Over the last few months, SalesLoft partnered with Modern Sales Pros (MSP), an invite-only group for sales management and operations professionals, to embark on an eight-city Salon Tour. A salon, for the uninitiated, is a formal gathering where individuals have in-depth discussions over a wide range of topics.
Along the way, we interacted with over 1,000 sales professionals across the country. We’ve learned what Modern Sales Pros are reading, and shared what we’ve overheard, but now it’s time to learn what they’re doing in practice!
With so many sales experts gathered in one area, how could we not take the opportunity to pick everyone’s brain for sales knowledge? We asked each attendee three questions to learn the best practices organizations implement with their sales organizations to make their sellers successful.
Attendees across the country – from New York to Atlanta to San Francisco and even virtually – blew us away with their answers. We’ve crunched the numbers, analyzed the responses, and summarized our findings below to explore what Modern Sales Pros are doing in practice.
What percent of Account Executives are personalizing emails?
The importance of email personalization can’t be understated. The old “spray and pray” formula is no longer an effective strategy. Salespeople need to connect with prospects on a deeper level. We asked Modern Sales Pros how many of their AEs incorporated personalization, at any level, into their email prospecting and provided the results below.
What the graph tells us
The noisy sales landscape means that sellers need to differentiate themselves from the competition to connect with customers. A more personalized approach to prospecting gets customers to engage, piques their interest, and motivates them to respond.
The majority of respondents (71%) indicated that their Account Executives include some level of personalization in their email prospecting. While the level of personalization isn’t clear, our research suggests there’s a dramatic improvement in reply and open rates when emails are personalized. Even personalizing just 20% of email content leads to a 33% increase in open rate.
With the majority of MSP members incorporating personalization into prospecting and customer engagement, it’s no secret that success relies on connecting with the prospect. If you’re not using personalization to reach new customers, try it! Start with the email subject line and work your way down and wait for the replies to come flying in.
How is your organization helping salespeople ask effective questions?
What’s the benefit of asking effective questions? We’re glad you asked. Asking the right questions uncovers specific needs and sets any salesperson up to nail their sales pitch. Question-asking is an art form, and the only way to get better is through practice and preparation.
Organizations can prepare their sellers in a variety of ways to improve question-asking abilities, so we asked the Modern Sales Pros what techniques or approaches they use in their organization.
What the graph tells us
Plain and simple – all of the Modern Sales Pros and their organizations invest in the ability to ask effective questions.
Professional development took the cake (53%) when it comes to what MSP members do to help reps ask effective questions. Coaching opportunities or attending training are examples of ways organizations can invest in professional development.
Discovery tools came in second, with 46% of respondents leveraging technology to assist in asking better questions. Whether it’s utilizing the CRM or leveraging sales prospecting tools, researching a prospect before a discovery call can aid in developing better questions to dig deeper into challenge areas.
Daily sparring was the third most popular method, with 24% of MSPers using this practical approach to development. When teams practice together and role-play conversations, it helps prepare one another reps for calls. In fact, The Association for Talent Development found that learning from peers helped 91% of sales reps succeed.
Whatever the approach, all Modern Sales Pros agreed that it’s vital to ask effective questions to understand the customer better. Asking effective questions allows reps to better position their solution for the customer.
How often do you provide sales coaching?
It’s no secret that ongoing sales coaching impacts sales success. Investing in improving skills, implementing best practices, and focusing on the overall development of the sales team pays off tremendously in the long run. Modern Sales Pros understand the importance of development and shared with us how often they provide sales coaching.
What the graph tells us
The results speak for themselves, Modern Sales Pros love sales coaching, and why wouldn’t they?! The ROI from coaching reps is huge. A study by Altify found that sales coaching increases sales productivity by 88%. Increasing productivity leads to an increase in revenue, confidence, and overall success of a sales team. Most respondents (86%) provide coaching at least on a bi-weekly basis, and 100% utilize it as a best practice.
The most impactful result was the frequency of coaching. Coaching isn’t useful if it’s a one-time event; ongoing training has the most significant impact on sales success. When 87% of sales training is forgotten within a month, providing training on a regular basis reinforces lessons and best practices.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on the MSP Salon Tour! It was a great success, and we loved learning and sharing the best practices and strategies leading organizations employ to increase the effectiveness of their sellers. If you weren’t able to join us on this tour, we hope to see you at the next one!
Looking for more best practices of top performing sales reps? Check out our latest research here!