Nine best sales practices for your business
Sales teams are facing a tough time. With most organizations having a suppressed budget, the pressure is on the sales professionals to increase top line revenues. Add to it is the prevalence of fewer selling opportunities and increased competition which has further deteriorated the situation.
While sales strategies are being made, the daily trenches are putting them down the drain, Let alone new solutions, sales managers are being unable to implement the already-decided strategies first.
In reference to the above-mentioned context, below enlisted are the best sales practices followed by organizations. Read, analyze and implement these in your sales process to achieve long-term success.
1. Emphasize upon sales handbook
Ideally, every sales team should have its set of sales protocols well-defined in a living blueprint. While the blueprint should involve every sales aspect such as roles, processes and rules for engagement, it should mainly focus on two factors –
- Customer understanding
Most sales leaders think they know their customers intimately and bypass the step of customer analysis. What they fail to realize is that applying a one size fits all sales strategy will not give them any gain. Since there is no single customer definition, it is essential that they analyze customers profile and pursue customers by segments. Benefit: they can exactly know the most profitable customers along with the ones which represent the greatest lifetime value. Applying optimized treatments for highest value customers will not just boost revenues but also maximize operating margins and customer share.
- Incentive plan
A well-laid out incentive plan will deliver countless downstream benefits. Instead of sales managers brainstorming ways to impose strictness and discipline among sales reps, they can be much relaxed in their approach. Right incentive plan will serve as the productive method to keep the sales reps gung-ho about delivering high sales numbers. Benefit: there will be no tiff between the manager and the staff.
Note: Follow the sales handbook but do not create a rigid sales environment. Remember most effective sales managers respond to change rapidly. If the situation demands alteration, do not hesitate to do so.
2. Data-driven approach
Relying on theories or gut feelings can ever generate the desired amount of productivity for the sales team. Instead, they need to concentrate on hard data to derive actionable insights. For example, monitoring and analyzing past conversion rates can reveal loopholes in sales process. Sales managers can know about the team’s weakness in qualifying opportunities at the top of the funnel.
With knowledge of specific areas of improvement, you can coach your team much more evocatively.
3. Integrate Sales & Marketing
An unaligned sales and marketing team creates a gap in which business processes break down and the company suffers. To avert any such type of similar plight, ensure that your marketers and sales professionals work in a cohesive group. And there can be no better way to do this than by merging departmental processes and aligning compensation models.
After all like sales reps, marketers’ behaviors too are greatly dependent on incentive plans. And when marketers and sales people share mutually benefiting incentives; they work enthusiastically to common processes.
4. Changed approach of marketers
Simply acquiring the leads and throwing them over the fence to the sales reps is no more sufficient now. It will just result in wrong lead management and sales resource waste.
Today, buyers frequent online communities and social networks. Considering which, things can turn in the favor of the company if marketers leverage social media tools to engage, acquire and manage leads. In addition to social media tools, marketers can use other thought leadership strategies to further engage with the leads. Following which, marketers can distribute leads to the sales team when leads are ready to buy.
5. Sales Coaching
Even the best sales generating companies do not rest on their laurels for long. In the present state, where things are so dynamic, laurels should be used as a motivator to make the next quarter better. And the best way to inspire this mindset is sales training. Regular team meetings combined with one-on-one discussions can really add value to the sales reps. You can talk about sales performance metrics to identify specific areas of weakness. Consequently, you can decide the steps to shore up the weak areas.
6. Review and analysis
The only way you can gain sustainable advantage is to learn faster than your counterparts and implement the lessons learnt. This is precisely why sales experts emphasize upon identifying performance metrics.
Tip: Opt for a reporting package that includes monthly reports, progress measurement and remediation plans. And the best tool that can help you accomplish all this is CRM software. Most of the renowned CRM applications have reports module. With all the data feed in by the sales reps, not only will CRM keep track of the sales reps’ work but also help you detect if your sales reps are:
- Focusing on wrong customer segments
Or there is
- Wrong alignment of compensation plans.
In sum, CRM will pin down the wrong areas in your sales process.
7. Common vision
You cannot expect your sales team to perform if they do not share a common vision aligned with the company’s goal. Hence, make sure that you communicate to them regarding: What you are trying to achieve as a team.
This will give you full buy-in where each rep will work hard not just to hit the numbers but accomplish the collective goal.
8. Business processes and technology
Software technology has come a long way when it comes to streamlining and automating sales process. Enterprise applications like CRM have salesforce automation module that holds a key role in sales productivity. They are designed for medium-to-large enterprises with mobile work forces.
SFA software automates tasks, namely - inventory control, sales processing, sales forecasts and performance analysis. Thereby, choose the right CRM system integrated with SFA tools that double up your sales productivity.
9. Take feedback
Collect and act upon prospect and customer feedback. Implement surveys to get an insight into the opinions and mindset of the customers and prospects. You can do this after every won and lost sale opportunity. Based on the feedback, you can modify strategies and predict future sales wins.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @jones_converge