Marketing needs to build specific messages and insight-driven content to stimulate action and conversion, before and after any salespeople enter the conversation. 

To improve your sales chances and engage customers, it’s important to identify where your customer is in their buyer journey. Do they need to change supplier? And if so, why should they choose you? Or are you already their supplier, and you need to convince them to stay? These different situations call for different messages, so you need to gain insights into your customer’s roles and challenges, create targeted messaging, and train your salespeople to deliver it correctly. 

Engage customers with deep buyer empathy 

Your sales force needs to adapt its messaging to the particular situation so it can communicate your added value efficiently and effectively. But sales pitches often focus too much on internal issues, causing commercial professionals to simply act as talking brochures and lose sight of the messages and skills they need to convince your customers. 

So instead of talking about what you do and why you think you can do it better, you need to create a buying vision that defines a new set of challenges that align with your particular strengths. For example, the key question that new prospects need to answer – to break their status quo and initiate their buying journey – is: why should I change?  

Follow these three steps below to identify where your customers are on their buying journey, work out what specific messaging you need to use, and deliver it correctly… 

Step 1: Gain insights into roles and challenges 

Wherever the customer is in their buying cycle, to build a compelling case, you first need to find out more about their situation. 

  • Start by talking to the decision-makers to gain an understanding of their KPIs, challenging projects, and any blocking issues;  
  • Use contextual interviewing techniques to build trust, create credibility, and gain valuable insights into their specific challenges – and find out what capabilities they envisage will solve them; 
  • This will help you collect, organize, and build messages for your salespeople to create empathy and demonstrate business acumen; 
  • Salespeople who understand their prospects’ and customers’ roles and challenges can adjust accordingly, so they’re better placed to influence the buying criteria and improve the returns on their sales efforts. 

Step 2: Create three types of messaging 

To improve your sales chances, salespeople need to articulate value messages that resonate with customers’ specific challenges and have access to decision-makers who are much better placed to convert leads into deals. But they still need to know how to have successful conversations which promote a shared vision early enough in the decision-making process. It is therefore essential to understand buyers’ roles and relevant business challenges when creating this vision. 

For example, staying the same is safe and comfortable, whereas change is associated with threat and risk. If too many deals in your pipeline are being lost to ‘no decision’, rather than to your competitors, your real threat is the status quo – because buyers are deciding they prefer to do nothing instead of change. This means you need tell a story that explains why they should change and leave their current situation, and why they should do it now.  

Acquiring new customers and developing new accounts therefore requires messaging and an approach to customer conversations that is distinct from those used for existing customers. So marketing needs to equip your commercial people with three different types of sales messages and tools: ‘why change’, ‘why choose us’, and ‘why stay with us’.  

These three messages need to align with each member of the decision-making unit’s journey, which increases the number of conversations, and unfortunately this complexity can undermine sales performance.  

But whatever the customer’s situation, you need to explain why their current approach is putting their business at risk. To do this, you need to demonstrate that you know and understand their business, and can deliver insights into what they’re missing that will improve their performance. So, to address your buyer’s situation, you need to equip your salespeople with the right messaging to take advantage of any opportunities at early an early stage – to gain and keep control of the buying cycle right up until the deal is sealed. 

Step 3: Train your salespeople to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time 

Prospective customers are a different proposal to existing customers – customer acquisition is all about challenging the status quo to highlight the benefits of switching to your solution, whereas customer retention and expansion requires you to reinforce your position as their status quo: ‘why change’ and ‘why us’ messages will resonate with prospects, but ‘why stay’ is designed to foster customer loyalty. Make sure your marketing tells the right story for the right customer. Bearing this in mind, you need to: 

  • Help your salespeople gain access to executive buyers early in their decision-making process, and work consultatively with those buyers to shape a vision for their solution; 
  • Build a messaging kit that covers what to say to whom, and when, in order to ensure engaging conversations; 
  • Train your commercial force, use role play exercises to practice typical scenarios and conversations, share best pitches through the use of videos, promote ‘intervision techniques, and provide constructive feedforward from the customer perspective. 

How can messaging kits help? 

