25 of the best sales books to hone your skills in 2022
Even with the aid of technology innovations, being a top-performing sales professional requires skill and finesse. Here are 25 of the best sales books...
The Team at CallMiner
December 09, 2021
Selling to other businesses is challenging, and the best practices and tricks of the trade differ from the practices used for business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. That’s because B2B or enterprise sales are usually multi-step, with phases that touch multiple reps and teams. The truth is each of these steps, whether it’s an email, phone call, or video conference, offers insights that can help reps improve and close more deals.
Whether your sales or business development representatives are doing cold outreach or play a role in the decision-making phases of the sales funnel, insights from B2B sales conversations can help improve your bottom line. But are your sales practices as effective as they could be? What do your top-performing agents do differently? And how is that knowledge shared across the call center?
Below, we’ll discuss a few proven best practices that will help you refine your B2B sales processes and develop targeted sales strategies that get results.
It’s crucial to have an in-depth understanding of your target B2B customer and the journey they take as they work through the process of learning about your business, researching potential solutions to their problem, and making a buying decision. By mapping the B2B customer journey, you’ll identify the various touchpoints at which prospective buyers might interact with your company and where they’re at in the sales funnel at each touchpoint.
These insights are crucial as they enable sales reps to tailor conversations to the various stages of the buyer’s journey, meeting prospects where they are with relevant, useful information. You don’t want to send prospects to your sales closers when they’re in the information-gathering stage, and you don’t want to send prospects who are ready to buy to top-of-funnel resources. When touchpoints are associated with specific stages in the buyer’s journey, contacts can be routed to the appropriate department to ensure that every interaction delivers value and qualified leads are routed to your most effective closers.
Beyond the touchpoints and stages of the B2B sales funnel, your sales reps should have a deep understanding of your target buyer’s pain points. B2B decision-makers are typically short on time and don’t often want to entertain sales representatives when they perceive that it’s a waste of time. Understanding their key pain points allows your sales reps to cut through the noise and get their attention quickly.
Leveraging technology solutions such as customer journey analytics can provide valuable insights into customer sentiment, as well as their wants, needs, and behaviors across channels and at different stages throughout the buyer’s journey. By tapping into the vast amount of unsolicited feedback your customers provide through email, social media, chat, SMS messages, and other channels, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of customer wants and needs, arming your sales reps with the data they need to deliver personalized, highly relevant sales pitches that target prospects’ most important needs.
Are top sales reps born or are they trained? With the right approach to agent coaching, you can cultivate rockstar sales representatives. The most effective coaching process involves providing prompt, relevant feedback to help reps refine their sales approach and close more sales. By providing feedback in real-time or immediately after a sales interaction, managers ensure that the context is still fresh in reps’ minds.
When feedback is provided in real-time, it can influence the outcome of sales conversations – meaning your reps can take those skills to future interactions, giving them the confidence to continue to improve their sales skills while simultaneously improving the company’s bottom line.
While there’s a place for broad, standardized training materials during the training and onboarding process, personalized feedback is valuable for ongoing performance management. When feedback is personalized, it’s more relevant to the rep, and they’re more likely to recognize the specific areas where they can improve. But sales managers are often overseeing dozens of sales reps, making it difficult to give each one the personalized attention they need.
Automated performance management solutions like CallMiner provide enterprise sales teams and managers with insights into customer and prospect interactions, making it possible to monitor performance trends and identify and target behavior for guidance or reinforcement. Automatic rep scoring, trackable notifications, and audio snippet examples provide real-time feedback for reps, fostering a culture of continuous self-improvement to increase performance and sales effectiveness.
Sales scripts can be useful for training new sales representatives and ensuring that they comply with regulations and company policies, but sales scripts often result in that tell-tale “scripted” feel, which can be off-putting to prospects. That’s why arming reps with sales scripts as a foundation, but empowering them with the flexibility to go off-script can be a highly effective strategy. Further, understanding what reps are saying outside of scripts that resonate with customers and prospects means supervisors can update scripts and share best practices with entire teams.
When sales reps are well-trained and have a deep understanding of their buyers, going off-script allows them to personalize their interactions to forge relationships with prospects. It also enables sales reps to speak to their buyers’ most pressing pain points and present your product or service as the best possible solution.
Sales can be challenging, but leveraging AI-driven analytics solutions like CallMiner provides enterprise sales teams with a wealth of valuable data to inform data-driven decisions and equip sales reps with the insights they need to succeed. By analyzing every interaction, CallMiner helps you connect the dots between interactions and action for continuous improvement.
Learn how to use conversational intelligence to improve B2B sales