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5 Things To Look For If You Want To Supercharge Your Sales Training

If You Want Sales Training To Impact The Bottom Line, This Is What You Need To Know

At Bloojam we have put a lot of effort into understanding the key behaviours that determine success in B2B sales roles. In fact, our research has identified 9 key capabilities that are statistically proven to be exhibited by the top sales performers, those who deliver on average nearly 25% more revenue than their peers.

Unfortunately, we’re yet to come across a business that is full of top-performing salespeople. Add to that, too much of the sales training that is out there fails to have any impact upon sales performance at all.

So what can be done to support individuals to develop their sales capability and to maximise the impact of sales training? Most importantly, is there any evidence that any of this will lead to an increase in sales? And what should you look for when commissioning sales training for your business?

It’s not cool but our approach has always been led by facts and data. We favour science over speculation and so we have undertaken a wide-ranging review of sales studies and academic behavioural research to identify the 5 key things that you should look for if you want to supercharge your sales training:

  1. Measure impact on sales- Most sales training measures what an individual has learned and whether they are applying that learning in the real world. But the key thing to measure is what impact does this have on sales. If the learning fails to lead to an increase in sales, then it is money down the drain!
  2. Train behaviours that will shift the dial- If you want to change sales behaviours, that’s great. But you need to be confident that the behaviours you seek are going to lead to increased sales. Luckily for you, we know which behaviours will do that.
  3. Encourage goal setting- Too often what is learned in training is forgotten within weeks. A common practice in coaching, goal-setting encourages individuals to commit to changing their behaviour for the long-term. The key is to ensure that these goals are linked to the sales behaviours that are proven to drive greater sales performance.
  4. Focus on the Customer- Sales training that encourages sellers to consider customer needs and their buying experience is more effective than training that prioritises the organisation’s sales process and procedures.
  5. Bite-sized modules work best- The same content delivered in a modular format provides space and time for individuals to practice, review and receive feedback on their application of the course content. This approach is shown to lead to higher sales performance than the same content delivered in a single block.

So there you have it. Five things you should look for when commissioning sales training. If you’d like to know more about how we incorporate these methods into our Acuity Sales Training Academy take a look at our website or give us a call.

Jim Bloomfield is a Director of Bloojam Consulting with 20 years’ experience of using business psychology to develop salespeople and leaders. He is a member of the Association of Business Psychology (ABP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and has successfully helped some of Britain’s best-known businesses exceed their sales goals.

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Why Innovation Is Key To Driving Sales Performance…

And Why Sales Leaders Need to Loosen Their Grip On Their Sales Teams

As sales dry up and the pressure to achieve target increases, for sales leaders it can be very tempting to impose greater oversight of sales teams through more regular check-ins, activity reporting, new processes and more. This is understandable given how volatile the world is right now. To make well-informed decisions about how to adapt to the new normal, it is only natural for a sales leader to want to have up-to-date information from those on the ground. But is it the right approach?

We already know that salespeople spend a lot of their time on non-sales activities, for example this Salesforce survey of sales professionals identified that even before lockdown on average 64% of their time is spent not selling. So if we are now asking them for even more information, more frequently, that can only further reduce the amount of time available for selling.

Worse still it may be stifling sales innovation at the very moment you need it most. There is a growing body of evidence that fostering a culture of innovation amongst your sales team will positively impact upon the bottom line. This is not achieved by a rigid ‘one size fits all’ style of management. It is based upon encouraging individual salespeople to share knowledge with each other, to ask questions, to challenge existing methods, to generate ideas and to explore these further in order to problem solve, all with the intention of adding value for the customer.

It requires sales leaders to focus on knowledge and behaviour within the team rather than their targets and outcomes. And it requires individual salespeople to work collaboratively rather than acting as lone wolves.

In rapidly changing and uncertain economic climates, everyone in the sales team and across the organisation needs to be sharing, and interrogating, information not just reporting it up to the sales leader. Allowing sales teams to be innovative could be a real differentiator. Encouraging your salespeople to think differently and to challenge each other and the status quo will enable them to respond innovatively and lead to better solutions that will enable them to position themselves with their customers as a trusted advisor; someone they want to hear from and whose insight they value. It is that quality of relationship that will drive your competitive advantage.

Jim Bloomfield is a Director of Bloojam Consulting with 20 years’ experience of using business psychology to develop salespeople and leaders. He is a member of the Association of Business Psychology (ABP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and has successfully helped some of Britain’s best-known businesses exceed their sales goals.

