When you think of efficiencies you'd like in your sales team, business acumen may not be at the top of the list...but it should be! We already have an article that covers the reasons why (you can check it out here), so I won't go into too much detail...but one of the primary reasons is that your customers are looking for PARTNERS, not salespeople. In order to establish yourself, and your team as partners, you need to be able to speak the language of business and understand what is going on internally within your client's organizations.
So, how can you help to improve the business acumen of your sales team members?
I've got five easy tips to help!
Read - kick back and take the time to read books, magazines, and websites. Business acumen is essentially speaking the language of business, and reading is a great way to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and terminology used day-to-day at all levels of business. You'll also score some great insight on best practices, up-to-date industry trends, and the history of an organization.
Learn from the client - good salespeople know that they need to LISTEN more than speak in client meetings. That's especially true when attempting to improve your business acumen. To be a trusted partner, you need to understand the challenges your client is facing, what metrics are important to them, and the trends of the industry. If you understand this better, you'll definitely be improving your business acumen.
Find a mentor - business acumen isn't something you just have, it takes work. Team up with someone in your organization, a family member, or a friend that has more business experience than you and can help you advance. Talk to them about their business expertise, and have them help to advance your skills in areas you may not understand as well. And who said you can only have one mentor?! If it makes sense, work with multiple people to continue to advance your skills in different areas.
Listen to Earnings Calls - ok, this one seems really painful...but I PROMISE it's not. Earnings calls get a bad rap, but, in my opinion, it's not because they are all that bad - it's because people have a hard time understanding them (we host free monthly Earnings Call Labs to help you better understand any companies Earnings Call - check them out). However, they are essential for business acumen. Why?! Well, these include all of the things you need to understand to improve your business acumen - industry trends, strategic goals for the organization, financials, and pieces of every one of the five drivers.
When in doubt, go to the pros! - business acumen is a tricky subject, and sometimes you need an expert to get you started. If you're looking for business acumen training for yourself or your team, check out our Building Business Acumen course.
Business acumen is learned. It's not something you're born with or something you can learn in one session. It's something that grows over time, and you need to continuously work at it to improve. So take the time to put in the work! Your clients, corporation, and sales quotas will thank you.
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