For long-term success in business, you need some structure.
Sales is more than employing some people, sitting them at a desk in front of a computer, then getting them on the phone to sell a product or service.
Yes, some results may come, and yes, this will likely lead many to believe that their product or service is good enough to keep those results coming.
But, this is often short-lived. Things become harder and sales decline.
Focus is then turned towards the sales staff with the wonder of whom should be the first to go and be replaced.
Unfortunately, many companies have a high turnover of sales staff. So much so, that they may as well have a revolving door. But, a high turnover of staff is often down to poor management.
When a company employs people to carry out tasks, such as those required within a sales and business development team and then goes on to give those employees everything that is needed for them to perform effectively and also applies those staff members to a simply structured sales cycle, the employees will be very clear on what they need to do and how they can best carry out those tasks.
The results achieved will then be less sporadic.
Successful management of generating sales is a disciplined process based on data and well defined structured processes that will enable you to consistently generate results and stay ahead of the competition.
But let’s not lay focus on the endless list of what badly performing teams are doing wrong, let’s look at 3 ways that can help you turn things around rather quickly.
1. Profile your Customer
It’s not enough to simply select prospects based on how much they spend or what products they buy.
Knowing how to harness the power of customer data can be the difference between an unsuccessful sales strategy and a significant return on investment.
A customer profile tells you everything about the kind of people you want to bring on as a client.
It includes common details such as their:
- Job title
- Purchasing habits
- Goals & motivations
- Challenges & pain points
A B2B customer profile should also include the firmographic data of their targets, such as their company size, employee count, and annual turnover.
The benefits of profiling customers will allow a company to be more targeted in their approach to generating leads. The company would be better equipped in knowing what to communicate, to whom and when, and which method/channel would be the most effective.
Marketers who have an understanding of their customers and can put it to work, possess the key to successful lead generation. As a result, marketers can arm their sales team with qualified leads, many of which will turn into sales and increase their marketing return on investment.
2. Develop a Sales Process/Cycle
It is simple as this… Reps that use a structured sales process outperform those that don’t!
A sales process or cycle is a set of repeatable steps/actions that a sales rep performs to take a prospect from the stage of awareness to a closed sale.
A structured sales process typically consists of around 5 steps, such as Prospecting, Approach, Handling objections, Closing, and Following-up.
Time and time again, I have heard things like “but we like our sales reps to be flexible, we don’t like them to have scripts, structure, etc, we believe that this makes them perform unnatural and like robots” blah bah blah…
Let the numbers do the talking:
- The TAS Group, with reference to the Dealmaker Index Study, states that 70% of the companies that follow a structured process in sales are high performers; over 70% of business forecasts were accurate for the companies that worked with a defined sales process.
- A study by Harvard Business Review (HBR) showed that businesses with a standardized sales process see up to a 28% increase in revenue as compared to those that do not.
- In another study, HBR reveals that 50% of high-performing sales organizations admit having “closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated” sales processes. Meanwhile, 48% of under-performing organizations have non-existent or informal sales processes.
What these numbers clearly show is that three main sales parameters, revenue, performance, and forecasting accuracy, tend to go significantly up when a company adopts a standardized sale process.
Yet, according to the Objective Management Group, a whopping 68% of all salespeople do not follow a sales process at all!
3. Employ the Right Person
It is of the highest importance that your sales team has the right sales manager to lead them, because arguably, for your company to be successful, nothing is more important than your sales team.
It is certainly more complicated than just promoting a good salesperson, just because they are good at sales, does not mean that they are going to be an effective sales manager.
Being in the industry for years, or having good product knowledge, or even being best friends with the CEO, do not necessarily make them the right choice to be your head of sales or sales manager.
Your ideal person should be able to recruit and develop a sales team and maximize their potential.
A sales manager does not need to be the best salesperson, but should definitely have sales experience.
The best salesperson should be focused on sales and not wasting their time managing the team.
Your ideal person should have the ability to coach, motivate and hold salespeople accountable.
They should have social selling, closing, and CRM skills along with a strong ability to build relationships, manage emotions and have supportive beliefs of the team.
One of the most important roles required of a sales manager is having the ability to translate a marketing strategy into a concise and well-defined sales strategy.
Many sales managers talk about the importance of aligning the marketing and sales teams, yet have absolutely no idea where to start.
There is much more that can be done to structure your team and generate more results, but taking these first 3 steps will definitely get you moving in the right direction.
Visit www.funnelcross.com for more information on how we can help your business.