Latest roundtable dinner discussion: Higher basic salaries, sales training and GDPR are top priorities for sales leaders in 2018

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Every quarter we run an informal dinner bringing together 12 to 15 sales leaders to openly discuss their challenges and share best practice and industry trends with their peers in a relaxed environment over some nice food and wine. Here’s a roundup of key discussions:

Sales leaders experimenting with higher basic salaries and profit share

Many recognised that by removing the unknowns associated with earning bonus was a good way to attract sales people to the business. And on the flip side, retain them too, because it had the same effect on anyone joining a new company. They were faced with the same dilemma ‘how likely I’m I to hit target and earn bonus compared to my already high basic’. One downside mentioned was it can lead people to focus on specific opportunities. And another guest felt it removed some of the motivations that drive sales people. Would you consider paying higher basics?

Sales training re-energises people as well as upskilling them

A topic that always comes up at the dinners, this time focused on the motivational aspects of training with several guests seeing a difference in people’s attitudes after attending a course. Training not only was good for improving skills but also making people more positive and motivated. We also discussed the benefits of a bespoke approach. By tailoring the training to your own products, sales processes and customers typically lead to better outcomes. Have you considered a bespoke training programme for your sales team?

Your product specialists could be your next top sales performer

A mix of views with this one! One company had had success from recruiting within and moving IT developers into sales roles. In their view, as product specialists they were better equipped to inform, educate and sell to their customers. But others from non-tech sectors with shorter sales cycles believed the extra sales skills brought by experienced sales professionals were of greater benefit. One point everyone agreed on, was that in a market where recruiting sales talent is hard, considering new approaches ‘outside of your market’, whatever that might mean specifically for you, was worth considering.

You shouldn’t only talk about sales figures

The discussion focused on the importance of ongoing team communication. Everyone agreed you should always mention the big wins, top performers and new accounts. But often there are other behaviours or specific activities that are worth mentioning that might not have led directly to sales. This can help reinforce new behaviours and habits you want to encourage with the team and gives other people the chance of recognition. What key points do you like to mention with your team?

Sales leaders feeling on the sharp end of GDPR

May 2018 see’s the biggest change in data legislation for 25 years. And many sales leaders around the table are concerned. They are confident that the wider business will be compliant, and that marketing have taken the necessary steps. But even though many sales teams have received training their concerns centre around how sales professionals, who are often weak at administration and compliance, will react. How GDPR ready are your sales teams?

Sales people create their own luck!

The general view was that everyone has different educational backgrounds and upbringings, but sales people tend to have certain character traits that help make them a success in business. They are more ambitious, confident and hardworking, which when an opportunity presents itself, they are more likely to make the most of it.

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