Developing messaging kits can help marketing help salespeople gain access to executive buyers early in the decision-making process, and work consultatively to shape the vision of the solution they can provide. These messaging kits offer insight-driven content so your salespeople can engage more deeply with buyer empathy. This can enable sales through having a messaging repository and customer-centric presentations, impacting customer stories, and organizing training sessions for salespeople to learn how to sell certain solutions. 


Probably you have seen this quote passing by several times on your LinkedIn feed: 

“CFO says: What happens if we invest in developing people & they leave us? 

CEO responds: What happens if we don’t & they stay?” 

Now I ask you: How do you make sure your investments in learning & development are effective and pay off? Simply put: How do you make it stick?  

The major pitfalls of sales trainings are the following

  • Lack of reinforcement  
  • Lack of engagement  
  • Lack of business relevance  

Competency does not come from periodic, one-time training. According to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, learners forget 90% of what they learn from an event-based approach within 30 days, with most of the new material being forgotten within the first few hours after the training.  

Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve

True though; there is not a single, absolute learning curve. Several factors contribute to learning retention, like individual ability and prior knowledge. But the risk of forgetting fast is real for most of us.

A first solution to promote knowledge retention is spaced learning (1). In short, i.e. multiple training opportunities. Many figures like this one show how less is forgotten after each review.

Rate of Retention with Repetition

Repetition is indeed the mother of learning. We also notice great results by combining spaced learning with micro-learning (2)! Micro-learning breaks down complex courses into smaller manageable learning content. Not only do we enhance retention rates through repetition, but we also speed up the learning process because trainees avoid the phenomenon of mental fatigue.

Of course, transfer to the job (3) is equally as important. In the end you are aiming for measurable business results, are you not? Knowledge of concepts is one thing, the capability of applying them another. So, if you want to see impact on your sales results and implement lasting positive change, you will want to change habits and behaviors. 

That is where the design of the training matters and on-the-job learning and coaching come into play. Think about group coaching, peer learning, in the field coaching done right (i.e. where the coach does not intervene) and using mobile technology with scenario-based challenges. 

By genuinely including your team in continuous training opportunities, you can make lasting changes in sales behaviors and positively impact performance. 

Next, make sure trainings are relevant to the business and your team’s objectives (4).

Do you remember those compulsory courses you had to follow in school which were nowhere close to your field of interest? Probably not your absolute best. It is the same with business training. Making it business relevant and aligned to individual and team objectives will generate higher engagement, increase on the job practice, and generate tangible results.

A good way to gauge this, is whether people within your sales team take ownership of their day to day activities and proactively ask for feedback about their successes and challenges, encountered while consciously trying to apply what they have learned.

Finally, think about building a performance dashboard (5) measuring proficiency, adoption, and the link to commercial performance. It will enable you to do two things:

  • See how competency levels are evolving within the group in order to put your time and effort where it matters most
  • See the direct link between your investments in L&D and business results.

Want to read more about the topic?

Related Content


Collective intelligence makes your sales team smarter. Empower your entire team to help one salesperson solve a problem by using intervision techniques to leverage collective intelligence. 

Collective intelligence 

Put simply: ‘two heads are better than one’. Intervision techniques therefore help you harness every member of a team’s own thoughts and ideas to promote group intelligence – investing in each member and increasing the potential of overcoming one salesperson’s specific challenge. 

Intervision techniques call on collective intelligence 

Intervision, also known as ‘group coaching’, ‘peer coaching’ or ‘co-development’, refers to an activity with a small group of professionals who have a professional context in common. It emphasizes the multilateral contribution between colleagues – as opposed to supervision – because collective intelligence is a kind of wisdom and knowledge that grows out of a group. 

The intervision technique provides sales managers with a different way to interact with their team and team members. Similar to group coaching, it relies on questioning and active listening, but also employs brainstorming techniques and makes it possible to tackle both technical and conceptual problems. The main difference, however, is that intervision covers topics that will benefit the entire sales team and make it more effective, whereas individual coaching aims to solve a problem specific to the salesperson. 

What sales problems can intervision techniques help to resolve? 

Team meetings are too often laborious and ineffective, and this is where collective intelligence can help. Intervision techniques relate to sales team coaching. They develop sales efficiency, strengthen team spirit, and increase corporate identity. They can be used to generate new ideas, discover new ways to analyze situations, and find new possible solutions. 

