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Developing a future leader sales development programme is essential for any professional services form today. Simply having a sales methodology isn’t enough. Providing tools and coaching across key accounts and proposals isn’t enough.
Sales programmes need to be in fun, yet modern, formats which engage debate and the sharing of issues and experiences from your most senior leaders, down to your most junior staff.
Benefits of having a future leader sales programme
- Address the common challenges and inefficiency in your go to market approach so everyone knows whats working and how different people are successful in delivering it (in their own style).
- Pull on your strengths consistently across the business, based on common client feedback themes so people know exactly what you do well and what you need to improve upon.
- Build awareness of relationships and delivering client value so people can see how to develop understanding and trust, so they can also challenge and innovate.
- Bring your sales methodology and tools to life and encourage junior fee earners to get involved earlier in their careers.
How to navigate the market complexity for tomorrows sales environment
Considering key market drivers in order for your future leaders to progress, they MUST have a wide and strong network of client relationships, be organised on which accounts they focus on, know how to unlock value for each unique client, and have interesting topics to debate with clients.
Market disruption impacts long-held client-supplier relationships, opening the door to competitors who can quickly build new relationships, often before incumbent firms are able to organise themselves. But leveraging the right opportunities is getting harder. Speed to market with bright ideas needs focused and fast development to maximise first-mover advantage.
All firms are modernising digitally, so competitors are increasing and emerging from all over the globe. Providing differentiated solutions that speak to individual client motivations, objectives and situations in language they understand is at the forefront of winning in the market.
People typically work across several industries and employers during their career, meaning clients roam and need a bigger network of advisers for insight and delivery support. This means future leaders must be good at keeping in touch with their external peer networks if they are NOT currently billing them. Although new online social platforms enable them to initiate and hold conversations with clients sooner and more often, it can stop your future leaders from developing relationships in person – developing rapport and actively listening and probing.
Link sales training to career development and what client say
Your future leaders need an immersive sales development environment, not a classroom experience. They should be able to express frustrations and have myths busted. They should be able to problem solve and hear stories of what works for different people and clients themselves. Most of all they need SMART action plans to start developing their skills gaps, now.
All firms conduct interviews in order to promote their staff, and there will be common sales and relationship issues that stop people from progressing their careers. Being able to quickly home-grow more talent is essential, in order to respond to the market. Advisers who are able to build solid relationships and challenge clients to think beyond the obvious to deliver multi-line solutions, will succeed in developing consultative relationships.
And you can’t develop consultative relationships on your own. Many junior fee earners are unaware of the importance of internal peer relationships that extend beyond their immediate team. Those that foster a collaborative approach to problem solving, are more successful.
However, everything has to be based on client evidence and advice. Often described as ‘the customer journey’, understand your end-to-end client feedback to spot the trends of when you are successful and when you are not. Ask clients what they value when advisers try to build relationships with them, and what stands out when people get it wrong – you will find the feedback refreshingly honest and down to earth. Whether this information comes from your brand surveys, or client feedback across various channels, its very important. This forms the basis for your future leaders development and what they should prioritise in their development. Celebrate the good stuff and fix the bad.
The most debilitating aspect is fear of the unknown creating inertia. Hearing how others faced their fears and insecurities will dispel the myths as you reframe fears into opportunities. By countering excuses so people know what IS and IS NOT expected of them, you will inspire and challenge your future leaders to think differently. Likewise, understanding the ‘mood music’ among your troops is core to this. I often hear things like: “I never realised how important BD was, until I was looking for promotion” or“I’m unsure how and when to contribute in client meetings or when/ how I’m allowed to develop my own relationships when there’s so much client delivery to see to”. Know what the mood music is among your troops, so you can say – we listened and we did something about it!
TOP TIP: All future leaders need to artfully balance IQ with EQ (eg speak their clients language) because clients buy for their own reasons (not ours). If you want some good reading on the new psychology of selling, check out Jeb Blount’s book ‘Sales EQ’. The first few chapters are especially good.
Want to leave a long lasting and positive legacy on sales and relationships performance with your future leaders? Contact Edler Consulting for an initial conversation about how you can make sales and relationship building ‘business as usual’ and fit for tomorrows world.
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