How to Improve Sales Performance
What is the biggest challenge as a Sales leader? Getting your sales team to improve their performance? Getting them to use the CRM? Their time management?
All winning teams require a leader that is capable of motivating a sales team to get them flying off to new heights, but do you have what it takes to be a modern-day sales leader?
What is “Sales Performance”?
Sales performance is defined as the measure of what your sales team is doing to meet the goals set in your sales strategy. In short: Is your team on track to hit sales goals?
How to Measure Sales Performance – Primary Sales Performance KPIs
To determine if goals will be met each quarter, take a look at specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). According to the Sales Performance Survey Report 2019, top KPIs for both sales leaders and reps are:
- Revenue generated
- Pipeline generated
- Opportunities created
5 Great Tips to Improve Sales Performance for Leaders
1. Give your team freedom to influence
Sales Reps like to make an impact – give them the chance to influence decisions and they will feel like they’re making an even greater impact than simply hitting target.
At Ebsta, we have a flat management structure so that everyone has the ability to get involved in the discussion and share their ideas. Sales, in particular, enjoy doing this so much that they end up performing 70% better. Why hasn’t a prospect bought? Because of X, Y and Z. Can we build that into our product? These are all discussions we can have after Sales Reps have been giving the freedom to influence.
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2. Implement a standardized sales process
The following steps provide a good outline for what you should be doing to find potential customers, close the sale, and retain your clients for repeat business and referrals in the future.
In this stage, you find potential customers and determine whether they have a need for your product or service—and whether they can afford what you offer. Evaluating whether the customers need your product or service and can afford it is known as qualifying.
Step 2: Preparation
The second stage has you in preparation for initial contact with a potential customer, researching the market and collecting all relevant information regarding your product or service. At this point, you develop your sales presentation and tailor it to your potential client’s particular needs.
Step 3: Approach
In the approach stage, you make first contact with your client. Sometimes this is a face-to-face meeting, sometimes it’s over the phone.
Step 4: Presentation
In the presentation phase, you actively demonstrate how your product or service meets the needs of your potential customer. The word presentation implies using PowerPoint and giving a sales spiel, but it doesn’t always have to be that way—you should actively listen to your customer’s needs and then act and react accordingly.
5. Handling objections
This is where you listen to your prospect’s concerns and address them. It’s also where many unsuccessful salespeople drop out of the process—44% of salespeople abandoning pursuit after one rejection, 22% after two rejections, 14% after three, and 12% after four, even though 80% of sales require at least five follow-ups to convert.
In the closing stage, you get the decision from the client to move forward. Depending on your business, you might try one of these three closing strategies.
- Alternative choice close: Assuming the sale and offering the prospect a choice, where both options close the sale—for example, “Will you be paying the whole fee up front or in installments?” or “Will that be cash or charge?”
- Extra inducement close: Offering something extra to get the prospect to close, such as a free month of service or a discount
- Standing room only close: Creating urgency by expressing that time is of the essence—for example, “The price will be going up after this month” or “We only have six spots left”
Once you have closed the sale, your job is not done. The follow-up stage keeps you in contact with customers you have closed, not only for potential repeat business but for referrals as well. And since retaining current customers is six to seven times less costly than acquiring new ones, maintaining relationships is key.
3. Set specific sales goals
Working towards a goal is something we thrive on as human beings, whether it’s setting ourselves targets in our professional lives, or having ambitions on a personal level.
Effective goal setting is a great habit to develop and will be essential if you want to achieve big things in the world of B2B sales. The reason is simple – focus. If you have a goal and know where you’re trying to reach, you can focus all your efforts on finding the best and most efficient route to get there. Without a clear destination, you risk rambling along, wasting time and missing opportunities.
But it takes skill to set productive goals and chasing the wrong ones could cost you dearly (not just in lost sales).
4. Provide a clear career progression path
This isn’t only Sales Reps, no one wants to be in a dead end job, giving them training structure will give them the ammunition to work towards their goals. You want your Reps to aspire to greater heights and to push themselves to get there but they’ll only do this if they feel supported.
The best way to do this is to ensure they’re always learning. From you by example, from each other, and because you support them with training. The more your Reps improve themselves, the more advanced they’ll be at selling.
“Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision” – Bill Gates
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5. Use great tools to equip your team for maximum success
Any sales team needs tools to succeed. It’s your task to give them an opportunity to use tools that enable them to do their job effectively and efficiently, but it’s often much more than sales software. For example, if your team has sales software, it might not be enough to give them all the data they need to understand customers’ needs.
That’s where Ebsta’s suite of tools come in, and they can be especially useful to support decisions and improve the ability of team members to build relationships with leads and clients.
5 Great Tips to Improve Sales Performance for Sales Professionals
Whether you’re a small, growing organization or a well-established industry leader, your ongoing success depends on the effectiveness of your sales team. There’s no doubt your team works hard every day to land clients and close deals. But how effective are their efforts?
Set your team up for success by using the following proven methods to increase sales performance.
1. Practice active listening
The 80/20 rule can be a good gauge for this. 80% of content or information shared within a sales conversation should be catered to addressing prospect or customer pain points with tips, tricks, and how they can make a change today.
The other 20% should specifically about your company and the benefits you offer. Take that principle one step further and break it down to a listen/speak ratio for your sales pitch. Your reps should only be talking 20% of the time, while the other 80% should be devoted to the understanding who a rep is talking to—asking questions, answering your inquiries and telling you about themselves.
2. Sell on purpose
Know both what to do and why you’re doing it at every step along the way. Who are you targeting and why? What are you going to tell them and why? What are you going to ask them and why? What is your proposal going to look like and why? When are you going to ask for the order? If you don’t feel sure of yourself at every step of the selling process, get some training or guidance.
3. Sell to customer needs
Always assume your prospects will buy only what they need. How can you convince them of that need? Emphasize the features of your product or service that reduce costs and solve problems for the customer. Sometimes you can reposition your wares. For example, you sold wool uniforms for their look and feel; now stress wool’s durability and lasting value. Be creative in your sales and marketing.
4. Invest in personal development
Many salespeople spend time developing their skills around prospecting, closing, presenting, rapport building and networking. If you ask what they are doing to improve their personal lives, they often respond “that has nothing to do with work”. But the fact is that it does. How you feel and the quality of your thoughts are key factors in sales success. They come with you to work.
It is worth it to mention and to repeat: positivity is important and will be attractive to prospects and clients alike. And that is why it is absolutely necessary to focus on personal development in order to show up and execute an effective sales process.
5. Streamline your systems to maximize your time
We’ve all heard the saying “time is money.” This is especially true for salespeople. Allotting time to one prospect over another could be the difference between closing a million dollar deal and having the door closed on you. Spending a certain amount of time on one group of activities could set a rep up for record week, while concentrating on something else might launch you down the path to a slump.
Time management is one of the most challenging disciplines for salespeople to master. Reps always have several important tasks competing for their attention at once. How do they prioritize and maximize their time?