Reading last week’s column, you probably gained a renewed respect for the economics of the sales process, and how important it is to maximize the efficiency and selling time of every interactive ad sales person on your team. Their time really is your company’s money.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked here about increasing efficiency, an important first step to improving your team’s ability to generate revenue. But any such discussion is incomplete without a mention of increasing sales effectiveness.
What’s effectiveness? The ability to close accounts and keep them sold, lower call-to-close ratios, get through to decision-makers more quickly, increase average order size, and a whole host of other measures that increase profitability and revenues.
Sales effectiveness improves in direct proportion to the level of training afforded to any sales staff. Sure, raw talent and brains contribute to strong sales results. But every salesperson — from the very junior to the most experienced — can benefit from some level of additional training. Perfection is not an achievable goal in selling: There is always, in every one of us, room for growth.
Here’s the disclaimer: I’m biased. Not only am I personally a huge believer in regular, ongoing sales training, but my firm, J.M.Ryan & Associates, provides sales training to lots of web-based businesses. (We would love to tell you all about what we can do for you. But, you won’t get a commercial for our training courses here.)
What you will get are a set of reasons to provide regular sales training in your sales and sales management teams no matter how senior your staff, how hard it is to free up the time, or whether you hire an outside trainer or run the program internally.
The finest professionals, in any field, never stop learning. And the best of them are attracted to environments that support continued education. The companies that offer the best training attract the best sales professionals.
The interactive advertising field is evolving and maturing daily. If you expect your team to stay current without support, you are kidding yourself.
There are as many different customer viewpoints as there are potential advertisers. Each one needs to be sold slightly differently. This means there is always a new approach worth learning and another technique to practice.
Selling interactive ads effectively means knowing your site, your competitors sites, the technology of the web, the changing worlds of ad service and traffic measurement, the role of advertising online, the role of advertising in other media, the relative merits of each media alternative, the range of goals an advertiser might have for their ad campaign. True, that’s a lot of knowledge to master. Is anyone you know equally strong in all of these?
Mastery is a process, not an end point. It requires years of work, both in front of clients, and in a safe space away from your marketplace. In the field and in the classroom, training should be a significant part of any sales management’s agenda.