh” offers timeless wisdom. It underscores the profound impact of our thoughts on our actions and outcomes, making it a valuable resource for sales professionals.

Key Takeaways for B2B Sales Professionals

  1. Thoughts Shape Reality: Your thoughts are the seeds of your achievements. A positive mindset cultivates confidence, attracts opportunities, and fosters resilience in the face of rejection—essential qualities in B2B sales.

  2. Cultivate an Abundance Mindset: Instead of focusing on scarcity and competition, adopt an abundance mindset. Believe that there are ample opportunities for everyone to succeed. This perspective opens doors to creative solutions and collaborative partnerships.

  3. The Power of Visualization: Visualize your success vividly and regularly. Picture yourself closing deals, building strong relationships, and achieving your sales goals. This practice reinforces positive neural pathways, priming you for success.

  4. Mastering Your Thoughts: Recognize that your thoughts are not always accurate reflections of reality. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with empowering affirmations. This practice builds mental resilience and helps you bounce back from setbacks.

  5. Thoughts as Actions: Every thought is a form of action. Negative thoughts breed inaction and fear, while positive thoughts fuel motivation and proactive behaviors. Choose your thoughts wisely to propel yourself toward your goals.

Practical Applications for B2B Sales

  • Morning Affirmations: Begin each day with affirmations that reinforce your confidence and capabilities. For example, “I am a skilled communicator and a trusted advisor to my clients.”
  • Gratitude Practice: Regularly express gratitude for your successes, your team, and the opportunities you encounter. This cultivates a positive outlook and attracts more good fortune.
  • Mindfulness Meditation: Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. This awareness allows you to choose empowering thoughts and manage stress effectively.
  • Visualization Exercises: Before important meetings or presentations, visualize a successful outcome. Picture yourself engaging with clients, addressing their needs, and closing the deal.
  • Positive Self-Talk: When faced with challenges, reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of “I’m not good enough,” tell yourself, “I am learning and growing with each experience.”

“As a Man Thinketh” reminds us that our minds are powerful tools. By mastering our thoughts and cultivating a positive mindset, we can unlock our full potential in B2B sales and beyond. 

2. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Another great book is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It is a classic book that has been helping people achieve success in business and personal relationships for over 80 years.

The book is full of practical advice on how to build relationships with people, get them to like you, and influence their thinking. Carnegie’s advice is based on the principle that people are more likely to do business with people they like and trust.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the book that can be applied to B2B sales:

  • Be genuinely interested in other people.

  • Smile and be friendly.

  • Remember people’s names.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Talk about things that are of interest to the other person.

  • Make the other person feel important.

  • Avoid arguing with people, criticizing them, and bragging about yourself.

Carnegie also provides advice on how to avoid common mistakes in business and personal relationships.

In B2B sales people buy from people.  So if you are serious about achieving success in B2B sales, I highly recommend reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It is a book that will help you build stronger relationships with customers and ultimately close more deals.

3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini is a must-read for B2B salespeople. It teaches you how to persuade people to say yes by using six key principles:

  • Reciprocity: Give to get. Offer prospects valuable information or resources before asking them to buy from you.

  • Commitment and consistency: People tend to stick to their commitments. Get prospects to commit to something small, like scheduling a demo, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you later on.

  • Social proof: People are more likely to do something if they see other people doing it. Use testimonials and case studies to show prospects that other businesses have benefited from your product or service.

  • Liking: People are more likely to say yes to someone they like. Find common ground with your prospects and build rapport with them.

  • Authority: People are more likely to say yes to someone they perceive as an authority figure. Position yourself as an expert in your field by writing blog posts, giving presentations, and attending industry events.

  • Scarcity: People are more likely to want something if they think it’s scarce. Offer limited-time discounts or promotions to create a sense of urgency.

Cialdini’s principles are backed by scientific research, and they’ve been used by successful salespeople for decades. If you’re serious about increasing your sales, I highly recommend reading Influence.

4. Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind

You probably won’t expect this one, but selling comes in many shapes and forms. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is a must-read for B2B sales experts who want to learn how to position their product or service in the minds of their target customers.

The book’s central premise is that the human mind can only hold a limited number of positions for products and services in any given category. In order to be successful, businesses must therefore create a unique position in the customer’s mind for their product or service. This position must be clear, concise, and easy to remember.

What I really liked about the book was that Ries and Trout provide a number of practical tips on how to position your product or service effectively, including:

  • Focus on a single position. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

  • Differentiate yourself from your competitors. What makes your product or service unique?

  • Be consistent in your messaging. Make sure that all of your marketing materials communicate your position clearly and consistently.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is a classic book that has stood the test of time. It is essential reading for any B2B sales expert who wants to learn how to position their product or service effectively.

5. New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg

If I was ever to right a book I would be accused of copying this book.  Reading the book I found I had so many things in common with Mike Weinberg in terms of sales approach and style. New Sales Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development by Mike Weinberg is a must-read for any B2B salesperson. It is a clear, concise, and practical guide to the sales process, with a focus on prospecting and new business development.

Weinberg shares his proven formula for prospecting, developing, and closing deals, based on his own experience as a successful salesperson. He also provides real-world examples and stories to illustrate his points, and acknowledges that the sales process can be tough and challenging.

One of the key takeaways from the book is the importance of prospecting. Weinberg argues that prospecting is the lifeblood of any sales organization, and that salespeople should focus on developing a consistent and effective prospecting routine.

Another key takeaway is the importance of having a compelling sales story. Weinberg argues that salespeople need to be able to articulate the value of their product or service in a way that is customer-focused and persuasive.

Finally, Weinberg emphasizes the importance of persistence and resilience. He argues that salespeople need to be able to bounce back from rejection and keep moving forward, even when things are tough.

Overall, New Sales. Simplified is an excellent book for any B2B salesperson who wants to improve their skills and results. It is a valuable resource that will help you take your sales career to the next level.

6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

In the competitive world of B2B sales, the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear offers a transformative perspective. It highlights how mastering small, incremental changes (atomic habits) can lead to significant improvements in sales performance over time.

Key Takeaways for B2B Sales Professionals

  1. The Power of 1% Better: In B2B sales, consistent marginal gains make the difference. Consistently improving your skills by 1% each day compounds over time, leading to remarkable results. This could mean refining your cold calling scripts, improving your product knowledge, or enhancing your follow-up strategies.

  2. Forget Goals, Focus on Systems: Rather than obsessing over hitting a specific sales quota, focus on building the daily habits and routines that support success. This might include scheduling time for prospecting each morning, practicing your sales pitch regularly, or maintaining a CRM system meticulously.

  3. The Four Laws of Behavior Change:

    • Make it Obvious: Clearly define the triggers for your desired habits. Set reminders on your calendar, leave notes for yourself, or arrange your workspace to promote productive behaviors.
    • Make it Attractive: Connect positive emotions with your new habits. Reward yourself for completing tasks, visualize the benefits of your efforts, or partner with colleagues for mutual encouragement.
    • Make it Easy: Remove barriers and streamline processes. Use sales automation tools, prepare email templates in advance, or pre-qualify leads to reduce friction.
    • Make it Satisfying: Celebrate your wins, both big and small. Share your successes with your team, acknowledge your progress, and find ways to make the sales process enjoyable.

Practical Examples for B2B Sales

  • Habit Stacking: Pair a new habit with an existing one. For instance, after each client meeting, schedule 15 minutes to update your CRM notes.
  • Temptation Bundling: Combine a necessary task with something enjoyable. Listen to an inspiring podcast while you’re researching potential clients.
  • Environment Design: Optimize your workspace for productivity. Keep distractions to a minimum, have all your sales materials readily accessible, and create a visually appealing and motivating environment.
  • Tracking Progress: Use a habit tracker to monitor your daily actions and celebrate your successes. This visual representation of progress can be highly motivating.

In B2B sales, your habits define your results. “Atomic Habits” provides a roadmap for building a system of positive behaviors that lead to consistent growth and achievement. By embracing small, incremental changes and focusing on the process, not just the outcome, you can unlock your full sales potential.

7. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

‘To Sell Is Human’ by Daniel H. Pink is a must-read for B2B sales professionals. Pink challenges traditional sales notions and introduces the ABCs of Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. These principles are essential for B2B sales success, emphasizing empathy, storytelling, and trust-based selling. The book provides practical exercises and insights for improving sales strategies.

While not a step-by-step guide, it does equips readers with the mindset and knowledge needed to excel in modern B2B sales. Pink’s fresh perspective and actionable tools make this book indispensable for those navigating the competitive B2B sales landscape.

Pink’s emphasis on “servant selling” as a trusted advisor aligns perfectly with the consultative and solution-based approach prevalent in B2B sales. Moreover, his insights on the power of storytelling resonate with the need to engage and persuade clients in a meaningful way.

‘To Sell Is Human’ provides a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics involved in moving others. It’s not just a book; it’s a strategic resource for B2B sales professionals who aim to excel in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

Whether you’re a seasoned salesperson or just starting in B2B sales, Pink’s book will provide you with valuable perspectives and tools to enhance your effectiveness.

8. New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg

In B2B sales, where relationship building, complex solutions, and long sales cycles are the norm, the book “Cracking the Sales Management Code” by Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana offers a scientific approach to driving sales performance.

Here are my key takeaways from the book:

  1. Sales is a System, Not an Event: B2B sales is a series of interconnected steps, each influencing the next. By understanding this system, sales managers can identify bottlenecks, optimize processes, and create a more predictable sales pipeline.

  2. Metrics Matter, But Choose Wisely: While data is essential, not all metrics are created equal. Focus on leading indicators (e.g., number of qualified leads, sales activity levels) that predict future results, rather than lagging indicators (e.g., revenue) that only report past performance.

  3. Manage Activities, Not Just Results: Sales reps have control over their daily activities, not the final outcome of a deal. By setting clear activity goals (e.g., number of calls, demos, proposals) and tracking progress, managers can influence behaviors that lead to better results.

  4. Align Sales Objectives with Business Results: Ensure that your sales team’s goals are directly linked to the company’s overall objectives. This alignment fosters a sense of purpose and ensures that everyone is working towards the same ultimate goals.

  5. The Sales Management Framework: The book outlines a six-step process for effective sales management:

    • Define Business Results: Clearly articulate the desired outcomes (e.g., revenue growth, market share).
    • Identify Sales Objectives: Determine the sales targets that will drive those results.
    • Select Key Sales Processes: Identify the critical steps in your sales cycle that impact objectives.
    • Choose Activities to Manage: Pinpoint the specific actions within those processes that reps can control.
    • Set Targets: Quantify goals for each result, objective, and activity.
    • Manage Performance: Continuously track and analyze data to identify areas for improvement and coach your team to success.

Practical Applications for B2B Sales

  • Pipeline Analysis: Regularly review your sales pipeline to identify potential issues (e.g., stalled deals, insufficient leads) and take corrective action.
  • Activity Tracking: Implement a system for tracking sales activities to ensure reps are focused on the right actions.
  • Data-Driven Coaching: Use sales data to identify areas where individual reps need support and provide targeted coaching to help them improve.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly assess your sales management practices and make adjustments based on data and feedback.

“Cracking the Sales Management Code” provides B2B sales leaders with a systematic framework for driving performance and achieving predictable results. By applying the principles outlined in the book, you can create a high-performing sales team that consistently delivers on your business objectives.

9. Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount

‘Fanatical Prospecting’ by Jeb Blount is a remarkable guide for B2B sales professionals, earning its well-deserved five-star rating. Blount’s approach to populating your sales pipeline is a compelling blend of inspiration and pragmatic strategies, making this book an indispensable resource for anyone navigating the challenging world of sales.

What truly sets this book apart is its profound exploration of the psychological barriers that sales professionals often face, most notably the fear of rejection.  I personally think we all have a “fear of rejection” but it affects some of us more than others.  Blount doesn’t just acknowledge these challenges; he provides actionable techniques to conquer them, enabling readers to harness their full potential.

Blount places a significant emphasis on the necessity of unwavering prospecting across various channels, such as social selling, phone calls, emails, texts, and even cold calls. His ‘3-3-3’ method, highlighting the power of consistent daily prospecting, is particularly noteworthy.

In the modern sales world too many salespeople are struggling to fill the top of their funnel. ‘Fanatical Prospecting’ offers an invaluable roadmap to doing so and the success this brings. It’s a must-read for both seasoned sales experts and those embarking on their sales journey, providing essential tools and techniques to excel in the world of B2B sales.

I would wholeheartedly endorse ‘Fanatical Prospecting’ to anyone looking to master the art of prospecting and achieve huge success in sales.

Conclusion

These books collectively offer a wealth of knowledge and insight for B2B sales professionals. Together they cover the important topics of sales mindset,  sales behaviours and management of either a team or yourself. Each one contributes a unique perspective, and together, they provide a well-rounded education on the art of selling in the business-to-business domain.

All of these books are invaluable resources for both seasoned B2B sales experts and those just starting in the field. They equip you with the tools, knowledge, and mindset needed to thrive in the competitive B2B sales world. Whether you’re looking to refine your approach, master the art of prospecting, or measure and manage sales performance, these books should be essential additions to your sales library. Happy selling!

“A fantastic learning experience”

Amanda – Account Manager

Objection Handling | Overcoming Common Objections

Objection Handling Training

Objection Handling - Top Question from Google

What is Objection Handling?

Objection handling is a critical part of the sales process. It involves a salesperson’s response to objections raised by the buyer. These objections can arise at any stage, from initial prospecting to closing the deal. The goal is to alleviate the buyer’s concerns, build rapport, and ultimately move the deal forward.

In this article we will cover...

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

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1. Understanding and Anticipating Objections

Objections are a natural part of the sales process. They are simply a prospect’s way of expressing their concerns or doubts about your product or service. While objections can be frustrating, they are also an opportunity to build rapport with your prospect and address their needs.

There are two main types of objections:

  • Genuine objections: These are valid concerns that your prospect has about your product or service. For example, your prospect may be concerned about the price, the features, or the benefits.
  • Spurious objections: These are objections that your prospect is using to stall or avoid making a decision. For example, your prospect may say that they need more time to think about it or that they want to talk to their boss.

It is important to be able to distinguish between genuine and spurious objections. Genuine objections can be overcome by providing more information or by addressing the prospect’s concerns directly. Spurious objections can often be overcome by simply asking for the sale.

2. Mastering Objection Handling Techniques

Here are some tips to help you master objections from your prospects:

  • Do your research. Before you meet with a prospect, be sure to do your research and learn as much as you can about their business and their needs. This will help you to anticipate their objections and to develop effective responses.
  • Pro-actively raise objections. Whilst this can seem counter-intuitive raising the most common objections in advance compels the prospect to discuss them.  Alternately, they may be thinking them but not want to raise them with you.
  • Listen carefully. When a prospect raises an objection, listen carefully to what they are saying. Try to understand the root cause of their objection.
  • Acknowledge the objection. Let the prospect know that you have heard their objection and that you understand their concerns.
  • Ask questions. Ask the prospect questions to help you better understand their objection. This will also help you to develop a more effective response.
  • Address the objection directly. Once you understand the objection, address it directly and honestly. Do not try to ignore it or to brush it aside.
  • Use positive language. When responding to objections, use positive language and focus on the benefits and value that your product or service delivers.
  • Be confident. Be confident in your product or service and in your ability to address the prospect’s concerns.
  • Be prepared to negotiate. Be prepared to negotiate with the prospect in order to overcome their objections.
  • Follow up. After you have addressed the objection, follow up with the prospect to see if they have any other questions or concerns.

By following these tips, you can learn to understand and anticipate objections, and you can use them as an opportunity to build rapport with your prospects and close more deals.

3. Advanced Objection Handling Strategies

Most buyers are turned off by glib one line responses to their objections.  We developed a more consultative approach to handling stalls and objections that focuses on creating a conversation with prospects.  

We created the CARES method to make it easy to adopt and remember.  It’s really flexible and is a vital part of our consultative sales training. 

 

Clarify: Begin by seeking clarification of the objection. Make sure you understand precisely what the prospect is concerned about.

Acknowledge: Show empathy and acknowledge the prospect’s objection. Let them know you appreciate their honesty and understand their perspective.

Respond: Provide a well-thought-out response that addresses their objection. Offer data, examples, or case studies to support your response.

Educate: Share relevant information or insights that can help the prospect see the value in your solution. Educate them on how your product or service can overcome their objection.

Suggest: Offer a specific solution or suggestion that aligns with their needs. Propose a way forward that benefits both parties.

The CARES Method emphasizes empathy and education, helping you handle objections while building trust and providing value to the prospect.

Here’s the CARES method in action for the most common objection, “Your too expensive“:

  1. Clarify: Seek clarification. Ask questions to understand precisely what aspect of the solution they find expensive. Is it the upfront cost, ongoing fees, or something else?

