In today’s world, salespeople are expected to be more than great talkers – they also have to understand how their products work and be able to explain that to potential customers.
That’s why salespeople with technical backgrounds are so appealing, but they often come without any background in sales, communication or relationship-building.
Salespeople with technical backgrounds may lack the natural gift of gab, but they are strong in other areas, such as research, measuring and evaluating. Each of those is critical to removing hope from a sales strategy. To ensure you can leverage your technical background or that of your salespeople, we sat down with JD Giles, a sales leader in an extremely technically-driven industry, to learn how he encourages his salespeople to leverage their technical backgrounds to sell more.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: JD says this system starts before a tech-savvy salesperson ever gets on the phone or face-to-face with their prospects. Leverage your love of research to learn as much as you can about the environment your prospects live in. What are their goals, challenges, and roadblocks? Skipping this step and simply unloading all the specs of what you sell, JD warns, is a recipe for failure.
R – Repeatable: Once you’ve learned about the type of customer you’ll be reaching out to, match the challenges they have with the value proposition of your company. Instead of focusing on why a certain product or service would be great, JD says to understand how your company, as a whole, makes the lives of your customers better.
Next, use that value proposition to form talking points and questions that allow you to learn the specifics of how that value proposition will benefit your customers’ lives and business as a whole. This is important because the customer may not know they need your upgraded widget, but they do know they need to see better results in a certain area. Instead of unloading the 19 details of your widget’s design, ensure your prospect understands how your company’s products and services (as a whole) help folks like them reach the kinds of goals that prospect has mentioned they’re interested in.
I – Improvable: To ensure we improve how we apply a technical skillset to sales, JD says to apply your technical mindset and reflect the effectiveness of each call you make. He says to ask, “What would I do differently?” and to elicit the opinion of your leaders and peers, even if it’s scary.
“Although you feel like you’re being evaluated by asking for advice, it’s actually real-time feedback that can help you improve,” JD says. If you were trying to engineer a better product, for instance, you’d want the feedback of users. Asking peers, leaders and even customers for feedback on how you can improve as a salesperson is no different.
M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of a technically-driven sales process, JD understands how many salespeople disdain entering information and notes into their CRM. However, he says that it’s not just a single note that makes the difference, but rather it’s what all the notes reveal that helps us understand what needs to change.
Having a technical background doesn’t have to hinder your sales results – if you have a way to apply your passion for what you sell to the needs of your prospects.