Increasing Success in Direct Sales

In the first installment of “Learn from your peers” our guest Mary Kaufmann shares how an effective learning strategy can help Direct Sales organizations with increased sales and success. 

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Thirty Billion Dollars. According to some estimates that’s the size, in just a year, of the market in the direct sales industry. If you are connected to this industry you have to wonder, how can we grow this number and how can we grow our share of it?

I had the chance to sit down with Mary Kaufmann to get her take on what StepItUp can bring to the table to support the direct sales industry. Mary is a 20-year veteran of the direct sales industry, either leading her own direct sales team or working in sales development within a corporate office.

A challenge faced by anyone in direct sales is helping new recruits to get started strong. “In our company, we’ve learned that new team members are 85% more likely to stay connected and engaged if they have success within the first 72 hours,” Mary said. As each day passes, engagement and sustainability drops.

The bottom line is that building a strategy for early success and developing “quick wins” helps any new person build a sustainable and lasting business that can be life-changing for everyone involved.

Some of the specific tactics that enable new team members to get started strong are as follows:

  • A simple step-by-step approach to encourage momentum and fuel the early fire of excitement immediately after joining the team
  • Encourage new teams to articulate their purpose and reason for saying yes to this new opportunity is a must.
  • Develop an approach to sharing your product or opportunity
  • Ensure team members have access to the basic product training
  • Offer tested and proven approaches to making introductions, telling your story or painting vision for the business opportunity
  • Identifying skills and areas that need improvement

As anyone knows who has any experience in direct sales we have to keep things simple so new team members are not overwhelmed. Providing too much information can diminish momentum and cause people to give up before they really get started.

This is not just a challenge that Mary has faced. Industry-wide, building early success for new team members has been a barrier to success. According to a study: 36% of organizations find “ramping up new sales reps takes too long” as one of the top reasons why their teams are failing to reach their quota goals.”

Of course for a person in Mary’s position, this presents a near debilitating problem. In order to achieve the types of success you want, you essentially need to learn how to multiply yourself and become “duplicatable.” This is enabled by leveraging strategies to spread your influence far and wide, by using a virtual presence such as phone calls and webinars or identifying other tools to spread the message.

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When team leaders can’t be present with their new recruit, they have to trust that their new team member has quick and easy access to the information and answers needed to help them share their product or business story. Sometimes trust is given too early in their learning journey and people fail.

“A whopping 80% of companies that rated ramping up new reps as very important to reaching quota attainment also reported that their systems are not connected. This leads to a disorganized flow of content and resources, especially for new hires. This occurs during onboarding when sales reps receive information faster than they can process it while not having the proper context to apply it. Instead of implementing a strategic training and ramp-up program, sales leaders are still resorting to “info dumping” on new hires.”

Technology as an Answer

To meet some of these challenges, direct sales corporate offices have implemented a CRM system which is helpful from a data collection and organization standpoint but these systems are more reactive than proactive and fall short in addressing the real issues at hand.

They also utilize asset management systems and static, online training courses. At issue though is the disconnectedness of these systems. Information in one system may not match the information listed elsewhere or may not be up-to-date. Alternatively, Someone may look for an answer in one system and not be able to find it  and then give up and walk away. All the while, that answer was housed in a separate system but it was unreachable.

StepItUp has huge potential to help a direct sales team overcome these hurdles and secure their success.

Information Access

When you provide your team with a central location to information, it removes the guessing and provides them with a more confident baseline from which to move forward.

“At it’s core, StepItUp has the potential for business builders to help new team members start strong. Leveraging the step-by-step approach to onboarding can increase clarity, reduce frustration and enhance confidence in sharing any product and business opportunity.” Mary believes.

Download our latest white paper to learn more about StepItUp and how you can experience The Benefits of Event Based Learning.

StepItUp can also be used as a portal where team members can quickly access key information needed before a meeting or event to get refreshed on key product details or messaging for example.

Sharing

StepItUp is designed with the potential for company and team leaders to be able to track learning progress and performance of team members skill and knowledge level at each step of their journey. These leading indicators offer data and knowledge that can be used by sales and company leadership to enable them to track the current knowledge level of their team members including strengths and weaknesses. This is a much needed approach to learning to help ensure team members have the knowledge they need to succeed, often before they even realize they need it.

Step it up offers shared knowledge that is timely and individualized. For example, if a team leader notices a colleague having trouble with a particular product, they can customize some learning opportunities around that deficiency.

“A tool like this gives every member of the team access to the same information, at the same time and helps to build a confidence and competence,” Mary said.

It also opens lines of communication from team member to member, allowing them to share information, tips, encouragement, and success. It’s learning and education as a social platform, and what are direct sales team members if not social.

Management Potential

Mary can also envision the StepItUp environment as being particularly beneficial for team leaders, like herself. “It could enable a leader to track the success of their team, nudge them along, and see areas where they might need some additional support,” she said.

It also has the potential to allow a team leader to “duplicate” themselves, thereby solving the issue of needing to be with two team members at the same time to support their efforts.

“It’s a way to track your success. You can identify the people who are generating results and support them.” Mary said “This tool (StepItUp) can help you leverage your time better so you can focus on the people who are really working toward a goal.

You’re Only As Good As…

While a direct sales team can be helped immensely by a tool like StepItUp, a tool is only as good as the people using it.

In Mary’s experience, the best team members are not those who come in with a deep sales background but rather “people with a desire to apply the company’s product to their life.” This passion for the product then translates itself to sales success, particularly when it can be harnessed.
StepItUp has the potential to be a valuable tool for a direct sales team or for those in other industries as it provides employees with helpful information as they go about their daily work flow. It provides efficiency to processes and tasks, which leads to improved organizational and employee performance.

Download our latest white paper to learn more about StepItUp and how you can experience The Benefits of Event Based Learning.

How can you benefit from StepItUp? Let’s talk.

 

 

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