2022 Guide to Sales Acceleration

What Is Sales Acceleration?

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Business and sales are evolving, but two aspects remain the same: sellers want to increase productivity, and buyers want compelling purchasing experiences that help them actually solve their main challenges. Using technology to accelerate sales helps sellers streamline processes with advanced tools and resources designed to improve salespeoples’ abilities and efficiency.

So what is sales acceleration? Expert Ken Krogue defines it as increasing the speed at which sales happen by using technology that bridges the gap between existing marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM). By effectively leveraging content, training, analytics, and resources, sales teams increase deal speed by engaging buyers meaningfully.

Adapting to digital-first sales, sellers and buyers have experienced significant changes in sales cycles. It took time for salespeople who used to network and attend meetings in person, travel on business, and participate in dinner parties to adjust to staring at a screen for hours at home as they tried to make personal connections.

Now, through highly relevant and personalized conversation and content delivery, sales reps can build relationships with customers and accelerate their digital sales cycles, whether they are in-person or engaging in virtual communications. When navigating increasingly complex negotiations, the proper sales acceleration tools can help.

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What Is The Importance of Sales Acceleration?

Tools and techniques for sales acceleration are more critical now than ever before. Three emerging themes in a McKinsey report reveal how B2B sales will continue to evolve:

  • Spend. The majority of companies are reducing spending, but a significant number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates varying from one sector to another and, more importantly, from location to location.
  • Digital. In the future, B2B companies expect digital interactions to be two to three times more valuable to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
  • Remote. Over 90% of sales have been moving to video conferences, phone calls, or online sales. Even though skepticism persists, more than half of surveyed participants feel these are equally effective or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, sellers must have the right conversation skills and content, at the right time, for the right buyer. Trust and empathy will speed up the deal-making process and create solid connections. In order to build this trust, sellers must be aware of buyers' needs and identify content that will address their concerns.

Sales enablement solutions, including sales acceleration, can simplify these tasks, allowing sellers to focus on building relationships and supporting customers and prospects rather than just meeting quotas.

How Can Companies Increase Sales Acceleration?

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An organization's go-to-market (GTM) lineup is generally where sales acceleration begins. Engaging buyers becomes easier when sales and marketing are on the same page. Technology for sales enablement gives marketing and sales organizations visibility into what both sides are doing. 

The more sellers know about content marketing and gather powerful conversational skills, the more likely they are to use them to communicate with buyers. In addition, they can provide marketing professionals with feedback that can help them optimize content. Sales enablement and GTM alignment will play a key role in increasing sales acceleration. 

An in-depth analysis of data and content is necessary. The information and data generated when sellers share content that buyers view or download is valuable. Content marketers can use these insights both to decide which content to share and to increase the production of other relevant material.

The Sales Acceleration Formula

Mark Roberge, a former HubSpot executive and professor at the Harvard Business School, was a pioneer in sales acceleration.

He proposes four specialized and proven sales formulas that every sales leader can apply to improve sales in his book The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million. 

How is your organization's performance on the following criteria extracted from the book?

1. The Sales Hiring Formula

You can use this formula to create a consistent profile for your top, ideal salesperson. You can then hire sales representatives who match these characteristics and design strategies to keep them. Make sure to customize these profile components for your business. 

Getting the best candidates for your company is best done by setting up an internal recruiting agency, advises the book. Professional recruiters should also receive fair compensation for their efforts if you rely on them.

2. The Sales Training Formula

All sales reps should get equal training, says the author. The shadow training strategy allows new employees to observe and learn from top performers. But this approach has a few downsides, including the fact that what works for one seller might not work for another, plus this is a highly manual process that takes a long time.

An advanced conversation intelligence solution, paired with the right features, can help you train your employees to be consistent with on-demand materials and based on accurate data. To learn more, continue reading the following sections.

3. The Sales Management Formula

Maintain a consistent sales process and ensure your sellers follow the same guidelines. Recently, the term "sales manager" has lost its relevance, and it's more appropriate to use "sales coach" instead. A manager's coaching ability is directly proportional to a salesperson's performance and sales success.

To improve your salespeople's skill gaps, you must know your metrics in order to provide effective coaching. For instance, metrics can help you determine which area of skills development will have the most significant impact on a salesperson's performance.

Lead development status, leads in the works, amount of product demos, and new customers are a few of the most common metrics. Using the right platform will help you focus your coaching automatically on those areas while also automatically spotting effective body language, gestures, and words in sales conversations. 

4. The Demand Generation Formula

Make sure each rep receives an equal number of high-quality clients every month. Many people dislike unsolicited calls and emails. According to the book, this type of intrusive marketing is referred to as "marketing interruption," and trade shows and advertising are also examples. 

