Say your organization had a great year in sales. Numbers look good and, for the first time in a long time, the risk of losing your top earners isn’t among your most pressing concerns. In fact, given your newly found optimism, the idea of adding human capital to your sales force doesn’t keep you up at night.
Okay, we might be stretching it there.
The thought of bringing new people on always leaves business leaders a little bit restless.
We get it, but we sleep easy knowing what to do about it: onboarding new sales professionals with a strong emphasis on business acumen training.
Sure, some may say, that’s all well and good for a ‘fictional’ company that’s enjoying a resurgence, but those are fewer and farther between than ever before. In today’s volatile and unpredictable economy, most organizations no longer lose sleep about their people walking out the front door.
They are far too preoccupied about keeping their doors open!
So, let’s look at it from the other side of the fence. Your organization is struggling, and it’s no longer just a recent problem. As Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power magazine explains:
“The traditional ‘informational’ sales call has become obsolete. Customers now want sales reps to be trusted advisors who will help them sort out specific problems and determine specific solutions that can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively.”
He expands on his point by saying, “This is only possible, however, when the sales rep has a strong understanding of the customer’s business and of [his own company] as well.”
Consider that your best sales reps know exactly ‘what’ they are doing in the sales process. They are working with tools that have always proven successful in the past, so they probably don’t give much thought to ‘why’ they work – they just do and that’s good enough for them.
A chill should have just gone down your spine.
Good enough in the past is no guarantee that they will be good enough in the future. Or, more pressingly, really any ‘good’ at all. This is why the ‘why’ is so important, and it’s only possible when all your sales professionals are on the same page with business acumen.
Think of it this way: approaching a sales situation with business acumen changes the dynamic relationship between the seller and buyer. It creates situations where the seller’s specialized knowledge and perspective become a strategic part of the buyer’s long-term success.
In other words, the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of business acumen.