Salespeople Unprepared for 3 Profitable Conversations

Many sales representatives lack the confidence and the know-how necessary to successfully execute the three most critical conversations in the customer buying cycle-effective executive discussions, financial justification, and purchasing negotiations.

For companies looking to drive conversions and boost retention, sales professionals must possess the knowledge and the tools required to facilitate conversations and engage consumers. Yet, while most businesses understand what needs to be done, few provide the training programs necessary to establish such skill sets and improve sales performance.

Corporate Visions' recent "Bridging the Great Conversation Divide" study, examines the average sales representative's current level of confidence when it comes to having key customer conversations. The survey, which polled more than 700 B2B marketers and salespeople from around the globe, highlights the gapbetween where salespeople feel pressure and how well their organizations prepare them for these critical conversations.

The following statistics demonstrate where sales' expertise currently lies and the skills required to satisfy priorities and achieve goals:

  • Though nearly 40 percent of those polled agree that "opportunity creation" conversations have the highest impact on helping sales achieve quota, only half believe they're adequately prepared for such conversations based upon the training and content provided by their companies.
  • Having effective executive conversations (16 percent) stands as the second most integral factor to helping salespeople achieve quota, while demonstrating financial justification (10 percent) and mastering purchase negotiations (9 percent) are considered the least important.
  • While 63 percent of respondents feel prepared to showcase compelling product presentations, only 13 percent value this skill the most. Similarly, 54 percent believe they're prepared to achieve successful competitive differentiation, yet only 14 percent value this skill above all others.
  • Sales representatives agree that they encounter the greatest amount of tension and pressure when demonstrating financial justification (26 percent), mastering purchasing negotiations (25 percent), and having effective executive conversations (24 percent).
  • Salespeople believe they are least prepared to conduct these three tension-filled conversations, with one out of every two reps lacking the necessary confidence.

Key takeaway: When it comes to training sales representatives, many companies focus upon developing their employees' product presentation skills. Thus, much of today's sales workforce remains confident in its ability to showcase the organization's goods and services despite the fact that most value this skill very little. However, few claim to have the knowledge necessary to conduct the three most critical conversations of the customer buying cycle-having effective executive discussions, demonstrating financial justification, and mastering purchasing negotiations. Much of the fault lies with the company itself, as leaders fail to provide their salespeople with the right messaging, tools, and training skills. If sales representatives are to successfully carry out their roles and convert prospects to achieve maximum investment, businesses must establish programs that teach employees the proper protocol so they may engage customers effectively at every point along the path to purchase.