Social Selling

Providing writing support to sales reps IS sales enablement

Gerhard Gschwandtner talks with Deborah Dumaine of Better Communications about the importance of good writing for sales success. The usual suspects are all here:

  • Don’t make it all about your company
  • Use a style that matches the recipient
  • Don’t use texting language
  • Don’t make grammar mistakes
  • Spell check
  • Proofread before you click send

As a professional communicator attached to sales teams, I see this all the time–in proposals, in letters, on LinkedIn.

The temptation is often to write these reps off as either wholly incompetent or else so narcissistic as to believe their smile or their product will seal the deal for them.

In the complex world of competitive bids, even the greenest of salespeople understands the old saw about buyers “looking for reasons to NOT deal with you.” Your logo’s the wrong color/font, your proposal’s too long/short, your handshake’s too firm/dead-fishy.

“Why,” I would ask myself, “would anybody allow this writing to leave the firewall bound for a prospective paying customer?”

Today, however, I’ve seen too many reps who don’t know subject from predicate actually succeed quarter over quarter, despite their indigent deliverables. And why? Bright smiles. Strong offerings. Just-right handshakes. And a driving determination to serve the customer despite the hurdles and hoop-jumping of a longer cycle.

Writing, to these grinders, isn’t everything.

Now if you know me, and are familiar with my writing elsewhere on this blog, you’ll understand where I’m headed here. Sales support, enablement, administration, operations (pick your title) must be more than CRM expertise and conference calls with revrec (though these too are important).

A well-maintained and usable library of sales scripts and templates, mapped to the sales workflow, integrated into corporate applications, and trained trained trained. This is the task of enterprise sales support. This is a critical component of an effective sales operations program.

We should expect a minimal level of writing skill from our sales professionals in the field. But we shoot ourselves in the foot withholding tools to help them write better, faster, and more consistently.

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