Sales Leadership Is Flying Blind — How Do You Regain Control?

2020 was the year of the new hire. Sales organizations were staffing up as quickly as they could. Reps were fielding multiple job offers. Once hired, companies needed to move reps into sales roles fast. Newly hired reps got a crash course download on the company, products, industry, and competitors – and were then dispatched to the field.

During that sales hiring bonanza, onboarding did not typically address:

  • sales skills training 
  • selling judgment development
  • core sales behavior education

Why would it? The market was booming, sales were up, and green reps were often making and exceeding sales quotas.

And then the lights went out. 

Overnight, the pandemic left sales leaders in particular flying blind. They were left with a sales organization comprised of many new, unproven sales reps. How much did they really know about what they were selling? Even more importantly, what were their capabilities? And the entire salesforce — not just the new hires — now had to take on a different mindset by being forced to work from home while surrounded by their children and other family members like everyone else. A situation that’s proven to be difficult for many of us.

Understand Your Team’s Selling Intelligence: The First Step in Regaining Control

The first step in navigating these tough times is to take stock of your team’s selling abilities, which we refer to as Selling Intelligence

“Sales leaders need to understand strengths and weaknesses, so they can draw upon strengths in difficult times, and address sales weaknesses before it’s too late.” – Nick Rini, CRO, Sciolytix

Selling Intelligence comprises a rep’s understanding of:

  • Company-specific Knowledge: industry, company history, market, competition, products, and services
  • Sales Skills: pre-call planning, qualifying high-probability prospects, cold calling, making a powerful first impression, becoming a trusted advisor, identifying concerns, securing buy-in, preparing proposals, presenting to a group, recognizing and responding to objections, negotiating deals
  • Selling Behaviors: achievement drive, assertiveness, confidence, customer orientation, energy, extroversion, initiative, leadership, open-mindedness, patience, positivity, sociability, work ethic
  • Cognitive Skills: logical reasoning, math skills, auditory and visual processing, selective and sustained attention, ability to absorb information, planning skills, concept formation and problem-solving
  • Sales Judgment: critical thinking, connecting with customers, solving problems, prospecting, discovery, presenting, objection management, ability to negotiate and close sales

Information is power. Understanding the Selling Intelligence of sales reps (both individually and in aggregate) can help sales leaders regain control, and put the sales organization back on a path to making sales – even in trying times.

Our sales development platform, UPtick, is like a flight simulator for salespeople. But instead of piloting a 747 through virtual skies, sales reps use UPtick to practice engaging in simulated sales conversations with a variety of prospects.

With UPtick, reps gain valuable experience that would take months of ride-alongs in the real world. Practicing within our virtual environment allows reps to:

  • Experiment with different approaches to sales
  • Tackle objections from new angles
  • Try again (and again) when they fail to close a prospective customer
  • Get immediate feedback from a virtual sales coach
  • All in a risk-free environment without fear of managers or peers standing over them.

Information is empowering. UPtick gives sales managers in-depth knowledge of the selling behaviors of their team as a whole and of each individual rep, which makes sales coaching and even difficult staffing decisions, easier. 

  • Users are scored as they progress through the simulations, compiling data for individuals about their own strengths and areas for improvement. 
  • Managers gain comprehensive insight into their team’s collective capabilities and weaknesses, as well as the individual’s, which enables them to know where to focus their time and budget for developing and coaching their teams for targeted improvement. 

Now is the time to regain control and plot a data-driven path forward for your sales team.

Author: Nick Rini

Nick Rini, with an extensive tenure in tech as an entrepreneur, has led three companies as CEO, and served as an advisor to several tech company CEOs. Nick’s experience includes raising venture funding, mergers and acquisitions, sales forensics consulting, sales, marketing, and sales management.


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