Sales is an experiment – there’s no right or wrong, just varying degrees of effectiveness. Our job is to constantly seek ways we can increase our effectiveness.
- Jill Konrath
A/B testing isn’t just for marketing. As sales expert Jill Konrath says, sales leaders should constantly test out new theories, try new sales tactics and always be looking for a better way to sell. But most importantly, they have to track and analyze successes to understand why one thing works, and another doesn’t.
If your sales team doesn’t have a true culture of experimentation, it may be time for a change. Here’s how to turn your team of sales reps into scientists who innovate and find the best possible sales methods to close more deals.
Finding the Best Value Prop
Creating a strong value proposition could be the difference between connecting with a qualified prospect, or missing the mark. Whether you’re a new startup just starting to connect with your target market or an existing business with what you believe is a strong value prop, you can’t get too complacent. Even if you think you’ve figured it all out, you should still be experimenting and constantly tweaking the wording of your value prop. Try making a few small changes (Test B) to your original value prop (Test A) and see if you get a different response from prospects in emails or on the phone. Keep testing out new wording and track the results. If you see a boost from a new idea, you should adopt it across the board.
Improve the Sales Process
Your sales process is yet another tool in your arsenal that should constantly be updated and tested for improvements. This process includes everything from standardized sales scripts, sales call workflows, qualification questioning guides and more. If a sales rep experiments with sending a new case study to a prospect early in the buying process, and gets great results – you could consider changing your sales process accordingly. If you find that prospects are more responsive when they’re emailed within 10 minutes of a phone call, add that new guideline to your process as well. It’s all about trying new things, measuring the results and finding what works best.
Try New Talk Tracks
Part of your team-wide sales process is your talk tracks, or standardized scripts that you give to every rep on your team. You should encourage your sales reps to use those scripts as a rough guideline, but not to adhere too closely to them. They should try saying something new and bold as an A/B test, and then keeping track of what works. If one of your sales reps tells you that every time they mention X capability, a prospect wants a demo – that’s something to pay attention to! It may mean you should adopt that as a best practice, and incorporate it into all your talk tracks.
Test Email Subject Lines
Even after a call that went well, not every prospect is going to open an email from a sales rep. You have to entice prospects into opening emails, promising more than just a rote check-in after a call. And for better emails, marketers are really the ones to talk to. You company’s marketing department has probably conducted hundreds of A/B tests on email subject lines, and found some patterns that really work for your target customers. Have your sales team take a few lessons from marketing and try out something new for their next follow-up email subject lines to a prospect.
It’s also important not to get too set in the way you do things on your sales team. There are many new sales tools on the market today that can help your reps do more in less time. Try using some email tracking tools like Yesware to see when prospects open and read emails, or track trigger events to see when a prospect has a new job on LinkedIn or their company gets a new round of funding. Your sales team should be adaptable, and able to adopt and effectively use new technology to aid their sales.
Don’t ever allow any of your reps to say, “But that’s how we’ve always done it!” The key to innovative sales is constantly trying new things and improving on your past methods. Use analytics to track which emails are opened the most, which talk tracks work the best, and which productivity tools really do save time. By constantly testing and re-testing your sale methods, you’ll see small, incremental changes add up to big things over time.