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Want Effective Selling Tools? Start Listening To Sales

By Rob Hawse

If you’re tired of hearing your sales team complain about not having the right tools to sell, and tired of them doing whatever they want with your brand, we have a suggestion for you.

Listen to them.

Successful Sellers Require Effective Collateral

Most of the salespeople we know are very motivated to get the job done. They are on a mission to make that sale and get that commission. If they are not getting the sales collateral they need from the “mothership” they will create it on their own. They will use a random Powerpoint template to create their sales deck, print out materials they’ve created on flimsy paper, and then submit them to the prospect in a paper pocket folder with a sticker featuring your stretched out logo!

When you are selling a manufacturing process, prospects will be quickly reassured if you put a sample in their hand so that they can experience and examine it and begin to imagine what their product will be like. Prospects want to hold something you have made in their hands so they can understand what differentiates you from the competition.

Imagine how much more time your people could spend selling if they weren’t having to also create their own collateral for every pitch.

And, imagine how much better your brand would be perceived if all the materials (including some tactile sample objects) a prospect receives actually looked like they were intentionally and professionally produced just for them.

Start Listening to Sales

To increase the effectiveness of your sales team, pay attention to their complaints and take steps to provide them with what they need to achieve your common goals.

I’m not saying that you should take individual orders from every sales person and create whatever they want. But, what I am recommending is that you listen to their complaints and address the spirit of the complaint in a structured way that causes all of the materials created to be aligned with your point of view and be on brand.

Get your salespeople in a room and strive to understand their struggles and what is in their way so that you can take steps to remove those obstacles. They are out in the field and getting rejected because one of the ways prospects are evaluating your brand is based on what sales people are bringing to the table.

If that’s the case, then guess who’s fault it is for not giving them the right tools to do their job?

The Consequences of Not Listening

A good sales person has tremendous survival skills. If you don’t take steps to shape the process, what they come up with likely won’t be on brand and will send the wrong signal. So even if the sales person wins, it will be at the expense of your brand, not because of it.

Sales Success Starts with Leadership

It’s leadership’s responsibility to figure out how to take advantage of these opportunities and make them work. Talk to a sales person and find out what they say will move the needle. Create the time to discuss, debate, and build a solution.

If you’re a leader who has come to accepting the complaining as an excuse because that’s the way it’s always been, we urge you to step back and listen. Because if you can break through that thinking there’s actually a lot of clarity on the other side. You may find your sales people are onto something after all.

What we’ve found is that most sales people, especially your most seasoned ones, have a very good understanding of what they want and need, just not the skill set to create it correctly (on brand, etc.).

Consider for a minute that it’s true. If true, then how would you take action?

Salespeople Should Play a Big Role

As the mothership, it’s your job to understand the journey your customer goes through from the first time they hear of you to when they finally buy or recommend you. Your salespeople should play a big role in this.

They can help you reconcile what you think the customer’s journey is with what it actually is so everyone can be more successful.

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