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May 15, 2018

Provoke Deliberate Sales Practice with Mobile Technology


“Winging it” won’t cut it in today’s competitive selling environment.  Sales managers and enablement pros need to spur reps to practice on their own before getting in front of customers so they articulate the message properly and win more.

Geoffrey Colvin, in his article “What it takes to be great” in Fortune Magazine, posits that “natural talent is irrelevant to great success…The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what researchers call deliberate practice.” Deliberate practice is focused. You set a goal and you work toward reaching it with repetition and hard work.

Take Tom Brady for example, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. No doubt he was born with talent, but his success didn’t come solely from natural gifts. He spent endless hours practicing specific skills and focusing on improving weaknesses, rather than patting himself on the back for his strengths. Brady watches 17 hours of videos every week, studying every motion in detail to improve.

Are great salespeople born or made?

There is an unfortunate idea in sales culture that suggests great talent can only be born, not made. This misconception is intimidating for some reps. “Winging it” has nothing to do with success. Picture a concert pianist sitting down to perform at Carnegie Hall.  Is this their first time at the piano? Not a chance. Did they likely practice for thousands of hours to get there? Definitely. Why then would anyone think salespeople don’t need sales practice, too?

When rolling out new products, new messaging or onboarding new hires, sales teams get trained up and then send reps out into field on their own.  But sometimes, watching the first time they pitch is like a train wreck in slow motion. Learning about dozens of product lines during the training process, dealing with nerves, recalling facts, and worrying about success… these details can be overwhelming. The last thing you want reps doing is practicing live, in real time, on the customer. With the technology we have at our fingertips, why would you ever do that?

Practice Makes Perfect

Things a rep might never notice without seeing themselves in action can derail an otherwise strong performance. Video sales practice shines new light on key elements of a salesperson’s delivery.  Practicing with video forces reps to map out exactly what we’re going to say rather stand in front of a mirror and deliver the talk track in sections. Unless you’ve got to actually speak it out loud and run through it uninterrupted, it’s hard to force yourself to put the thoughts into complete sentences.

That’s why every sales rep should be encouraged to practice regularly with video and submit to a manager for review.  At each stage of the sales process, managers can initiate role plays with reps about to walk into known objections or challenges.  This way the rep refines their talk tracks through guided practice with their manager before they get in the game.

For more on how to facilitate deliberate practice for better customer conversations, watch our video on how Red Hat leveraged Allego to enhance sales practice.

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