Here's a well-known fact: Without sales, your company will not grow. The lifeline of your company rests on the company's ability to generate revenue from selling products or services in a consistent manner—you know, making a sale.
And, just as the act of making a sale is important, so is your team's process. While sales compensation is surely a big motivator for getting your team to hit their sales goals, there are other ways to enhance your team's sales strategy and process.
Below are five ways to help improve your team's process of making a sale:
1. Establish clear sales goals.
Often, a company will determine its annual sales target for the next year during its end-of-year budgeting process. Be it a top-down or bottom-up approach, your team's individual salespersons will have specific targets, which should all roll up to the total sales target.
As a business owner, it's important to get your team comfortable with their individual sales target and chart out a clear path to achieving their goals.
If you have concerns about your team's ability to hit their sales goals, try to express these concerns and re-adjust the goals as necessary. Posing the following questions can help you pressure test whether your team members can hit their sales goals:
- Does my salesperson have a service area or product line that's well-established, or is it nascent?
- Am I expecting my salesperson to generate their sales target from different customer types?
- Will their other responsibilities prevent him or her from hitting their target?
- Is their sales target realistic given the market opportunity?
2. Encourage your team to develop a routine for their sales efforts.
A sales productivity booster is developing a routine for sales efforts. There are so many distractions in our daily lives, from a constant barrage of email and news feeds to the onslaught of social media. Encouraging your sales team to develop, and then stick to, a sales routine can help.
If your salesperson is most productive in the morning, or if evening time is optimal for reaching customers, allow them to block out one hour during that dedicated period for sales outreach and re-connecting with potential prospects.
Prevent your team from getting distracted by encouraging the team to make recurring appointments on their calendar so that the team can protect their time and ensure that their efforts result in making a sale. Resist the temptation to send the team emails that are not part of the company's overall sales strategy during that focused time period.
3. Get other senior leaders involved in the sales process.
When the firm concentrates sales efforts on one person, be it the CEO or a dedicated salesperson, making a sale is difficult. Instead, consider leveraging other senior leaders, such as the CTO or CFO, in the sales process.
Senior leaders are often helpful in closing a deal and demonstrating the firm's sincere commitment to its clients. You can create a culture that embraces senior leader engagement by making it easy for your senior leaders to participate in the process of making a sale.
Also, try letting your senior leaders know that you value their presence and perspective. It can go a long way in supporting your sales goals.
4. Understand your company's sales process inside and out.
Without a deep understanding of how customers buy your products and services, it can be difficult for a firm to hit its sales targets.
The sales process can be very daunting, and often, overwhelming. Your ability to understand the process inside and out can help your team by showing them your commitment to their sales efforts.
Do you have a total understanding of your company's sales process? Here are several questions owners should be able to answer:
- Does your sales process last a few hours, or stretch out over a several months?
- Where do you find customers who are willing and able to buy what you have to offer?
- Do your customers rely on referrals to make a buying decision? Which ones?
- Who is the decision maker for the good or service you are selling?
- What is the typical amount of money a customer spends on your product or service?
- What is the conversion rate to generate a sale?
5. Constantly measure your progress and then adapt.
Measuring your progress allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your sales team's approach. It allows you to see how the team is tracking toward the firm's goals.
To effectively measure your progress, your business must have the right data infrastructure and tools. For instance, many effective businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) systems or proprietary dashboards that provide key sales indicators: hit rate, sales by person, the percentage of sales by product or service line, etc.
However, once you measure your team's progress over a specified period of time (e.g. weekly, monthly or quarterly), reflect on what's working and what's not and then take action with your sales team. (I would recommend doing so immediately and resisting the temptation to avoid looking at the data on a consistent basis.)
Data allows you to quickly see who on your sales team is performing, or underperforming, in making a sale. If one salesperson is behind on their sales targets, ask your high-performance salesperson to share what is working for them with the entire team. While not all business cultures operate in a spirit of collaboration, some of the most effective sales teams embrace the opportunity to learn from each other.
Making a sale is difficult. But being armed with these five strategies may position your company to increase its chances of winning business and hitting its targets.
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