Medieval alchemists believed an item called the philosopher’s stone could turn ordinary objects into gold. In the world of sales, the secret techniques of top sellers are revered in much the same way, holding the ability to transform average salespeople into great ones.
But while the philosopher’s stone is a legend, research shows that mapping the success patterns of high performers can create a more effective salesforce. The key is combining the right technology and processes — and applying them at scale.
To show you how it’s done, we spoke with JP Mantey, Director of Sales Enablement and Culture at Icertis. Keep reading for his steps to capturing and programmatising the secrets of top sellers and achieving sales excellence.
1. Find Fountains of Wisdom
Every organisation has reps who can sell water to a well. These top-performers operate differently from the average sales rep. They have what JP calls “situational intelligence,” meaning they’ve developed an adaptive mental model that can address complex selling situations.
This framework isn’t something they’re born with; it’s gained through experience. And it’s this wisdom that will start you on your path to scaling sales excellence.
Start by identifying top performers, and then spend time with them — ask for win stories, listen in on customer calls, or shadow them. For JP, uncovering internal wisdom meant “sitting with our chief sales officer and meticulously talking through the buyer’s journey of our biggest clients.”
The key is to go deep — ask the same kinds of probing questions you’d expect from a salesperson during discovery. Your goal is to understand, step by step, what content, phrases, or processes enable your top performers’ success.
2. Codify Tribal Knowledge
Once you’ve obtained the secrets to sales excellence, it’s time to codify them. Documenting tribal knowledge provides reps with the specifics of what to know, say, and show in order to replicate higher performers’ success.
These repeatable elements are necessary because, as JP explains, reps typically struggle to “deliver game-changing elements during buyer interactions.” Prescriptive guidance helps sales teams overcome these hesitations by evolving ambiguous best practices into step-by-step actions.
We recommend creating dynamic experiences to deliver resources salespeople can reliably return to. For instance, with Highspot SmartPages you can surface a recorded role-play scenario with a top salesperson alongside product messaging and related assets in a comprehensive content package.
As JP said, “This approach allows us to drive dialogue continuity with customers, as opposed to stalls, repeats, and loops.” Though your exact format may vary, the results will be the same: better prepared sellers.
3. Make Access to Success Patterns Self-Service
Often, businesses will go through the effort of compiling tribal knowledge only for it to sit unused in a content repository. Success at scale requires guidance to be both easy to find and consume.
JP achieved this by investing in a sales enablement platform that allowed him to build situational intelligence into reps’ natural browsing experience. “We would frequently receive requests from reps for content that could help them ‘be smart’ in a unique situation,” he said. “But our sales enablement platform now allows reps to discover and consume content in a manner that encourages their innate curiosity.”
A single self-service platform for sales knowledge ensures reps engage with best practices before they interact with customers — and that the hard work of capturing top salespeople’s insights doesn’t go to waste.
4. Don’t Ignore Culture
At Icertis, “growth” isn’t just a goal — it’s a mindset embodied by every rep. According to JP, investing in culture is a critical part of launching sales best practices.
“We focus heavily on helping people develop a ‘growth mindset’ — to be a learner rather than a knower,” said JP. Without an open mind, your sales team will struggle to adopt the guidance you’ve carefully cultivated and resort to old, ineffective habits.
JP asks that reps “embrace” the knowledge, tools, and processes developed by his sales enablement team, and “enhance” it with their own unique experience and skills. “Everything we do is a partnership,” he added. “We’re continually learning from each other.”
Mimic JP’s collaborative, all-in approach to building a sales culture that welcomes your newly codified sales guidance with open arms.
Empowered to Succeed
Optimising sales performance doesn’t require a magical stone or a mystical quest. Sales insights and effective tools and processes can help your entire team sell like your best reps.
JP likens the power of top sellers’ secrets to an Italian nonna’s recipes: “Once you have them, success is all but guaranteed.” Start capturing and codifying your teams’ best practices today by downloading our 2019 guide to Best Practices for Sales Playbooks.