Recently I attended the 2016 National Sales Conference in Coventry, which was sponsored by Avention OneSource Solutions. It was a jam-packed and informative day, where sales professionals from all over the country gathered to share best practice and network with leading industry figures. It was the first time I have attended the conference, and I was extremely impressed by the calibre of the speakers, the atmosphere in the exhibition hall, and – of course – the delicious Avention cupcakes! For those of who you weren’t able to make it, here are some of my key learnings.
The importance of face-to-face
Now that most people are only an email or phone call away, it can be all too easy to forget just how effective face-to-face interactions are. Not only can we change our emotions by acting them – i.e. we can become confident by acting like we are confident or become happy by smiling – but we can also influence the way other people are feeling more easily when we are face-to-face. We often talk about the psychology of sales, and quite rightly. For instance, you can build a rapport with someone you are interacting with by mirroring or imitating their characteristics – and that is nowhere near as easy from behind a computer screen or at the end of the phone!
At the end of the day we are all social animals and this is something we should use to our advantage. Remember that it is often more effective to match people by personality type than by level of seniority: as a salesperson, the relationship you build with a prospect is just as important as your product knowledge.
Really know your prospects
In today’s digital age, there really is no excuse for not researching a prospect before engaging with them. If you don’t do your homework, how are you going to know if you are asking the right questions about their business to get to the right solutions for them? Demonstrating that you understand a prospect’s business is key to building a relationship, which in turn is key to closing a sale. In recent years we’ve seen the emergence of the hybrid salesperson, one that understands the product or service but is equally able to convey its value. You really need to know what is going on in your prospect’s world and what their business objectives are to articulate the value of what you are selling in terms of specific outcomes for them.
This is where tools such as Avention’s OneSource are incredibly useful. The platform’s Business Signals go far beyond traditional attributes – like location, number of employees or revenue – and can give you real insight into a company’s behaviours, such as whether it is hiring, experiencing legal issues or launching new products. This gives you a much more meaningful reason to engage, while also demonstrating your understanding of the company and its sector.
The power of teamwork
Many people may not believe this is the case, but sales is a team sport. A salesforce needs to be able to come together and work in unison: it is not just about closing a sale yourself, but also helping your colleagues to do the same. However, it’s also really important to remember that it is not just your fellow salespeople that you need to work closely with, but the marketing team too.
Alignment of sales and marketing is absolutely crucial: today, content is king and you need to make sure that both teams are pushing the same messages - especially given the uplift in messages pushed out to the market via digital channels. Sales and marketing have the same goal after all (to drive revenues), so make sure you work with each other and not in silos.
These may seem like obvious tips, but in my experience, they can often be overlooked and the fact that influential sales leaders are still talking about them only reinforces that point. Understanding your prospects and customers and how to interact with them was a key theme for the day, and something that all salespeople should always keep front of mind. Luckily, Avention OneSource Solutions can help with that.