Planning drives performance, drives results
In this blog, we're going to cover the 11 most important components to evaluate your sales organization, and identify opportunities to fill any gaps to improve sales results. These below tips have been proven in over 300 SRi engagements, they work.
1. Hire the right team
This may seem obvious, but if you don't have the right team in place, you're not going to grow the way you need to. Hiring the right team is about team chemistry and capabilities as much as it is about individual aptitude.
Many sales teams take personality tests to better understand themselves, and swap prospects and accounts to better connect with prospects that respond well to their unique personality types. If your team is carbon copies of the same seller, you're going to be missing out on prospects that don't respond well to that type of seller.
2. Invest in planning/strategy
Every end-of-year, leaders spend time setting up the plan, strategy, forecast, etc. for the upcoming year. If you want to improve sales results, you have to plan for success. Some sales leaders are able to dedicate enough time to this planning process, while many are busy closing deals and making the annual quota in November and December. If you don't find yourself with enough time for planning and strategy, you're not alone, which is why business and sales consulting has grown dramatically to support sales leaders.
Throughout the year, how often do you go through a deep dive review of the plan and strategy? Probably not often unless you get so far behind you need a reset, or a major market shift occurs. At least quarterly, the strategy should be tweaked, updated, or refreshed to optimize results.
3. Build the right sales foundation
A Winning Sales Foundation™ combines the strategy, coaching, sales playbooks, sales process, CRM effectiveness, messaging, and other components that go into how your sales organization operates to support sellers.
- Can you onboard a new sales rep in 30 days?
- Do you have robust prospect personas, objection handling, & value proposition tools?
- Are reps easily able to find the right information live on the phone?
- Is everybody following the same sales process, is it a good sales process?
4. Invest in sales enablement
Many salespeople and sales leaders are quick to work with customers, but tend to de-prioritize the back-end work that would ultimately provide improved sales results. If your organization isn't involved with sales consultants, sales operations or sales enablement, you may be missing critical elements of your sales infrastructure.
5. Execute a methodology that works for your prospects
There is no shortage of sales methodologies on the market today from SPIN Selling to Challenger, Solution Selling, etc. To me, SPIN is foundational, and a great choice for a younger team or a short sales cycle. To be a "Challenger" is difficult for many reps, but Challenger and Solution Selling often give a benefit in larger, more complex sales.
This is just a sampling of methodologies that can be used, there are a lot out there that work in different scenarios.
6. Rely heavily on data-driven decisions
Sales is 90% science, and 10% art - but many of us salespeople want to trust our gut more than what the data is really telling us. Sometimes we're right, but sometimes we're wrong, and that can be dangerous.
If you're not tracking historical data, running the business off of a trusted dashboard with good data, and using that data to make decisions, you're setting yourself up for a rude awakening come the end of the quarter (and rarely a good surprise).
7. Coach Leaders
Often great salespeople are promoted into sales leadership positions, which is a very different skillset than carrying a bag. If you want to improve sales results, you need to coach and train this critical group of leaders to empower reps, advocate for them, think about strategies, manage key accounts, and more. Everybody needs coaching, and this group often gets thrown into a "sink or swim" role without the support they need to be successful.
8. Train and mentor reps
Sales reps are hungry - they want to succeed. How will reps be able to grow and learn without good training and a mentor who's been in their shoes and grown before?
There's youtube video training, there's canned program training, and then there is tailored training that teaches them exactly the wording and value props that will work for them, their products, and their customers. That's what SRi does to improve sales results.
9. Provide great sales tools
Sales Result has roughly 45 distinct sales tools that we've built and tailored for clients over the years. What's a sales tool? Think of a list of value propositions, business pains and benefits, elevator pitches, customer presentations, competitive intelligence, etc. all directly relevant to your team in a localized and organized place.
Too often we see that one rep will learn a competitor's weakness, but how is that disseminated to the team? When a new hire joins, do they have the right material to come up to speed in less than 30-45 days? What about smart sales tools and a centralized library help to keep information fresh as well as top of mind? This is the future of great sales tools, and a critical component to improving sales results.
10. Culture Matters
Culture means different things to different people. Here's what it means to me:
- Culture of Winning - Celebrate the wins, provide incentives, let the rock stars shine. Also, do the deal-dive on the losses, and help average performers learn, and grow into rock stars.
- Culture of Passion - Make people want to work there. Salespeople put plenty of pressure on themselves if their variable comp is set up right, no need to pile on with too much yelling, it's about building them up and supporting them to be the best they can be.
- Culture of Transparency - Leadership can't make good decisions without good CRM data, and reps will not enter honest data without oversight, AND encouragement to be honest rather than puff up their numbers.
11. Never Satisfied
This is a phrase we used to use in high school sports, no matter how much you were winning by, it was never enough. There is always more to do, and you could never let your competition get back in the game. I remember almost losing a 4-0 lead in a soccer match because we got cocky, we got complacent, we put in the "B" team - don't make that same mistake. Just because your sales team is winning does not mean it will last, you need to keep the pressure on, keep getting better, keep innovating, and keep winning.
How do you keep your team fully motivated when things are going well?
These are the 11 points I think of today, please comment on what else you think is key to improving sales results; I am sure there are other points as well as perspectives.
If you want to talk more about how Sales Result helps sales teams improve sales results, please reach out to us and we will be happy to learn more about your operation and provide assistance. Call us at 1-425-372-2190