  2. Acknowledge: Show empathy. Let them know you appreciate their honesty and understand their perspective. For example: “I understand that budget is a concern for you.”

  3. Respond: Provide a well-thought-out response. Highlight the value your solution brings. Share data, case studies, or examples that demonstrate a positive return on investment (ROI).

  4. Educate: Share insights. Explain how your product/service can address their pain points effectively. Educate them on long-term benefits and cost savings.

  5. Suggest: Offer a specific solution. Propose a customized package or payment plan that aligns with their needs. Emphasize the value they’ll receive.

Remember, the goal is to create a conversation, build trust, and provide value.

 

4. Top 7 Most Common Objections and How to Respond

4.1 Too Expensive

Here are three different ways to respond to the common B2B sales objection: “It’s too expensive.”

  1. Copper1:

    • Recommended Response: “Allow a few seconds of silence. Being silent might not seem like a great sales strategy, but the world’s best salespeople and negotiators know that it’s indispensable. Take a breath and give your prospect 3–5 seconds of silence. You might be surprised by the information you get without saying anything. Once the silence has passed, move on to other tactics.”
  2. Revenue.io2:

    • Recommended Response: “I know there’s an initial investment, and that can seem daunting. But let’s talk long-term. Let me show you how much revenue you will actually gain over the next year by using our product.”
  3. Close.com3:

    • Recommended Response: “Focus on value: Remind them of the pain their problem is causing and how much value you create by solving it. Testimonials, case studies, or other social proof can help reinforce this.”
    1.  

4.2 We Don’t Have a Budget

Here are three different ways to respond to the common B2B sales objection: “We don’t have a budget.” 

  1. HubSpot Blog1:

    • Recommended Response: “Establish the cost of their challenges. Before you determine their budget, you first need to establish the value of your solution – and that begins with learning the cost of your prospects’ challenges.”
    • Additional Tip: Roll with the punches and don’t give up. If all else fails, give a budget range.
  2. Vendux2:

    • Recommended Response: “Don’t give up after the initial ‘No Budget’ response. Maintain regular contact, providing additional information, case studies, or updates on how your product or service can benefit their business. Persistence will pay off because often, the client’s circumstances change.”
  3. Proposify3:

    • Recommended Response: “And who were you doing business with prior to them? And when was the last time you did a comparison with another provider? Well then, it’s a good idea to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only still getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no-cost/no-obligation comparison quote for you?”

 

4.3 We’re Happy with our Current Provider

Here are three different ways to respond to the common B2B sales objection: “We’re happy with our current provider.” 

  1. Mr. Inside Sales1:

    • Recommended Response: “How long has that been? And has it been that long since you’ve compared prices and services with another provider? You know, a lot has changed in that time; it sounds like this would be a good time to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only still getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no-cost/no-obligation comparison quote for you?”
  2. Lushin2:

    • Recommended Response: “I appreciate you have a good relationship with your current provider. However, have you taken the time to benchmark their services with another provider?”
  3. SalesBuzz3:

    • Recommended Response: “And who were you doing business with prior to them? And when was the last time you did a comparison with another provider? Well then, it’s a good idea to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only still getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no-cost/no-obligation comparison quote for you?”

 

4.4 I need to talk to my boss

Here are three alternative ways to respond to the objection “I need to talk to my boss” from other B2B sales websites:

  1. Mr. Inside Sales recommends: “No problem, and are you going to recommend this to them?” If the prospect answers affirmatively, you can say, “Great! Then I’ll hold on while you check with them…” or “Great! And as you mentioned earlier, they do usually go with your recommendation, right?”1

  2. FasterCapital suggests: “To overcome this objection, you need to create a sense of urgency and show them how your product can offer them more value, better results, or a competitive edge.”2

  3. Selling Signals advises: “To overcome this objection, tell the lead you understand they can’t talk right now, and then ask for a different time frame when they might be more available. This takes care of the timing issue. To also attend to any priority problems, consider hinting at your value proposition so they know why they should make time for you.”3

4.5 We don’t have time right now

Here are three alternative ways to respond to the objection “We don’t have time right now” from other B2B sales websites:

  1. ActiveCampaign suggests: “To overcome the time objection, simply set up a “five-minute exploratory call” as soon as possible. Use this time to find out if they are a legitimate lead and are a qualified customer. If both of these conditions are not met, it may be better to part ways. If they are, while you are on the call, uncover why your prospect wants to wait.” 1

  2. Selling Signals recommends: “To overcome this objection, tell the lead you understand they can’t talk right now, and then ask for a different time frame when they might be more available. This takes care of the timing issue. To also attend to any priority problems, consider hinting at your value proposition so they know why they should make time for you.” 2

  3. Growbo advises: “According to Demand Gen, 56% of B2B buyers are concerned about how long it takes them to deploy your product and its ease of use. So if you’re met with a “we don’t have time” sales objection, then it probably means your prospect finds your offer a little convoluted. Perhaps you need to try to explain it again in simpler terms.” 3

Certainly! Here are three alternative ways to respond to the objection “We’re already working with a competitor” from other B2B sales websites:

  1. HubSpot suggests: “That’s good to hear – [competitor] is a great company. In fact, we share a lot of mutual customers. Companies that use both of our offerings often find that our product makes accomplishing [X goal] much easier, since it has [unique benefit #1] and [unique benefit #2].” This response lets you differentiate your product from the competition without slinging mud. Plus, it opens the door for another conversation down the line. Once you’ve won the prospect’s trust, you can start talking about a switch if that’s in the buyer’s best interest1
  1. Procore recommends: “At this point, I’m not asking you to rip anything out. I’d just like the opportunity to show you how we’re different and how we’ve provided additional value to our customers. I can present some use cases of other companies like yours who work with us and with Competitor X. When is a good time to schedule a follow-up call?” This response will give you the opportunity to prove what your product does differently and ultimately show the prospect why they need it2
  1. Business By Phone advises: “Got it. Can I ask what type of evaluation process you go through to be sure you’re getting the best service available?” You need to plant doubt in the prospect’s mind before they’ll ever consider changing vendors. They probably haven’t thought about their decision to use the competition since they signed the contract – this question will have them wondering whether it’s still the right choice3

4.7 I need to think it over

Here are three additional ways to respond to the objection “I need to think it over”:

  1. SalesHacker suggests: “When you hear this objection, it’s important to understand what’s really going on. Ask questions to uncover the real reason behind their hesitation. For example, you could say, ‘I appreciate that. Can you help me understand what specifically you need to think about?’”

  2. Close recommends: “Acknowledge their need to think it over, but also create urgency. You can say, ‘I completely understand. While you’re thinking it over, let’s schedule a follow-up call for next week. That way, we can address any additional questions or concerns you might have.’”

  3. SalesScripter advises: “When you hear this objection, respond with, ‘I appreciate that. What specifically would you like to think about? Is there something specific that’s causing hesitation?’” This approach helps you uncover the underlying concerns and address them directly.

 

4.8 We’re not interested

Here are three alternative ways to respond to the objection “We’re not interested”:

  1. Mr. Inside Sales suggests: “That’s fine, and many people I speak with tell me the same thing as well. And as they learn more about this and see what this can really do for them, they were glad they took a few minutes to listen. One thing that would be a good fit for you is…” (Continue on with your pitch, briefly, and then ask a qualifying question like, “Do you see how that would work for you?”) 1

  2. 5 Percent Institute recommends: “Politely let them know that’s completely OK.” Sometimes prospects say they’re not interested because they feel you’re going to pitch them or they don’t perceive immediate value. Acknowledge their response and maintain a courteous tone2

  3. SalesScripter advises: “Instead of trying to resolve or overcome the sales objection, try to focus on just keeping the conversation going. When they say, ‘I am not interested,’ they are trying to end the conversation. Don’t try to make them interested, just try to keep the conversation from ending.” 3

 

4.9 I’m locked into a contract

Here are three ways to respond to the objection “I’m locked into a contract” from other B2B sales websites:

 

5. Overcome Objections, Close More Deals: The Ultimate Objection Handling Playbook

Tired of objections derailing your sales conversations? Frustrated with prospects who seem resistant to your value proposition? It’s time to equip your sales team with the tools they need to transform objections into closed deals: The Ultimate Objection Handling Playbook.

This comprehensive, action-oriented playbook is designed to empower your team with proven strategies and tactics to tackle any objection head-on. Inside, you’ll discover:

  • The Psychology Behind Objections: Understand the root causes of common objections and why they arise.
  • Proven Response Frameworks: Master proven frameworks like LAER and Feel-Felt-Found to address objections strategically.
  • Battle-Tested Scripts: Access adaptable scripts and talking points for every objection category, from budget concerns to trust issues.
  • Advanced Strategies: Navigate complex objections involving multiple stakeholders and deeply-rooted concerns.
  • Industry-Specific Insights: Get tailored responses for the unique objections your prospects face in your industry.

Don’t let objections stand between you and your sales goals. The Ultimate Objection Handling Playbook is your comprehensive guide to turning challenges into triumphs. Empower your team, build confidence, and close more deals with ease.

Invest in Your Sales Success:

Order your copy of the Ultimate Objection Handling Playbook today and witness a transformation in your team’s performance. This is the resource your sales team has been waiting for.

Empower your team, turn objections into opportunities.

Objection Handling Playbook

Empower your Sales Team to turn Objections into Opportunities

Proven Response Frameworks 

The Psychology Behind Objections

Battle-Tested Scripts

Advanced Strategies

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Fundamentals of Key Account Management

fundamentals of key account management

Key Account Management - Top Question from Google

What is Key Account Management?

Key Account Management (KAM) is the strategic process of planning and managing a mutually beneficial partnership between an organization and its most important customers. These key accounts are typically B2B clients who contribute significantly to an organisation’s revenue. KAM involves a deep understanding of your client needs, customized solutions, and collaboration. It goes beyond transactional interactions and focuses on long-term loyalty and relationship-building. In summary, KAM is about nurturing valuable client relationships, creating mutual value, and strategically managing your organization’s most important accounts.

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1. Understanding Key Account Management

What Is Key Account Management?

Key Account Management (KAM) is a strategic approach that focuses on nurturing and maintaining strong relationships with a select group of high-value clients. These clients, known as key accounts, contribute significantly to an organization’s revenue and long-term success. Key Account Management aims to create mutual value by aligning the goals of the supplier (seller) with those of the key account (buyer).

Why Is Key Account Management Important?

  1. Strategic Importance: Key accounts often represent a substantial portion of an organization’s revenue. By prioritizing these accounts, companies can maximize profitability and growth.

  2. Long-Term Relationships: Unlike transactional sales, KAM emphasizes building enduring relationships. Trust, collaboration, and understanding are crucial for sustained success.

  3. Customized Solutions: Key accounts have unique needs and challenges. KAM involves tailoring solutions to address these specific requirements.

Key Components of Key Account Management

1.1 Identifying Key Accounts

Before implementing KAM, organizations must identify their key accounts. Here’s how:

  • Revenue Contribution: Analyze which clients contribute significantly to overall revenue. These are likely to be key accounts.
  • Strategic Fit: Consider whether the client aligns with your organization’s long-term strategy, goals and values.
  • Complexity of Relationship: Evaluate the depth and complexity of the client relationship.

1.2 Segmentation

Once key accounts are identified, segment them based on criteria such as:

  • Revenue Tier: Classify accounts into tiers (e.g., platinum, gold, silver) based on their revenue contribution.
  • Strategic Fit: Assess how closely the account aligns with your business strategy.
  • Potential for Growth: Identify accounts with growth potential.

1.3 Developing a KAM Strategy

A robust KAM strategy involves:

  • Account Planning: Create detailed account plans for each key account. Understand their business, challenges, and goals.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Involve various departments (sales, marketing, customer service) to provide holistic support.
  • Value Proposition: Define the unique value your organization brings to each key account.

1.4 Relationship Building

Building strong relationships is at the core of KAM:

  • Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication. Understand the account’s pain points and aspirations.
  • Face-to-Face Meetings: Arrange in-person meetings to deepen the relationship.
  • Problem-Solving: Be proactive in addressing issues and finding solutions.

1.5 Measuring Success

KAM success is measured through:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Metrics like revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and retention rate.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Assess the long-term value of key accounts.
  • Feedback and Reviews: Regularly seek feedback from key accounts to improve the KAM process.

Key Account Management is not just about sales; it’s about building lasting partnerships. By understanding the unique needs of key accounts and aligning your efforts with their success, organizations can thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

KAM is an ongoing journey, and consistency and continuous adaptation is key to its effectiveness.

2. Identifying Key Accounts

Identifying the best Key Accounts

Key accounts are your organization’s most valuable customers. They play a pivotal role in driving revenue, referring prospects, and enhancing your business’s credibility within their industry. However, identifying these key accounts requires a strategic approach.

2.1 Collaborate for Alignment

The first step is to collaborate across your organization to align goals and responsibilities. Key account programs involve more than just sales; they require contributions from various teams. Consider the following:

  • Cross-Functional Involvement: While sales initiates the process, other functions (marketing, product, finance, supply chain, service) contribute to delivering value to key accounts. Each function must understand its role and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Organizational Alignment: Clearly define who owns the relationship with the customer. B2B sales often involve multiple stakeholders, so early collaboration ensures consistent messaging and expectations.

2.2 Establish Key Account Criteria

To keep the number of key accounts manageable and relationships meaningful, you should use objective criteria for qualification.  Look past the obvious criteria of:

Revenue Contribution: Key accounts don’t necessarily mean the highest revenue clients. Evaluate accounts based on their current and future revenue potential.  Strategic Fit: Assess alignment with your current and future business strategy and long-term goals.  Growth Potential: Consider accounts that have room for growth.

We recommend you gather detailed information about each account on your target list such as:

  • Financial Metrics: Understand their financial health, historical spending patterns, payment terms and growth trajectory.
  • Industry Insights: Research industry trends, challenges, and opportunities relevant to each account.
  • Stakeholder Mapping: Identify decision-makers and influencers within the account. How easy are they to access?

2.3 Develop a Strategic Account Plan

Create a customized account plan for each key account:

  • Goals and Objectives: Define clear objectives for the relationship.
  • Value Proposition: Understand what unique value your organization provides to each account.
  • Action Steps: Outline specific actions to nurture the relationship and address challenges.

2.4 Monitor and Measure Performance

You should regularly monitor key account performance and swap key accounts out where necessary.  Use objective metrics such as:

  • Account Growth: Track revenue generated from key accounts over time.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Gather feedback and assess satisfaction levels.
  • Retention Rate: Measure how well you retain key accounts.

Successful key account management isn’t solely about profit margins; it’s about building long term partnerships. Longevity and mutual value creation matter more than occasional discounts. By identifying and nurturing key accounts effectively, your organization can thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

 

3. Building Strong Client Relationships

Building Strong Relationships Across the Organisation 

Key Account Management (KAM) isn’t just about closing deals; it’s about fostering enduring partnerships. KAM focuses on building strong, long-term relationships with a company’s most important clients—those strategic accounts that significantly impact revenue growth and overall success. These key accounts are not merely defined by transaction size; their strategic importance to the organization sets them apart.

Why Strong Client Relationships Matter

  1. Maximizing Lifetime Value: Key accounts contribute a substantial portion of an organization’s revenue. By nurturing these relationships, companies can maximize customer lifetime value. A loyal key account is more likely to stay with you for the long haul, leading to sustained revenue growth.

  2. Referrals and Testimonials: Satisfied key accounts become brand advocates. Their positive experiences lead to referrals and glowing testimonials, enhancing your company’s reputation and attracting new business.

  3. Strengthening Bonds: Trust is the bedrock of client relationships. When key accounts trust your organization, they’re more likely to collaborate, share insights, and weather challenges together.

Strategies for Building Strong Client Relationships

3.1 Reliability and Consistency

  • Be There Through Thick and Thin: Key accounts want more than a chatbot to handle emergencies. They seek a dedicated team that stands by them through good times and bad. People buy from people.
  • Consistent Communication: Don’t just be responsive, be pro-active.  Regularly engage with key accounts. Understand their pain points, aspirations, and evolving needs.

3.2 Customization and Personalization

  • Tailor Solutions: Key accounts have unique requirements. Customize your offerings to address their specific challenges.
  • Personal Touch: Go beyond transactional interactions. Remember birthdays, milestones, and other personal details. Show genuine interest in their success.

3.3 Collaboration and Co-Creation

  • Partnership Mindset: Position yourself as a partner, not just a vendor. Collaborate on joint initiatives, co-create solutions, and align goals.
  • Shared Success Metrics: Define success together. What does a win look like for both parties? Set measurable goals.

