When businesses are looking at ways to increase revenue, it stands to reason that the performance of the sales team will be one of the first places they look. When results are not what they hope for, they will often take drastic steps, such as significantly increasing investment in sales training courses, or reducing the number of staff that are on the payroll, in order to improve the overall performance of the team.
However, increasing sales performance does not necessarily require drastic steps. It is often a case of fine-tuning your existing sales strategies, so that your team performs to the absolute best of their ability. With that in mind, here, we provide some top tips to put you on the fast track to better sales performance.
1. Focus On Your Sales Process
According to our research division, CSO Insights, one of the single most influential factors on sales performance is the sales process. In fact, part of the battle is simply having a clearly defined formal sales process and ensuring that your sales staff actually follow it right through from sourcing prospects to closing sales.
Through their research, CSO Insights found that companies with a formal process enjoyed a greater percentage of salespeople achieving quota, superior revenue plan achievement and lower rates of staff turnover than companies with an informal or random process. Businesses that dynamically monitor salespeople’s use of that process, provide them with feedback and update the process in line with changing market conditions enjoy greater success still.
When creating a sales process, it is important to be as specific as possible too, as you do not want staff to all work with completely different interpretations of it. Formalising your sales process and enforcing it should not take long, but can have incredible results in terms of increasing sales performance. Sales management courses should also be geared towards ensuring sales leaders know how to enforce the process.
2. Improve Your Coaching
When it comes to improving sales performance, few things achieve results quite like coaching. All high-quality sales management courses will highlight the importance of coaching, yet it is the responsibility most likely to be neglected by sales leaders. This is problematic, because it is only through coaching that many mistakes can be identified and eradicated, while coaching can also help to reinforce new knowledge, improving overall performance.
“If more salespeople are hitting their goals, then the odds of companies achieving their revenue targets should also increase,” CSO Insights point out in Sales Performance Optimization Study: 2016 Key Trends Analysis. Part of the role of a coach is to ensure that sales staff are equipped with the skills to meet their targets.
Moreover, coaching has a significant part to play in the formation of positive workplace relationships and this can improve sales performance by reducing staff turnover and minimising disruption. Indeed, a Gallup survey found that around 50 percent of people have left a job as a direct result of a poor relationship with their superiors.
3. Selling As Customer Service
Finally, in the past, many businesses saw customer service as something best left to the customer service team. Yet, in actual fact, customer service needs to take place at every single customer touchpoint and sales is one of the most important of these. For this reason, your sales training courses should emphasise good customer service.
Customer service is especially important when it comes to retaining customers. That, in turn, is vital because the likelihood of selling to existing customers is said to be between 60 and 70 percent, according to Marketing Metrics, while your probability of selling to a new customer is in the 5 to 20 percent range.
So what do customers want from sales staff in terms of customer service? The most crucial things are good product knowledge and a personalised experience for the customer. According to McKinsey, 70 percent of the ‘buying experience’ is based around how the customer feels they are being treated. Working on creating a good customer service experience should, therefore, be a major topic addressed through training.