Reduce B2B sales turnover and improve performance with the right talent match.
Results are in. Several of your salespeople completed another mediocre quarter. You know you need to make changes, but there are no easy solutions. Replacing a salesperson risks client relationships. It also requires more budget and months of training and ramp up, jeopardizing future quarter results. Above all, you value your team and want to support them. Sound familiar?
Salesperson job fit may be your challenge.
In a 2018 McKinsey study of 1000 B2B sales executives, only 51% believe they have the right talent for the role. With over $800 billion spent annually on sales teams, your competitive advantage relies on having the right people leading your brand into the world.
Finding and developing the right talent requires knowing the critical skills and behaviors of top performers then matching talent accurately. Matching and developing the employee to job competencies increases engagement, lowers turnover and drives higher performance.
Do you know the right competencies to retain your team and elevate performance? It is imperative to your bottom line to find out.
In my latest research, a competency assessment by B2B sales leaders and coaches, I uncovered the top three skills and behaviors that drive successful performers according to leaders.
1. Listening Skills
Research shows that salespeople who listen more than talk are more likely to add value for the client and better understand their needs. It seems intuitive, but mastering this skill is not simply staying quiet while thinking of what to say next. It is true engagement and understanding of verbal and non-verbal clues. Solution selling approaches and sales questioning models are more effective with active listening skills.
2. Customer Service Orientation
Customer service orientation is prioritizing the client’s best interest by responding promptly, understanding their needs and guiding them through purchase decisions that are right for them, even if it sacrifices short-term sales gains. This approach builds long-term relationships and long-term performance and thrives in a customer-centered culture that gives recognition for relationship building. Sales teams display the behaviors for which they are recognized.
3. Sales Orientation
Great people skills, optimism and perseverance through adversity are key behaviors of top sales performers. Salespeople that understand and accept others’ perspectives build better, more trusting client relationships. Optimism and perseverance through adversity are key for top of the funnel activities such as cold calling, appointment setting and stop-ins. Optimistic salespeople see setbacks (e.g. hearing no over and over) as temporary and can move forward without internalizing it. Managers with coaching skills can cultivate these competencies within their teams.
But wait, there’s more.
Learning sequence is key. It is not enough to build development programs for these top skills. These competencies require a foundation of Emotional Intelligence (EI) before they can be learned effectively. EI includes empathy, self-awareness, self-motivation, self-regulation and social skills. If your salesperson lacks empathy, it will be challenging for them to learn authentic active listening skills or to put client needs first.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Reduce your turnover and increase engagement and performance by aligning sales talent to the specific skills for the job. B2B sales is more relationship-based than ever and soft skills are non-negotiable. Here are a few ways to begin:
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