3.4 Proactive Problem-Solving

  • Anticipate Needs: Understand key accounts deeply. Predict their pain points and address them before they escalate.
  • Quick Response: When challenges arise, respond promptly. Show agility and commitment to resolving issues.

3.5 Face-to-Face Interaction

  • In-Person Meetings: Whenever possible, meet key accounts face-to-face. Nothing beats the personal touch.
  • Relationship Building: Use these meetings to strengthen the relationship, not just discuss business.

Building strong client relationships is the heart of successful key account management. By being reliable, personalized, collaborative, proactive, and investing in face-to-face interactions, you’ll create lasting bonds that drive revenue and elevate your brand.

 

4. Creating Value for Key Accounts

Value in Key Account Management

When it comes to key accounts, value extends beyond monetary transactions. It includes trust, collaboration, and customized solutions that address the unique needs of these clients.

Why Creating Value Matters

  1. Long-Term Partnerships: Key accounts are not short-term wins. They represent enduring partnerships. By consistently delivering value, you build loyalty and longevity.

  2. Beyond Discounts: While discounts play a role, value creation goes deeper. It involves understanding the client’s pain points, aspirations, and business challenges.

  3. Upselling and Cross-Selling: When you create value, key accounts are more receptive to upselling and cross-selling. They see the benefits of expanding their engagement with your organization.

Strategies for Creating Value

4.1 Customized Solutions

  • Needs Assessment: Regularly assess the evolving needs of key accounts across all of their departments. What challenges do they face? How can your products or services address those challenges?
  • Tailored Offerings: Customize solutions based on their specific requirements. One size does not fit all.

4.2 Strategic Insights

  • Industry Trends: Stay informed about industry shifts. Provide insights to key accounts on emerging trends, regulatory changes, and competitive landscapes.
  • Benchmarking: Compare their performance against industry benchmarks. Identify areas for improvement.

4.3 Collaboration and Co-Creation

  • Joint Initiatives: Collaborate on projects or initiatives. Involve key accounts in product development, process improvements, or market research.
  • Value Co-Creation: Work together to create new value propositions. Understand their goals and align your efforts accordingly.

4.4 Proactive Problem-Solving

  • Anticipate Challenges: Be proactive in identifying potential issues. Address them before they impact the client.
  • Continuous Improvement: Seek feedback and iterate. Use their insights to enhance your offerings.

4.5 Education and Training

  • Product Knowledge: Ensure key accounts understand your products or services thoroughly. Train their teams if necessary.
  • Best Practices: Share industry best practices and success stories. Position yourself as a valuable resource.

The best Key Account Managers are a cross between a Thought Leader, a Subject Matter Expert and a Trusted Advisor.  

Value isn’t just about what you sell—it’s about the impact you make.

 

5. Practical Strategies for Implementing Key Account Management

1. Formalize Key Account Management

Begin by formalizing the KAM process within your organization. Clearly define guidelines, roles, and responsibilities. Ensure alignment across departments, including sales, marketing, and customer service. KAM is in essence team selling and everyone should know and understand their responsibilities. 

2. Define Key Accounts

Not all clients qualify as key accounts. Establish criteria for identifying them. Consider factors such as revenue contribution, strategic fit, and growth potential. Quality matters more than quantity; start with a manageable number of key accounts and gradually expand.

3. Start Small and Expand Gradually

Implement KAM incrementally. Begin with a pilot group of key accounts. Learn from this initial experience, refine your approach, and then scale up. Starting small allows you to fine-tune your strategies and adapt to specific client needs.

4. Understand the Full Context of Key Accounts

Go beyond transactional knowledge. Dive deep into the context of each key account. Understand their industry, challenges, competitive landscape, and growth prospects. This contextual understanding enables you to tailor your solutions effectively.

5. Don’t Push Products, Sell Solutions

Key accounts seek solutions, not just products. Focus on addressing their pain points and providing holistic solutions. Understand their business objectives and align your offerings accordingly. Position yourself as a problem-solver rather than a mere vendor.

6. Meet with Key Accounts Regularly

Schedule face-to-face meetings with key accounts whenever possible. Use these opportunities to deepen relationships, discuss progress, and identify areas for improvement. In-person interactions build trust and enhance collaboration.

7. Define Sales Manager Roles Properly

Assign dedicated sales managers to key accounts. These managers should understand the unique needs of each account and act as strategic partners. Their role goes beyond sales—it involves relationship-building, problem-solving, and value creation.

8. Ensure Account Coaching Is Provided

Invest in coaching and training for your account managers to equip them with the skills needed to excel in KAM.  Sales Coaching has a proven ROI and should be a priority for your sales manager.

 

6. The Role of the Key Account Manager

A Key Account Manager plays a pivotal role in an organization’s success by nurturing and maximizing value from its most important clients. As with everything in sales, the execution is critical and the responsibilities, skills, and behaviors of an effective KAM will define your success.

Responsibilities of a Key Account Manager

  1. Building Long-Term Relationships:

    • A KAM’s primary responsibility is to cultivate enduring partnerships with key accounts. They aim to transform buyers into strategic business partners.
    • By nurturing relationships over time, KAMs ensure that top customers remain loyal and continue to contribute to the organization’s revenue growth.
  2. Understanding Client Needs:

    • KAMs acquire an in-depth understanding of key customer needs and requirements. This involves active listening, asking probing questions, and conducting thorough assessments.
    • By grasping the unique challenges and aspirations of each key account, KAMs tailor their strategies accordingly.
  3. Strategic Planning:

    • KAMs must take a long-term view. They develop strategic account plans that align with both the client’s objectives and the organization’s goals.
    • These plans outline how to maximize mutual value, retain the account, and drive growth.
  4. Customized Solutions:

    • Rather than pushing generic products, KAMs propose tailored solutions. They address specific pain points and provide value beyond transactional interactions.
    • Customization ensures that key accounts receive the attention and support they deserve.
  5. Negotiation and Problem-Solving:

    • KAMs negotiate contracts, pricing, and terms. They find win-win solutions that benefit both parties.
    • When challenges arise, KAMs proactively address them. Their problem-solving skills are crucial for maintaining trust.
  6. Dedicated Resources:

    • KAMs allocate dedicated resources to key accounts. This may include specialized support teams, personalized communication channels, and priority access.
    • The goal is to make key accounts feel valued and well-supported.
  7. Periodic Meetings:

    • Regular face-to-face meetings are essential. KAMs use these interactions to deepen relationships, discuss progress, and identify growth opportunities.
    • In-person meetings build trust and allow for candid conversations.

Skills Required for Key Account Management

  1. Excellent Communication:

    • KAMs must communicate clearly, persuasively, and empathetically. They listen actively and adapt their communication style to each client.
    • Strong written and verbal skills are essential for creating compelling proposals and maintaining rapport.
  2. Strategic Thinking:

    • KAMs think beyond immediate transactions. They analyze market trends, competitive landscapes, and industry shifts.
    • Strategic thinking helps them anticipate client needs and position themselves as trusted advisors.
  3. Negotiation Skills:

    • Effective negotiation ensures mutually beneficial outcomes. KAMs balance assertiveness with flexibility.
    • They understand the value of concessions and know when to push for favorable terms.
  4. Empathy and Active Listening:

    • Empathy allows KAMs to understand clients on a deeper level. They recognize emotions, concerns, and motivations.
    • Active listening helps uncover hidden needs and build stronger connections.
  5. Time Management:

    • Juggling multiple key accounts requires efficient time management. KAMs prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and maintain focus.
    • They avoid spreading themselves too thin.
  6. Organizational Skills:

    • KAMs handle complex account details, contracts, and documentation. Organizational skills prevent oversights and ensure smooth operations.

Behaviors of Successful Key Account Managers

  1. Accountability:

    • Successful KAMs hold themselves accountable. They take ownership of outcomes, whether positive or challenging.
    • Accountability extends to their team and the client relationship.
  2. Consistency and Clarity:

    • KAMs maintain consistent communication. They document interactions clearly and avoid ambiguity.
    • Clarity builds trust and ensures alignment.

In summary, a skilled Key Account Manager combines strategic thinking, relationship-building, and problem-solving to create lasting value for both the organization and its key accounts. By mastering these skills and embodying the right behaviors, KAMs contribute significantly to business success.

 

“A fantastic learning experience”

Amanda – Account Manager

Mastering the Art of Asking For The Order

asking for the order

asking for the order - Top Question from Google

How do you ask customers for the sale? (The short answer)

You should always remember, people do not like being sold to, but they love buying.  With this in mind the best way to ask for the order, is not to ask for the order.  If you use a consultative sales approach the customer will realise for themselves that there is a good fit between what you are selling and their needs.  The best sales professionals never have to ask for the order.  They simply create the right conditions for the buyer to buy.  

If you are using a traditional sales approach in B2B sales, there are several ways to ask customers for sales, depending on the context and the relationship you have with them. Here are some examples:

  • If you are in a business setting and have already established a relationship with the customer, you can ask for a sale by stating the benefits of your product or service and explaining why it would be a good fit for their needs. For example, you could say, “Our product has been proven to improve efficiency and save time, which I think would be valuable for your business. Would you like to discuss a purchase?”
  • If you are cold-calling or contacting potential customers for the first time, it’s important to be polite and respectful. Start by introducing yourself and your company, and then explain how your product or service can help them. For example, you could say, “Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m with [Company]. We offer a [Product/Service] that can help [Benefit]. Can I schedule a call to discuss how it could benefit your business?”

Overall, the key to asking for the sale or indeed anything, is to be polite, respectful, and informative. Show the value of your product or service, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.

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1. Why it's important for salespeople to ask for the sale?

Not everyone is familiar with, or uses a consultative sales approach.  Therefore, it’s very important for those using traditional sales methodologies to ask for the sale. Asking for the sale is the final step in the sales process, and it’s what ultimately determines whether the salesperson is successful in making a sale. 

By asking for the sale, the salesperson is taking the initiative and putting the decision in the hands of the customer. This can be a powerful way to persuade the customer to make a purchase, and it can also help the sales person to close the deal more efficiently.

In addition to winning more sales, asking for the sale is also a crucial part of building a successful sales career. Sales is a profession that requires persistence, confidence, and the ability to handle rejection. 

Asking for the sale helps sales professionals to develop these skills, and it can also help them to build a track record of success. The ability to ask for the sale has a direct impact on the sales performance of your sales team.

2. Why asking for the sale can lose sales professionals the deal

Asking for the sale is an important step in the sales process, and it’s essential for making a successful sale. However, if it’s not done in the right way, it’s possible that asking for the sale could lose the deal. Here are a few reasons why this might happen:

  1. The customer isn’t ready: If the customer isn’t ready to make a decision, asking for the sale can be premature and can push them away. It’s important to carefully gauge the customer’s level of interest and readiness before asking for the sale.

  2. The customer has objections: If the customer has objections or concerns, asking for the sale without addressing those issues can be counterproductive. It’s important to listen to the customer’s objections and to address them before asking for the sale.

  3. The sales person is pushy or aggressive: Asking for the sale in a pushy or aggressive manner can be off-putting to the customer. Salespeople should be direct and clear in their request, but they should also be respectful and professional.

  4. The customer is dissatisfied: If the customer is unhappy with the product or service, or with the salesperson’s performance, asking for the sale can be futile. In these cases, it may be better to address the customer’s dissatisfaction and try to resolve the issues before asking for the sale.

Overall, asking for the sale is a crucial part of the sales process, but it’s important to do it in a way that is appropriate for the specific situation and customer.

asking for the sale

3. How fear of rejection stops sales professionals asking for the sale

Fear of rejection can definitely stop salespeople from asking for the sale. Asking for the sale is an inherently vulnerable position, and it requires the salesperson to put themselves out there and potentially face rejection. This can be intimidating, and it’s natural for salespeople to be afraid of being rejected.

However, it’s important for salespeople to overcome this fear and to ask for the sale anyway. Rejection is a natural part of the sales process, and it’s something that every salesperson will experience at some point in their career. By accepting that rejection is a possibility and by developing the skills and strategies to handle it effectively, sales people can overcome their fear of rejection and become more successful in their careers.

Sales people can overcome their fear of rejection in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. Develop a positive attitude: A positive attitude can help salespeople to stay motivated and focused, even in the face of rejection. By believing in themselves and their abilities, salespeople can maintain a sense of confidence and resilience, which can help them to overcome their fear of rejection.

  2. Practice effective rejection management: Sales people can learn how to manage rejection effectively by using techniques such as reframing, refocusing, and redirecting. These techniques can help sales people to view rejection in a more positive light, and to move on from rejection quickly and confidently.

  3. Seek support: Sales people don’t have to face their fear of rejection alone. Seeking support from colleagues, mentors, and peers can provide valuable encouragement and advice, and can help sales people to feel more confident and capable.

  4. Learn from rejection: Instead of viewing rejection as a failure, sales  people can learn from it and use it as an opportunity to improve. By analyzing why a particular sale didn’t go through, salespeople can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to overcome similar objections in the future.

By adopting these strategies, sales people can overcome their fear of rejection and become more successful in their careers.

4. How to build confidence in salespeople

Here are some tips for building confidence in a sales team:

  1. Provide training and development: A sales team who are well-trained and well-equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed are more likely to be confident in their abilities. Invest in sales training and development programs that provide sales professionals with the tools and resources they need to be successful.

  2. Encourage positive thinking: Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can help sales professionals to build confidence and overcome challenges. Encourage sales professionals to focus on their strengths and to believe in their ability to succeed.

  3. Set achievable goals: Setting challenging but achievable goals can help sales professionals to feel a sense of accomplishment and to build their confidence. Create a goal-setting framework that provides clear benchmarks and rewards for success.

  4. Provide support and encouragement: Sales can be a tough and demanding profession, and sales professionals often face rejection and disappointment. Provide support and encouragement to help salespeople stay motivated and focused, and to build their confidence over time.

  5. Celebrate success: Recognizing and celebrating the successes of salespeople can help to boost their confidence and to reinforce the behaviours and strategies that lead to success. Make sure to celebrate both individual and team successes, and to provide public recognition for outstanding achievements.

By implementing these strategies, sales managers and leaders can help sales teams to build confidence, improve sales performance and to become more successful in their careers.

asking for the sale

5. Why salespeople feel uncomfortable asking for the sale

Asking for the sale can be uncomfortable for a sales person because they may fear rejection or feel like they are being pushy or aggressive. Additionally, some people may be unsure of how to ask for the sale in a way that is polite and respectful, or they may not be confident in their product or service. Here are some reasons why a sales person may feel uncomfortable asking for the sale:

  • Fear of rejection: Asking for the sale means putting yourself out there and potentially facing rejection. This can be intimidating and uncomfortable, especially for people who are sensitive to criticism or who have low self-esteem.

  • Concern about being pushy or aggressive: Some people may worry that asking for the sale will make them appear pushy or aggressive, which can be off-putting to customers. This may be especially true for people who are naturally reserved or introverted.

  • Uncertainty about how to ask for the sale: Asking for the sale is a skill that requires practice and finesse. If a sales person does not know how to do it effectively, it can make them feel unsure and uncomfortable.

  • Lack of confidence in their product or service: If you don’t believe in your product or service, it can be difficult to persuade others to buy it. This lack of confidence can make it uncomfortable to ask for the sale.

Overall, asking for the sale can be uncomfortable for many people because it involves overcoming these fears and doubts. However, with practice and the right mindset, you can learn to ask for the sale in a way that is confident and persuasive.

6. What are sales closing techniques?

Sales closing techniques are strategies that salespeople use to persuade a potential customer to make a purchase. These techniques can take many forms, but they all aim to help the salesperson overcome any objections the customer may have and to move the conversation towards a successful sale. Some common sales closing techniques include using a trial close to gauge the customer’s level of interest, asking for the sale directly, offering a discount or special deal, and using scarcity or urgency to create a sense of need. Sales closing techniques can be effective, but it’s important for salespeople to use them in an ethical and transparent manner.

Examples of sales closing techniques:

  1. The trial close: This involves asking the customer a question that helps the salesperson gauge their level of interest in the product or service. For example, the salesperson might say, “Based on what you’ve told me, it sounds like this product could be a good fit for your needs. Am I correct?”

  2. Asking for the sale directly: This is a straightforward approach where the salesperson simply asks the customer if they would like to make a purchase. For example, the salesperson might say, “Do you want to go ahead and place your order today?”

  3. Offering a discount or special deal: This involves offering the customer a financial incentive to make a purchase. For example, the salesperson might say, “If you decide to order today, I can offer you a 10% discount on your purchase.”

  4. Using scarcity or urgency: This involves creating a sense of need or urgency to persuade the customer to make a decision quickly. For example, the salesperson might say, “This offer is only available for a limited time, so if you want to take advantage of it, you’ll need to act now.”

