What is sales behavioral psychology and how is it used to improve sales performance?
Before we get into a definition and discussion of sales behavioral psychology, it is important that we distinguish it from a formerly often used marketing reference.
Behavioral Sales Psychology versus Sales Behavioral Psychology: Are They The Same Thing?
You may have heard marketers discuss "behavioral sales psychology". Is this the same thing as Sage Warfield's proprietary "sales behavioral psychology"?
No it is not. On the surface, it may seem like semantics, but the two expressions have significantly different meaning.
Behavioral sales psychology is a term used by marketers to identify ways to illicit sales buying behavior in consumers.
Sales behavioral psychology, or SBP, is a Sage Warfield exclusive term used to identify the psychological profile of each of its sales reps which drive a set of rep behaviors affecting both sales metrics and ultimately sales resutls.
Sage Warfield's use of behavioral psychology as a sales growth tool
Our approach to sales growth and acceleration is to integrate sales behavioral psychology with traditional sales strategy and process improvements.
What does this mean?
In its most basic form, it means that we believe that sales strategy, sales process, and sales execution will only deliver minimal incremental sales increases on their own accord. Yes, they are important and improving in each of these areas can certainly lead to improved sales results. But, the results obtained through strategy, process, and execution pale in comparison to the sales acceleration and revenue growth achieved through changing sales behavior.
There is a good reason why behavioral psychology has largely been ignored in sales management and leadership circles. "Soft values", as they are often cited, are not directly measurable (without SBP) and it is difficult to correlate the cause and effect relationship between sales process and sales behavior.
If you are skeptical, you have plenty of company. In fact, you are in the majority. But, just as a sanity check, ask yourself this: "When is the last time that you heard a sales organization increase their sales per head by 100% or more in ninety days?"
If you find yourself struggling to identify at least one example, you aren't alone. Doesn't it seem odd that thousands of times during this
year alone, sales organizations will roll out a new sales strategy or sales process and we will not hear about a 100% improvement even once?
Meanwhile, we have accomplished this feat on numerous occasions in the normal course of our sales consutling success.
Let's dig into this a little deeper.
You have probably heard the debate of whether selling is an art or science. If you chose the correct side (in our opinion) you believe that it is both an art and a science. But our equation takes it a step further than that...here it is:
Sales Performance = S^2A
This formula is meant to show that sales performance is driven by the equation of science squared multiplied by art. Let's break it down in Sage Warfield terms:
Science #1= Tangible Sales Science (Traditional sales fundamentals i.e. things that can be touched, quantified, or measured)
Science #2 = Behavioral Sales Science (Psychological influencers that drive sales rep behavior)
Art = The creative skill and imagination used by a salesperson
Another way to think about this is that the tangible aspects of sales is what nearly everyone focuses on in an attempt to improve sales revenue per head. Sales operations, sales executives, and sales consultants use data analysis to produce performance reports and identify KPI's or key performance indicators. This is one form of tangible sales science.
We think this is where the gap in sales performance improvement lies. They are incorrectly identifying the data points as the problem (when it is a symptom or indicator of the problem) and then trying to fix the problem by focusing on changing the data as the solution. This is a major issue affecting a sales organization's ability to improve the sales results.
Ask yourself, "who or what created the number in the first place?"
Whether the number is calls per day, closes per lead, revenue per close...whatever it is, it is the people that created this number. So what do we (as sales managers) typically do in our infinite wisdom? We coach them to sell bigger deals, close more often, and make more calls. This is not the solution to the problem.
In reality, what is the solution? Well, the solution lies between the ears of the sales rep. Whether it is their core beliefs, attitudes, life principals, motivation...whatever it is, we need to tap into the mind of the sales reps in order to change the behavior that created the number.
Only when we tap into the psychology of the sales rep can we then influence their behavior. And once we change the behavior, the number will change along with it. That's how we have achieved triple digit sales growth in record time just as we did in the case study "SEM & Website Sales". (opens in new window)
Click this link to learn more about our continued development of the science of sales behavioral psychology.