Streamline. Value proposition. Passion. Customer service. Revolutionary. Innovative. Customer-centricity. Customer engagement. These are just some of the overused buzzwords that your sales team is likely to be using in their pitch to new customers. In an age of instant gratification, customers have become less reliant on the long-winded sales pitches and presentations of yesteryear, opting instead for personal research and contacting the company directly – getting in touch with the incorrect person most of the time.

 

As a salesperson in modern times, it is no longer enough to simply be passionate about what you are selling. Sales teams need to be considerate in their approach. Here are four questions you should be asking your sales teams and their managers.

  

Do you have an authentic personal brand with gravitas?

 

Whether we are intentional about it or not, we all have a personal brand. As Jeff Bezos said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you once you’ve left the room”. It is the qualities that people assign to you after an engagement. The most important part of your brand is its authenticity. A personal brand is not a façade that you can create and maintain. People will eventually see through false behaviour. Your actions must be rooted in your real convictions and beliefs.

 

If your sales team members have a strong individual personal brand which is authentic and holds gravitas, they are more likely to build steadfast relationships with customers that translate into sales. If your customer believes in the authenticity of your brand (both the individual or team) they are more likely to refer you, either within their business or recommend you to a new customer, thereby expanding your footprint.

 

How is your narrative packaged?

 

From the time that we wake up in the morning till the time that we lay our head down at night, the average person has made over 35,000 decisions. These can include anything from choosing which mug to drink coffee from or how to prioritise the day’s activities. This can lead to what is known as decision fatigue – the biological effect of having too many decisions to make.

 

Your customers (the key decision makers) simply don’t have time or the mental capacity to read through lengthy pages of what your product offers and why it is better than that of your competitors.

 

Convert your data into a compelling visual business narrative that pegs the customer as the hero. The brain interprets images in 13 milliseconds. Sharing infographics and graphs rather than lengthy overviews and descriptions will free up the reader’s mental capacity to reach an informed decision at a faster rate.

 

How are you innovating your approach to generate, develop and close sales pipelines in the ever-changing market?

 

There are currently four generations operating in the business market. It has been widely reported that newcomers in the workforce are considered to be slackers while the veterans are considered to be stuck in their ways without the vision to see the value of change. This gap is not isolated in the workforce. These differences are seen in consumer patterns too. A one-size-fits-all approach in fact no longer fits all.

 

Similarly, as we expand into larger markets, we need to consider cost-effective methods to increase our global footprint and expand our reach.

 

Research has found that industry veterans prefer face-to-face communication in contrast to the preference of electronic communication of the younger generation (email and instant messaging). While it is important to be consistent in your messaging, the cultural differences between your target demographic and their communication preferences call for a personalised and omnichannel approach.

 

It is worthwhile considering leveraging the advancement of artificial intelligence to generate new leads and find new customers, and to find out about their needs in order to customise your approach. If you have accurately researched your audience, you will be able to find out what your target market truly cares about and tailor this to their specific needs.

 

Are you consciously collaborating with the other teams?

 

While the sales team tends to be the customer’s point of contact, it is important to collaborate with other teams – they all need to work towards the same purpose if they are to ensure a reliable and credible team brand. Though each team may think that they work independently of each other, sales is reliant on marketing for new business leads, who are reliant on the copy team, for example. If the company is making use of digital platforms to generate leads, the sales team may be dependent on the research team and so forth.

 

Each separate team serves the purpose of helping to better the success of the business – and the sales team is no exception.

 

*Brian Eagar is a founder and the CEO of TowerStone Leadership Centre, whose vision focuses on empowering leaders to build a values-driven culture for sustainable success. Visit https://www.towerstone-global.com/