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September 12, 2017

3 Tips for Creating a Sales Culture that Sells

091217 - Kevin Dorsey

GUEST: Kevin Dorsey, VP of Sales Development and Enablement for SnackNation

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You may have a game-changing product, but if you don’t know how to sell it, that level of awesome is a moot point. On the other hand, having a more mundane product isn’t a death sentence if you know how to sell the hell out of it.

But, if the product isn’t enough—and it never is—what do you need to differentiate yourself from the competition?

The prevalence of inbound marketing enthusiasts would suggest a great marketing strategy is a ticket to reliable revenue. However, marketing is actually pretty easy to rip off.

So, a better question is: what can’t be stolen easily and brings big results? A great sales team.

On that note, here are three tips for creating a sales culture that sells, whether your product is one of a kind or one of a crowd.

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1) Look for these characteristics in new hires

There are four characteristics that signal someone might be a great addition to your sales team: grit, adaptability, self-awareness, and curiosity.

Why grit? Why not just hardworking or good work ethic? Well, both of those things sound good, but they’re pretty vague terms, to the point that those traits are fairly easy to fake. On the other hand, grit is a bit more concrete.

Sales is a tough field. It takes a level of grim determination and stick-to-it attitude that generic hard work doesn’t quite cover. You need a gritty individual who can deal with the rough days as well as the easy ones.

Why adaptable rather than coachable? It is nice when someone is coachable and therefore open to learning how to do things your way. However, someone who is adaptable is more likely to pick up on areas where they need to improve without someone yelling from the sidelines.

In the same vein, self-awareness is a desirable trait because it is much easier to help someone who already understands their strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, you want people who have enough curiosity that they are constantly seeking to broaden their horizons. You want people who ask great questions, and it’s even better if they genuinely want the answers rather than just offering what you want to hear.

2) Focus on training

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Curiosity also leads to the desire for education and self-development. It’s great when the reps themselves exhibit this, but that spark can die without proper encouragement from the C-suite.

The drive to continue learning and seeking personal development should be a top-down cultural element with the upper management encouraging and leading the need for training.

One benefit—of which there are many—from this emphasis on training is instilling a sense of confidence in the reps when they’re working the phones. Dialing can be a fear-ridden process. But a lot of that fear comes from a lack of knowledge and confidence when either going without a script or using a script that just doesn’t work.

Placing the focus on training is a great way to combat that fear.

3) Be a great communicator

What are sales about? Selling things, obviously.

For you and your reps, that might be true. But, that’s not an attitude that translates well to the people you want to sell your product to.

When you’re reaching out to a potential prospect, that person shouldn’t just be another number you need to call so you can rattle off a carefully crafted spiel. They should be recognized as a person with feelings and wants.

Being a great communicator is about reading the tone of the person you’re speaking to. It’s about understanding what they want or need, and how you can help them. It’s not about foisting that help on them whether they want it or not.

Sometimes, it’s better to be a bad salesperson, as long as you’re a great communicator.

Conclusion

Your product is not going to sell itself. If you want to make sales and bring in revenue, you need to develop a sales culture and team that supports those goals.

There are many ways to do this, but a good place to start is by hiring for the right characteristics, focusing on training, and learning to be a great communicator.

This article is based on an interview with Kevin Dorsey, VP of Sales Development and Enablement for SnackNation. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

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