  5. In certain circumstances such as selling home products like kitchens and windows, it can help to introduce an order pad or order form to help capture the customers order details.  The visible introduction of the order pad can prompt the buyer into moving forward.  

It’s important to note that these are just examples, and every sales person should use the closing techniques that are most appropriate for their specific situation and customers.

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7. Handling objections in sales

Objections from prospects are common as they try to reach the best buying decision for themselves.  However, in most cases they are not objections, they are simply the buyers way of saying that they require more detail. Nonetheless, the inability to handle objections will cost both the sales person and the company in lost sales. Here are some tips for handling objections in sales:

  1. Listen carefully to the objection: It’s important to understand exactly what the customer is saying and why they are objecting. Ask clarifying questions and pay attention to their body language and tone of voice to get a better sense of their concerns.

  2. Acknowledge the objection: Show the customer that you understand their concerns and that you are taking their objections seriously. This can help to build trust and rapport with the customer.

  3. Address the objection: Once you understand the customer’s objection, provide a response that addresses their concerns. This might involve providing additional information, offering a solution, or addressing any misconceptions the customer may have.

  4. Ask for the sale: After you have addressed the customer’s objections, it’s time to ask for the sale. Be direct and clear in your request, and be prepared to overcome any additional objections that the customer may have.

  5. Follow up: If the customer still isn’t ready to make a purchase, follow up with them at a later date. This can help to keep the conversation going and can increase the chances of making a sale in the future.

It’s important to remember that handling objections is an ongoing process, and every sales person should be prepared to handle objections at every stage of the sales process.

8. What are sales transition statements and how do you use them?

Sales transition statements are phrases that help you smoothly move from one part of a sales conversation to another. They can be used to introduce a new topic, ask for a sale, or overcome objections. Here are some examples of how you can use sales transition statements:

  • Introducing a new topic: “In addition to [current topic], there is another aspect of our product that I think you might find interesting. It’s [new topic].”

  • Asking for a sale: “Based on what we’ve discussed, I think our product would be a great fit for your needs. Are you ready to move forward with a purchase?”

  • Overcoming objections: “I understand your concern about [objection]. Let me assure you that [reassurance/solution to objection].”

To use sales transition statements effectively, make sure they are smooth and natural-sounding. Avoid using language that sounds too salesy or pushy, and focus on addressing the customer’s needs and concerns. By using these phrases to move smoothly from one topic to another, you can help guide the conversation and ultimately persuade the customer to make a purchase.

9. What are the most popular sales closing phrases?

Sales closing phrases or sales closing questions are used to conclude a sales conversation and persuade the customer to make a purchase. Some of the most popular sales closing phrases include:

  • “Are you ready to move forward with a purchase?”

  • “Can I count on you to buy today?”

  • “If you’re happy with everything we’ve discussed, shall we go ahead and get started?”

  • “Based on what we’ve discussed, I think our product is a great fit for your needs. What do you think?”

  • “I’m confident that our product will help you [achieve goal/solve problem]. Are you ready to make a commitment?”

It’s important to remember that these phrases are just suggestions, and the best sales closing phrase will vary depending on the situation and the customer. The key is to find the right questions or phrase that feel natural and authentic, and that helps you conclude the conversation in a way that persuades the customer to make a purchase.

objection handling training

10. Why a consultative sales approach is important in modern selling

A consultative sales approach is important in modern selling for several reasons. First, it allows the salesperson to better understand the customer’s needs, goals, and challenges, and to tailor their solutions to meet those needs. This can help to create a more personalized and effective sales pitch, and it can also help to build trust and rapport with the customer.

Second, a consultative sales approach is more focused on the customer’s needs than on the salesperson’s goals. This can help to create a more mutually beneficial and long-term relationship with the customer, rather than a transactional one-time sale.

Third, a consultative sales approach is more adaptable and flexible than traditional sales approaches. In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing business environment, salespeople need to be able to adapt quickly and to provide solutions that meet the customer’s evolving needs. A consultative sales approach allows salespeople to do this more effectively.

Overall, a consultative sales approach is important in modern selling because it allows salespeople to provide more effective solutions, to build stronger relationships with customers, and to be more adaptable to changing business conditions.

“A fantastic learning experience”

Amanda – Account Manager

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team – Top question from Google

What is outbound sales?

Outbound sales is the process of a sales team or salespeople initiating engagement with potential and existing customers. This could encapsulate trying to secure new customers, up selling to existing customers, or general account management. In contrast, inbound sales relies on a company’s marketing strategy to drive customer interest, and customers will contact the company to enquire about their services. This blog post will tell you how to build an outbound sales team.

Preparing to go Outbound

In the rush to go outbound many companies either overlook or pay little attention to the core foundation of every successful outbound sales campaign – their value proposition. Without this most campaigns will fail at best, at worst, they will fail you will lose market traction. you will lose your best sales people and you will also lose a lot of money.

A Proven Value Proposition

Many companies make the mistake of trying to scale their sales operations without a proven value proposition with disastrous effects.  Whether you chose to build your own outbound team or to subcontract to a specialist you need a proven value proposition.  The more time and money you invest on proving your value proposition will be returned ten fold in your results.  This does not just apply to Startups.  Those that believe they have already proven their value proposition can equally benefit by refining and fine tuning what they have. 

Words Sell

Whilst most of us would accept the importance of words in the world of Business to consumer few people in B2B dedicate sufficient time and energy to finding the right words to describe our products and services.  Ask and Pay per click specialist who is restricted to 30 characters for the headline and 90 for the description of the importance of word choice.  That’s characters not words.

Technology

We are blessed in the modern sales world with lots of great outbound technologies which makes the outbound process both easier and more productive. From intent data, to auto diallers, to call recording and artificial intelligence there are a plethora of great tools to choose from that will help your outbound team be successful. Be sure to invest the time and budget to arm your sales team with the technology they need.

Sales Leadership

An often overlooked area of business is sales management. Many sales managers have come from a sales background and were at some stage a top sales rep. Unfortunately the skills required for modern sales management are very different to just selling and the position of sales manager is a key hire for any business. Without a great sales manager your best sales reps will leave and the worst reps will stay which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Company culture is hugely important in any business and no more so than in an inbound and outbound sales team.

In short, without a proven value proposition and good sales management, you will spend more money and take much longer to get where you want to go. These three areas are an essential component for a scalable outbound process.

Consultative Sales Training
Outbound Sales Strategies

Building an Inhouse Team or Outsourcing

When developing an outbound sales team, sales managers and company owners have two choices. They can build an in-house sales team or they can outsource the process to an external agency or group of salespeople.

Each option has its own positives and negatives, and sales managers and company owners should consider these carefully before making any changes.

Through outsourcing their outbound sales operations, companies can hire people with a proven track record of success that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Outsourcing can be more economic for some companies, as they do not have to resource staff training or office space for them. It can also provide more cost flexibility, as the salespeople will not be tied down to long-scale contracts.

In-house sales teams are much more likely to develop excellent product knowledge over time, which they can convey to prospective clients. Outsourcing can also result in a lack of control of the sales process, and the company cannot guarantee that the leads generated are of a sufficient quality until much later.

There are also concerns that an outbound sales team may not be as “bought into” your product, company or company ethos, and this could be purveyed to prospective clients.

Remember, a poor outbound experience is the fastest way to destroy your brand. Badly executed outbound calls will have a negative impact on your brand and could lose you valuable market traction.

Outbound prospecting particularly cold calling, is very different to responding to inbound sales leads. Your sales team and lead generation strategy should be built with this in mind.

web based sales training
Outbound Sales Strategies

What are outbound sales activities?

Outbound sales requires salespeople to go to the potential clients. In contrast, inbound sales where potential clients come to the company, either for more information or to buy their product/service.

Therefore, traditionally outbound sales does not include any marketing or product development tasks.

Outbound selling can be very labour intensive, and in the case of cold calling it needs a high volume of calls to have a meaningful impact on sales. This is because:

80% of cold calls go straight to voice mail – Sales Intel

It takes an average of 18 attempts to reach a technology buyer – Gartner

In addition to being labour intensive, outbound sales has a high churn rate in terms of staff. Many companies struggle to retain the people they have, let alone build a high performing team of SDR’s.

Lead generation is the starting point of an outbound sales process. Some company’s will have a dedicated in-house lead generation team, whilst others leave it for their general salespeople to handle.

In most cases when outbound sales is left to general salespeople it simply doesn’t happen. Sales people have a skill of always finding something “more important” to do than lead generation.

Outbound sales is a contact sport, pure and simple and requires salespeople to contact prospective customers. This could be by telephone, email, LinkedIn or face to face, however predominantly this is done via phone and email.

From our own experience SDR’s who use a multichannel approach are much more successful than those who are only using the telephone or email.

Often as part of the outbound sales role SDR’s will undertake what is known as sales qualification process. This involves a salesperson determining whether or not the lead is likely to become a customer or not.

Once the leads have been qualified, leads are typically then passed to a Business Development Rep whose responsible for any form of product demo and closing the deal.

In more traditional sales organisations this may include setting appointments for the companies field sales reps. The length of the sales process will depend on the target market, the industry and the customer.

As an outbound sales person you will be expected to do the following:

  • Research leads
  • Generate new sales leads
  • Qualifying inbound sales leads and build a sales pipeline
  • Setting appointments with potential or existing customers and follow the sales process
  • Follow up proposals
  • Cold and warm calling
  • Cold and warm emails
  • Social Selling
  • Customer service calls, with a view to upselling
  • Product demos
  • Account Management

Outbound prospecting is especially vital for companies with little or no marketing budget. This is this because in these circumstances, prospective customers are unlikely to come to the company in great numbers, and as such the company will have to go to the potential clients.

Outbound sales strategy

Having a great team of outbound sales reps important, but if they don’t have a good sales strategy to follow, they are unlikely to be successful. Creating a sales strategy should be one of your first tasks when establishing an outbound sales team.

A good outbound sales strategy requires the right sales playbook (script, methods etc.) and the right methods to measure success. Opinions on sales scripts vary, but if you develop a good sales script, it ensures a consistent approach and can help new sales reps get up to speed faster.

Our research here at Klozers, find that sales teams with playbooks are 33% more likely to be high performers. If a sales script is used, preparation should be used so the salesperson will appear to be talking as naturally as possible.

Different sales methods should be explored to see if they will result in more successful sales. For example, consultative selling could result in an increase in sales.

Preparation is key for a successful outbound sales strategy. Salespeople should have all of the data, scripts and tools they need before they start calling. They should also have an excellent knowledge of the products or services.

Whatever sales strategy is used, it is important that there are processes in place to monitor its success. If certain aspects of the strategy haven’t been successful, then either the sales strategy can be amended, or extra training and coaching should be organised.

Data can be used to monitor the most successful times to make outbound sales calls. For example, if the data shows that outbound calls are more successful on a Wednesday afternoon, then greater focus should be placed on this time, and team meetings should be avoided at that time.

Outbound and Inbound Sales Support

At Klozers the inbound and outbound sales process that we teach in our sales training is based on the success we have had in our own business. We will show you exactly the sales strategies and outbound methods that we use every day to target customers, qualifying leads, make a sales call, cold calling, cold emailing and drive customer engagement.

Furthermore, if you would like to optimise your inbound and outbound channels we can teach you how we use content marketing combined with search engine optimisation, to turn our website in to a lead generation machine.

We have a number of ways we support SaaS companies. From advice on recruitment and value proposition development, through to telesales, social selling training and strategy training, we can help you win more business, grow your business. and have more fun along the way.

Klozers has been selected among the Top Lead Generation Companies by Designrush

Consultative Sales Training | How Customers Want to Buy

consultative sales training course

Consultative Sales Training – Top question from Google

What is a Consultative Sales Approach?

Consultative selling is very different to more traditional forms of selling, as it doesn’t actually focus on selling. Instead, it focuses on building relationships with customers, listening to their problems and only then, offering them solutions to their problems.

Asking open-ended questions and active listening are key components of any consultative sales approach. This approach works because potential buyers are more motivated to buy products or services that meet their own needs, rather than the needs of the sales professional.

A consultative sales approach truly puts the buyer first. Instead of just selling any old product, or what happens to be on promotion that month, sales professionals using the consultative sales approach will look to sell products and services that match the exact needs of their buyers, which makes for more productive business development results and satisfied customers.

Instead of a scripted sales pitch, sales teams can use conversational skills and listen to their buyers personal and business needs. Only then do they provide advice and guidance, which includes being adaptable to the different challenges buyers may face.

The consultative sales approach is highly effective and can lead to far greater results for your business and better long term customer relations. Using other sales techniques typically results in salespeople chasing leads that are not a good match for the buyer. Whilst they may well win a first order, if the product isn’t right for the buyer and their customers, it is unlikely that they will build long term relationships.

However, using the consultative approach, the sales rep needs to listen to the customer needs and provide meaningful solutions, meaning your new customer can come back time and time again for your product or services.

It has become increasingly popular in recent years as sales reps and sales managers managers have realised that traditional sales techniques have become less effective, because buyers have become wary of sales pitches. Instead of being sold a product, people prefer their salespeople to take a genuine interest in them as a person and their business.

The key components of a consultative sales approach is as follows:

  • Direct route to market
  • Low volume of sales but high profit margins – less popular but still relevant with transactional sales
  • Requires high level of industry knowledge with experienced sales people
  • Higher cost to employers, with lots of training required
  • Medium to long length sales cycles

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset. Instead of going out to sell, salespeople will need to go and have a conversation with potential buyers, in a structured and reputable manner. Building trust first with any potential buyer is a big aspect of consultative selling.

Initially a lot of sales people struggle to adapt to the consultative sales method, as they are almost hard wired to sell products and services via the traditional features and benefits method. However, if you choose to adapt a consultative sales approach, it is important to stick with it, as modern buyers have become more resistant to being sold products.

Steps involved in Consultative Selling

1. Research potential buyers thoroughly before contacting them

Before engaging with potential buyers, it is important that the salesperson researches the potential customer, thoroughly and effectively. If the salesperson is used to a more traditional fast-paced sales environment, taking the time at the onset of the sales process to research may seem like an alien process.

However, first impressions matter, and considering the consultative selling method prides itself on expert knowledge, you need to make sure that you have done enough research. Similarly, consultative selling involves asking probing questions, and without enough research it can be difficult or almost impossible for salespeople to ask probing questions.

2. Define the Symptoms – What are the symptoms of the problem the potential customer is facing?

During this first step the salesperson will try to get an understanding of the issue at hand. Here the salesperson will play a role of expert consultant, where their expertise of the industry can be used to discuss the issues.

It is likely that the buyer may only have a surface-level knowledge of the symptoms, therefore the expertise of a consultative salesperson is vital.

At this stage, it is vitally important that the salesperson doesn’t revert to a more traditional techniques and try to sell products or services. This is because, it is very early in the process, and it is unlikely that the salesperson will have formed a fully rounded understanding of the issues at hand, and could recommend the wrong solution.

3. Root cause analysis – ask the buyer questions to understand and diagnose the underlying causes.

During this stage, the salesperson will need to dig deeper into the problem, and find out what is causing it.

By digging deeper into the problem, the salesperson can use their knowledge to generate powerful questions that will reassure the buyer that they are dealing with an expert in the field, and that they can use their expertise to offer solutions to their problem.

This step can be a really powerful tool to build the buyers confidence in the salesperson.

4. Business impact – Ask how the issue is impacting on the business. Does it impact on morale, performance, profitability or all three?

At this stage, the salesperson and the buyer have agreed on a diagnosis of the issue, and they will now begin to understand how this impacts on the business.

If the issue has very little impact on the business, in terms of profitability or revenue, then it is very unlikely that the buyer will look to make a significant contribution (either financially or with their time) to finding a solution.

If this is the case, or if the salesperson knows that their product or service isn’t the solution to the buyers problems, then the salesperson should cut their losses here.

5. Financial Impact – Find out how much the problem will cost the business if they do not fix it.

Identifying the financial impact of the issue is another major milestone in the consultative sales method. This can be easier to measure in objective measurements, such as monetary values, rather than subjective measurements such as staff morale or culture, which are far more difficult to monitor.

If the financial impact runs into the hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, and the solution only costs £10,000 then this could be a very attractive proposal for the buyer. Alternatively, if the solution costs £100,000, and it would only save the company £10,000 each year, it will be a much less attractive proposition to the buyer.

6. Personal Impact – Find out how the problem affects the buyer personally – how does it affect their day to day job?

Potential buyers are far more likely to be convinced by a solution, if the issue directly impacts upon them. This is why when using the consultative selling skills, it is vitally important to make sure that you are speaking to the right person.

If the salesperson and buyer are involved in a complex sales solution, it is likely that the 6 step process above may need to be repeated. It may also need to be repeated with different departments and stakeholders. Whilst this inevitably adds to the time taken to sell a product or service, patience is an important aspect of consultative sales.

consultative selling skills
Consultative Selling Approach

What do you need to be a good consultative salesperson?

