If you’ve had a slow sales month, it’s easy to hit the panic button and think “We need to make more sales!”. Sure, sales is a numbers game at its core. But without the right strategies, it can result in misplaced effort and put your team into a rhythm of perpetually playing catch up.
So how can you put your sales team ahead and get them working even more energetically to not only sell but to also connect with customers? How do you help them stay productive in or out of the office, provide a consistent experience that customers will love, and see from a distance when the tougher sales months are coming? We’ve got 7 strategies to help.
The story behind the sales
Having a passion for sales can get you a long way as a Salesperson, or as a Sales Manager. But having a passion for your company can put you even further ahead. It’s something that keeps your team's motivation up and can see them through the roadblocks of day to day business.
But it’s hard to be passionate about a company without knowing its story and understanding why it exists. What problems is the company trying to solve for its customers? What are its values? Do they align with your team's own values?
Knowing this information helps to tell the company’s story and share the passion for it with leads and prospects. And as a potential customer, wouldn’t you rather deal with someone who believes in what they’re selling? When your sales reps become the storytellers, engagement with potential customers becomes more natural and has a different kind of energy all together.
Know your products and services and spread the word
Experts estimate that 60%-80% of the buyer journey is now happening before even speaking with a sales rep. This is largely due to the availability of information on the internet such as product information, impartial reviews, blogs, forums, etc. When it comes time to engage with those potential customers, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your sales team knows your products or services inside out. Towards the end of the buyer journey, potential customers want to speak with experts who can answer what they haven’t been able to find out themselves online.
Make sure your sales people have a strong digital presence. After all, this is where many of your customers are. Social platforms are perfect for increasing their presence. Get your sales team posting about what your company sells and get everyone to like and share their updates. LinkedIn can be a perfect place for them to write short, impactful articles that expand the reach of your marketing with little effort.
Keep regular training in place for your sales team to learn and familiarise themselves with new offerings or refreshers on existing products and services. When they know what they’re talking about, they’ll be more confident to continue spreading the word about the fantastic products or services your company sells.
Empowering the sales team
Training on products and services is straightforward enough. But what about training that keeps your team’s sales skills continually growing?
With the massive changes in buyer behaviour we've seen in recent years, the traditional outbound selling techniques just aren’t as effective as they used to be. To stay successful, salespeople need to stay sharp and adaptive to change. As more leads move from outbound to inbound channels, leveraging skills across personalised presentations, solution selling, consultative selling, negotiation, social selling and more become increasingly important.
There are many free online training courses now available, such as HubSpot’s Inbound Sales Certification, and even more paid online training services. Even LinkedIn has its own, vast selection of online courses since acquiring Lynda.com.
Salespeople by nature have a competitive streak that helps them strive for bigger, better numbers than their peers. Think about how you can maximise their natural ambition. Do they have a way to see their real-time sales performance? Can they also see their peers’ performance? Do they know their month-to-date progress to get a clear picture of where and when they need to be pushing harder to achieve their end-of-month results?
Giving your sales team consistent, up-to-date information on their performance can make all the difference. If you’re working with spreadsheets or systems that require a lot of admin to make this happen, look at the software options available that can give you real-time dashboards and KPI meters to keep your sales force competitive, without the admin effort.
Productivity in and out of the office
Given that salespeople spend a lot of their time out on the road, there can be some common roadblocks to productivity revolving around a lack of mobile system access. Salespeople don’t often get home from a day of visiting clients, highly enthused to update CRM data and get their administrative updates in order.
Their admin tasks can, however, be made easier for them. Making sure they have the tools to access your company’s systems while off-site means they won’t be left with a pile of admin when they’re back in the office. There are many cloud-based ERP systems which provide live product, stock and inventory, sales and invoicing information to sales reps, while also managing the CRM data. Being able to give leads and clients the information they want instantly can go a long way to empowering your sales team.
Providing them with mobile device access to update and maintain CRM data also means they'll keep customer records updated from wherever they are. And, it also has more positive impacts on the rest of the business. Real-time updates to your CRM lets employees that are back in the office see up-to-the-minute activity. This is incredibly helpful should leads or customers call through to them instead of the sales rep.
For more tips on setting your business up for better mobile productivity, see our article 5 Essential Strategies to Boost Mobile Productivity.
As a customer, you want to know you’re getting accurate pricing every time you request a quote. And you want it to be consistent, no matter whom you’re talking to.
As a business, pricing consistency is achieved through the right processes and systems. If your sales reps don’t have access to live, cloud-based data, make sure they’re contacting the office to confirm pricing before quoting customers. If you already have a cloud-based ERP or CRM system in place though, creating quotes that are stored centrally against the customer record is easy. Those quotes are instantly available to your whole team, no matter where they are. Be sure to keep sales reps educated on the importance of keeping their CRM records up to date. It not only makes everyone’s lives easier but also helps you deliver consistent pricing to customers, every time.
If you have an online presence, also consider how easy it is for customers to get quotes, place orders and view their historical records online. Making sure your online store is integrated with your ERP system can dramatically cut down admin work for your team and give customers the access and information they need, whenever they need it.
Use the past to predict the future
Gaining insight into the past can often help you get a picture of the future. Take some time to examine previous years’ sales trend data and see if there are significant recurring fluctuations. Are there trends that are influenced by seasonal events such as EOFY and Christmas that you’ll need to build additional strategies around?
You can use this data as part of your regular sales forecast to get a more accurate prediction of expected monthly sales.
You may also want to look at customer losses and acquisitions to see if there are months where they increase or decrease. Get all the reporting you need set up so that it’s easy to replicate or modify each time it needs to be re-run.
Knowing what to expect in the coming months will give you greater agility around your sales strategy and help drive marketing and sales campaigns at exactly the right times.
There’s still much more that goes into creating a consistent, energised, healthy sales culture within your organisation. But these 7 strategies are sure to get you on the right track and see stronger sales results each month.
Another important part of your sales strategy should also include having business software that’s easy for your sales reps to access when they’re out on the road, provide live, up-to-the-minute data and provide an easy app interface for keeping their CRM records updated. If you’re looking for a better software solution for your business, get in touch to start a conversation.