Five Sales Productivity Trends for 2013

As we move closer to mid-year, senior managers are focusing on how to improve sales productivity. It is the number one topic that I hear lenders discuss nationwide. As market conditions change, sales organizations must adapt how they conduct business. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to share some sales trends that I am seeing in the field.

Here are five emerging trends for 2013:

&#8226 Rookies are a top priority. Performance data shows that those who are matched to selling dramatically outperform individuals who do not possess raw sales talent. In fact, typically 10% of a sales force produces 40% of a company’s origination volume. But top producers will need to come from a new generation. Rookies will be the primary source of future top producers. This means companies will need to be more effective at selecting those with the right personality traits and behaviors to succeed in origination. A professional analytical approach in selection is imperative.

View the PDF “How to Evaluate Assessment Testing,” which lists the questions that a company should ask when selecting a vendor.

Language matters.Regardless of which sales approach your company uses, there is no question that what an originator says is equally as important as how he or she she says it. In other words, an originator must study and know how to use language to sell to their client base. Using the perfect words to appeal to a customer’s specific mindset is critical. Because every customer is different, I believe that neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) should be part of all sales training courses.

&#8226 Technology failure. While technology has profoundly improved effectiveness of originators, there is an interesting trend that is almost a backlash. Originators today are always available to customers via cell phones and email and every account update they make in is broadcast to corporate. I am definitely hearing and seeing originators complaining about technology burnout. It is time to evaluate what the sales person and others should be doing.

&#8226 Coaching skills are important. Producing managers have long been a mainstay of the industry. However, too often, their production was more important than whether they could manage. Not any more. Companies are redesigning managers’ job descriptions and dropping sales in favor of coaching skills. It makes sense because the cost to originate is driven by production per originator. Getting the most out of the sales staff is a function that the manager must perform.

&#8226 Continued migration from field to phone sales. Increasingly, field-based sales are moving to phone/Internet sales. The new approach is the “American Expressing of telemarketing centers. American Express has sales professionals — not customer reps — who can deliver a professional sell with their voice instead of via a physical presence. Mastering the science of persuasion by voice is critical.

Is your sales organization ready for these trends?