Highspot Blog

Conversation Mastery Is Key to Fast and Successful Onboarding

sales onboarding

A great first week of onboarding is not enough to accelerate new hire time-to-productivity. There is a gap in many organizations’ approaches to preparing sellers to lead compelling and repeatable customer conversations. Closing this gap means preparing new reps to lead an effective sales meeting through “conversation mastery.”

Conversation mastery is an accelerator to onboarding success—time-to-productivity, time-to-first deal, and a robust pipeline. Without conversation mastery, a new salesperson will not have the confidence or ability to get the initial customer meeting, build a healthy pipeline, and move deals through the sales cycle.

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The Secret to Scaling Sales Effectiveness

scaling sales effectiveness

Research from SiriusDecisions’ 2018 Global Chief Sales Officer Study found that fewer than 50% of sales reps are hitting quota and that at 70% of companies, barely 30% of reps are meeting quota. These statistics illuminate an unsettling fact — the majority of sales teams are ineffective.

With less than half of their sales team hitting quota, it’s easy to understand why sales leaders often focus their time and energy on top performers in the hopes that they inspire the rest of the team to keep up. However, this only exacerbates the issue. Neglecting core performers who, on average, make up 60% of the sales force, is a huge missed opportunity. Core performers, or “B reps,” are actually a company’s most valuable revenue driver.

Why is that?

Research done by the Sales Executive Council found that a 5% increase from the middle 60% of performers yielded 80% more revenue than a 5% increase from just the top 10%. If sales leaders want to increase quota attainment, they have to start by improving the effectiveness of their core sellers.

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Sales Training in the Age of the Modern Seller

sales training in the age of the modern seller

Plutarch, famed philosopher of Ancient Greece, was an expert critic. He had something to say about the study of poetry, friendship, ideal dinner conversation — pretty much everything. Among his most useful critiques, Plutarch offered his contemporaries a takedown of education, and specifically the way things are taught.

Plutarch believed lectures and other one-way knowledge transfers didn’t provide the emotional, inspirational context students needed to perform. In fact, he’s frequently quoted as saying, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Eons later, Plutarch’s critique remains incredibly relevant, particularly for sales training. The legacy methods that most businesses rely on don’t give working modern reps the learning environment they need to succeed.

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New Year and New Opportunities to Provide Better Sales Onboarding

sales onboarding

Think back to the times you’ve gone through a new employee onboarding program (NEO) — chances are you got a pretty good feeling for how much the organization invests in its employees just from those first few days. Sales onboarding is no different. 49% of high-performing sales reps identify the availability of onboarding as “very to extremely important” when considering a new position, according to SiriusDecisions.

Sales onboarding not only matters to top sales talent, but to sales and executive leadership as well. Sales and executive leaders are responsible for ensuring that the company is hitting its quota targets; therefore, they need to ensure that they are preparing enough quota-carrying reps to be out in the field at any given time. Unfortunately, on average, new sales hires spend 10 weeks in training and development and only become productive after 11.2 months, according to Sales Management Association.

As a leader, how can you make the most of every chance to improve the sales productivity of your reps? Here are five important opportunities to keep top-of-mind.

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How to Define and Measure Sales Effectiveness

sales effectiveness

What is sales effectiveness?

There isn’t one single answer. Some might say effectiveness comes down to performance against goals, while others might define it in terms of revenue or profit. Sometimes, it even gets conflated with sales efficiency. While both sales effectiveness and sales efficiency relate to the improvement of sales performance, efficiency reveals how fast sales reps complete tasks — but not whether they’re performing the right tasks. That’s the focus of sales effectiveness.

Because sales effectiveness is variable and unique to each company, it can be difficult to assess your sales team’s efforts. But without a clear definition of sales effectiveness, it’s impossible to get started measuring and, most importantly, improving.

To help with this conundrum, we’ve written a guide to provide a straightforward explanation of sales effectiveness and the metrics that matter. Read on and we’ll walk you through the process of identifying, measuring, and improving your sales effectiveness.

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The Evolution of Sales Readiness—from Classroom to Training-in-Context

sales readiness

The term “practice makes perfect” is often associated with coaches and their effort to persuade individuals on their team to train as much as possible during their free time, and it turns out that these coaches were on to something. Studies have found that in order to become an expert, individuals must spend no less than 10,000 hours practicing and honing their skills.

The idea that practice makes an individual better applies to far more than team sports: it is also applicable when discussing the ever-changing B2B sales landscape. Today’s buyers are more informed and demanding than ever and require that sellers are ready at a moment’s notice with value-added insights. Before this can occur, however, reps must be equipped with the proper training and tools to quickly navigate these complex buyer conversations. If not, sellers will find new opportunities at organizations they feel will provide the tools and support they need to thrive and evolve.Continue reading article ›

The Secrets to Creating Winning Sellers

sales training and productivity

As the B2B sales landscape becomes more complex, traditional sales processes no longer entice, engage, or win over modern buyers.

In order for sellers to remain competitive in today’s fast-changing business landscape, they must understand and adapt to new buyer behavior and effectively exceed expectations at every turn.

So, what are the traits that make up winning sellers? Let’s take a look at their anatomy and the steps that leaders can take to nurture more successful reps.

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Why Forced Learning is Ineffective for Sales

sales training

If you’re a sales professional or support a sales team, you live with a common challenge every day: The pace of change is relentless. New and changing products, updated processes, management directives, competitive intel, pricing changes — the list goes on.

For those of us in the supporting cast, this means there is a constant stream of opportunities to share knowledge and improve the skills of our front-line teams. Anyone in sales enablement or sales readiness knows there will never be a shortage of learning to develop and deliver. The challenge is that we too often choose the wrong methods to effectively enable our teams to leverage new skills or knowledge. We’re all guilty of forcing mandatory, one-size-fits-all training because it’s “more efficient” (pronounced “easy”). Let’s take a look at some common scenarios.

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True Sales Readiness Brings Together Learning and Content

Readiness means sales training and content

Thanks to technology, sales is now a new game. Buyers have already researched your product (and the competition) and are much further down their purchasing process before they even meet your sales rep. In fact, 64.5% of sales reps have reported experiencing more complex sales processes. This means that your reps need sales readiness and training to be ready for more complex and advanced conversations in their meetings and demos.Continue reading article ›

Succeeding in Sales When You’re Not a Natural Salesperson

Succeed in Sales Blog Banner v01.01

The world of sales has a lot of stereotypes. Think Glengarry Glen Ross (“Coffee’s for closers!”), Jerry Maguire (“Show me the money!”) or Tommy Boy (“I killed my sale!”). They can be a turnoff for some people who are considering a career in sales (though some certainly seek out the supposed boiler room atmosphere). As for me, I never had any intention of becoming a salesperson. But I’m glad I did.

Common Fears About Sales

With a background in urban planning and biology, entering sales initially felt like being sent to the front lines; the biology world is ruthless, but sales gives it stiff competition. I didn’t think I was profit-driven or competitive enough to be in any industry sales or business oriented. (Don’t get me wrong — I love getting money, and love spending it even more.) In addition, my desire to help people and my tendency to be agreeable deterred me early on. Though I had no expertise in sales, I’ve recently realized that I have more “sales” experience than I thought.Continue reading article ›