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Why Sales Leaders Need To Encourage Their Salespeople To Ditch The Sales Process

A lot of B2B sales organisations like to have a clear sales process written down for their salespeople to follow. The thinking is that this clarity will make the purchase experience easier for the customer and therefore will speed up the sale for the seller. A win-win that benefits both parties.

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Three Things Sales Leaders Should Do Now To Support Their Sales Teams

Nobody needs telling that business is tough at the moment. In the UK, GDP fell by 2% quarter-on-quarter for the first time since the last financial crash in 2008 and the next quarterly report is likely to be far, far worse. The government furlough scheme in which the state pays 80% of an employee’s wages now has more than 1 in 5 of all workers enrolled and has recently been extended to October.

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If Salespeople Now Need To Sell Remotely, Why Not Recruit And Develop Them Remotely Too?

Prior to this global pandemic, the steady beat of the climate change drum was already becoming more urgent. Greta Thunberg had, to some extent, succeeded in ensuring that the climate crisis was a regular feature in news bulletins. In news that already seems a long time ago, Heathrow’s plans for a third runway was ruled illegal because the government failed to factor in the impact it would have upon its commitments to tackle the climate crisis whilst HS2 was given the green light.

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Bloojam Bookclub: Issue 4

Title: Coaching for Performance

Author: Sir John Whitmore

Who is it for? Managers, leaders, Sales Leaders, coaches – anybody who wants to take a coaching approach to help others improve their work performance.  Suitable for all levels of coaching experience.

What is it about? The role of the manager as a coach and the role of coaching in management. This book explains the principles of coaching drawing on examples from the worlds of sport and business.

Why should I read it? A highly practical and accessible book written by a leader in the coaching field. It helps those new to coaching by providing an easy-to-follow framework for coaching conversations.  Equally, it serves as a helpful refresher and guide to more experienced coaches.  The case studies bring the GROW framework (Goals, Reality, Options, Will) to life. Highly recommended.

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Bloojam Bookclub: Issue 3

Title: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters More Than IQ

Author: Daniel Goleman

Who is it aimed at? Business Leaders, Salespeople and anyone who wants more than a cursory understanding of emotional intelligence

What is it about?

Written from an organisational perspective, the author argues that EI has business implications for employees and leaders alike. Goleman’s key premise is that cognitive intelligence (IQ) is not the sole predictor of workplace success – Emotional Intelligence (EI) is an equally important non-cognitive skill. He defines EI as a set of skills that encompass self-motivation, social abilities, empathy, and impulse control, among others and argues that, with the right training and support, these can be developed and improved.

Why should I read it?

Whilst it is no longer a new topic, EI is a term that is bandied about with an expectation that we all know what it means. If you want a more in-depth understanding, this book is a great place to start.

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Bloojam Bookclub: Issue 2

In our second issue of Bloojam Bookclub we’re recommending a title that has something for both B2B salespeople and those in leadership roles:

Title: Stop Selling and Start Leading

Author: James Kouzes, Barry Posner, Deb Calvert

Who is it aimed at? Salespeople and Leaders

What is it about?

Research showing that at its core selling, like leading, is based on relationships. Written by highly respected experts in Leadership, this book describes their research into sales and the striking similarities between the behaviours that drive success in both sales and leadership roles. For each of the 10 behaviours described, there are practical activities that you can implement immediately.

Why should I read it?

This book combines our two favourite subjects- B2B sales and Leadership- and makes a great case for why both are important in business, and how both can learn from each other. For any aspiring leader or strategic salesperson the insights are invaluable.

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Bloojam Bookclub: Issue 1

If you’re looking to further your professional development during lockdown we’re launching Bloojam Bookclub offering our recommendations of key texts from the field of business psychology that are relevant for people in sales and leadership roles. Our first recommendation is below:

Title: To Sell Is Human

Author: Daniel Pink

Who is it aimed at? Everyone

What is it about?

His principal argument is that, as professionals, we are all in sales whether we are selling a product or service or simply an idea- in fact any situation in which we are trying to persuade others to part with their resources e.g. money, effort or attention. Drawing on research from a broad range of social sciences he skilfully pinpoints three key qualities that are most valuable in moving people from one position to another.

Why should I read it?

Packed with references, the author has done the research for you and as an ex-journalist, it is easy to read and written in a format that is both insightful and entertaining.

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