There are a couple of conditions for its effective use, however: the presented case must be real, and it must relate to a real blocked sales opportunity, for example in a situation where a salesperson experiences repetitive failure or a persistent communication issue. 

The exposed situation very often reveals a common problem – something that sounds familiar to all salespeople, which they might have been exposed to in the past or are still facing today. This is why the intervision session can benefit the whole team. 

How to moderate an intervision session 

The session can be done with or without a facilitator, but it’s always crucial to stick to the allocated time for the exercise to be effective and stop the group from dwelling on details. It is recommended to spend 45-90 minutes on each issue as a group, depending on the group size and complexity of the topic.  

  • During an intervision session, a participant raises one issue, which could be a new challenge or a problem that they have encountered. It’s essential that it’s an ongoing issue.  
  • The other participants then act as consultants and commit to share ideas, collaborate, and help the salesperson who wants to overcome a difficult situation. Group members ask questions to find out more about the topic and clarify particular points. It’s important not to start discussing solutions at this stage, but simply to focus on clarifying the issue. 
  • The next stage is for the group to start brainstorming possible ways of approaching the problem and suggesting possible solutions. The issue owner is invited to listen and to take in the proposals without joining the discussion.  
  • Following the brainstorming session, the group makes a number of recommendations and suggestions to the issue owner, who can then provide feedback on what he/she has heard from the group: how it helps or not, what they can take away from the exercise, etc.  

Selling in uncertain times 

This technique is particularly relevant in today’s market – with fierce competition and rapid change. Sales organizations need collective intelligence to be more agile and adaptive without burning talent. Visit our ‘Selling in uncertain times’ resource center, talk to our experts, and check out our open ‘Intervision and sales team coaching’ training to find out more. 


To stimulate improved sales performance, it’s important to understand and practice digital behaviors that promote a sense of psychological safety. You can encourage this psychological safety in your commercial team by: 

  • Framing the work as a learning process,  
  • Acknowledging your own fallibility; 
  • Modeling curiosity and asking lots of questions. 

Remote working and digital communications 

Psychological safety and trust in leadership are more important than ever before as sales forces are increasingly working remotely and communicating digitally.  

Leverage psychological safety 

Amy Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, defined the notion of psychological safety as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking and being vulnerable in front of each other. In other words: team members feel accepted and respected in psychologically safe teams. 

This means that members of effective teams feel comfortable asking questions or bringing up new ideas – without worrying about being judged – and are confident they won’t be embarrassed or punished for making mistakes.  

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts 

In line with this phrase first coined by the philosopher Aristotle, we also believe that members of efficient sales teams can achieve more by working together than working alone. An efficient commercial team is therefore more than the sum of its individuals – so even though getting these individuals to all work together can be tough, it’s critical for team effectiveness. They need to plan, solve problems, make decisions, and review progress. And they need each other – and efficient leadership – to get this work done successfully. 

3 behaviors that increase team efficiency 

A Google study reported in The New York Times Magazine highlighted several factors that boost team efficiency, and psychological safety came top in the order of importance. The most effective leaders are therefore those that create a safe and open ‘digital dialogue’ with their team members.  

There are three specific behaviors that strongly correlate with high-performing managers: 

  1. Expressing doubts: Do you feel safe saying ‘I don’t know’, or are you worried about seeming ignorant or incompetent? Managers who admit not knowing the answer to a question – and who create the same sense of security in their direct contacts  – are more effective than those who do not.
  2. Requesting feedback: Asking for and providing feedback increases effectiveness and engagement. Digital interactions through video conferences, chats, or email are good opportunities for providing constructive feedback – and constructive feedforward.
  3. Sharing opinions: It’s important for team members to feel confident that nobody else in the team will embarrass or punish them for offering ideas or questioning the status quo.

Our 9 tips for building psychological safety 

  1. Create a forum to discuss issues and concerns
  2. Establish a common language
  3. Ask for input and opinions, stimulate feedback, and provide feedforward 
  4. Share your communications and personal preferences, and encourage others to do the same
  5. Clarify team member roles and responsibilities
  6. Communicate team objectives and determine how each member can contribute to the team and broader company objectives
  7. Explain what work you are doing and the impact it will have on customers and the company
  8. Adopt a customer-centric evaluation method
  9. Seek continuous improvement  

Customers are currently concerned with the uncertain situation and short-term results. In order to be able to act as leaders in current times, we will discuss a few questions in detail:  

  • What do we know today, and which changes will be permanent? 
  • What are the 5 new skills that every salesperson needs?  
  • What are the 4 main pitfalls?  