On the other hand, online marketing has a proven track record for bringing in new, quality customers. It includes tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), social media engagement, and blogging. Any customer with a smartphone can find out everything they need to know about your products and services in minutes. When you employ attraction marketing, customers will actively look for your business.

The Case for Sales Training in Sales Acceleration in 2022

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As mentioned above, one of the strategies for accelerating sales must involve training your sales force on the skills that matter the most to enhance virtual conversations. By applying this approach, employees will also strengthen their commitment to the organization, in addition to improving their professional selling skills.

Keeping your sales team up to date and performing at its best in a digital-first era is easy with systematic training and coaching programs. However, before diving into the details of any education path, let's take a look at some of the essential strategies sales experts and other professionals recommend you follow to be successful. 

The best online sales training platform can then help you leverage these methods to ensure that your team learns from and evolves from its past successes and failures.

1. Maximize the benefits of e-learning

In recent years, many businesses have turned to e-learning platforms for the purpose of training their teams about new offerings, processes, and company guidelines. Let's say you choose an online sales training platform that is convenient and interactive. The employees have immediate access to the information they need because they can learn from anywhere. A comprehensive solution will leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and offer several features to make it more efficient.

2. Shorten training sessions

No matter how attractive the training material is, there will still be times when trainees lose attention. People's awareness spans are getting shorter and shorter. Sales training sessions must therefore be concise and focused. You should provide engaging and straightforward training programs.

With the help of a leading online sales training platform, you can effortlessly design this program to be customized and realistic, thus making it more memorable and repeatable.

3. Make data a part of the development process

Continually evaluating sales achievements is essential for every organization. To objectively determine how sales calls or meetings went, you need to use software that scores performance based on behavioral science, for instance. Employees get data-backed results and can reflect on how they can improve specific behaviors and oral skills. An online sales training platform can be a powerful, scalable tool that collects all relevant performance data and presents it in an easily understandable way, benchmarking progress and providing proven methods for improvement.

4. Assess clients' needs and worries

Coaches and training sessions can make sales representatives significantly more effective at diagnosing and resolving their customers' problems. By using behavioral science and other tools, an online platform can provide insights you can't get anywhere else, including accurate predictions about a customer will respond. Speech, mannerisms, and delivery are evaluated automatically by the system so that it can determine whether a rep was able to connect with the customer and provide suggestions for improvement.

5. Create custom training programs

Utilize simulation scenarios to help with individualized training and coaching to prepare your team for real-world situations. As part of the training process, managers will be able to provide immediate, data-driven feedback, allowing them to act as mentors by facilitating open communication.

You can only accurately assess how each team member communicates when you use an online sales training platform built around science and technology. With the correct methodology, you can track variables like credibility, persuasiveness, clarity, trustworthiness, listening ability and offer feedback on what they say.

6. Consistently provide training opportunities

As with any other skill, practice makes perfect when it comes to learning to sell in an accelerated way. Sales leadership needs to provide frequent and consistent guidance to ensure their sales teams remain on the same page. The monthly or weekly approach of tracking new developments, success stories, and pipelines can be a great way to accomplish this. 

Additionally, you can add short sessions to the sales team's regular schedule, so they learn one or two new skills every week. Your sales team will be more effective in a matter of minutes.

7. Offer a full range of tools

Providing different sales tools during team training is crucial because people learn differently. Some people enjoy video training more than others because they are more visual. Others may find it more effective to watch top performers. 

Salespeople who prefer to explore the company's requirements and their role on their own can also benefit from self-directed training. Reps should take advantage of all these options as much as possible. 

Conversation Skill Training for Sales Acceleration

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The early conversation AI platforms used to collect a lot of info, including customer feedback, topics of interest, negative responses to products, growing areas, FAQs, etc. In modern times, advanced conversation intelligence solutions have become more valuable due to the fact that they monitor other critical metrics that contribute to sales enablement and acceleration.

Business leaders can analyze variables and develop strategies with ease when using technologies such as voice-to-text, automatic listening, performance insights, and predictive engines. You can get a deep insight into your audience's sentiment, search terms, key messages, and more in real-time.

You, your team, and your representatives can benefit from this technology in several ways:

You can automatically and systematically determine who to coach on what

When training your reps, you do not necessarily need to use the same intensity, channel, or pace. The one-size-fits-all training or coaching approach can lead to a waste of resources and time. 

By using an innovative platform, you can create personalized, individual skills development paths for top performers. Better still, you can use it to pick and choose the verbal and soft skills your top reps frequently use so that underperforming staff learns those skills as well. 

