The Agile Selling Imperative

By creating agile selling teams, sales leaders can expedite the learning process, improve their teams' ability to meet customer needs, and succeed at locking in new business.

Today's sales teams are overburdened with information to be successful. In an ever-changing marketplace, buyers have evolved but sales teams haven't. The result? Sales enablement and operations teams create more content and provide more information to sales teams who just don't have time to sort through it all.

Customers want experts who can continually offer ideas, insights, and information to address their biggest problems. They also need forward-thinking guidance on how to stay on top of their game. By creating agile selling teams, sales leaders can expedite the learning process, improve their teams' ability to meet customer needs, and succeed at locking in new business.

But how do sales leaders help new hires quickly gain the depth of knowledge required to be an invaluable resource? How do they shorten the onboarding time so that new hires are up-to-date on the industry trends that could be impacting their customer's business?

The key is in agile selling.

As Jill Konrath presented at Qvidian's recent Connect conference, agile selling is learning how to quickly assimilate new information in a selling situation and pick up and adapt new sales skills to execute effectively. To accomplish this, reps need to adapt to a learning sequence where they prioritize new information when presented with a new selling situation. For example if there is a new market a company wants to break into, reps know to learn the major players first, then read specific publications to get to know major issues. By looking for companies with specific characteristics and the right contacts, they can determine when to reach out and how. They are learning to master one piece of information at a time, and should continue to do so for a set time every day.

Sequencing the learning for sales reps is paramount to creating agile sellers. The "fire hose" approach to onboarding and training is no longer viable. Skills training is important, as is product knowledge, positioning, and many additional elements a rep is inundated with during onboarding and beyond. This approach, however, is akin to downloading a video without enough bandwidth-it just ends up choking and only getting pieces of information across. Sequencing activities mitigates this and allows sales teams to be the agile sellers who buyers want.

Learning to let go is another invaluable skill in sales that can promote sales agility. For example, stalled deals in the pipeline distract sales reps from focusing on the deals that have greater opportunity to close. By letting go of those deals to free up the mind, sellers can pursue new prospects or move real deals forward faster. Purging the pipeline keeps reps agile.

There are sales execution solutions today that can help organizations support agile selling by providing information to reps in the context of their situation at just the right time. In doing so, reps consume just what they need when they need it, freeing up their minds to think about and solve customer problems. Customers are expecting sales teams to add greater value to the buying experience. Too much information burdens reps by cluttering their minds nd rendering them unable to think creatively for customers.

It's simple: If reps aren't able to add value for customers, they will lose the deal. Reinforcing agile selling prepares salespeople when they engage a customer. Sales execution can help organizations adapt to this ongoing process so that studying, growing, and adjusting becomes a regular part of everyday business.