In our very first webinar at the start of the lockdown, we discussed the procedure for remote sales, as well as the way salespeople can support their customers while being productive themselves:  

  • Contact as many people as possible 
  • Assess the customers who are active and are even ready to make investments 
  • Subdivide your customers in groups based on similar needs and set priorities 
  • Set up small-scale campaigns in line with this temporary subdivision 
  • Be prepared and be sure to practise, as the contents of the conversations is totally different than usual and physical conversations are not possible 

A brief survey in this webinar indicated that enterprises mainly struggle with (in descending order of importance):   

  • Filling the pipeline to limit the impact to a minimum 
  • Acquiring several contacts with the same company in order to acquire a clearer insight 
  • Mixed feelings about the continued remote sales 
  • Focus on short term rather than on long term 

According to an investigation by McKinsney, 96% of enterprises have adjusted their “go-to-market” model to the current situation. 80% even state that the new approach will be applicable at least 1 year. Within the context of this new approach, it’s a challenge for salespeople to remain relevant and create value immediately.  

Three important components of leadership are:  

  • Way of selling: it’s essential to have several contacts in a company, but that’s only possible via a hybrid interaction model. This means less face-to-face contacts, less travelling but more digital contacts.  
  • Timing & opportunities: proper time management has more than ever become crucial for setting the right priorities.  
  • Value creation: In these uncertain times there are 6 factors customers are extra sensitive for. Responding to one or several of those factors with value-driven messages is an important way to have more impact. These 6 factors are the following:  
  • Social responsibility 
  • Reducing anxiety 
  • Availability 
  • Stability 
  • Risk reduction 
  • Flexibility 

This new approach also means that salespeople need a number of new skills:  

  • Building bridges for customers: By combining the insights of the different contacts within the company and linking them to the additional value your company offers 
  • Talking to customers with a beginner’s mindset and avoiding the pitfall of pre-covid assumptions 
  • Combining proactive interactions with replies to the rather reactive questions.  
  • Being able to provide structure and react to unfiltered customer information, so that the colleagues think along and work on the basis of the new insights 
  • Making use of the video meeting experience acquired in order to introduce a hybrid interaction model with more virtual contacts alternating with physical meetings 
  • Closing the gap between knowledge and competencies 

The most important pitfalls in the current situation are:  

  • Changing too slow due to a delay in translating the impact into a new approach 
  • Getting stuck in replying to short-term reactive questions 
  • Underestimating the required new knowledge & competencies 
  • Not letting go of the experience and insights acquired before covid-19 and thus missing or misjudging new opportunities 

Do you want to know more about how you can face the current challenge? 

Perpetos Webinar

[WEBINAR]
Taking the lead in the aftermath

  Which 5 new skills are needed
  How to avoid the 4 largest pitfalls
  What has changed permanently


Optimise your sales productivity and improve your commercial fitness with one short action per day.

1. Pimp your LinkedIn profile

Update your photo, summary, value proposition, skills set… and ask your best-known linked contacts for feedback

2. Clean up your mailbox and get rid of useless newsletters 

Sort out emails, unsubscribe to what is no longer relevant to you and delete ads. Respond to emails you forgot about, even if you received them a long time ago.

3. Set up your videoconferencing place 

Set up a quiet and comfortable space to work with colleagues remotely and sell from a distance in times of social distancing. Test you video and audio material for an optimal customer experience.  

4. Prepare ready-to-use answers to five key objections  

List the most frequent objections that you receive and address the top ones. Write down the best responses to these objections and practice with colleagues in the most natural way possible.

5. Create your cocktail party pitch

The more you talk, the more your speaking fee drops. Prepare your to-the-point personal experience pitch. Try it out so that you appear and sound authentic.

6. Work out your top 5 discovery questions

Think about powerful questions to improve the outcome of conversations. Memorise them for future customer interactions.

7. Find out what your best customers have in common

Create a customer profile for customers you like to do business with. Look for prospects that meet the same criteria and start interacting with them. Keep in mind the tips for selling in times of social distancing.

