GUIDING HAND: HOW SALES MANAGERS CAN COLLABORATE WITH NEW SALES REPS TO CLOSE DEALS
As a sales manager, did you ever want to be that fly on the way watching a sales negotiation occur? Did you ever want to be in the shadows to see the sales deal happen and whisper (just in the knick of time) into the sales rep’s ear what to say or do next? As a sales manager, did you ever want to show your new recruits have a successful sales deal? Unfortunately, you are no insect and certainly not a magician (on most days). In reality, new sales reps need all the help they can get without crushing their confidence in believing they can close deals. New sales reps are driven by emotion and mojo. So, as a sales manager, coaching them is important but can be tricky. But giving the sales reps the right cues at the right time without overpowering them, you can reap great long term rewards (ie., getting deals done).
Consider using collaboration tools. In brief, collaboration tools allow sales managers to interject in a sales rep’s transaction when he needs to - without overtaking or overpowering the situation. Collaboration tools can allow you to demonstrate a successful sales presentation and closing without getting in the way. Here is how it can work:
COACHING NEW SALES REPS
1. Sales Rep starts an Impress (PowerPoint) or Write (Word) sharing session.
In the collaboration platform, the sales rep will open his PowerPoint or Word document. As the author of the collaboration session, he controls who to invite and who leads the presentation or document editing. He should password protect link access to the presentation as it probably contains sensitive information about the company or the customer’s future plans.
2. Sales Rep Invites Prospect or Customer by Sharing Link.
(Note: In this article, I will use the term prospect and customer interchangeably as the topic applies equally to both.) The sales rep should send a link to the customer that allows participants to video chat and participate in the presentation or document editing, as applicable. By way of example, in our platform, the sales rep can send an invite via the Talk app (visit crimsonecontracts.net). The sales rep can require a password to access the presentation or document. He can also set an expiration date when the link is no longer active.
3. Sales Rep Sends an Invite to His sales manager (You) as a Participant and Shares Editing Authority.
The sales manager can listen to the conversation between his sales rep and the customer. The sales manager can participate as a co-presenter since in the collaboration platform, the sales rep can grant his sales manager editing privileges. The sales manager and sales rep can agree in advance what role each will play. For fairly new sales reps, the sales manager can take most of the presentation responsibilities and the new sales rep can assume any follow-up responsibilities.
4. Sales Manager Opens a Chat Session with Sales Rep While Sales Rep Presents to Customer.
During the presentation or document editing process, the sales manager and sales rep can privately communicate by sharing a chat window. This allows each person to send cues to one another so the meeting stays focused and on point. This is especially useful in helping new sales people.
SALES MANAGERS AS SUBJECT-MATTER EXPERTS
1. Sales Rep starts an Impress (PowerPoint) or Write (Word) sharing session and invites his Sales Manager.
There are some sales presentations that require special information or senior leadership input and approval. Perhaps this meeting is a follow-up meeting to fine tune a sales offer. Perhaps the customer is pressing the sales rep for price concessions but the sales rep want a longer contract commitment. In the collaboration platform, you can present an agenda of items to discuss, pivot the discussion to the sales offer, and finish the meeting by editing the sales contract or quote in real-time. Having the sales manager present in these discussion saves time and gets the sales rep closer to closing the transaction.
2. Sales Rep Invites Customer and Sales Manager by Sharing Link.
As mentioned above in the Coaching New Sales Reps section, the sales rep should send password protected links to the customer and his sales manager. This process provides for a secure and private discussion and editing session.
3. Sales Rep Introduces His Sales Manager as SME for the Presentation.
This kind of collaboration session is intended to get the sales manager directly involved in the selling process. As a subject-matter expert (SME), the sales manager can discuss the value proposition, how the offer compares to other market offers, and his company’s commitment to customer service and quality. As a company representative, the sales manager can make on-the-spot decisions concerning the sales offer such as price concessions, fee waivers, and long term contract commitments from the customer.
SHOWING OFF YOUR SALES SKILLS
1. Sales Manager starts an Impress (PowerPoint) or Write (Word) sharing session and invites his Sales Reps.
Sometime seeing it is better than hearing about it. Sales manager are successful because they close deals. New sales reps learn faster by seeing success and experiencing it. Using collaborative tools, sales managers can easily share their expertise with new sales reps. Start a presentation and invite new sales reps. The sales manager can restrict the new sales reps to just listening to the presentation with the customer. Prior to the meeting, the sales manager can instruct the new sales reps what to listen for in the presentation.
2. Sales Manager Invites Prospect or Customer.
Similar to the Coaching New Sales Reps section above, the sales manager should send password protected links to the customer and his sales reps. This process provides for a secure and private discussion and editing session.
3. Sales Manager Informs Prospect or Customer that he invited a few new Sales Reps to the presentation.
Finally, in any collaboration session, it is best practices to inform the participants who is at the meeting or listening in. Have your sales reps listen in to better understand the sales process.
Collaboration tools are powerful tools for coaching new sales reps, observing and fine-tuning sales skills, and helping new sales rep close deals faster. Successful sales manager can show the newbies how it’s done
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About the Author.
Nat James is a practicing North Carolina attorney in the Research Triangle Park area. Mr. James has drafted, negotiated, and closed business contracts for clients since 1992. This material represent his observations from past experiences. It is not intended to provide you legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. James. If you need legal assistance, seek independent legal counsel by contacting your State Bar or State Bar Association.