Why Training Your Salespeople Is the Essential Thing to Do in B2B Sales

Business-to-business sales is changing rapidly due to digitization, connectivity, and virtualization. Technologies bring many opportunities but also pose new challenges. To keep up with the pace, salespeople and account managers will need to go beyond the traditional approach to sales and deliver an exceptional sales experience. Therefore, they will need to be trained well in a broad variety of skills. “Most companies, however, struggle to train their employees or find the right people for it. That’s where we come in,” says Lucie Kudrnová, a founder of Be Bold – a group of dedicated trainers that teaches executives, startup founders and salespeople communication and sales skills.

Do you see any opportunity in the current shift from traditional to digital sales?

I am delighted to see that B2B sales has started to use digital technologies such as advanced analytics, lead generation software, CRM, on-line meetings, collaboration tools and social network platforms. These technologies definitely help B2B companies increase their sales efficiency.

On the other side, what are the biggest challenges in B2B sales?

I go along with conclusions of the ATKearney study. Clients are more demanding and require more complex products and services. Markets are more transparent and customers have growing procurement capabilities and are taking more control of the buying process. On top of that, commoditization and substitution has accelerated and there are new entrants like alternative offerings, unconventional business models, and lower prices.

Can you predict how these trends will influence salespeople?

The profession will need to adapt. Sales representatives are already supposed to act as consultants or experts that bring a clear added value during interaction with clients. It will be more important to ensure excellent sales experience in human-to-human interaction. They will also need to educate clients about value creation opportunities and coordinate with partners on delivering value.

Speaking of shifts in B2B sales, is there anything that will not need to change and will always work in B2B sales?

Having a good product (or better said customer solutions), accompanied by excellent marketing, is a must. Besides you need supporting tools for systematic work with clients and prospects. But particularly you have to involve great salespeople.

What do the best B2B salespeople have in common?

They are able to analyze situation of the clients or prospects before meeting with them, they are active listeners, good communicators, quick to identify problems and solutions on the spot, and efficient, and they never waste clients’ time. In addition, they are credible, pleasant, and motivated to work hard. Such people always deliver great results. But to have these supermen or superwomen, companies need to have a sufficient budget and provide great training.

Do companies invest enough into people’s training? It often seems that they only train newbies and neglect further development because there is no time or resources for it.

Founders and executives face a lot of challenging tasks. They know that training is important but sometimes they have other priorities and make compromises. For example, startup founders prioritize product development over other activities. Even though they might not be born speakers, they are supposed to captivate investors or key clients during sales pitches. Another common problem I notice is that senior people are supposed to train younger colleagues, but they do not have the capacity for it even if it is really needed.

Is this why you created Be Bold?

Yes. I wanted to help ambitious companies that want to grow and improve their sales processes and sales techniques. I invited few unique ladies to create a team of experts in which each understands her domain, and together we create synergies to provide more creative and sophisticated solutions.

Can you briefly describe the team?

We are four women with 20+ years of work experience. Alena Huberová is a communications strategist and helps senior corporate executives and startup founders deliver great pitches. Lucie Bečka is a trainer who collaborates with executives mostly from the automotive industry. She focuses on leadership, after-sales activities and business etiquette. Marta Ventrubová is an NLP coach with a background in pedagogy and psychology who teaches personal development, agile learning and having an achiever’s mindset. I am a sales consultant. I run trainings for executives and startup founders on sales and negotiation. I also follow trends in B2B closely to ensure that our trainings are up-to-date.

What exactly do you offer clients?  

We provide sales trainings and coaching for executives and startup founders who want to improve their communication and sales thinking skills. We also assist executives with trainings to maximize their talents. In addition to our common team activities, I provide B2B sales consulting to growing companies and startups.

How does Be Bold’s approach differ from other companies that offer B2B training consulting?

We create a careful selection of services and thus we are able to provide personalized trainings. We draw from our working experience and use proven contemporary methods such as Consultative selling, SPIN and SNAP selling, Challenger and Sandler Sale methods, to name a few. We focus on up-to-date topics (such as on-line and e-mail communication with international business partners, agile learning and social network communication), use interactive methods, support on-the-job learning and follow the long-term progress of our clients. Our trainings are tailor-made, and we take pride in our personalized approach.

What is the secret behind the name Be Bold?

I came up with the name because I think sales is about being bold, both in terms of being brave in communication and negotiations with a client as well as being really distinct from others.

What is the boldest thing you have done in your life?

When I was in Thailand, I enrolled in a group walk organized by locals. It was supposed to be easy, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. We had to cut our way through the jungle and at one point, I even had to swing a liana to get down a small waterfall. Even my adrenaline-loving friends turned pale. I am sure we managed this trip because of the achiever’s mindset (smile). I find it very important in both life and business.

Interviewer: Veronika Gregušová
22 October 2018