Why do so many sales messaging launches fail?
An overload of product information.
Reps rarely latch onto new stories, and that stops them from changing their behavior. To prevent them from focusing on features, you want to get them into customer-centric approaches as quickly as possible.
Keep reading for the top 9 ways you can put that into action. They’re data-backed, so you know they’re spot on.
P.S. Download our free Revenue Success Secrets eBook to discover how today’s top CROs use sales messaging to move deals through the finish line.
9 Steps to Effectively Launch New Sales Messaging
Sales Messaging Tip 1: Put Your Content into Context
After you develop sales messaging that matches your strategic needs and selling scenarios, deploy them as sales enablement content.
Provide your team with assets that align with the conversations they encounter regularly. Whether that’s handling objections from cold prospects, or selling more licenses to an existing customer, there are a predictable set of conversations all your sellers experience.
You can start by giving them specific campaign, coaching, and customer-facing content to help them on several fronts:
- Gain access and get a meeting
- Prepare for the meeting
- Make a differentiated presentation
- Have a memorable conversation
- Provide meaningful follow-up
Sales Messaging Tip 2: Make it Visual
Corporate Visions’ research shows that a highly-visual story simplifies its ability to be retold again and again. Concrete visuals attached to your key points are proven to improve recall and impact, which in turn, increases action.
If you want content that motivates decision makers to buy, it must be anchored in a visual they can’t “unsee.”
But your sales content isn’t your only critical visual component. Your sales team—pearly whites and all—is also pivotal. Data shows that sellers who close use their webcam 41% more often than those who don’t:
Anchor your shiny new sales presentations with stellar visuals and the human element for a truly memorable buying experience.
Sales Messaging Tip 3: Build Your Playbooks
If your team is well-versed in its current sales playbook, it will be easier to revise it to introduce new sales messaging.
Each time you launch a new sales initiative, you’ll want to develop an interactive, integrated playbook updated with the new, scenario-based messaging. Include the messaging and content assets, as well as short “how-to” and skills coaching videos in the revised playbook.
Let’s be clear though… telling a provocative acquisition story about a competitive account is 180° from defending your price increase or up-selling a buyer. Each playbook has to help your reps fully understand the new approach across familiar scenarios.
Sales Messaging Tip 4: Equip Your Internal Champions
Get your key sales leaders fluent in your story—that means managers and top performers.
If key leaders know it inside out, the rest of the team will follow their lead. Your leaders have to champion your new message internally and deliver it with confidence, energy, and impact.
If they don’t, the team is likely to fall back on what they know best: features. That’s not where you want them. The more your reps feature dump (i.e., focus too much on features), the lower their win rates:
How do you avoid this? Have your key leaders practice the new story so they’re fluent in it and fully prepared to deliver it at any event.
You especially need a strong delivery during the kickoff event. Give them storyboards and talk tracks to help them understand the story’s key features so they can refine their delivery through practice. You can also build out coaching guides that reinforce the story’s differentiators and key points.
Sales Messaging Tip 5: Host an Effective Kickoff Event
Because salespeople have established talk tracks they won’t want to let go of, your kickoff event for new sales messaging has to break them out of the status quo. Your initial presentation can (and must) play a redirecting role.
Let it set the tone, helping sellers see why they need to change, and motivating them to stick with that change. Don’t underestimate how tough it is to make a permanent shift.
Your first “public” demonstration of the new messaging should get your sellers excited. After all, your new messaging can improve their performance and help them gain an unfair competitive advantage. Be bold in delivering that message.
Better yet, present the stories at the event, then give your reps a library of call recordings they can listen to afterward, whenever it’s convenient. Make sure the library contains a call for each selling scenario in your playbook.
A call library accelerates your rep learning much faster than call shadowing. A rep can listen to multiple times the number of calls compared with the number they can shadow, especially given the number of no-shows that often happen during live, scheduled calls. This is instrumental in long term adoption, especially for new hires who missed the launch event.
Sales Messaging Tip 6: Practice the Message
Now, it’s your sellers’ turn to learn the story. They need to take ownership of the new story and feel 100% confident that they have the skills to deliver it themselves. They’ve seen it done in person and listened to call recordings– now, it’s their turn to try out the new messaging.
This exercise often takes up to half a day, so make sure that time is set aside for your reps. Be clear about your expectations. You want your reps to prepare and practice. This is their new selling ammo. When they’re ready, they should get input from their coaches and peers on how they did. Tip #8 has this covered.
Sales Messaging Tip 7: Certify on the Message
The key to changing behavior in a permanent way is making sure your reps can deliver the new message skillfully and consistently.
After your initial kickoff, challenge each of your reps to video record themselves delivering the new messaging. Ideally, they’ll upload their recording to a system where subject matter experts can assess their skills against a scorecard.
The reps should know what’s on that scorecard in advance so they can work to achieve the right skills. Set a clear standard that each rep must meet, and keep your reps working through the process until they pass with flying colors and get “certified”.
It’s worth noting that, on average, reps who participate in this kind of sales coaching typically do at least six practice runs before they submit a recorded call. . You want them to run the story over and over — this type of training results in more practice than most standard launches or training sessions.
Sales Messaging Tip 8: Activate Manager Coaching
An underestimated and powerful outcome of the video recording challenge and certification process is that managers see exactly where their reps need coaching help. They can offer advice and then track whether it has the intended effect.
Too often, coaching is generic and applied the same way across teams. But with video recordings and software such as Gong, your reps and managers can get personalized scoring and feedback. That enables tailored coaching to target the places where each rep needs help.
You can also track the effect that coaching has on reps’ behaviors. You’ll know whether the coaching is working. If it gives the bulk of your team even a small boost (and it should do more than that), it will have a major impact on your overall sales numbers. ROI is in your corner on this one.
Here’s what that coaching funnel looks like:
Getting managers involved is essential to transforming everyone’s behavior. Your reps need ongoing skills development and reinforcement in the field. This approach gives managers clear and relevant coaching opportunities. No more shot-in-the-dark coaching for your people.
Sales Messaging Tip 9: Use Coaching for Key Deals
Your rollout goal is a message and delivery platform that positively impacts your bottom line. Ongoing deal coaching is the best way to measure how your messaging and conversational approaches are applied, as well as the impact they have. And it’s particularly handy when it comes to coaching your biggest opportunities.
There’s nothing quite like having an eye on your team’s most important acquisition or renewals and making sure everyone’s prepped in advance by subject matter experts. With ongoing coaching, you can always craft a tailored, scenario-based presentation for your must-win opportunities. It’s an unbeatable approach. (While you’re at it, provide everyone with very trackable KPIs as you watch whether each major deal succeeds).
Rolling out new sales messaging is like hitting the reset button. It’s all about behavior change and transformation. Think of new messaging kickoff events as jet packs designed to break through organizational inertia.
Get your sales reps to buy in. Make sure they’re revved up and prepared to succeed right from the start. You need to create a catalyst for change that leaves them wanting more—more messaging, more content, more skills, and more coaching. Give them that and they’ll stay motivated for what comes next.
Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations that marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management” and “Three Value Conversations” focus on improving market-ready messages and tools to win more deals. As Chief Strategy and Research Officer, he sets the direction and develops products for Corporate Visions, a leading marketing and sales messaging, content, and training company.