How do I teach my sellers those all-important ‘soft’ sales skills?

By Anna Sophie Gross Mar 8, 2018

Simply offering post-sale rewards is a short-term strategy which doesn’t generate tangible, long-term results.

Why doesn’t it generate tangible results? Because distributors, contractors and sellers don’t know how to effectively drive sales. Maybe they haven’t been trained in the most effective way, don’t have the resources at their disposal to obtain customers and communicate with existing ones, or don’t know a huge amount about the products they’re selling. Companies fail to reflect upon the limitations and needs of their sellers and instead continue blindly rewarding the act of selling, quantity of sales and sales of specific products.

By focusing on sales incentives for their resellers, manufacturers are incentivizing the goal (revenue) as opposed to the behaviors that result in the goal (e.g. learning about products, providing excellent customer service, following up with customers after a sale)

Incentive Federation’s Industry research found that programs are dictated overwhelmingly by sales quotas. Less than half of vendors structure their program around goal-based earning – a much more advisable method of generating productive, skilled, satisfied and loyal resellers.

 “Give a contractor a reward for sales and he’ll succeed for a day, teach him how to sell and he’ll succeed for a lifetime.”

This is called ‘loyalty engineering’. It’s all about rewarding and incentivizing pre-sale bahaviors which will allow marketers, advertisers, sellers and distributors to increase their understanding, skills and capabilities and therefore sell more.

That’s where new technology like Fielo comes in. Clever incentive management systems like ours can be configured to reward ‘soft’ behaviors that show that a partner – contractor, seller or distributor – is on the path towards becoming a more skilled and systematic seller.

These measures are not just about making partners more lucrative in the long term, they’re about ensuring that they remain loyal. After all, plenty of companies provide rewards for selling – what‘s to say your partners are going to pick you and your products over any other company? If you’re helping them develop a much-needed skill, on the other hand, they’ll see the value in sticking with you.

You need to make sure that the soft skills you’re training them to develop also help you deal with your central pain points: a lack of visibility into the channel, a lack of unity in your multi-hop ecosystem, and a lack of knowledge about your customer base.

You can reward your partners for:

  • Undertaking training and attending courses
  • Using portals and registration systems
  • Identifying new customers
  • Obtaining rich customer and prospect information
  • Making pre and post-sale phone calls to customers and prospects
  • Sharing and using your marketing materials

By rewarding resellers for a varied stream of company and character-building activities, your company will stand out from all of the others, you’ll be shaping more skilled and successful sellers for the future, and ultimately increasing the reputation and revenue of your brand.

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