Many companies can spend significant time brainstorming how to increase sales performance. It’s easy to arrive at solutions that involve reducing pricing or spending more on marketing campaigns. But how can you increase sales revenue without reducing margin or spending more? Here are five business strategies to boost sales performance.
1. Your Business Story
Every company has a story to tell. And that’s a good thing because people naturally remember a good story.
To solidify your company story, think about why your business was first started. Were there any quirks about its inception that could make your story more memorable? What problems did it set out to solve for its customers? And what are the company’s ongoing values? Think about what leads and prospects are likely to identify with and find engaging, and build around it.
When you get your story sorted, make sure everyone in your company knows and understands it. Particularly your sales people. After all, what better way to get them enthused about selling your products and services than to help them understand why they’re selling for you. A salesforce that believes in what they’re selling will tell your company’s story better and more sincerely to potential new customers.
2. Increase Your Reach
Did you know that an estimated 60-80% of the buyer journey is now happening online? That’s before potential buyers have picked up the phone, sent an email, or contacted anyone from your business. That’s why it’s imperative to spread the word about your company and get its name out there.
How? The simplest place to start is to get your sales people spending time where their prospects are spending time – online. Focus on increasing each individual salesperson’s digital presence. Get them engaging on the same social platforms that your prospects are using regularly.
The more your sales people boost their digital presence, the greater the chance of prospects noticing and connecting with them online. And the better the quality of information your salespeople are providing, the more they’ll start being viewed by prospects as subject matter experts.
Remember, what your sales people do and don’t post online is an important part of the process. Having them post helpful information, advice and ideas that provide value to its audience is key. Due to the increasing digital and mobile lifestyle that many of us now live, researchers say our average attention span has dropped to around 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds at the year 2000). This makes sense with so much happening so rapidly online and a barrage of digital messages being fired at us from many different angles. Between social media, online advertising, forums, mobile notifications, and more, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture people’s attention. That’s why value-driven content is always the winner.
Prospects also generally don’t like being sold to. With so much advertising information online, it’s become increasingly transparent when a sales pitch is being made. So, you’re your sales people are engaging with prospects online, keep the emphasis on value. The higher perceived value of what your salespeople are providing, the more likely that prospects will be to communicate with them and to keep your company in mind when they’re ready to buy.
"An estimated 60-80% of the buyer journey is now happening online? That’s before potential buyers have picked up the phone, sent an email, or contacted anyone from your business."
3. Empower Your Sales Team
Your salespeople are the everyday voice of your business when it comes to leads and potential customers. So, if you want to amplify that voice, empowering your sales team is the way to do it.
Organise regular, continual training for your sales team to educate and inform them about your products and services, your competitors, and industry updates. Help them become better subject matter experts. When leads and prospects are ready to make a purchasing decision, they’ll likely have done their online research already and now be seeking some final, expert advice. Equipping your sales team with the right knowledge can elevate their standing and help close those deals faster.
There are plenty of training courses available, many of which are online, to empower your sales team even further. Providing a few initial options can offer a boost of inspiration. Then, leave it up to individuals to decide on the training they’d like to undertake. After all, it’s natural to be more invested in training that’s been personally selected and committed to.
Also, review the tools they’re using to stay productive while mobile. Spending a lot of time out on the road can take its toll on keeping admin up to date and being responsive to customer queries. Choosing the right technology and equipment for mobile sales productivity is one part of the solution. Another is having real-time, central-source data available to them. Being able to give prospects or customers live product and stock information, lead-times and order information can be powerful.
4. Listen and Learn from Existing Customers
One of the best ways to improve your offering to potential new customers is by listening to your existing customers. What do they think of your business, its products and services? Have they had a good experience dealing with your company? What do they want to see more of?
Immediately when thinking about customer feedback, it conjures the thought of surveys with pages of questions to extract granular detail on every aspect of the customer experience. But it doesn’t have to be this complex to get started.
Driving an internal initiative for sales reps, customer service, and other staff to simply a few basic questions can get the feedback rolling in. If you’re using a CRM system to track customer interactions, you can report on feedback that’s been logged.
Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it all presents an opportunity to learn and improve. Hearing negative feedback can be discouraging for some but can often hold the most value.
"One of the best ways to improve your offering to potential new customers is by listening to your existing customers."
5. Customer Advocacy and Referrals
Word of mouth can have a strong influencing factor towards final purchasing decisions. Some studies put the amount of influence at between 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Why is it such a big factor? Because people trust each other more than they trust your marketing. It’s that simple.
If you’ve listened to customer feedback, you’ll have a good idea of who your happy customers are. These are customers you’ll want to ask for referrals.
Some of the potential referral customers may regard your company so highly that they’re natural advocates. Others may need a little extra convincing.
Consider an incentive to make the idea of becoming a referral customer even more appealing. A familiar incentive is a discount voucher entitling the referrer to a set amount or percentage off their next order with you. But you could also consider early access to new products or services or specific giveaways.
Next time your sales team is brainstorming how to increase sales performance, consider these five sales strategy ideas; your story, reach, empowering your sales team, listening to existing customers, and taking advantage of customer advocacy with the right referral program. You might be surprised by just how much you can increase sales revenue without increasing costs or reducing margin.
If you’re interested in growing sales faster and further improving sales revenue, get your free guide on mastering multi-channel sales.