Consultative selling requires some key selling skills which aren’t necessarily associated with more traditional selling methods. This includes:

  • Active Listening – traditionally salespeople aren’t renowned for their listening skills, but under the consultative selling method, using active listening is a key requirement. Not only does it help understand the buyers issues, it also helps you stand out from the crowd. As buyers are being turned off by hard sales pitches, if a buyer needs to choose between two similar products, they may choose for the one with the sales person that genuinely listened to their issues.
  • Emotional intelligence – This covers peoples ability to evaluate, perceive and control emotions. Buying and selling remains an emotional process, and it is important for salespeople to respond to the buyers emotions.
  • Expertise – Because consultative selling requires the salesperson to really delve deep into issues, it is important that sellers are experts in their field. However, no one wants to be overawed with information, so the salesperson will need to communicate their expertise efficiently.
  • Domain knowledge – Similar to expertise, salespeople will need to have a specialised knowledge of the whole domain. Not only do salespeople need to know what their customers want, they need to know what their customers’ customer want.
  • Self-awareness – Consultative salespeople will need to understand and manage our thoughts and the impact that can have on people.
Consultative Sales Training
Consultative Selling Approach

What questions to ask?

Asking the right questions is probably the most important part of consultative selling. Asking aimless questions or having an unstructured conversation with a potential buyer, is unlikely to either build rapport or project confidence. Whilst consultative selling doesn’t involve hard selling, salespeople can still funnel a conversation one way by using structured and well designed questions. Using specialised questioning techniques when combined with active listening and the required expertise can be a winning combination.

There are several types of consultative selling questions. They are:

  • Open ended questions – These are used to gather further information
  • Closed questions – Should be used for confirmation
  • Summary questions – Sales professionals should will summarise or paraphrase the prospective buyers statement and turn it into a question. These are used to confirm the correct understanding of issues.
  • Funnelling questions – These channel the conversation through a particular area.
  • Redirect questions – Sales Professionals should use these questions to control the conversation and move the sales process forward.
  • Opposing redirect – These questions is answering a question with a question back to the buyer.
  • Presumptive questions – Presumptive questions are questions when the salesperson knows or presume the prospective buyer does not know the answer.

Which Products and Services are best suited to Consultative Sales Techniques?

The great thing about Consultative sales techniques are that they can be used in almost any industry, or with any product or service. Our own clients sell a wide range of services from Waste Management through to Aircraft Manufacturing each using a consultative sales approach.

Furthermore, once you have mastered the system it can be as flexible as possible. We have clients using a consultative sales approach and closing deals on one inbound sales call, and we also have clients using the exact same consultative approach to close large enterprise deals through a six month sales cycle.

What is Consultative Sales Training?

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset and as such effective training is vitally important. As a specialist sales provider we offer training in consultative sales, and a range of courses from giving people a solid baseline understanding of the method through to those seeking to master the sales techniques.

As an international training provider we believe that sales teams learn better if they are doing the task, rather than reading text books or watching a presentation, and as such part of our training includes role place sessions. Consultative sales training also cover all aspects of the sales process, including social selling techniques.

It is also important to remember that consultative selling requires ongoing reinforcement training, so you should consider booking in several sessions, to ensure that your sales team do not revert to their natural selling habits.

Outside of training, under any sales technique it is important that sales professionals have enough support and encouragement. This is even more important under the consultative selling technique. Sales coaching from a sales manager between training sessions, can be a vitally important resource.

You can check out our course on consultative sales and book online here.

Selling Information Technology Services | Everything you need to Know

Selling Information Technology Services

Top question from Google - How to sell IT Services

How to sell IT services?

Selling it support services is very similar to selling other intangible services.

  1. Build your brand and make it as attractive as possible
  2. Develop a detailed ideal client profile and create a niche for yourself
  3. Link your intangible services to tangible deliverables that are important to your customer
  4. Lear as much about your products and services as possible and how they impact your customers
  5. Develop your relationship building skills and your emotional intelligence

As a business owner selling technology, managed services or custom development client satisfaction plays a key role in your long term success. Clients expect Rolls Royce service at competitive prices as competition in the technology industry is fierce.

1. Building your brand

As you would expect building a Brand in a competitive market like IT is not an overnight job.  There are however, many companies who have successfully entered the market and gained rapid market share by being more agile than existing brands. 

For example, the introduction of Microsoft Office 365 allowed new players to enter the Microsoft Channel while the existing partners continued to focus on Small Business Server sales. 

New companies specialising in Cloud services and SaaS have disrupted the market by starting off with very niche services and expanding out as they grew.

In our experience the best way to build a brand is to first focus on your Inbound Sales Channel which inevitably will raise your awareness in the market and start to generate inbound sales leads.

For more information on developing your Inbound Sales Channel or any of our other consulting services please get in touch with one of our coaches via the contact us page.

2. Ideal Client Profile – who are you selling to?

Success in selling technology will require in depth research and creating your ideal client profile. This is something that most companies either forget or fail to see the importance of.  The result is – if you’re trying to sell to everybody, you will end up selling to nobody”. 

Taking time to thoroughly research your target market and identify the business pains they have that you intent to help them solve is one of the most important parts when selling information technology services.

At Klozers we use both an Ideal Client Profile which is focussed on the types of companies we sell to and a Perfect Prospect Profile which is targeted at the individuals within the ideal client profile that we sell to.

You can access the template below and many more via the SaaS Sales Playbook contained within our Resources section.

Ideal Client Profile Template
Selling Information Technology Services

3. Your Value Proposition – what makes you different?

The reality is that many IT service companies appear the same – one Microsoft Partner can look the same as many others.  Yes, it’s possible to differentiate with the area within the Microsoft stack that you focus on, such as SharePoint or Teams, however, what makes you different to all the other Partners focussing on those same technologies.

How you differentiate your value proposition is key because, unless you get this right, you will be seen as a “me too” player which means that you will end up competing on price.  The best way to discover how you differentiate your business is to research both your target audience and your competition and find the gaps. 

Initially these gaps may seem too small to build an empire, however, they are there as starting points as your brand will evolve over the years.

In addition to your differentiation you should also ensure that you have a strategy to make your entire team Subject Matter Experts. 

Your company and your people should be seen as Thought Leaders and be the first to market talking about new products, services and trends.  You don’t even have to deliver these new services, just talking about them puts your personal and company brand out there.

4. The Complex Sale

It’s important when selling technology services to remember, in nearly every case there will be multiple people in your customers decision making unit. 

Studies show that most technology sales fall into the category of the Complex Sale meaning they will have anything between 14 and 23 potential people involved with 80% of them having senior roles.

The addition of extra decision makers elongate the sales cycle and further complicates the sales process.  Many of the decision makers will be in different departments and often have competing priorities. 

For example, when looking for Marketing Automation software the marketing department will typically want what they perceive to be the best marketing solution. 

The decision makers from sales may want an automation platform that integrates with their existing CRM system.

How to Master the Complex Sale
Selling Information Technology Services

5. Stages of the Sales Process

As with any complex sale it’s important to have a strong sales process that both your team can follow and works for your customers. 

Nearly every organisation has their own unique sales process, however, it’s worth noting, any process is only as good as those implementing it and detail and consistency are king. 

If you are selling to large enterprise organisations it’s important to understand these companies will not change their buying process to match your sales process.  The vendor needs to first understand what the Enterprise Buying process is and then align their internal process with this.   

Whilst having a sales process is important, what’s equally important in our experience is understanding:

  1. What “qualifies” a prospect to move from one stage to the next?
  2. What soft skills do I need to move a prospect from one stage to the next?

My first experience of this was with the 10 stage Microsoft Solution Selling Process (MSSP).  This was not necessarily a bad sales process but little thought had been given at the time as to how you could move prospects through the process. 

Microsoft have since invested heavily in their whole sales process and sales enablement and have some of the best training and support available.

6. Selling a product vs selling a service

Before the advent of the cloud and SaaS solutions, IT was predominantly a product sale.  “Shifting boxes” and “selling tin” were common phrases among IT Sales Professionals.  Selling servers and IT hardware were predominantly products, and the solutions were mostly the mixing and configuration of the different types of hardware with some custom development software thrown in for good measure.

SaaS has changed this forever as fewer and fewer companies have on premise hardware or software.  With everything now hosted in the cloud, many companies now only have Laptops, a printer and a modem on premise.

This move from what was largely a transactional and tangible sale of a product, to a more solution orientated, intangible sale, has proven difficult for many sales professionals as one is

Most people find selling a product much easier than selling a service because your prospects get to see, touch and experience a product.  Human beings communicate through our five senses and these are extremely important in selling.  Next time you’re walking past a coffee shop or your local bakers I’m sure the aromas will be trying to entice you in the door.

Car salespeople love getting potential buyers to sit inside a new car as the small of the new car, the feeling of the leather seats and comfort of sitting down creates a desirable experience for most of us.

Compare these scenarios with Insurance or Pensions or cloud based technology solutions where the five senses are rarely engaged by the “product”.

7. Technology Sales Models

When it comes to Technology Sales Models there are many different models to choose from:

SPIN Selling developed by Neil Rackham in the late 80’s focussed on S – situation, P – problem, I – implication and N – need or payoff.  This is still hugely popular, however, some people believe this SPIN is much better suited to simple transactional sales with few buyers, rather than the complex technology sales of todays market.

Solution Selling as the name says focusses on selling a solution rather than a product and is widely used among technology sales professionals. Solution Selling involves much more time in the early stages of the sales uncovering the prospects needs and pain points and uncovering the underlying problems that are causing the pain.  Furthermore, solution selling is better suited to selling technology services as it also helps uncover different decision makers and stakeholders within the business. 

Consultative Sales Methodology is very similar to Solution Selling, however, where Solution Selling is based around selling a technology Consultative Selling is more focussed on the pre-sales consulting stage and building relationships through empathy.

Whilst choosing the right sales methodology is important these are all things that can be learned.  What’s more important, are the values and work ethics of your team. 

How to Master the Complex Sale
Selling Information Technology Services

8. Selling Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS Sales Campaign in a BoxTraditionally software was sold as an on premise solution and was often customised to the individual company’s requirements.  The advent of SaaS has changed this dramatically and reduced the amount of custom software development undertaken in house.

The Custom Development of software was expensive, time consuming and in some cases took so long that the original requirement had either changed or was no longer required by the time the software had been built and deployed.

SaaS software is essentially a switch on and switch off service allowing greater flexibility with the added benefit of lower entry costs as the software or platform is being resold multiple times.  No more high up from capital costs with SaaS providing the perfect Op Ex solution.

Selling SaaS solutions are different to selling technology services.  Whereby most SaaS sales are focussed on the software, features and benefits and demos these things are sometimes never touched on when selling managed services.

SaaS companies also have a slightly different methodology with most using MEDDIC or even CHAMP.

MEDDIC is probably the best known SaaS sales process with M standing for Metrics, E standing for the economic buyer, D stands for Decision making criteria as in why choose you. The next D stand for Decision making process, I stands for Identification of the pains and lastly C stands for Champion, who will help you sell internally.

CHAMP – is a simpler version with CH representing Challenges, A standing for Authority, M standing for Money and P standing for Priority. 

9. Selling IT Managed Services

Managed Services or Managed IT Services are what we would describe as the Business as Usual IT services that a business needs to keep the doors open.

As a services business very large part of your market will be SME’s and you will be dealing with the Business Owner who may have little or no knowledge around technology.

As always when selling technology risk avoidance for these clients is key as they will need reassurance certain disaster scenarios are covered.

Whereas historically these would have included a lot of hardware sales the modern Managed Services contracts predominantly involve delivering services such as licensing, patch updates, remote monitoring, technical support and advice, deployment and possibly configuration of SaaS software. 

The outsourced managed services model is particularly popular with Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) organisations who typically are not large enough to have their own in house IT Department and therefore outsource the IT function in their business via a Managed Services contract.

The alternative to outsourced managed services is sometimes referred to as a break-fix contract where the customer is simply charged on a form of pay as you go. 

Break-fix contracts now seem to be very rare as most services businesses prefer to sell the security of a Managed Services contract whereby the clients know the costs every month and can plan around this.

Many larger organisations will also outsource part of their IT function but often retain some specialist IT staff to manage the contracts and deal with specialist IT projects unique to their organisation.

Consultative Sales Process
Selling Information Technology Services

10. IT Professional Services

Selling information technology services may involve what’s called IT Professional Services.  These are typically intangible services based around:

  1. Fault Diagnosis and Problem Solving. Let’s pretend that you’re organisations IT system develops a fault and no one internally is capable of identifying the root cause of the problem an fixing it.  You may choose to approach an external contractor who provide IT Professional Services and they will supply a specialist to find and fix the problem. 
  2. Consulting.  With technology moving so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything.  Your organisation may choose to hire an IT Professional Services firm to benchmark where you currently are from an IT perspective and then make recommendations based on your current and future requirements. Examples of this could be moving from On Premise to the Cloud or some form of Business Process Automation.
  3. Bespoke Solutions. Some organisations require completely bespoke solutions designed and built for them.  This may require business analysts, project managers in addition to the technologists in order to achieve the outcomes the client desires.

Both Professional Services and Managed Service contracts are classed as Business to Business (B2B) Sales.  Largely speaking, Professional Services sales tend to be to larger enterprise organisations, with Managed Services contracts more suited to SME and Mid Market companies who have a limited IT Department.

11. Turning your IT Product Knowledge into powerful sales questions

Product knowledge when selling technology services as you can imagine is hugely important, however, it’s not for the reasons you may be thinking. 

Everyone has heard the saying “when you’re telling you’re not selling”.  Modern selling regardless of which sales methodology you are using is based around intelligent questioning.  The value of any sales professional is not in the information they give, but in the information the gather. 

Technology sales people have previously earned a reputation of talking “bits and bytes” which left the non-technical buyers even more confused. 

The most successful Technology Services reps now focus on selling business solutions that solve business problems.  The technology in many cases is completely irrelevant to the user, its what the technology enables them to do that is important.  Those are the reasons people will buy.

Product knowledge in any sale has only two benefits as follows:

  1. The product knowledge should be turned into powerful sales questions that make the prospect stop and think: “wow what a great question”, “wow, why didn’t I think of that”, “wow this sales rep has done this before”, “wow this sales rep really is a subject matter expert”, “wow I wished my sales reps were as good as this one”.
  2. The product knowledge should provide the self confidence the sales rep needs to go into any board room and not be intimidated or fearful.  The product knowledge should allow the sales rep to say to themselves “this company may be great at abc but they need me because I am an expert in xyz.  Without confidence in the boardroom sales people will be outmanoeuvred by both their competitors and savvy buyers.
Selling Information Technology Services

12. CIO’s and other Buyers you need to target.

In many cases the CIO or Head of IT is at the very least involved in the decision making process when selling technology services if not the final decision maker.  This has however, changed for line of business applications over the years, with the advent of SaaS or cloud-based software. 

In some cases where companies have developed very specific SaaS solutions that will only be used within the one department the “Line of Business Head” would fulfil the role of the CIO. 

For example, purchases of a SaaS solution such as Digital Signature software that will be used to allow the companys sales people to get contracts signed digitally would typically not involve the CIO.

It’s also worth noting that studies show 93% of B2B buyers will require a business case before they can make a decision. In general a Business Case usually means that something is going to require board approval which takes us back to the complex sale.

CIO’s are highly valuable buyers and they know this. With many being introverts they often keep a low profile on social media and are difficult to start relationships with.

With this in mind it’s important to be armed with research, data, insights and case studies to demonstrate the value.

As previously mentioned these clients expect and require in depth research before approaching them, a track record of successfully delivering services in their niche with a high level of client satisfaction.

Sales Training and Consulting for B2B Companies

sales training and consulting

Why invest in Sales Training and Consulting?

There are normally two reasons companies invest in our Sales Training and Consulting services. Firstly, they are often in a hurry to find sales growth and are looking for a short cut, a growth hack. 

Often these companies would eventually find the right strategies and tactics themselves, but they may be keen to capitalise on their first mover advantage or satisfy the needs of external investors. 

For these companies we provide a shortcut, we help them avoid the pitfalls and roadblocks that every growing  business experiences. 

When you engage with Klozers your team has access to over 70 years experience in B2B sales and marketing. 

Our sales training can help you get the best out of your team, alongside our consultancy services that will help you deploy the changes identified by our consultancy

Let’s take a closer look at why it makes so much sense to use sales training and consulting services together.

1. Why sales consulting compliments your sales training?

Many companies make the mistake of rushing into training as the solution to improving sales performance. 

