Salespeople know what they sell, and they sell what they know. When it comes to salesperson knowledge, people know too little about their particular industry, their customers’ needs, and their company’s products and services to be able to sell the full suite of solutions. Without this knowledge they can’t:
Indeed, they can’t and don’t hold masterful sales conversations with customers. The result: Lost sales and missed cross-selling opportunities.Some of you may be saying to yourself, “Wait. We provide knowledge training. We even hold a retreat each year and classes focused on knowledge topics.” Perhaps you’re the exception, but most often even if product knowledge training happens, it doesn’t get the job done. If there is some kind of test for knowledge gained, it’s usually only for accuracy. I got As in Spanish all through high school and college. I passed a lot of tests, but I still couldn’t hold a conversation in the language. The problem is I wasn’t fluent. And that’s the same problem with sales knowledge. Salespeople must be fluent in order to be able to use knowledge appropriately in their sales conversations. The More You Know the More You Sell Ask 10 different salespeople at your company to describe the value your products and services deliver and you’ll likely hear ten very different answers. Some will be compelling, leaving you wanting more. Others will leave you disappointed and scratching your head. When you’re selling complex products and services what you knowdrives what you sell. According to Aberdeen Group’s research report, Optimizing Lead-to-Win, best-in-class sales organizations are markedly better in these success areas:
In other words, best-in-class companies have fluent salespeople. If you can build this kind of sales knowledge within your team, you too can experience best-in-class sales results. The more you know, the more you sell. How to Train on Product Knowledge The problem is most sales training focuses on building sales skills. While sales skills are essential, they are only one side of a very important coin: capability. The other side of the coin is sales knowledge. You need to build sales knowledge so your team can speak fluently about:
And more. Building the expertise of your team can have a huge effect on your team’s overall sales performance, ability to cross sell and grow customer accounts, and the success of new product and service launches. How can you build this type of product knowledge in your sales reps? Start by following these 3 steps:
To this last point, many say, “Fluency happens over time. You can’t expect someone to become an expert right away.” Right away, true. But it can and should happen a lot faster than it does at most companies. Build knowledge experts, and train to fluency. Otherwise, salespeople won’t be capable of leading masterful sales conversations, and capturing all the opportunities they can and should.