Reducing “Time to Confidence,” a Key KPI for Predicting Sales Success

BY:  Rebecca Herson
April 19, 2022
6 MIN. READING

In sales, confidence drives competency, which drives proficiency. So as sales enablement personnel, how do you track, and more importantly improve, your sellers’ confidence levels? 

Our Head of Revenue, Russell Zack, recently presented a keynote at the Sales Enablement Summit in New York. Here’s a taste of what he said.

Pushing forward through uncertain times

It’s no secret that we’re dealing with uncertain times, and the uncertainty isn’t going away any time soon. But for those of us in sales enablement, it doesn’t matter. Uncertainty or not, you still have sales goals to meet, sales programs to implement, and sales pipelines to build. On top of that, you might also have new products, new methodology, new messages, or new pricing to stay competitive and increase your revenue. 

And, as always, you have people leaving – and joining – the organization. We hear a lot about the need to hire and onboard people as quickly and efficiently as possible. But, on top of that, it’s also key to the expectations and responsibilities of sales enablement teams for sales team members to become A-players – productive, efficient, and effective sellers.

A confident seller is an A+ seller

One thing that is certain to help sellers have proficient, productive relationships with buyers is having confident conversations – and not just a few of them but as many as 600 different types of conversations.

confident selling

Being able to have these conversations with confidence can lead to:

  • Opening more opportunities
  • Closing larger deals
  • Increasing win rate
  • Reducing time to close
  • Strategic goals

With this much of an ability to impact the bottom line, it becomes clear that confidence is just as important to measure as proficiency and competence. But how do we do that?

What is confidence, anyway?

Confidence is the measure of certainty we have in being able to complete a responsibility. 

Note that this is different from self-esteem, which is how we feel about ourselves. People with low self-esteem almost always have low confidence, but people with high self-esteem may also lack confidence in certain tasks or responsibilities.

As Tony Robbins says, “If you don’t know how to sell with confidence, customers won’t trust you and trust is the foundation of customer acquisition, loyalty, and lifetime value.”

And we’re not only talking about beginners here; this applies to experienced sellers, too. Take Jim, for example. Jim was a senior seller of software with 20 years of experience. He was very technical and had a high level of proficiency – but, after being put into a new market, he was unable to make any large deals or much progress in the pipeline, even after nine months. 

What happened to Jim? He lost his confidence, which lost him the trust of the buyer. 

Boosting sellers’ confidence

So how can sales enablement help boost Jim’s confidence? There are three ways.

  • Specialized coaching – You need to have a program in place to find specific areas where team members may lack confidence. 
  • Practice in a safe space – Individuals love practicing with virtual AI because it doesn’t judge.
  • Measure with surveys – Just like any other measure of a seller’s ability, you need to measure and track confidence

When it comes to identifying that there might be a need for addressing confidence issues, there are three areas to check for:

 

  • Enthusiasm for the job – Depending on how enthusiastic a seller is or is not about a new assignment, you can determine if they might lack confidence in it
  • Types of questions asked – Questions seeking reassurance may reflect a lack of confidence
  • Willingness to take risks – Wanting to hold back and avoid risks is a potential sign of low confidence

These three areas all point to a potential need for specialized coaching to help boost confidence. And the way to do that is by allowing your sellers to practice in a safe space.

Second Nature allows for practicing in a safe space

With Second Nature, sellers have the opportunity to have practice sales conversations with virtual personas. They always get positive reinforcement, helping boost serotonin and confidence. After each 5- to 8-minute stimulation, we close with survey questions to help measure and track confidence. 

Second Nature tracks several data points, but note one in particular:

practice sales conversations

As you can see, in this pilot of 1,000 sellers, confidence scores increased to a 4.1 out of 5 in just three sessions. The simulation drives an increase in confidence and gives sales enablement teams a way to measure it. 

The bottom line

High confidence means better conversations which means more sales. That’s why it’s so important to measure confidence along with proficiency as an incredibly important KPI for your sellers. 

So what happened to Jim? Despite being a great seller, he wasn’t great at the job and ultimately left the company. He didn’t go back into the work environment for 12 months until he got a call to interview someplace new. The recruiter suggested Jim try Second Nature. He gave it a shot. He did it a second and third time. And, sure, his score improved but, even more importantly, after half an hour of prep with the simulation, he felt ready to go into a first conversation with a prospect with confidence

To watch the full presentation at the Sales Enablement Summit, click here.

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About the author

Rebecca Herson

Rebecca is head of marketing at Second Nature.

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