Indeed, training may be part of the solution, but it is never the whole solution.  Before any training takes place it’s important to understand the root causes of the challenges within the sales department and only when we truly understand the problems can we prescribe the best possible solution. 

By rushing into training we would be assuming that everything else that affects sales is 100% perfect, and that is simply never the case. 

As with anything, the greater the investment upfront in terms of the diagnosis, the more effective the training will be. 

This is because the training can then be customised to meet the exact needs of the business which makes it much more impactful.

Sales Training and consulting companies

2. Why is Sales Training so effective?

Sales training builds both skills and confidence, and those are simply unbeatable in front of a customer.   

The best salespeople are like athletes and they are hungry to learn more and stay at the top of their game. 

The reason they are so good is that they are constantly looking for an edge, an advantage, and this keeps driving them forward. 

These are small but important things that make the difference and gets more deals over the line.  Our training is designed to keep your team at the top of their game and help them benefit from the very latest insights and industry best practice.

Our sales trainers work hard to keep your team engaged and motivated during training sessions, using a range of mediums to maintain their attention and inspire them.

Your sales trainer will help your team sell more effectively whether that be over the phone, in-person or online.

They can help them improve their lead generation, closing and account management skills, and provide indispensable mentoring services.

3. What happens before training takes place?

Before your training sessions begin, it’s important to identify what you want to get from them. As a sales training provider we offer bespoke services that are based on your specific needs and challenges.

We can provide a full sales consultancy service in advance of any training.  This would typically include an evaluation of your current sales unit in relation to sales maturity and best practice.

We can also provide full training needs analysis so you can gain a better understanding of your requirements before staring any training course.

For sales training to be effective, they need to be delivered in a way that maintains your teams’ attention, which means your sessions will include a great deal of interactivity.

Our sales training sessions include a range of demonstrations, exercises, games and roleplay.

Sales Consulting Services
Sales Consulting Services

4. What is the aim of Sales Training

Our goal as a provider is not to deliver sales training, but to deliver results. 

Therefore we believe the goal of Sales training is to help you meet a range of sales goals faster than you would if you were to continue without any intervention.

Not every company’s needs are the same, but businesses often invest in sales training because they want to improve their staff’s sales skills, close more deals, create more conversions, make their staff feel more supported, improve morale and boost the average value of their sales.

However, ultimately all of these lead to one overall benefit – an improvement in results. Some companies invest in training because they have identified a particular problem that needs addressing which is being caused by a skills gaps within their businesses.

Training may also benefit your team if they seem to be lacking direction, or are feeling unmotivated. A lack of motivation can often occur because staff are unclear on what their roles are, or because the current strategies they are using are not working.

In many occasions this is why Sales consultancy is a perfect fit alongside sales training as it can also help you identify and deal with additional challenges.

5. How can a Sales Consultant help our business?

A sales consultant will help your business by taking a close look at your current situation, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and helping you make positive changes to drive revenue growth.

If you are not currently meeting your sales targets, our sales consultants can help you find out why this is happening and develop strategies to address the issues.

Our experienced consultants can help with optimising your sales processes and ensuring you get the maximum conversion ratios from the leads you are generating.

With our years of experience in B2B sales our sales consultants can introduce you to specific resources that will support your business.

These can include lead generation, marketing, sales tracking, and training programmes and software that will give you a better insight into how your sales team are performing.

Sales Consulting System
Sales Consulting System

6. Adding Sales Experience to your Leadership Team

When you are immersed in the day-to-day running of your company, it can be hard to assess your situation objectively.

It’s often impossible to find anyone around you who is not objective as your team all have a role which in some way will make them subjective. 

Our sales consultants aren’t just there to identify problems that you weren’t previously aware of, we are completely hands on and happy to work alongside your team to implement any solutions.

Where applicable we will highlight your strengths and help you make the most of the resources that you currently have. In most cases this revolves around the creation of a sales plan, which we work with you to develop and if required are happy to help with executing against the plan. 

Our consultants will work with you to help you improve relationships between departments and colleagues. For instance, we are often called upon for detailed advice on aligning sales and marketing departments so you’re delivering coherent messages to your customers.

Indeed aligning sales and marketing is one of our most popular services.

7. Which Companies benefit the most from Consulting Services

We typically have two types of customers of our consulting services.  The first are larger organisations who already have a Sales Plan in place. 

They need help executing and delivering against the plan as they simply lack the internal resources to do this themselves.

The second group are those looking for external and objective advice.  In some cases they have seen a substantial decline in sales recently or aren’t meeting their targets they need to reach and hence are reaching out for support.

These businesses hire us because we have a track record of turning companies around. Alternately you may need external support if you have experienced changes in your industry and you’re struggling to keep up with your competitors.

Companies also may hire us because they feel missed sales targets are starting to affect morale and staff retention rates.

By investing in training and consultancy services, you can show your team you’re determined to improve and start achieving more.

8. Build a Selling System

It’s also common for companies to invest in sales consultancy services because their sales processes are confused and unclear, with team members pulling in different directions.

We are a huge advocate of having a selling system. Finance has a system, operations have a system so why not sales. Building a repeatable scalable selling system is simply a must for any business.

By mapping this out we can help your salespeople to understand how and where they can influence buyers and sell to people on different parts of their journey, helping you secure more sales.

Our consultants can also help you gain a richer understanding of the data available to you, from both your marketing automation and CRM platforms

In many cases our clients either don’t have enough data or they are overwhelmed by data, and miss out on the most important parts.  Either way we can help.  

In Conclusion

Sales is an ever changing environment and more and more businesses are improving their performance, staff retention rates and workplace morale. 

For most of use this means competition is tough and by investing in our sales training and consultancy services we can give you that edge you need to not just compete, but win.  

Sales consultants and trainers can provide invaluable mentorship, help you identify and eradicate weaknesses, and help you make the changes that you need to not only survive but prosper.

Our team can breathe new life into your organisation and inspire people throughout your company. Whether you’ve been missing your targets or are simply ready to build upon recent success and take your business to the next level, there are many great reasons for hiring sales training and consultancy professionals.

If you are ready to hire a sales trainer, sales consultant or both, come and talk with us.

 

Sales and Service Training Courses

If your business is typical, up to 80% of next years revenues will come from this years customers.  Despite this many organisations give little or no thought to customer service, viewing it merely as a cost to the business. 

In many cases customer service is a cost to the business, however, survey after survey shows customer service as a core component of your brand.  In certain cases some brands who understand the commercial value of great customer service, use it as an opportunity to cross sell and upsell, thus driving additional revenue into the business.

There are so many great statistics for investing in sales and service training once you look into it, it’s difficult to ignore. As an example studies show that 82% of customers leave because of a poor experience and of those 73% leave because of a reaction to rude staff. 

Structured and well supported training can help your team meet your customers expectations and even exceed them. The right sales and service training can make your team more adept at winning customers’ trust, whilst boosting your teams confidence.

The best sales and service training programmes are designed to help companies move away from customer service and towards customer experiences.

 

How can Sales and Service Training help my team?

Often the biggest challenge in business is winning new customers.  Given that’s the case it surely makes sense to do everything possible to not only keep those customers, but to maximise the revenue from them. 

Most service issues have a simple root problem, for example, 55% of customers are leaving because of delays in resolving a dispute and 51% are leaving because of poor staff training.  What’s possibly most important to note, is that all these problems can be easily remedied.

Sales and service training can give your team a system to measure, track and consistently improve your customer service and sales.  This will help change the mindset of your team, enabling them to make a real impact by being able to identify what matters most and take action to improve. 

When done correctly training can enhance your workplace culture substantially and provide your sales team with additional skills that can benefit them personally throughout their careers.

 

Why Sales and Service Training is Important

 

Sales and Service Training

Close More Deals and Learn New Skills

Most companies are unaware of the potential sales opportunities they have with existing customers. With repeat customer spending up to 67% more, sales and service training is more than just handling complaints and returns. 

A big part of resolving customers problems should be finding new solutions to the problems customers encounter.   In most cases the problems that customers experience are actually the best opportunities for cross selling and upselling.

Training can introduce your team to new strategies and tactics that they may simply never come across before. In addition to external input, there are often great lessons that can be shared internally, and these should be captured and documented for the benefit of others. 

Training will help your team become more familiar with your own company’s best practices. In a well structured sales and service training programme, your staff will not only learn new techniques, but also find out why they are so effective and which situations they should be deployed in.

 

Benefit from External Sales Specialists

Often a key benefit of sales and service training is that it gives your team a chance to take onboard new ideas and strategies from outside the business.  In many cases they are more open to learning from external facilitators with an in-depth knowledge than from internal colleagues.

Sales and service specialists can give your team more than just the skills they need to engage potential customers in meaningful conversations.  They can help you explain on your customers terms why your products and service may be a good fit for them.

Sales and service training will help your team use the product knowledge and information that they have about your products and services, and turn this into powerful questions that make the buyer want to buy rather than them having to sell to them.    

 

Retain the Best Staff

Many companies are now switched on to the fact that it’s easier to retain quality staff when you invest in training courses for them.

If your team members feel you aren’t investing in them, there’s a high possibility that they will move to a company that will. Investing in training shows your employees that you are eager to help them improve.

When staff receive quality training, they tend to feel more supported, which in turn boosts their confidence. Recruitment costs to replace team members can be incredibly expensive and take up an inordinate amount of management time.  

It’s therefore important to try and keep hold of the employees that you have already invested in and continue to develop them.

benefits of sales and service training

 

Sales and Service Training

Should Managers attend Sales and Service Training?

Sales Managers are responsible for the day to day activities and performance of those activities for members in their team

Your Managers set the bar in terms of what is acceptable performance and what is not.  With this in mind, it’s important that sales managers attend every sales and service training along with their staff so they can hear the information first-hand.

When managers know exactly what’s covered and agreed during training, they can ensure their staff apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios and coach them if they are struggling.

Sales training often includes an element of goal-setting, which is yet another reason why it’s so important for managers to attend. It’s important for the managers to set realistic, yet achievable goals, rather than targets that are out of your team’s reach. 

Failure to do this will simply harm the confidence of the team and demotivate them.

 

Increase your Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Training like everything else in your business needs to deliver a return on your investment.  Whilst not everything should be judged by customer service scores, any service training should ultimately  improve your customer satisfaction ratings.

Customer expectations are arguably higher than they have ever been and today’s customers expect to receive high-quality service more than ever before.

If they have a bad experience with a member of your team, they’re likely to make their opinions public and Social Media can amplify bad news like never before. 

Customer Service training will not only teach your team to deliver the best customer experiences possible, but also turn your happy customers into advocates for your brand, thus generating new business referrals.

 

Omnichannel Customer Support

Modern customer service training often starts before your customers have even made a purchase.  In most cases your customers first interaction with your brand is either your website or social media pages. 

It’s important to include these as part of your wider customer experience strategy. This is supported by many statistics for example, using three channels instead of one for marketing campaigns results in a 287% higher purchase rate. 

Providing Omnichannel customer support helps your team keep your clients happy across a range of channels and mediums. It can help them communicate with your customers better not only over traditional channels like the phone, but also via live chat, email, social media, SMS and other platforms.

The most successful customer service teams around today adopt an omnichannel approach with research showing that companies with an omnichannel approach experience a 23 fold increase in customer satisfaction.

We believe it’s really  important to include these areas in your service programme. Many companies are failing to meet their customers’ expectations which makes it easier for you and your team to stand out from the crowd and win business from them.  

 

Sales and Service Training Course

 

Sales and Service Training

Build Expert Product Knowledge

No matter the industry customers want to deal with experts and not agents who are simply following a call centre script.

Sales and service training encourages your team to get to know your products inside out so they can answer any and every relevant question they might be faced with.

If sales reps don’t have the knowledge that they require, they are more likely to leave customers feeling frustrated, with the customer going on to air their feedback publicly.

The more your reps know about your products and services, the better they can address customer pain points and explain why your solutions are the answer to their problems. 

 

Enhance Customer Loyalty

Repeated studies show that customers tend to be much more loyal to companies that offer outstanding customer service. Many of today’s customers say that customer service is more important than price when they’re deciding who to do business with.

By investing in sales and service training, you can attract and retain more customers and gain a real edge over your competitors.  Part of your overall programme should include how you plan to collect and share customer reviews. 

With 70% of people taking action based on customer reviews this is an essential component of every sales and customer service training.

 

Resolve Disputes Quickly

Delays when resolving complaints can often be the straw that breaks the camels back with 55% of people leaving a brand because of delays in resolution.

Sales and service training can help your reps resolve complaints quickly which is important when dealing with angry and frustrated customers.

Training can help them show tactical empathy when they are dealing with an angry customer and enable them to steer the conversation in the right direction, no matter which medium they are communicating on.

Understanding active listening skills can turn your team into better, more helpful listeners that pay close attention to what your customers have to say and then use the skills and information they have to deliver the best outcome possible.

 

 

Customer Service Training

Unlike traditional customer service training courses, Klozers provides the latest in business simulation software, that allows your team to experience a 2 year customer experience transformation program in 1 day.  

Our state of the art business simulation goes way beyond basic communication skills and helps your sales team understand customer expectations, sales process, and what truly drives sales performance across the organisation. 

Designed specifically as a holistic cross departmental our customer service courses are designed to engage everyone from your front line sales team, product and services teams and company management.  

The customer service training includes two options as follows:

Enterprise Customer Service Training

SaaS Customer Success Training

Please contact us for further information.  

customer service training courses

In Summary

How important is retaining your existing customers? 

How valuable would the extra revenue be if your customer service team were actively cross selling and upselling throughout their day?  

Investing in sales and service training will make your staff and customers much happier. If you look after your staff they will in turn look after your customers. 

If you feel you need to make improvements in these areas, please give us a call. We would love to work with you and make the sales and service goals you have in mind a reality.

12 Critical Objectives of Sales Management

Objectives of Sales Management

The Objectives of Sales Management

There are many objectives and goals for sales management and the importance of each will vary from business to business. 

Business to business sales can be complex, with many variables and whilst the obvious objectives of revenue, profitability and growth are important it’s easy to argue a case for the plethora of other objectives such as customer satisfaction, team morale, employee retention. 

Effective sales management is the key to running every successful sales team. When sales management is executed correctly, the rest of your enterprise benefits.

Sales managers are responsible for inspiring teams, leading by example, maximising profits and providing customers with the best experience to make sure they return for more.

We’ve resisted the urge to include the all to common piece around smart goals, because we assume your past all that and looking for something more meaningful. 

So, we’ve listed below what we believe to be the main objectives of sales management, enjoy.

1. Sales Plan

We’ve listed sales plan at the very start because of it’s importance.  Without a plan it’s difficult to track progress, meet or exceed your goals and align your sales team around those goals. 

Quite simply, the sales plan ensures that not only is everyone on your company boat rowing in the same direction, it ensures that the boat itself is going in the right direction.

As with any objective or goal, the sales manager should be measured on the execution of the sales plan. 

For some reason the majority of companies do not have a sales plan and miss out on the many benefits they bring.

2. Sales Strategy

Strategy is listed in the dictionary as “an approach” and although it sounds simple coming up with the best approach or strategy to how you gain maximum market penetration with the budget available to you is never easy. 

At best if you nail your sales strategy sales will take off and at worst you will find that sales become like wading through treacle.  An eternal hardship that consumes any profits you dreamed of as it sucks the life from your business.  

Once you’ve agreed on a strategy you need to review this on a monthly basis and adjust as required. 

Beware however, of changing your strategy before it has had a chance to mature or you might just end up going round in circles.  

Once you’ve decided on your sales strategy the next challenge is aligning all your resources including the sales team and executing on that strategy. 

How to manage sales activity

3. Reporting and Metrics

Before you start to implement and share your strategy and sales plan you will need to give some thought as to how you are going to measure your progress. 

Data is the new oil and Sales reporting is an essential part of the modern sales managers day to day activities. 

Your reporting system should  tell you everything from how well your reps are performing on a daily basis, to the cost of customer acquisition on your latest sales campaign.

Reports will tell you which areas you are succeeding in and areas need your attention. You should draw up a list of baseline sales metrics and then from there you can measure progress towards your targets.

In almost every scenario, you will be asked to generate Management Reports for your board and these will include things like your current sales funnel/sales pipeline which will provide information such as how many live deals you currently have in your funnel, the average size of each deal and the average length of the journey through the funnel.

It’s critically important that you not only can generate the right reports, but that you can interpret the results in a meaningful way.

4. Sales Performance

There is no one individual who has as much influence over sales than the sales manager. 

Every day the Manager sets the bar between what is acceptable and what is not, in terms performance from their team. 

They are responsible for not just managing, but also the training, coaching and development of the sales team. 

