Many times in life, we deal with salespeople who have little or no understanding of our needs and just keep trying to push on us things that we may or may not have any use for. For me, and probably for you as well, the times when I’m most likely to spend money are when an intelligent person thoroughly understands what problems I’m dealing with and comes up with thoughtful solutions to those problems. Or in the words of famed Apple design chief Jonathan Ive in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Our job is not to remind you that life is difficult and complicated. It’s to provide a solution that appears inevitable and obvious.”[1. “Apple’s Foray Into Luxury,” Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday Sept. 12-13, page B1] In a case like that, I’m completely happy to listen to that person or company, to share further information with that person, and to do business with them. In fact, I wish the world was filled with salespeople who did their homework and understood what their prospects need because then we would all have the right products and services, spend our time and money efficiently, and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Here at YESCALATE® we help well-prepared salespeople to close the deal through deeper insight into the decision-making processes that their prospects are engaging in. Unfortunately, no matter how much the importance of preparation is stressed, some salespeople still find themselves having trouble preparing, or preparing enough. In such a case where the salesperson does not understand the prospect’s central pain points, no amount of closing skill is going to get the salesperson to yes, which is our goal.
In light of this dilemma, we oftentimes suggest that our clients consider sales team accelerator kits.
If you have been following the digital sales solution trends or trolling the latest press releases, you may have seen a term called “sales team accelerator kits” or “sales accelerator tool kits” pop up. Companies like Betts Recruiting[2. “Betts Recruiting Announces Continued Success in Europe and Introduces New ‘Sales Team Accelerator Tool Kit’ to Help European Tech Startups Expand Their Sales Teams,” http://www.marketwatch.com/story/betts-recruiting-announces-continued-success-in-europe-and-introduces-new-sales-team-accelerator-tool-kit-to-help-european-tech-startups-expand-their-sales-teams-2015-07-28] are making a business out of selling turnkey sales accelerator kits to companies that want them, while others like Autovod can create customized kits[3. “Sales Acceleration Kits,” http://www.autovod.com/solutions_1.php] based on a company’s unique needs and market plans.
But what’s an accelerator kit, really? How can it help your business? All the kits seek to do one thing: simplify sales and take your team back to the basics, where direct, face-to-face decision points matter more than the points on a chart.
Sales Acceleration Fundamentals
Fundamentally, what a sales team accelerator kit does is provide a digital platform for accessing customized sales-related internal training and background materials as well as intelligence on your prospects and their industries in an organized, quickly accessible fashion so that your salespeople can get the needed background at a glance. Some are highly customized with video explanations by your own internal subject matter experts, pre-made powerpoints, and case studies of prior clients. Others simply serve as digital librarians, marshaling data from websites, industry information resources, etc., so that the sales team doesn’t need to go and find all these resources at the last minute, or not at all.
Common sales team accelerator kit components include:
- Analytical tools to better understand the prospect’s objectives
- Off-the-shelf strategy recommendations for different clients and industries
- Customized checklists for using your CRM tools correctly and efficiently
- Metric guidelines to sift through leads more quickly
- Resources to explain terminology and company goals
- Tools to rapidly share information or find documents
- Modern interfaces that present data in a flexible, easily-accessible fashion
Businesses on the Move
Let’s picture a business. We’ll call it LeanGreen. LeanGreen is a health foods distributor that is breaking out of the small business model and into a mid-sized company model. It wants to create a much more aggressive sales team and is hiring a number of new people to fulfill this role.
The problem is that LeanGreen doesn’t have much experience with this type of sales force. Demand for their products is quickly growing, but their sales team has more questions than answers and just isn’t ready for this new level of activity. LeanGreen decides to use a sales team accelerator kit to help the sales department.
LeanGreen’s sales team accelerator kit includes training platforms and resources to quickly bring its new sales reps up to speed and communicate instantly with other members of their teams. It also includes individualized resources to help managers choose the right Salesforce and Oracle tools for their teams without overburdening them with software no one will use. Additionally, it provides them with separate tools to address particular sales data flow needs within the company, such as last year’s seasonal ordering trends. A customized portion of the kit even provides prospecting tools such as buyer lists for many supermarkets and health food stores.
After several months, LeanGreen sees a noticeable change in the way the new sales department is working. As teams use the kit, their time behind computer screens and in front of data sheets has noticeably diminished. Their time visiting clients, making cold calls, and revisiting leads has notably increased: sales team members now have more time to spend with the decision makers. Revenue streams are starting to reflect this as well.
Of course, LeanGreen’s situation is ideal, but it’s also the common focus of today’s accelerator kits. Fortunately, prices are starting to go down for these kinds of platforms, too. According to Gartner studies, the cost of infrastructure changes like this is predicted to drop by 40% by 2017[4. “Business Technology Trends Report 2015,” http://techtrends.accenture.com/us-en/business-technology-trends-report.html] thanks to new efficiencies, putting accelerator kits within reach of more smaller companies.
Using YESCALATE® for Results
Even with an accelerator kit on your side, your team itself is the most important tool you have to work with. Is your sales force ready to get back to basics…or have they lost some polish on their selling techniques due to spending a bit too much time on CRM software? If that rings true, try out the YESCALATE® sale tactics to tap into exactly what clients want, and how to GET TO YES FASTER®—in fact, get to “yes” in record time.