Augmenting Sales Management Training By Developing Sales Skills

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Most of us who are not associated with marketing or sales process, assimilate a perception that anyone from the sales or marketing line is very talkative. Of course, you need to talk, probably a lot, to your potential customer or client about a product or service that you are offering. However, the sales process is not about talking all the time, it is about listening, identifying, understanding and ultimately providing a solution.

What sales process actually means, is identifying the customer’s pain point and offering a solution. You being a sales executive need to bridge that gap. Likewise, when a sales executive goes through a training process, the objective of that training is to bridge the gap between an executive’s actual and coveted performance, and to build a soothing interpersonal skill.

When it comes to developing sales skills, technical aspect (product and service details) should not be sought after entirely, interpersonal skills are as important as technical aspects. Zig Ziglar famously said, “Every sale has five obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” A salesperson needs to identify the intensity of each ‘no’. Even if there is a requirement, the customer may say ‘no’; identify that ‘no’ which reflects the customer is not convinced yet. So, what can be done to improve sales skill?

Field study of channel partners:

Your channel partner, being experts in the sales and marketing process, have a better understanding of the market and customer. Proficient in understanding customer’s real issue. Better at understanding that ‘Yes’ or ‘Maybe’ which is expressed as ‘No’. For example, Cisco sells to about 30 business enterprises directly, and they have almost 60,000 channel; partners who sell Cisco’s product to rest of the enterprises worldwide. So, if the company like Cisco wants to provide a better training and skills enhancement programme for its sales-force, it should let their in-house sales executives work with their channel partners to get a better idea of the market and overall sales process.

Exposure to Sales counter:

When a sales executive is exposed to the sales counter, he/she would be facing the customer directly. According to the ‘Mere-exposure effect’, a customer is more likely to buy your product if the brand is exposed more than any other. The more a customer views a product, the more he will be able to relate with the product or at least gather a few queries about the product. When the customer sees one counter, he will surely approach it and ask questions to clear all his confusions.

Now, customers will come up with thousands of queries for your product that is being displayed at the counter. The more a sales executive exposed to questions, the better he will be able to handle all the queries and quickly judge whether a customer is desirous about the product or just there for the look and feel of the product.

Retail Sales Exposure:

If your product is not present at a retail store you might be losing out to capture a large chunk of customers who visit retail stores on a regular basis. If an executive gets exposure to retail sales, he will get information about the product. He will get to know which age group is particularly interested in your product, their shopping patterns, products they are purchasing with your product, their feedback, and many other customer insights which you, as a manufacturer, might never get directly. So, it is for your own interest that you expose your sales team to retail sales regularly.

Few retail stores have become more popular in India in recent years. Such as Spencer’s, More, Reliance Trends, Reliance Fresh, BigBazar, Shoppers Stop etc. These well-known retail stores are a great place to reach out to a huge pool of customer and sales executives to have an enriched sales training.

Sales forecasting using MS Excel:

Being a sales executive, you need to have a clear idea on how to forecast probable sales amount in near future. Now that the festive season is upon us, you need to understand how much of your product you should be sending to your retailer or distributors or channel partners. Not only the festive seasons, but you need to plan for after the season is over, and even 6 months after that.

Now there are several methods and tools available for forecasting, however, you can also keep track of your own forecasting result by using Microsoft Excel. It is very easy to understand and help sales executives in a number of various ways. Sales executives have targets that are monthly or quarterly basis. There are few seasons/months when sales touches the zenith and there few months when even achieving 50% of the total sales target becomes a Herculean task. Learn to identify the trend and forecasting and this will provide you a clear frame of action plan. So, training in this area is absolutely necessary.

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