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5 Trends in Sales, As Heard at Rainmaker

4 min read
Updated Aug. 9, 2021
Published Mar. 15, 2018

With over 44 session and 74 speakers, this year’s Rainmaker was bigger than ever. Despite the size and the diversity of sessions, we heard a few common themes. Even in our increasingly automated world, each of these trends has a decidedly human focus.

1. Pay attention to what your customer really cares about

In sales, we need to remember to focus on the “why.” As salespeople, our real job is to find those one or two things our customers care about and tie our product to them in a meaningful way.

“You are losing deals over objections to parts of your product that your prospect doesn’t even care about.” – Kevin Dorsey, Head of Sales Development and Enablement at ServiceTitan

By the time you’ve presented a solution, your prospect should be able to communicate to you what the ROI of your solution would be to their business.

2. Focus on your customer’s experience

While technical talent is essential, nowadays it’s not hard for rivals to implement competing features in less than 24 hours. The real differentiator is the human connection. Ultimately, sales is about helping people.

“Every company in B2B can get to the outcomes. It’s focusing on the experience that matters.” – Derek Grant, VP of Commercial Sales at Salesloft

3. Practice makes perfect

Most of us heard “practice makes perfect” from piano teachers, coaches, or parents growing up, but it still applies as an adult. More than one Rainmaker session mentioned the importance of practice or warm-up for those in a customer-facing role.

“You don’t want to practice when you’re supposed to be performing.” – Lindsey Nelson, Sales Ops Executive

Here are a few specific ideas we heard:

  • Implement recurring sparring – try Fridays when demos are slow anyway.
  • Make it a scheduled event for your team rather than a suggestion. If it’s not on the calendar, it won’t happen.
  • Have a theme for each sparring session. For example, practice budget objections on Monday, time on Tuesday, gatekeepers on Wednesday, etc.
  • Take a video of role-play sessions to observe body language.

4. In-person coaching is still relevant

In our increasingly virtual world, it’s tempting to automate everything – including training. We can’t be so focused on using technology to complete tasks that we lose the human touch. There’s no substitute for coaching and spending time with your team.

“If you don’t teach someone how to have the first meeting, all you’ve done is accelerate the suck.” – Richard Harris, Owner of The Harris Consulting Group

5. Slow down

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

No, Ferris didn’t make an appearance at Rainmaker.  He did have the right idea though.  In order to get to where we want to be, sometimes we need to take a step back. Take the time to reflect on your customer’s needs, and go out of your way to share knowledge when them when it makes sense.

When one of our attendees heard a customer and her whole family had the flu, he researched tips for families battling the flu. Rather than pushing to get on her calendar when she returned, this sales rep slowed down and listened to his customer’s needs. A flu article wasn’t relevant to the product the rep was selling, but it was relevant to her need.

If we had to choose one takeaway from Rainmaker this year, it is that the personal element is non-negotiable.  If we can rise above the noise and authentically connect with customers – internally or externally – the rest will fall into place.

Want to learn more from our customers and industry leaders? Join us in Atlanta from March 11-13, 2019 for Rainmaker 2019!

Rainmaker 2019