Four recommendations for old-school sales environments

February 2, 2018 Matt Heinz

Quite frequently we have the opportunity to work with companies where sales is primarily done by field-based relationship sellers.  These are reps who remind me of my father – hard workers, driven and focused, high on building personal relationships that create trust, integrity and loyalty.

Unfortunately many of those reps also operate at random, without a process or a disciplined, consistent way of building and converting their pipeline.  They make their number because they’re great at selling, yet they leave a lot on the table without a more disciplined approach.

These reps also often are the most defensive or resistant to change.  They hold a ton of power in their organizations, and God forbid they get hit by a truck because most of your prospective customers, their deal status, etc. is locked up in their heads.

When we see these types of organizations, I often make the following four observations and recommendations.  If the above sales environment sounds like yours, even a little bit, hopefully this will help you too.

You can’t scale without a system
I have no doubt that your existing sales reps are very good at what they do, but without being able to articulate or execute on a systematic way of building and managing pipeline, it will be next to impossible to replicate their success with predictable results in new sales reps. The good news is that if they’re selling successfully, a lot of what they are doing is working.  If we can start from there, codify it and build from it, we can not only increase their success but get new reps up to speed and similarly successful more quickly. https://www.heinzmarketing.com/2010/12/if-you-cant-define-your-sales-process-you-cannot-scale/

Relationship selling is important but not sufficient
There’s no doubt that personal relationships are critical in your industry, but people don’t buy purely because they like you.  Building and demonstrating value, early and often, is also critical. Delivering insights, challenging their status quo with polite persistence, is also critical.  There are elements from The Challenger Sale that we can incorporate into your sales and marketing efforts that, combined with relationship selling, can be very powerful. https://www.heinzmarketing.com/2016/12/the-25-most-important-tenets-of-the-challenger-sale-approach/

The right system will make your existing sales reps more efficient & successful
We have no interest in scripting what your reps say, or getting in the way of them executing on the art of selling.  But I’ve seen countless times what a little process & discipline can do to exponentially increase their productivity and results.  Some veteran sales reps take a little longer to come around to that, but I’ve seen the crustiest old-school reps ultimately buy completely into the system once they see what it does for them.  https://www.heinzmarketing.com/2010/04/a-three-step-process-for-effective-sales-territory-planning/

A disciplined approach to lead & pipeline management can provide dividends quickly
From what we have heard thus far, I bet there are leads and opportunities somewhere in your existing pipeline that might be more ready to engage than you think.  A little more follow-up, a few more status-quo challenging insights, and you’re not starting from scratch in existing markets either.  The system we put together for a new market can be leveraged in existing markets as well to generate incremental results quickly. https://www.inc.com/rebecca-hinds/how-to-increase-performance-of-your-sales-marketing-teams-without-training-them.html

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