8. Identify who inspires your most important accounts

Group customers by activity sector and identify their key influencers. Get connected with them, read their most relevant posts and leave comments.

9. Engage in web and social media competitive intelligence

Analyse how your key competitors are navigating this period of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Find out how they communicate, what is new and how customers react to their initiatives. Identify their strengths and weaknesses and share with colleagues.

10. Build customer success stories

Choose a couple of different industry verticals and build your “happy ending” customer stories. Start with the positive outcome, the original situation and the negative business impact it was generating. End with how they are using your products or services today and take next steps with that customer when relevant.


In-person meetings are important, and this is what sales like, what gives energy. But now, none of it is possible. We may need to resist the temptation to binge watch Netflix. But what for? How can we be productive in these times? How can we optimize our time and continue selling during social distancing? 

So, the question isHow to sell in a time of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt? 

Correct? Then, take a few minutes and read on. Watch the recording of our webinar “Selling from home”

Grow relationships by putting the customer first 

Genuinely caring about your customers is more important than ever. We therefore not only need to maintain contact but also build deeper relationships. As we probably have concerns, our customers do as well. About the general situation, but also about how to maintain their business afloat. If our products and solutions can support their business, they will certainly be open to hear how we plan to continue deliver what is valuable to them. However, this will not work by talking about our business and products like ‘talking brochures’. More on this in our blog: ‘Are your sales people like talking brochures?

They will be curious to hear how (fast) we adapt to the new situation and how we can help them adapt faster as well. So, reach out and have authentic remote conversations geared towards getting past the current challenges. 

Become an expert in video conversations 

You want to focus on the quality of the conversation, not the channel. If you are not used to video conversations through Zoom, Webex, Teams, FaceTime or other platforms, practice with family, colleagues or friends. Make sure to properly install and test your audio and video. You don’t want the line to drop, or have trouble hearing what customers say. Ask feedback on your tone of voice and body language. Test how close or far from the camera you need to be in order to respect the personal distance, exactly like in face-to-face situations. Don’t forget that 97% of our communication is non-verbal. 

If you’re familiar with video, whatever the amount you dedicated up to now with customers, double or even triple it. Your customer doesn’t just need your product or service. Your customers need to know that you’re available and that you care! 

Don’t prepare but be prepared 

Prepare video calls even better than you do for live meetings. Content-wise and appearance-wise. Review your notes from your previous touchpoints and prepare conversation scenario’s. You also have to prepare physically and mentally. Some even dress up as they would on a visit in order to feel in ‘working mode’. All fired up. Everybody is working from home today, so there is no dress code as long as you are in ‘visit’ mindset.  

You want to know more on how to be effective in selling from home? 

[FREE WEBINAR]
Selling in times of social distancing

  How to optimize your core selling time and be productive
  What sales can do to be better prepared for the aftermath
  Take the opportunity to grow relationships and expand account coverage


Customers’ buying behaviour has changed considerably in the past few years. How can companies respond to this challenge? How do you organise sales in a digital world? Are you still sending your salespeople out like talking brochures, or will you take action? And how? A diagnosis.  

Time for a sales reboot 

Since 2012, the results of a multitude of studies about the changing buying behaviour of customers have been published. However, many companies only take action when the impact really becomes painful. And it’s often too late by then. It is therefore advisable to take action proactively. But can you motivate people and organise your sales in such a manner that the transition can take place in a timely and painless manner?  

Download our eBook “7 Criteria for a Sales Process your Sales Team will actually use

Avoid a reaction that is either too soft or too hard 

There are two ways to react to the reality of changing buying behaviour.  

  •  (Too) many companies continue to assure their clients that with some adjustments, the existing commercial solutions are immune to the changes. Unfortunately, the sales pipeline is like the arteries in our body. If we do not adopt a healthy lifestyle, they slowly get clogged up. The consequences in the long term are disastrous. Holding on to old habits is not the solution.  
  • Others call for a revolution. The world is no longer the same, which is why a drastic transformation of sales is required. We have to start over! That means completely redesigning the processes and systems and preparing for the future! That may be so, but… intrusive action often triggers a shock effect, which in turn has serious consequences.  

Opt for the human approach!  