You can let it analyze and learn from the words your best performers use

Top-performing sales reps speak in a different voice, use unique wording, and touch on more fine points than average performers. They may speak more slowly or may use specific phrases, body or face movements that are effective. 

A comprehensive software solution can capture, track, and analyze these cues during actual or recorded calls your top performers lead. Sales coaches then have science-backed data of effective skills that they can then train others who may not yet be at the same skill level. 

You can provide specific, tailored training for each sales rep

If you personalize your more manual training strategies, you can only coach a limited number of subjects at one time because gradual behavior change takes time to develop. And the larger and more dispersed your salesforce, the harder this approach is to scale. Using technology, however, your sales representatives can measure and access their performance anytime from anywhere on their own schedules, taking greater control over their growth.

You may choose to start small with your staff, focusing on a few critical skills and measuring their improvement over time. The training program will continue until your employees achieve their desired results.

You can develop coaching and training programs based on data

When a sales coach listens to any sales call, they can offer suggestions, which will improve sales results. Feedback from the coach is subjective and time-consuming, depending on their impressions and experiences. Can you relate to this experience?

A great deal of personal preference comes into play during this process as you consider what is going to have the most significant impact on your representative's communication issues. Technology can help your salespeople visualize objective criteria for analyzing the elements of a sales call, such as what essentials are present versus what is missing, and to contribute to a successful call. 

You can automate this process when you have the right software, so subjectivity is not a barrier when determining what really needs coaching. The focus will be on what has the highest impact on the business. 

You can automatically teach your team how to identify the right calls

Each company has its own definition of a successful sales call, and every customer has their own needs. Regardless of what makes an excellent call to each individual, there are always human interaction clues that escape even the best sales manager. AI can catch and track these subtleties and make sure they are analyzed.

Consequently, your sales reps can learn what it takes to make a good call and what’s behind a poor one. Partner with a software provider that can help you build customized KPIs based on the items the software detects, have your reps work on them repeatedly and design training paths and coaching programs around them.

Rather than just focusing on closing a deal, a good sales call should produce an engaged, committed, satisfied, and happy prospect.

You can help your sales representatives sound more confident and natural

It doesn't matter whether or not your company requires sales representatives to use a script during calls or if they are allowed to wing it. The conversation intelligence software you choose should be able to improve the skills of any communicator. It can also be particularly useful for newer sales representatives who are getting up to speed. 

When interacting with your customers or prospects with a script, it is essential that your reps do not sound robotic or impersonal. Even when delivering a scripted pitch in person or online, advanced software can instruct them on communicating effectively.

Every representative will be able to identify their strong and weak points through the most complete solution on the market, and they can improve their skills over time. In the end, they will have more natural, empathetic, and less rehearsed conversations that build trust and confidence.

You can make decisions about how your reps will grow within the company

It is not uncommon for top-performing salespeople to be given promotions to management roles after a period of outstanding performance. Yet, most of the best salespeople are not necessarily the best managers. This situation often happens because they did not receive the tools and knowledge on how to coach and manage people. 

Companies have always prioritized training sales representatives, and this has always been the center of their sales managers’ efforts. Even so, few companies are aware of the importance of providing coaching to managers on how to improve the performance of their teams. A conversation intelligence platform could be an important tool to assist in this area as well. 

Current and potential leaders can improve their communication skills and their abilities to manage teams by utilizing its features. 

Enhance Sales Acceleration Through Better Conversations

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Throughout this guide, there is the common theme about sales departments needing to modernize their training and coaching approaches to accelerate sales performance. A conversation intelligence platform can be a vital component of the training stack that can support many aspects of day-to-day sales leadership tasks. As long as you choose the right partner, you can gain benefits from day one with high levels of precision, scalability, and automation.

The combination of conversation intelligence, behavioral science and AI-based data can help your company accelerate sales in many ways. When you have access to a robust technology platform, you will be able to provide all of these capabilities and more. For the best return on your investment, you must conduct thorough research.

Quantified's AI technology can help individuals in all organizations make better human connections, helping them reach their goals by engaging in meaningful conversations with the right people. We developed the QC Score to enable you to measure communication effectiveness in a single, consistent way. When your reps compare themselves with peers, competitive benchmarks, and aspirational metrics, they will grow.

The feedback and coaching capabilities built in the platform allow customer interactions assessments and measurements on performance based on key behavioral dimensions. With the help of this tool, your team members become high-performers, resulting in accelerated sales processes. 

Only a small number of AI providers use human-scored databases of communication data to devise their algorithms. Quantified created a unique approach that combines behavioral science, big data, and algorithmic strategies to improve human connection. When you mix behavioral and social sciences with human communication, you can identify interpersonal factors that aid in achieving individual and team goals. Better conversations. Better outcomes. Request a demo today.

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