What is a sales lab, and how can it help your business?

Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

If you’re familiar with the concept of a sales lab, you’ve probably heard of it in the context of a university or college. In this case it is usually a purely educational endeavor that helps students in sales skills training.

In fact, there is one more version that can directly benefit your company. Beyond creating a potentially strong revenue stream, this could prove the future of your business.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, a sales lab can be a real game-changer for your organization’s revenue and sales. This in-house effort provides a practical classroom where your sales professionals can be engaged in intensive, experiential learning and testing.

Related: 7 Ways to Change Your Marketing and Sales Strategies for the New Economy

It’s all designed to improve their skills and help your business stand out from the competition, raising your bottom line in the process. Here’s how a sales lab can make this happen for you.

How does an in-house sales lab work?

Imagine a company that provides full-service marketing support to restaurants, with three sales representatives who qualify, pitch and close new clients. Traditionally, the company charges $ 5,000 per month for its services based on the existing economic environment and what competitors charge for similar work.

But what if our marketing business could charge 10,000? Chances are, it will never try on its own initiative. This increase is too dramatic for most people to risk losing otherwise qualified leads, at least not without proof that there is a market at that price point.

The idea of ​​a lab would be helpful here. Our speculative marketing agency can give one of these three agents a reasonable compensation structure and work full time for the challenge of selling the same package to potential targets at double their price.

This could be one of two things: either (A) in the worst case, the company gets strong support for its current pricing structure or (B) in the best possible case, it doubles the average revenue per client.

Guaranteeing fair compensation means creating a process for your sales team to test and work on new ideas, new messaging or even new product or service lines, meaning they are free to radically test and explore possibilities without fear of losing revenue. In return, your company enjoys several benefits.

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1. It lets you test innovative ideas

Following ideas from your competitors is not necessarily a terrible idea, but you should always think about how much more your company can achieve with some new ideas. An in-house sales lab lets your experienced professionals explore more innovative sales strategies. They can develop new markets, come up with new offers and deepen your company’s understanding of customers.

However, the utility of a sales lab goes beyond mere conception. Having a dedicated sales team in the lab means they can test those ideas, analyze the results, and refine the process. Your company benefits from this process through optimized methods and proven results.

2. It produces highly targeted results

You can research your own industry developments yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. Undoubtedly as helpful as that information is, however, it is always going to be second tier than the information created exclusively with your company in mind.

Cookie-cutting ideas lead to cookie-cutting results, which means you will always follow the herd and never overdo it. With a sales lab, your team can use its stored “inside” information to work on ideas and initiatives that particularly benefit your company. This is how you reach your company’s business and revenue goals – not by following the pack but by leading it.

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3. It creates the right motivation

A sales lab that frees your top performers to innovate and get creative, helping them achieve significant things. At times, we are all a little risk-averse. This is especially true where employment is concerned. Dedicated sales team members usually do not want to risk their job with the suggestion of an untested, unproven concept. What if it fails?

Instead, in a sales lab, the participating sales team members know that the company leadership wants them to take those risks and reap potential rewards. In return, they know that failure will not be met with loss of position or status, so there is a limited downside.

In fact, failure should be rewarded in a high-performance sales lab. Encourage your sales lab team to fail quickly. Otherwise, people become so risk-averse that they are afraid to suggest really bold ideas – which can take your business to the next level.

Tips for implementing your new sales lab

Instead of asking someone to give you extra time, let certain sales representatives dedicate all their time to lab work. This creates a more conducive environment for creativity and intelligence.

You also need to find a framework that works for your business in terms of both compensation and business goals. However, it is important not to over-think this process. As with any new venture, it’s easy to get caught up in perfecting the plan, which goes against the idea of ​​failing quickly. Instead, do your best to anticipate the challenges, but then let the lab prove itself in the most practical way possible.

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