How can you react to the constantly changing world? Doing nothing is not an option. Starting all over again is not the right solution, either. Actually, the answer is simple: we have to evolve together with our customers. Selling is and will always be a people business, even online. The impact we are noticing with our customers and prospects shows that the changes are real. It is therefore necessary to develop a change process as soon as possible. This way, the changes can be implemented gradually and on a human scale. Without disruptions or all too radical actions.  

Toward a new role for salespeople  

All change processes are based on insights. Customers are still overwhelmed by salespeople who are sent out by their employers like some sort of talking brochures, although they don’t care about salespeople bombarding them with arguments and the benefits of the products they try to sell. Some consultants take advantage of this fact by stating that salespeople will disappear altogether. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it is true that the role of salespeople is changing drastically.  

60% of the sales opportunities come to nothing because the customer does not buy or does not change suppliers.  

The sales cycles have become 22% longer since 2012 and your biggest competitor is no longer your direct competitor, but customers who do “nothing”.  Recent research has shown that up to 60% of the opportunities are simply closed in CRM because the customer doesn’t buy anything or is not willing to change suppliers. You can imagine the impact on the sales cost.  

Sales are needed as long as you:  

  • … incorporate the right mix of digital and human touchpoints in the entire buying cycle of the customer. This depends on the complexity of the product or service you offer, but mainly on the impact on the customer.  
  • … use an interpersonal approach focused on supporting customers and creating added value. This requires the salespeople to have contact with an increasing number of different persons with the customer and at other moments during the buying cycle.  
  • … adjust the sales pitches to every moment during the buying cycle and to the profile of the persons with whom the salespeople are to engage in dialogue.  

Do you want to find out how you can prepare your commercial staff for the future without having to take all too radical actions? Contact us or read more in our eBook:

7 Criteria your sales process has to meet

Are you looking for a new Sales process to find a (new) way to reduce your cost of sales, stop margin erosion or better align your approach with the customer’s buying cycle? Learn how to make sure that the selected process is right for your business.


Why sales coaching?

Research by CSO Insights has shown that sales coaching enables sellers to substantially improve their sales skills and so win more deals. The second benefit is that it allows sales managers to shift their focus from simply helping people to do their work to actually developing their skills. Which is surely an advantage, isn’t it?

But how?

Sales managers need to use coaching techniques, tips and tools. Even though some may have a talent for coaching, many don’t know how best to go about it. Sales management coaching programs help them gain the skills and self-confidence they need to integrate coaching as part of their daily routine. Fortunately, there’s technology available to help them. Sales coaching software doesn’t just make it possible to personalise the coaching, but also to measure it by looking at the sellers’ individual actions, monitoring their progress and providing a visual representation to make things clearer, rather than simply using their own perception, gut instinct and experience.

Sales coaching tools

Coaching isn’t the same thing as providing solutions or giving everyone the same advice. A good sales coaching tool can chart progress and zoom in on the lowest level of knowledge, and combine this with the extent to which this knowledge is actually applied.

Sales coaching tools

It differs from eLearning or other content offered by Learning Management Systems (LMS) in this sense, because a sales coaching tool combines software for teaching sellers and ensuring they retain this information, stimulating behavioural change, making everything measurable, and providing suggestions for the management to reach the right conclusions and implement the right actions. Altogether, it forms an integrated solution that provides content exactly when it’s needed.

Enabling just-in-time coaching

This flexible (agile) method for developing sellers’ skills is called ‘Coaching Enablement’. It allows you to organise, manage and individualise coaching while ensuring sellers retain the information they’re given. It also provides dashboards for sales managers, higher management and HR. This means HR can now measure, support and adapt each employee’s development and the impact they have. Peer-to-peer learning is also provided.

A good example of this is ‘video pitching’, where the seller records an answer to a client situation using their smartphone, which can then be used as coaching input for the sales manager, and good examples can be shared with other team members. This enhances the performance of the whole team, contributes to continuous development and improves team spirit.

