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Beyond Training: Get Your B2B Team Selling More

Here’s the hard truth. Most companies are not getting enough from their sales teams.

Why?

Because they are too focused on sales training and completely missing the other half of the equation. I’ve lived in this space for 20 years and I can tell you this:

TRAINING ISN’T THE FINISH LINE, IT’S JUST THE START OF THE RACE TOWARDS MORE SALES.

Most organizations consider the following to be a homerun:

· 225 agents RSVP for a 1hr webinar on your destination/product,

· 130 show up,

· within a week 25+ agents sign up for your online training course,

· and 8 complete it.

Hey, it’s a good start, but just because an advisor has finished a course or attended a webinar doesn’t mean he or she is going to be actively engaged in using this great sales information to sell your product.

In fact, the more time that goes by, the more the advisor is going to forget from the training. No matter how great your program is.

I would contend that an advisor that has never graduated training, but regularly over months/years spends time with your sales material, shares your video’s and collateral with clients via email/text/social, and is seen making many queries into booking engines and directory’s would be more valuable than an agent who you only see as attended or graduated any of the traditional travel trade “training courses”, all that proves is their willingness to endure endless pages of text.

So, to get more out of your sales team you NEED to be thinking of both engagement and enablement, and how you can better support advisors during those long periods in-between engagements (webinars, sales calls, tradeshows), when they need you the most.

Why Training Isn’t Enough: My Issue with Engagement And The Current State Of The State

Most trade engagement strategies involve exercises or events like: webinars, online-training, in person seminars, trade shows, sales calls, etc.

All of these tools are designed to attract agents and convey your sales story. And these elements are critical for generating demand and producing bookings. If your sales force doesn’t understand the product…or can’t add much value to the buyer, they aren’t going to have much luck converting. Basic stuff.

And while strong content is certainly a key factor that can impact the effectiveness of training, the fact is even the best content is forgotten after only a short period of time.

Are you familiar with Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve?

This effect states that 75% of what’s shared is forgotten or misremembered within days… unless you can foster additional exposure to the material.

What’s needed is sales information agile enough to deliver the “just in time” expertise needed to convert more sales.

Ok, so even the best content will only take you so far. Now consider this:

By the time a traveler gets to an expert advisor they have already done 20+ hours of web research and are 50% of the way towards a buying decision.

Given this, it’s harder than ever for the agent to add value, be-the-expert and take back control of the conversation to influence the ultimate booking.

There was a time when agent’s used to hold all the cards. That leverage is gone.

And while the game has changed…there are steps organizations can take to greatly improve the effectiveness of the sales force.

The key is keeping agents engaged and productive with the right content when they NEED it most… at the point of sale with their clients.

In other words, agents greatly benefit from easy access to all the critical content they need 24/7, everywhere and anywhere they need it.

Think… Universal Rep-Readiness… which brings us to Sales Enablement.

What Exactly is Sales Enablement?

The foundation of sales enablement is to provide sales people what they need to successfully engage the buyer and add value throughout the entire buying process. A big part of sales enablement involves equipping sales people with a combination of content, tools, universal access and ‘just in time’ expertise to keep pace with the way travel is sold today.

That’s it.

Now, this isn’t a new concept. Sales enablement has been around for some time but lately it has been getting a lot more attention recently because over the years major organizations have adopted this discipline and the results are clearly proving a significant lift of sales productivity and overall effectiveness, consistent over years and years.

In fact, organizations with great Sales Enablement tools are up to 50% more effective in all NINE key sales support metrics or KPI’s.

Think about this.

Approximately 70% of all marketing and sales material goes unused by sales teams, primarily because it’s hard to find and share.

Yep…70%.

Consider how much time, energy and dollars are spent developing sales materials. And yet only a third of all that is being produced is even being used.

But with the proper sales enablement tools, organizations can add more top-line revenue and improve bottom line margins.

“If you’re a sales leader, and you want to amp up your sales force to engage effectively with today’s buyer, you need a modern enablement program — one that has training and rep readiness core to its strategy.”

— Mary Shea, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

The TravPRO Mobile Difference:

We created the Sales Companion™ and feel this tool is changing the game. It allows agents immediate, easy access to the sales intelligence either online or offline that will allow them to impact and influence client’s decisions and increase conversion rates.

The TravPRO Mobile Sales Companion™ helps you respond, enable and drive improved results from not only frontline agents and advisors, but your own internal sales team and on-boarding new hires to get to their first sales quicker.

· Drives greater retention, promotion, inquiries and increased close-rates across the entire army of sellers.

· Provides a new and valuable offline touch point with agents, which no one else provides! Consider a remote salesperson and how many times during the day they are on and off different Wi-Fi networks… if you are the only story at their fingertips when the right client is in front of them, you have an advantage.

· Provides a personalized/adaptive selling solution. Each mobile version contains an embedded “MY” tab where an individual agent can favorite any page or supplier Showcase, and it populate their own area with the content they need most and best supports their specialization, such as romance.

· Provides a well-organized, client-facing Sales Toolbox to more effectively sell and stay focused on the client in front of them. All the video, audio insights, brochures and any other sales collateral to easily share or show with one-tap, anytime, anywhere. Time to retire the 20lb roller bag and generic print collateral.

· Integrates a robust, interactive Product Directory / Showcase for partners or destinations within a region. With so much effort on generating demand for a destination or brand, the story can’t complete itself without the seller connecting to the product itself. A vast knowledge gap currently existing in the sales funnel, our tool closes that gap by providing the information agents need to confidently make recommendations.

Conclusion:

In today’s hyper-competitive travel world, organizations need agents to be as an effective as possible. Training alone will only get them so far. In fact, by focusing solely on training — you are leaving money on the table.

To get more sales and drive more bottom-line results means focusing on enablement — getting agents the information they need wherever and whenever they need it.

I built my business around this concept and it’s already having an impact signaling the end of the registered/graduate metric as generic, and behavioral based activity (shares, time spent, queries) as a better predictor of future productivity from any salesperson.

With premier clients such as:

· Visit California

· PromPeru

· Globus and Avalon Waterways

If you think there’s more you can be doing to increase your b2b productivity and want to talk more about sales enablement, let me know. Maybe TravPRO can help. www.travpromobile.com

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