Use Social, Collaborative Tools to Reinvigorate Your Sales Team

Many companies are kicking off 2018 with renewed energy and a fresh sales strategy to promote the latest, most innovative products and features. As this happens, one of the biggest pain points for companies is the length of time it takes to get the sales team ramped up and ready to hit the market. In fact, the transition from “training” to “ready to sell” takes anywhere from six to 12 months. The time it takes to fully integrate a sales representative is time-consuming and costly, and it may lead to missed sales opportunities while giving the competition a head start.

Just as social media now pervades our personal lives, it has also begun to find surprising relevance in the enterprise, especially when it comes to collaboration and engagement. Notably, many companies have begun to tap social tools to better engage with and equip the sales team for more effective training and to help the staff scale the learning curve more quickly and begin selling to ensure better profitability.

Enterprise collaboration is showing great promise when it comes to reinvigorating sales teams and helping to create a more efficient way to motivate and train sales representatives. This means, in part, convincing new sales representatives to trust the company. Through crowdsourcing technology, employers can help build a common voice among team members, which creates a productive dialogue that transfers knowledge and also motivates the sales force by making each rep feel like part of the team. The goal is to make everyone who matters an ally in your plan. This approach will give you the buy-in and engagement needed to ramp up new sales reps faster than before while positioning them, and the company, for success.

By addressing these key issues and formulating a plan to encourage a quicker turnaround in sales rep training, companies can also enjoy a quicker ROI from their sales team.

Here are three ways to leverage social collaboration to better engage and motivate the sales force.

Crowdsource Sales Rep Confusion

An effective sales program needs to be flexible and adaptive to market dynamics. The way a product is positioned has everything to do with the pain points it addresses and the opportunities it creates with customers. When strategies change—as they usually do—it is vital that the sales team is engaged and ready to react.

To achieve this level of speed and efficiency, there needs to be trust. When you hire a group of new salespeople, wait until they have been in the field for 30 days and then crowdsource their biggest sources of confusion.

A group crowdsourcing session can help you pinpoint their biggest roadblocks to succeeding and moving faster. What do they not understand about the product or service? What objections are they struggling with the most? What internal processes do they not understand?

The crowdsourcing platform is the technology piece of this process. It builds a common voice among the team, versus a vocal minority, and that common voice engenders trust. The human aspect of this process involves proving that you are a leader who cares about each new rep’s success. They will ramp up faster after their problems have been indentified.

This approach banks trust so that when there is a new challenge or a change in strategy, the sales team will be able to react quickly.

Engage with Customers to Ensure Product Positioning Is Right

An effective sales strategy also extends beyond the immediate sales force, and companies who take the time to incorporate customer feedback will be much better positioned for success.

Ask clients to participate in a crowdsourcing session and provide feedback on the product, how they are using it, and what specific pain points it solves. This information will potentially shorten your sales cycle considerably so that the sales team can properly frame your product in the context of real business challenges.

As part of this process, consider tapping different functions, such as executive leaders and marketing and technical experts. Remember to crowdsource from each group, give them incentives, and build those networks to drive sales.

Engage with Partners for a Candid View

Like customers, a company’s partners often have a unique sense of strengths and weaknesses – in some cases, more so than even clients or employees. Encourage or incentivize partners to participate in crowdsourcing sessions and provide feedback on your product, market positioning, and competitive strengths and weaknesses. This feedback may be critical to your strategy, go-to-market direction, product, or biggest pain points.

Brian Anderson is chief marketing officer at POPin. He has more than 25 years of global marketing experience in technology, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer markets with a proven track record in branding, revenue growth, M&A, IPO, and multiple marketing disciplines.

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