THE BLOG

The Responsiveness Advantage for Salespeople

11/23/2013 03:13 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

2013-11-23-theresponsivenessadvantage.jpg

The scarcest commodity today is mindshare. With the rise of social media, social networks and the smart phones, it is not surprising that "attention spans" of people are dropping at a breathtaking rate. When research suggests that the average person consumes (passively) anywhere from 1,500 - 2,000 brand impressions a day, the choice to pay attention to ANYTHING becomes tough.

Your prospects are no different from you. Your business, like any other business in the world is competing for the mindshare of each and every prospect.

The chase for the prospect's mindshare is a tough problem at hand. You can make the problem worse if you and your team are not responsive enough.

Let me explain.

Let's take the case where one of your marketing programs pierces through the shields of the prospect and evokes his or her interest. Your prospect does some research and reaches out to your company for some information. Now, you can assume that he or she will reach out to your competitors too for similar information. When the prospect does not get a timely response from you, he or she can assume many reasons for that. These reasons include but not limited to:

  • You don't have good answers for the prospect's questions
  • Your offerings don't meet the prospect's requirements
  • You are not interested in the deal
  • You are too busy to give attention to a new prospect
  • You must be making up answers

As you can see, none of the prospect's assumptions above are good for you.

All else (such as basic features of your products) being equal, the most responsive vendor gets a good shot at setting the agenda laying the foundation for a win.

Forrester reports that the spoils go to those who can engage earlier, with 76% of all deals going to those that can help the buyer establish the need and define the buying agenda, while only 24% of deals went to those winning the "bake-off".

Today, being responsiveness can be a true differentiator for your organization.

Here are a few ways to get you and your team to be more responsive

1. Mindset

It all starts with your mindset. If being responsive is not on you priority list, then it's hard to get there. You and your team have to realize the importance of being responsive and internalize it to the core.

2. Agility

Agility is speed with which you adapt to change. Your team should not only have the responsive mindset but also be prepared to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace where the prospect's needs are evolving AND your competitor's offerings and approaches are changing to meet the current needs of the prospects.

3. Preparation

This seems basic but it's important to make a note of this. It takes time to prepare and be ready to be responsive. Today, the ramp up time for a new salesperson in the team can range from anywhere from 2 months to 12 months. Preparation and the use of right tools can drastically reduce the ramp up time for a new salesperson. This, in turn could literally improve the top line and bottom line for your company.

4. Tools

The right tools are those that will put the relevant information at the right time right at the fingertips of salespeople. If your salespeople don't have these kinds of tools, they are at a disadvantage. With the right tools, your salespeople can be F.A.S.T meaning they can find the right information, assemble them, share them and can track the usage of what they shared.

5. Relevance

Last but not the least, responsiveness without relevance or has no meaning for buyers. They don't need salespeople who don't know what they are talking about or cannot tell stories to help them to how others have solved problems. According to Forrester Research, "In nine out of 10 meetings, salespeople fail to demonstrate that they understand the problems executives are facing and are unable to connect the dots between those challenges and your solution". One way to ensure that your salespeople are relevant is by sharing stories of past wins and losses. Those stories will help your salespeople to enrich their background thinking about the space, the prospects and the position your company's offerings hold in the marketplace and hence will equip them to be more relevant.

In summary, building highly responsive sales teams (ebook) is NOT optional anymore. And, it's never too late to get started.