Every salesperson wants to sell, every salesperson wants to be part of a winning team and the sales managers that succeed are those that focus on 2 things:

  1. They do everything they can to help salespeople sell more
  2. They do everything they can to develop their salespeople.

Unfortunately, as the manager has the power to make everything a success, they can also be architects of their own failure.

5. Key duties of the Sales Manager

Sales managers are tasked with developing sales teams, coordinating all operations within sales departments and identifying and implement the right sales techniques to deliver success.

Although the aim is to meet sales targets, it’s not uncommon for these aims to be surpassed.

The right sales management processes can give you a substantial edge over your competitors and ensure your company is thriving rather than simply surviving.

As a minimum the sales manager should address the following areas in their plan. Strategy, Process, People, Channels, Technology, Customers and Leadership

Sales Management Framework
Objectives of Sales Management

6. Team Morale

Morale is extremely important when it comes to building a winning sales team. The more inspired and confident your team are, the more they will achieve.

This is why it’s so important to ensure each member of your team feels listened to and respected. The easiest way to do this is by including them in the sales planning wherever possible. 

Provide real-time information on as much as possible including things like the exact costs to the business to employ them, the profitability of your sales and how many deals they need to close to breakeven in terms of their own cost to the company.

Transparency is essential, so make sure each member of your team knows how well you’re currently performing.  

What’s also important in terms of morale is being completely fair and not having any personal favourites in the team. 

It’s normally easy for managers not to have favourites, however, many find it more difficult to deal with disruptive sales reps and often ignore them rather than look to resolve the problem. 

Often times the most disruptive sales reps can be a top performer but you will still need to let them go if you feel they are damaging the overall morale and productivity of the team.

It’s incredibly important to foster a positive workplace culture where workplace friction is addressed as soon as it arises.

7. Setting realistic but ambitious targets

When it comes to setting your sales targets it’s vital to strike a balance between being ambitious and being realistic.

If your targets are unrealistically high, your sales team and your sales team fall so far behind that they don’t believe they can hit those targets, they will quickly become demotivated. 

We recommend that you include your sales team as part of the planning process to help you set your sales targets. 

By doing this you are much more likely to get buy in from the sales team and as the manager, you can still guide the team to create targets that are challenging.

Unrealistic targets will only serve to  damage morale substantially and in turn, this will lower the overall performance of the team.

Managers should guide and coach their team members through the entire period of the targets to help ensure they remain on track and re-motivate them if they begin to lose confidence.

Managers typically have lots of experiences and skills that they can draw on from when they were a salesperson that will support their sales reps.

8. Building a sales funnel

Creating a sales funnel that continually is topped up with new, high quality sales leads is one of the most important objectives of sales management.

A sales funnel, also known as a pipeline is used to outline each step a customer takes throughout their journey towards making a purchase.

In B2B sales the salespeople are responsible for moving the deals or opportunities through the sales funnel. 

There is nothing more demotivating to sales reps than the struggle to fill the sales funnel with new leads.  It’s therefore important that you work with your marketing team to ensure a continuous flow of good quality sales leads.

If you are using Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to generate their own sales leads then you must give them the strategies and tactics to generate those leads. 

Tactics like cold calling and cold email campaigns do work but they on their own it is a slow way to scale your business. As the sales manager it’s your responsibility to break the entire sales process down into easy, manageable stages.

Sales funnels enable salespeople to remain organised and in control, especially when used in conjunction with a good CRM system.

With the right CRM dashboards in place Sales reps can easily see the progress they have already made towards their sales targets. 

This in turn will inspire them to continue focussing on moving deals through the sales funnel.

9. When can I expect results?

In our experience every overnight success has taken years of hard work to get there. With that said, you should see early indications of success in months, not years.  

It’s important to manage expectations and collectively agree what success looks like in the initial phases. 

This is why we are such advocates of creating a sales plan that everyone can align themselves behind. 

Your sales plan should identify what we call the lead indicators rather than the lag indicators for success and you can start tracking them immediately.  

It’s unlikely your sales management will deliver exceptional results immediately but with planning, patience and persistence you will slowly turn the ship around.

Trial-and-error can play a big role in helping you create the right sales process for you.

Even when you start seeing the results that you’ve been aiming for, you should always be prepared to make amendments as customer behaviours and requirements, technology and markets change.

10. Motivating your Sales Team

As a sales manager, you will be tasked with overseeing things like data, technology, processes and sales pipelines which you may or may not find easy.

However, often the biggest challenge is people management and listening to your team is very important. 

It’s essential to ask your team what drives them and what their personal goals are and then tie them into your own business objectives.

Not every member of your sales team will be motivated by money alone, so try to find out what else drives them and why they were interested in a career in sales in the first place.

It’s also essential to deliver additional support for those members working remotely during any lockdown period.

Some team members will be comfortable working from home, whilst others will prefer to be out in the field visiting customers and working in a busy office environment.

11. Do great salespeople make great sales managers?

One problem many companies encounter is that not all great salespeople make a fantastic sales manager.

Being a sales manager requires a whole host of different skills not required by salespeople, and it may take time to start seeing success once you’ve moved from making sales to overseeing them.

Most of the key tasks assigned to sales managers are strategic versus the tactical skills required by salespeople. 

For example, data analysis is hugely important for every sales manager, as is planning, strategy and people management. 

In addition, identifying realistic goals, hiring the right salespeople, creating incentives, arranging ongoing training and learning and matching the right kind of guidance to specific individuals in your team are all important.

12. Learning & Development

It’s easy to overlook training as a Sales Manager because there never seems to be any free time for developing your team or indeed yourself. 

Training falls into the category of important/not urgent and because of this it often gets overlooked.  In nearly every case the salespeople who don’t want training are those that need it the most.

Learning and development starts by hiring the right salespeople and only recruiting those who are driven and determined with great people skills.

The team that you inherit may be very different from this and it’s your objective as the sales manager to improve the team that you’re working with over the coming months or years.

It’s also important to seek out coachable people as these people are great learners and will continuously improve given the right support.

You will encounter people that already have good sales skills but seem unwilling to continue learning or taking feedback and this can become a problem. 

These people not only don’t want to learn but they don’t want others to learn either and can sabotage and undermine your leadership. 

Under these circumstances, as long as you have done everything possible to try and support these people if they still refuse then you will have no alternative to letting them go.

If you’re able to offer real-time information that you can display in the workplace, you should certainly do this as this creates incentives and keeps your salespeople’s eyes on the ball.

Transparency is essential, so make sure each member of your team knows how well you’re currently performing.

In conclusion

Sales managers are arguably the single most important part of your sales team and the right manager will help you achieve outstanding results when they build an exceptional and focussed team that they take the time to support.

They will ensure the organisation has the right people, structures, technology and sales processes in place progress which can be tracked and clearly visible for all the stakeholders. 

By ensuring team members remain willing to learn and committing to learning more themselves, sales managers can deliver real success, even in the most competitive markets.

Sales Negotiation Training

Key Negotiation Skills – Introduction

There is a common misconception that sales negotiation skills are only required towards the end of the sales process.  The part in every sales process where costs and terms are agreed.  Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it’s also true that the best salespeople are negotiating all the way through the sales process.  In fact every Professional salesperson negotiates, every single day which is why it’s an important part of any training programme

From negotiating with their children on what to have for breakfast, to negotiating with a Partner on where to go for dinner.  In between times they will negotiate workloads with their line managers, negotiate meeting times with co-workers, negotiate dates & times for appointments with prospects and lastly negotiating sales contracts, project delivery and aftercare contracts.  In short, Negotiation is actually unavoidable, and the ability to Negotiate is a core skill for every Salesperson.

Planning for Sales Negotiations

Like most things in life when it comes to Negotiation knowledge is power.  The more information you have and better prepared you are then the more likely you will achieve a successful negotiation. Follow the information below to discover how to research and plan your next negotiation.

Sales Negotiation Goals

These are the needs, wants and desires of the parties involved in the negotiation.  In business this can be complicated as not only may both sides have differing goals, but parties within each side may have differing and even conflicting Goals.

Goals can be subjective for example “We need to increase the confidence of our people.” or they can be more objective like “We need to reduce our overheads by 10 this quarter”.  Either way it’s important to know both your own Goals and that of the other side.  Important questions you must ask are:

  • Have we identified all the Goals?
  • What are the Prioritised Goals?
  • What are the Business Goals?
  • What are the Personal Goals?
  • Are there conflicting Goals?
Business Goals Examples Personal Goals Examples
Strategic Security
Change Satisfaction
Growth Peer Pressure
Improvement Financial Gain

Please note Goals are NOT the same as outcomes.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

The Outcome is the Negotiated agreement that they come to.

Negotiation Options

These are all the possible solutions that satisfy the goals of both parties.  They are all possibilities that both parties agree or say Yes to.

By investing time to explore all the Options then you are more likely to find:

  • Alternative solutions
  • Enable both parties to achieve their goals
  • Reach the Best Possible Agreement (BPA)

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria for Negotiation

Criteria are the “terms” of any possible Option

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

Get expert Sales Negotiation Training from our Sales Coaches

CNA – Cost of No Agreement

Not all Negotiations end in an agreement, it is therefore vital before entering into any Negotiation that you first work out what the Cost of No Agreement is for both parties.  The costs of no agreement can be both Objective and Subjective.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (Objective) however he has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate (Subjective) for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business (Objective) but knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed (Subjective) if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

The Subjective Cost of No Agreement can be more powerful than the Objective ones as people make decisions emotionally and then justify their position intellectually afterwards. 

BATNA – Best Alternative to No Agreement

Not all Negotiations end in an Agreement, it is therefore vital before entering into any Negotiations that you first work out what the Best Alternative to No Agreement is.  In some cases you may well experience that the other party is so entrenched in their position that they have no desire to Negotiate.  BATNA is typically but not always, an alternative course of action that can be taken if no agreement is reached.

BATNA helps you prepare for a Negotiation by:

  • Helps prevent you from agreeing to something you will regret
  • Defining your Minimum Possible Agreement (MPA)
  • Provides you with a Plan B
  • Helps prevent you from over or underestimating the your own and the other party’s position
  • Helps you understand where the leverage is
  • Identifying alternative Options

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (CNA) and has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business and has spent £3,000 with Solicitors and Accountants thus far completing his due diligence on the company. 

BATNA – George is in discussion with his Lawyers to explore the possibilities of a Management Buyout for the business.  Mike knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

Concessions for Negotiation

A concession is something given to the other party in furtherance of the agreement.  These concessions should be identified in advance and segmented for both parties in terms of:

High Value – High Cost

High Value – Low Cost

Remember – Never give anything away without receiving something of equal or greater value in return.

Example:

Goals – George is 65 years old and would like to retire (Goal).  In order to fund his retirement he needs to sell his business but no one wants to invest a large sum of capital.  Mike would like to buy a business (Goal) but does not have any capital to invest. 

Option – George can sell his business to Mike but rather than invest a lump sum he agrees to pay George on a Monthly basis from the profits for the next 5 years and hence fund his retirement. 

Criteria – George needs to guarantee a minimum payment every month regardless of the profitability of that month.  Mike needs to ensure ensure he will not be liable for any warranty, liability or compensations claims from the period before he take responsibility/ownership of the business.

CNA – George does not have the financial resources to retire (CNA) and has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his business for three years and is now desperate for a solution.  Mike is keen to buy a business and has spent £3,000 with Solicitors and Accountants thus far completing his due diligence on the company. 

BATNA – George is in discussion with his Lawyers to explore the possibilities of a Management Buyout for the business.  Mike knows there are hundreds of businesses for sale and he is pretty relaxed if this deal doesn’t go through another one will come along.

Concessions – George is prepared to spend 3 months of his time ensuring during the handover period which is Low Cost to him as he will be retired but High Value to Mike as he is new to the industry and recognises the benefit of George’s experience.

Mike is prepared to move quickly which has no cost to him however this is High Value to George as the last thing he wants is a long protracted sale.

Negotiation Strategies

Aggressive Tactics

  • Shoot the hostage
    • This strategy is extremely aggressive as it involves an immediate offer to walk away with no deal which is designed to throw and unsettle the other party.  This is often delivered in a reluctant tone “we don’t want to do this but…”,
  • Delaying tactics
    • When time is clearly on one parties side the process can often be deliberately slowed which is extremely effective when there are cost implications if talks over run.  This tactic also applies if the other party has another meeting or needs to leave.  The negotiator deliberately talks around the subject to delay the real conversation and then uses time to put pressure on the other party to come to an agreement.
  • Poor Me
    • This strategy is used to play the false victim that needs rescued by the other party.
  • Last Minute.com
    • As the name suggests this strategy involves the Negotiator agreeing to a solution right up until they are required to sign and then withdrawing.  The withdrawal is usually followed up quickly with a counter offer at dramatically reduced terms.
  • Misleading/lying
    • Often Negotiators will make exaggerated claims or even lie so without hard data to support them you should discount these.  They may also issue warnings and threats or make matters personal to unbalance you.
  • Missing People
    • Everyone knows the importance of having all the Decision Makers in the room but Negotiators may even turn up with complete strangers.  In sales some companies will remove Sales People from the final negotiations.  If the Sales People have a relationship with the other party they could be more empathetic and weaker negotiators.  Turning up without warning with complete strangers also unbalances the other party.

Co-operative Tactics

  • Agree on the Process
    • Spend time up front agreeing the process and format of the Negotiations including what’s in scope and what’s not.
  • Win Win Agreements
    • Most professional Negotiators accept that any final agreement must be fair and sustainable for the life of the time period.  In most business scenarios it should never be win at all costs as this destroys relationships.
  • Matching Rights
    • Offer the other party the right to match any solution that you receive.  For example if one of two business partners decides to sell their shares to another party they may have the agreement that the other party gets first refusal if they match the offer.
  • Contingent Agreements
    • These are simply agreements based on future events.  Financial Bonus may be tied to Performance.  Football transfer fees can be include Contingent Agreements that provides the selling club additional revenue if a player is sold on and or if a player is capped by their country or simply makes a certain number of appearances.
  • Multiple Offers
    • When multiple offers are placed on the table this allows both parties to indicate preferences and encourages creativity as a winning hybrid offer can be formed.  Placing one offer on the table often leads to a refusal and a stall in the process.

Sales Negotiation Checklist

1.  Be prepared to walk away.  Sales Negotiation is 70% Mindset and 30% Strategy and unless you are prepared to walk away, no strategy will help you.

2.  It’s not what you charge it’s what your worth.  Thoroughly research the market and discuss with the buyer the Value you bring to the table?

3. Take council from colleagues and external advisors and agree a pre-meeting strategy for the negotiations then PRACTICE.

4. Never give anything away without receiving something of equal or greater value in return.

5. Never enter a Negotiation without first providing your price and outline terms in advance, to anchor the prospect to a higher number and terms.

6. Where possible in high value deals do not include your sales people in Negotiations, as they will be emotionally involved in the sale and not objective.

7. Ensure everyone in your team have agreed in advance your trade-offs, your concessions, and your best alternative to a negotiated settlement.

8. You must be comfortable with silence and at most only talk 30% of the time, as the more you talk the more information you are giving away.

9. If it’s not Win Win then you run the danger of the prospect backing out or failing to implement your agreement, then the lawyers are the only winners.

10.  Negotiation is between human beings, you must therefore be familiar with Human Psychology, DiSC, Neuro Linguistic and Programming.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

saas sales funnel

1. What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a sequence of actions, events or stages that a user goes through before purchasing a product or service. Sales funnels are designed to allow marketers to track, record and optimise the sales process to improve results.

You can learn more about our SaaS sales training here.

2. How to build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your SaaS sales funnel is an essential part of your Apps success. If you’re offering SaaS apps then creating a repeatable, scalable and trackable sales funnel is one of the important steps that you need to take.

Sounds easy? Then think again. The sales funnel is where many start-ups transitioning into revenue generation struggle, and in many cases fail.

Before starting to build your funnel it’s worth first considering where you are in your app journey.

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

3. The three main stage of SaaS development

Unfortunately, in sales there is never a one size fits all solution, and the starting point for how to build a SaaS sales funnel is dependent on where you are, in the terms of the three main stages of a SaaS business?

Are you at:
Phase 1: the start of the journey whereby the Founder and primary team are still trying to establish product/market fit.

Phase 2: where the founder and primary team members have proven product/market fit and are proving they can implement systems and processes that others can use to sell.

Phase 3, the final hurdle where you have a proven product market fit, you’ve identified and proven the right systems and processes for scaling and you are now ready to scale your sales, focus on client acquisition and build up your MRR.

The strategies you use for building a SaaS sales funnel will vary depending on exactly what you learned in Step 1 above.

So for the purposes of this exercise, I will assume you are at Step 1. If you are still struggling to build a sales funnel at steps 2 and 3 then either you missed something at step 1, or something has changed that has made everything you learned at step 1 stop working.