Enabling just-in-time coaching

The main advantages of just-in-time coaching are:

  1. Identifying possibilities for personal development
  2. Building self-confidence
  3. Strengthening desired behaviour, knowledge and skills
  4. Installing a culture that stimulates continuous improvement for each individual and the team
  5. Measuring the impact on sales results

Read more about agile learning, knowledge retention and just-in-time coaching

Qstream app

Perpetos Improves Customer Sales Proficiency from 53% to 80%

Qstream’s mobile microlearning application was selected by Perpetos as a continuous sales training reinforcement solution for their sales performance programs which help their customers improve conversion rates and lower the cost of sales.

Want to see a demo ? Contact us at customer@perpetos.com


Our customers’ buying behaviour has changed dramatically since the emergence of the internet, and since social media took over some of the salespeople’s tasks. The recent Connected Commerce paper from Nielsen once again confirms how much we’re all shopping with smartphones in hand, comparing prices and searching online for product specifications and reviews. Phenomena such as webrooming and showrooming fit in seamlessly with this trend.

Before you read on, we’d first like to reveal that showroom salespeople do still have an important role to play in the digital era! But the job is different nowadays, and certainly hasn’t become any easier.

We’re still buying expensive (customised) products from real-life salespeople

Showrooming is when customers go into a shop to look at, try on and test products such as clothes and electronics, but then place their orders online. Webrooming is the opposite: customers search for information online, but then validate their choice in the shop or showroom, and ultimately buy from a salesperson in the flesh.

However … the higher a product’s value and/or complexity, and the less often you buy it, the greater the sense of risk. You can quickly choose and pay for a new vacuum cleaner online, for example. But for bigger investments – especially when there’s some customisation, e.g. kitchens, patios, doors and windows, tiles or a car – most buyers still want to complete their buying process with some form of human interaction. This is therefore a typical product category for webrooming.

Challenges for showroom salespeople

Potential buyers of higher value (customised) products are still going to showrooms, but only less than twice on average. We’re also seeing that good, experienced salespeople are spending much more time and energy completing sales nowadays. But why?

  • Webrooming, discussed above
  • Increasingly competitive markets – sometimes with several suppliers offering similar products in the same street – mean that salespeople need to convince customers why their products are the best option. Customers don’t always have a clear overview of any differences, and so are tempted to simply choose the cheapest.

In order to convince potential customers to complete a purchase, our salespeople generally have two options, each with their own disadvantages:

  1. Immediately finalise all the details for a product sale with the customer (e.g. design a kitchen, configure options for a car, etc.), provide a quote straight away, and try to seal the deal.
    Disadvantage: this takes a lot of time. But mainly: the potential customer then has all the information they need, meaning in principle that they no longer need the salesperson, and can instead use the information gained to negotiate a price with your competitor
  2. Or the salesperson tries to make a second appointment.
    Disadvantage: waiting too long to find out all the information and receive a quote increases the risk that a potential customer will seek a solution elsewhere and buy from your competitor in the meantime

Dovy Keukens: what competences do salespeople need today?

You used to be a product salesperson who knew your product inside-out. Or you were good at building relationships, and you made sales based on the trust you earned. But you need more than that nowadays.

Johan Verbeke, Sales Manager at Dovy Keukens, a leading Belgian supplier of tailor-made kitchens:

Like all companies, we had to adapt to the digital era. We’ve realised that salespeople need to do the right thing at the right time to meet each individual customer’s wishes. So they need to work out rapidly what to do- and what not to do- and decide if it might be better to make a follow-up appointment.

Salespeople need to translate the desired experience into a proposal that makes the most of our product strengths. They also need to capitalise on the company’s strengths, because the way we approach things can also make the difference. Sealing the deal at the right time keeps us ahead of our competitors.

Salespeople are therefore expected to be real all-rounders these days. Together with Perpetos, we’re actively working to develop all these competences in our sales team. And we clearly see the positive impact this has on our conversion rates.

Important role for Sales Management: keep the team focused

In order to discuss customer cases quickly and efficiently, and maximise our salespeople’s results, it’s important that managers and salespeople speak the same language.

Sales Management can help keep salespeople focused by providing sales support and coaching the team- to take advantage of each individual situation in practice. Digital tools, such as CRM, are often still seen as an administrative burden, even though they can help with coaching and improve performance. This does require the CRM being adapted as a sales support tool, however, and not just a reporting tool.

Is there room for improving your sales performance? Do you want to optimise your margins or sales cost? Would you like to discuss your experiences without any obligation? Contact our experts

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