In recent years, the sales industry has been swept up in a wave of technological advancements promising faster, better, and cheaper results. The proliferation of over a thousand SaaS platforms has led to an obsession with efficiency. And here’s the challenge, rarely can any company do all three.
They can do cheaper and faster, that does not mean it will be better. If, they can do it cheaper and better, probably they may not do it faster. At the same time, if they do it faster and better, it does not always mean cheaper in the short term.
While efficiency is important, it’s time for a wake-up call. We’ve become so efficient that we may have lost sight of what it means to be effective.
Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
Efficiency, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is the ability to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort. Effectiveness, on the other hand, is achieving the intended or expected result.
The common thread? Accomplishment.
Sales Stack: A Double-Edged Sword
2016 was once called the year of the Sales Stack by Max Altschuler of GTM Fund. The average sales stack was about $564/ month per rep. Now, in 2023, it can be as much as $1000/ month per rep.
While these tools are valuable, their power has been overestimated. Even Salesforce in the Annual State of Sales Report called 2023 the year of the sales stack consolidation.
The Plunger Effect
The obsession with efficiency has led to what’s called the “Plunger Effect”. The pipeline becomes so clogged with unqualified leads and deals that it’s a daunting task to clean up. This stems from a lack of emphasis on improving discovery skills and maintaining a clean and accurate pipeline.
The Role of Leadership
It’s easy to blame vendors or reps, but the responsibility lies with sales leadership. In their quest for Better, Faster, Cheaper, they overlooked the crucial element of effectiveness, particularly in the sales conversation itself.
The Need for Training and Coaching
Moreover, training and coaching are the keys to becoming more effective. Unfortunately, these essential elements are often overlooked or misunderstood. Executives may opt for SaaS tools because they can see and feel their impact, while training seems intangible and unmeasurable.
The effectiveness and Economic Impact around the costs of your sales stack is often directly correlated by the ability of the sales leader to use the tool in a best in class way. If you believe in “it starts at the top”, this is a prime example.
Training = Improved Effectiveness
Now, even after a strong implementation fo the tools in the sales stack, there is a need to include sales training
Sales Training is akin to the preparation needed for a marathon. It focuses on building the right skills, conducting role-playing scenarios, and teaching sales philosophies and methodologies.
Story Selling vs Story Telling
The best way to improve sales performance effectiveness is to make sure the sales team knows how to tell the right stories at the right moments. This includes a strong Respect Contract and earning the right to ask questions, which questions to ask, and when to do it.
Once the sales rep has done this level of discovery, they can then use stories from your own case studies and use cases for the prospect to understand the real value of your solutions. So, if you want to drive effectiveness, having your team memorize your case studies and use case stories will be one of the best things you can do for them.
Remember: sales training does not always mean a specific skill. You can keep your sales training fresh by focusing on learning case studies and use cases.
Coaching at Game Time
Coaching takes place during ‘game time’. In 2016 the best way to do sales coaching was to sit by your reps on live call. Now, with the improvements of technology and AI in Sales we have tools to help the sales reps not only self coach, but also get coaching on every single sales call with a tool like Wonder Way Coach (note: I am advisor, it will still blow your mind).
This does not let sales leaders off the hook for sales training and coaching. It’s simply a way you can be better, faster, and cheaper.
Imagine the power going out. Is your sales team capable of making effective calls with just a cell phone and a list of names? If not, it’s time to shift the focus from efficiency to effectiveness.
Embrace training and coaching, and watch as your sales team achieves greater success in every conversation. Remember, it’s not about the temperature of the chair; it’s about how it affects the prospect’s decision-making process.
Ultimately, the success of any sales-driven organization hinges on two things: more efficiency in the process and more effective conversations. This is only achieved through dedicated sales training and coaching. We simply encourage you to see the big picture, not the immediate cashflow.