4. Build a marketing funnel before your sales funnel

With any business it’s important that you provide the optimal conditions for your sales team to be successful. In the SaaS world it’s not enough to have a great website, you need a website that:

a) can be found by your products and services in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
b) can be found by the problems you solve in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
c) can convert web traffic to marketing qualified leads

Many companies ignore this and rush to build an outbound sales team. The fact is that every potential prospect that your outbound Team gets interested will then go to your website to do further research.

Unless the web experience is equal to or greater than the prospects experience with your outbound team they will immediately switch off.

To build a marketing funnel you must create “compelling user first content”. This is content that the user is actively searching for not the content that your sales and marketing team want to push.

You SaaS marketing funnel is an essential part of your Inbound sales strategy. To do this successfully you will need to create high quality content at each stage of the buyer journey as shown below.

The content should subtly tell your brand story and the success you have brought to other users. Turn your early adopters into the Heroes not you.

TOFU – Top of funnel
The first part of your sales funnel otherwise known as TOFU is the awareness stage of the funnel. The prospect is aware of the problems they have and is investigating solutions.

Your website must have content that speaks to these problems and position your company as the Subject Matter Experts. The most popular content here would be:

How to guides
Explainer videos
Blog posts
Lead Magnets

At this stage, the prospect is in research mode, not buying mode and is simply gathering information.

Your prospect may not even be interested in solutions at this stage as they are still trying to accurately self-diagnose their own problems. It’s unlikely that your prospect will want to talk to sales at this stage.

We recommend you use marketing automation to track which articles/pages your prospects enter the site on as this is the problem that is top of mind for them. Knowing this can make it easier for sales to have a relevant conversation with them.

You may also have some success engaging the prospect with chatbots on your site, however many will want to remain anonymous at this stage.

Middle of Funnel
The middle of your sales funnel is when prospects start to evaluate specific solutions based on what they learned in stage 1. Middle of funnel content would include:

Presentations
Demonstrations
Case Studies

In practical terms they will have created some form of shortlist of potential suppliers, and they will then dig deeper into the details of each potential solution.

At this stage the prospect may still not engage with you as they are often simply researching on behalf of other people within their own organisation and their priority is still information gathering.

Bottom of Funnel
By the time your prospect has reached the bottom of your marketing funnel in many cases they have already “bought into” one particular supplier or solution.

They have made their decision largely on their web experience of the brand, your sales messaging and your ability to position yourself not only as a though leader but as a thought leader in that understands their problems.

Bottom of Funnel content would included things like:

Pricing
Comparison tables
Testimonials
Reviews

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial if you offer a strong Call to Action (CTA), whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with sales.

The image below shows where a simple marketing funnel transitions into a shopping cart and the more complex B2B sale transitions into a lead for sales.

Success lies not in choosing the right model, but building your own model based on data and trial and error.

Simple SaaS Marketing funnel
SaaS Sales Funnel

Most marketing software now tracks user behaviour on your website and may use lead scoring to alert salespeople when the best time to pro-actively reach out to prospects.

From our own experience the timing is nearly always to early and a well-defined lead nurturing programme is equally effective.

In order to do this you should build into your marketing an at least three different lead magnets that will help you turn your web visitors into a subscriber so you can keep in touch.

5. Advertising to fill your Sales Funnel

Many companies successfully fill their sales funnel via advertising. Digital advertising has matured to a level that allows significant tracking and reporting allowing you to within a matter of weeks understand what your Conversion Ratio and CAC will be.

In the first instance we would advocate “Re-targeting Campaigns”. This is simply the process of placing adds in front of people who have already visited your website.

Studies show retargeting is seven times more effective than new campaigns which is why we advocate this as a starting point.

This strategy works extremely well with a strong content marketing campaign. The most popular add channel for B2B would be LinkedIn, however, many companies have also done well with Facebook and Instagram.

Needless to say this would be defined by your audience. Advertising can be used in simple funnels to drive sales and more complex ones to drive new enquiries for sales reps.

More complex sales may need a defined sequence whereby users click on and advert to receive a lead magnet with each lead costing $3.

If you subsequently manage to convert 5% of these new leads you can then attribute $60 per sale from advertising to your CAC.

You can build a trackable sequence or model from any activity not just advertising. For example, events, webinars and telesales allowing you to understand which activities are the most cost effective not only at filling your funnel, but actually converting into orders.

6. How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel will vary depending on your sales strategy. Are you selling your App direct or are you selling through partners? Which channels have you decided to focus on initially?

1. Identify your Perfect Prospect Profile. This is the sales reps version of a marketing persona. It includes everything that a marketing persona would include, plus some additional information that helps sales understand and communicate at a deeper level with the prospect.

Sales Prospect Profile Template
Sales Prospect Profile Template

2. Build your sales messaging. Part of the product/market fit is understanding what business and or personal problem your product solves.

In our experience the most successful SaaS services are business solutions that solve business problems.

Once you understand how this relates to your own product/service at a deep level you can start to build your sales messaging.

This is the words and nuanced language you have proven that prospects connect with. It’s not enough to know about your own business and solutions, you should know about your customers.

You should know exactly how your solution helps your customer save money, make money and make their life easier.

3. Lead Generation Campaign.

Once you have identified your target prospects and built your sales messaging you will need to start work on a Lead Generation campaign.

There are two main approaches to Lead Generation as follows:

a) Inbound Lead Generation. Inbound lead generation campaigns are where the prospect contacts you first. The may fill out a form on your web page, telephone you or email you. In order to generate inbound sales leads you will need to do some form of content creation, ad campaigns, webinars, referral programmes or SEO.

b) Outbound lead generation. Outbound lead generation campaigns are where you reach out to prospects via telephone, email, direct mail, events or account based marketing. Outbound campaigns invariably means you will have to build an outbound says team which can be expensive.

The majority of SaaS companies use a combination of inbound and outbound, however, they nearly always have an emphasis on one more than the other.

As a very rough guide, SaaS services that are lower cost and targeting SMEs, are marketing led and have a predominantly Inbound focus.

SaaS services that are more expensing and targeting Mid-Market to Enterprise organisations will have a more sales led approach via Account Based Marketing.

7. What are the Stages of a SaaS Sales Funnel?

saas sales funnel
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The stages of your sales funnel are simply a series of steps that your prospects move through to place an order.

These stages can vary greatly and there is no one funnel that you can apply to every app. Even if the stages are the same the method by which you move prospects through the funnel may vary.

Your sales funnel is a great place to start collecting data in order to measure performance and make improvements over time.

In general, prospects should move through the sales funnel as quickly as possible – this is called the sales cycle or pipe speed.

Measuring the speed that prospects move through the cycle allows you to identify blockages in your funnel and areas where prospects slow down.

These “sticking” points are where you should look to make improvements.

8. When do I demo my SaaS product to customers?

The timing of SaaS app demos within the sales process has been the subject of discussion for many companies.

The answer unfortunately to the question is “it depends”. Many companies successfully demo their app at the start of the sales process, however, there are equally many who demo at the start and then have their prospects disappear into the black hole of voice mail and unanswered emails.

In short the cheaper and simpler the solution, then the earlier in the process you can demo and the more expensive and complex the solution the demo should be pushed as far back in the selling process as possible.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The reality is that there is a tendency for Entrepreneurs and salespeople to rush to demo their app, hoping the demo will convince the prospect to sign up.

Even if the prospect is qualified and a good fit, a demo without any form of diagnosis of the prospects pain is in danger of losing the prospect.

Your prospect needs to know that you know and that you understand their world. This can only be achieved via intelligent and targeted questioning. If you want to speed the sale up, slow the sale down.

The demo is usually the salespersons greatest point of leverage and if you give it away to soon you will lose the leverage and in all likelihood the prospect.

As a general rule of thumb – push the app demo as far back in your sales process as possible.

Demos cost time and money especially for complex sales where more often than not a bespoke demo is required.

Any bespoke demo must only be delivered to the senior decision makers on the prospects buying team. If appropriate you can even have two demos within the sales process – there are no rules other than if it works do it.

Most sales reps make the mistake of using this part of the sales process to explain the benefits of the product in more detail.

When you’re telling you’re not selling. Use intelligent probing questions to get the prospect to tell you how the solution will solve their business pain.

You should avoid talking about features that you believe to be relevant to them. If you didn’t uncover this in the discovery stage of the sales process it’s inherently risky to introduce anything new further down the process.

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial, whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with a sales rep.

In order to demonstrate they have undertaken due diligence they will always speak to two or three potential suppliers.

This isn’t necessarily to beat a supplier down on price, but sometimes they need to validate to the wider purchasing group within their organisation why they have a preference.

App trials are also a good way to get users to sign up, however, the conversion ratio of trials to close is usually poor in most SaaS cases.

Depending on the pricing you could offer a managed trial, so they can evaluate your software while you manage them further down the sales process.

During a trial, the prospect can see how the product will work for them in practice. It’s important to time the trial wisely and ensure you have agreed in advance what happens if the trial is successful.

We’ve created the graphic above to try to explain visually how this might work for your organisation.

It’s worth noting in the example, the majority of your CAC will be marketing, whereas in the more complex funnel your costs will include marketing, sales + customer onboarding.

9. SaaS Sales Funnel examples

The sales funnels below are examples. You should NOT replicate these unless they fit with your sales process.

They are designed to be a starting point for those looking to develop a sales funnel.

As you can see from the graphic, there are many alternatives to the stages that go to make up your sales funnel depending on the type of funnel you are creating.

For purely digital funnels you could have:

Lead Magnet Landing page – where prospects arrive after clicking on your advert
Confirmation Page – confirming your free offer, trial or purchase
Upsell page – where prospects have an opportunity to add additional services or upgrade
Checkout page – where prospects pay for the service
Congrats or Thank You page – where you can sign post prospects with the appropriate next steps.

B2B-Sales-Pipeline
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

10. SaaS sales funnel metrics

When it comes to metrics we believe these are the common sales operations metrics and KPIs that most people are familiar with. Needless to say these metrics are important and you should be recording and reporting on them.

LTT – Lead to trial conversion
This is the number of leads who have converted to a trial.

DCR – Demo conversion ratio
The number of demos that successfully convert to the next stage in the sales process.

TTS – Trial to sale conversion
This is the number of prospects on the free trial who have converted to paying customers.

LTV – Lifetime Value of the customer
This is the average total value a customer will spend before leaving the service. Ironically this can be more difficult to measure the better your product is because, without customers leaving you will not know how long they stay and their total value to the business.

Churn – Number of customers leaving
Customers will leave and that’s not always a bad thing. If the customers who leave fit your ICP (Ideal Client Profile) then you have a problem. Customers who leave that don’t fit your ICP may be freeing up valuable resource that can be spent on your ICP.

MRR – Monthly recurring revenue
The monthly recurring revenue gives you an overview of your success, however, it’s only an overview and you need to look at the details within the data to gain a more accurate picture.

ARR – Annual recurring revenue
The annual recurring revenue gives a good overview of the business, but like the MRR you should study all the data to obtain a more accurate picture on the health of your venture.

Sales Cycle – The time from initial contact through to a closed order
This is typically short for lower value simpler solutions and longer for complex Enterprise sales. For example a sales to a Tier 1 bank may take 18 months from initial contact to close.

CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost
It’s important to understand how much it costs you to acquire a single customer. In an ideal world you would discover this in the initial phases of the business when you are proving the value proposition. Without this figure it’s impossible to put in the systems and processes to scale the business as you won’t know how much you can spend on the front end marketing and sales.

Negative Churn –
Negative churn is a powerful growth metric which indicates that the revenue from upselling and cross selling existing customers out strips the revenue lost when customers leave.

11. SaaS Proposal submissions

After the final demo, you should never offer to send a proposal.

Proposals cost time and money and if your prospect is interested they will ask you for a proposal.

If your prospect doesn’t ask you for a proposal then it tells you that they aren’t interested in working with you and you need to move back up the sales process to understand where you have gone wrong.

When the sales process stalls it’s rarely because of something you have done wrong at that moment – more often, it’s something you missed earlier on in the sales process.

Make sure you’re confident all the benefits of the software have been clearly explained to them and mapped out against their stated needs.

Where possible, always get your White Knight to help you co-create the proposal and sense check a draft version with them in advance of sending the official copy.

Before sending your proposal you must have a clear understanding of what the next steps are if you win or lose.

Without this you are most likely to spend the next three months chasing ghosts in voice mail.

12. Pricing your SaaS contracts

Many companies provide limited or no pricing at all on their website because they don’t want their competitors to see their pricing, or they think it will scare away potential customers.

You should be proud of your price and the value you bring. Let the competition undercut you and tie up all their resources on unprofitable deals.

People rarely buy the cheapest solution, so allow your prospects to undercut you.

If you’re still anxious about having your pricing on your website then think about how you feel when you are researching a solution you are interested in only to find the pricing page is littered with POA.

If you’re like most people you find this really annoying and quickly move on to the next potential supplier.

Lastly, another advantage of proudly displaying your pricing is that it qualifies out anyone who is not prepared to invest at that level.

This can save you lots of time and resources with prospects who simply have a different budget level.

There are numerous pricing strategies available to you, however, from our experience the only thing that is guaranteed, is that you will change your pricing.

As a basic rule of thumb if your prices are set too high for a short-term contract or paid trial, the prospect may fail to experience the full benefits of the software before the contract comes to an end, and they may decide not to renew.

Where possible you should reward prospects during the trial period for adding information and using the service.

For example, offer a shorter trial and incentivise users if they complete their profile/account set up.

Offer a further free period encourage them to use the product for example if they upload data into the system.

The idea is to “onboard” your new users step by step and make your product as sticky as possible.
If the prospect does want to go ahead you should use contracts with digital signature to speed up the sales process.

Never send contracts in emails or links to digital contracts as these can be easily ignored.

Arrange to get the prospect on the phone and talk through the contract with them. Once they have agreed to everything in the contract simply ask them to sign while you have them on the phone.

This way you retain control of the sales process.

13. Why the sales funnel is so important for SaaS providers

Many businesses have failed after struggling to implement a sales funnel. Marketing and selling SaaS products can be incredibly challenging, and chances are your target customers are already overwhelmed with offers from competing software vendors.

Think about which part of the buyers existing budget you are going to win revenue from. What direct or indirect competitors will you take budget away from?

You may be competing with some of the biggest and most powerful brands in the world that are providing generic solutions to the same problems you solve.

This means you need to offer something distinctive that your customers actually require.

A CB Insights study said 42% of SaaS start-ups fail because they’re offering products their target customers don’t need.

Convincing potential customers your software offers genuine value is essential.

14. Managing prospects expectations

Creating a sales funnel is all about building a journey all the way from web visitor, to subscriber and through demos and trails and ending with the contract being signed.

Your sales funnel should emphasise each of the key stages your prospects will travel through on their way to an agreement being made.

Be open, upfront and share the stages of the process in advance with your prospects.
You should pay close attention to any points of friction that might occur as your prospects travel through your sales pipeline.

This will give you the opportunity to make improvements to your funnel moving forward.
What’s most important is that you record all the data points in your sales funnel.

This will help you make decisions on facts rather than your gut feelings. It can take time for your sales funnel to become fully effective, and you may need to make several refinements before you have a truly optimised sales funnel.

Many customers don’t have a rich understanding of what they need when they first encounter you. Provide solutions not just products by helping prospects make the connection between the two.

What’s also true is users often buy what they want not what they need.

This is why it’s so important to ask targeted questions in order that you can accurately determine what their needs are so you can position your software in the most favourable way.

These questions will also tell you how near or far away they are to making a decision.

15. The Rise of SaaS solutions

It seems like everything in the world is now powered online by SaaS Applications. From Netflix and Amazon Prime to LinkedIn and Microsoft M365 we are now surrounded by SaaS solutions of one description or another.

Financially SaaS makes sense as it avoids heavy capital expenditure up front and de-risks the solution.

After all if it doesn’t work you are typically only ever locked in to a maximum of 12 months. Other advantages of SaaS include the way that it is normally quick to deploy and requires no maintenance on the part of the client.

Upgrades are normally delivered automatically, with clients generally being offered guaranteed levels of service.

Backups and data recovery are usually carried out on behalf of the client, so they can focus on what they do best, safe in the knowledge that everything’s being handled by the software developers themselves.

Lockdown has turbo charged SaaS
Remote working was on the rise even before the pandemic, so the fact that SaaS products allow individuals to work and collaborate from anywhere has only served to embed SaaS even deeper in our every day lives.

There are thousands of new products SaaS products being developed in every country around the world so competition is fierce, however, there is no apparent end to the appetite of consumers and business to SaaS solutions.

A coherent sales funnel could be the difference between your product being a viral success and being forced to return to the drawing board.