As a business owner or sales manager, I’m sure you’ve picked up your fair share of sales tricks throughout your career. Along the way, you’ve probably passed those strategies along to your team.
But with that said, the landscape of the sales industry is constantly evolving. Tactics that you used to reach customers five or ten years ago may not work today.
It doesn’t matter how big your company is or what you’re selling—sales performance starts at the top.
This means that it’s up to you to give your sales team the tools they need to succeed.
As an expert in this in space, I’ve narrowed down the seven most important tips that every sales manager needs to know. Implementing these tactics will increase the performance of your sales team.
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many often I consult with companies that haven’t created a sales plan.
Here’s the problem. Business owners and sales managers tend to be so focused on driving sales, that they skip over steps that don’t directly contribute to dollars. But contrary to popular belief, taking the time to develop a sales plan is not a waste of your time and resources.
Your sales plan will act as a roadmap for your sales team.
This plan will outline all of the team’s objectives, goals, process, and strategy. Ultimately, a sales plan will define how your team measures success.
Let me get back to the roadmap analogy. Would you expect your team to find their way to a new destination without a map or directions? Probably not.
This same concept can be applied to your sales strategy. But if you define everyone’s role in the team and explain which tasks need to be prioritized the most, you’re setting them up for success.
Not only is it your job to create the sales plan, but it’s also your responsibility to make sure everyone follows it accordingly.
How do you measure performance?
Without using specific metrics or analytics, you have no way to know if things are going well or if they need improvement.
Sales metrics can be misleading if you’re not monitoring them on a regular basis. If you just look at the figures for one day, month, or year, the numbers won’t tell you the full story.
For example, let’s say it takes one of your sales reps 20 cold calls before they’re able to schedule an appointment. Is that number too high? Does it need improvement? Is it good?
There’s no way to answer that question unless you’re able to establish patterns over time using KPIs (key performance indicators).
If you monitor your sales metrics on a regular basis, you’ll also be able to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to double-down on the strategies that work, and make adjustments in areas where your team needs improvement.
If you’re like most businesses, you probably have a weekly sales meeting with your team. But how productive are those meetings?
All too often I consult with business owners and sales managers that hold these meetings just for the sake of having one. There’s really no rhyme or reason behind them. Most of the time, they just have all their sales reps sit around a table and read out their numbers and talk about why they did or didn’t hit their number. Two problems with that:
1 - It does nothing to motivate anyone, improve behavior or help results to just talk about past activities.
2 - It bores everyone else at the table by wasting their time and dropping the energy level. That low energy is what they will take back for the week to their prospects.
Your sales meetings need to be focused around topics that motivate your actions which will ultimately elevate your metrics related to your sales goals. These meetings will reinforce everything that has been outlined in your sales plan, and ensure that your team stays on course to complete their tasks.
In addition to team meetings that focus on big-picture strategies, I’d also recommend having meetings with each individual sales rep on a weekly basis.
These one-on-one meetings don’t need to be too long or take up too much of their time. But it’s a great way to evaluate and offer specific direction to your team members.
But understand that there is a difference between pipeline meetings and coaching meetings.
The best way to manage your leads is with content relationship management software, better known as “CRM” for short.
Manually tracking your leads with spreadsheets, whiteboards, or pen and paper are all outdated strategies. But CRM software makes it easy for you to track your current and prospective customers as they move throughout the sales cycle.
Tools like this ensure that all of your leads get followed up within a timely manner and that nobody gets lost in the shuffle.
CRM software can also help you monitor your sales metrics, which we talked about earlier. These platforms can generate reports with analytics that show you how well your team is performing.
You can also use CRM software to help you create forecasts for sales and revenue.
As long as we’re on the topic of using technology to improve sales productivity, I figured it would be a good time to talk about email marketing software.
Use automation to your advantage.
Your sales reps can only make one phone call at a time. But email software makes it possible for them to contact hundreds or even thousands of leads simultaneously.
Plus, these tools will give your team added insight and information about your leads and customers. You’ll know specifically which recipients opened the message, and if they clicked on any links inside. You can this data segment your subscribers based on their position in the sales funnel.
Set up automated drip campaigns. These are a series of messages that automatically get sent to new subscribers or customers before, during, and after they make a purchase.
It’s not about the product. It’s not about the sales pitch. It’s not about the brand name.
Everything is about the customer.
You need to make your sales team understand this. Have them focus more on who the customer is, what they need, and what they want. Then you can position yourself in a way that solves their problems.
If you’re taking the exact same approach when you’re selling to three different customers then you’re doing it wrong. The “stick to the script” approach is outdated.
Today, customers want a personalized touch, and it’s your responsibility to give that to them.
Driving your sales team goes far and beyond monetary bonuses, prizes, and a fully stocked refrigerator in the break room.
As a business owner or sales manager, you need to inspire your staff. Get them exciting about making sales.
If you show up to the office looking like you just rolled out of bed and don’t say “good morning” to anyone, you’re not doing a very good job of setting the tone for the day.
You’ve got to learn how to create a company sales culture that brings your team together and ultimately motives them to perform better.
These tips are not difficult to implement. Although some of them may sound simple, you’d be surprised by how effective the results can be.
So keep this list handy and use it boost the performance of your sales team.
For those of you who still need some extra help with this, just request a consultation with us and we’d be happy to give you more information.