If you’re like most sales leaders, you’re not entirely happy with your sales team’s performance. While you’re happy you have some A-players, you wish you could improve sales performance across the board.
Here are 5 keys to boost sales performance now!
1. Get your team to define your ideal client. Most sales people have no idea what an ideal customer for your company looks like. They simply think in terms of finding more prospects. This is unfortunate. It results in sales people who chase everything, say anything, and close next to nothing.
Most sales people have no idea what an ideal customer for your company looks like.
One of the most important steps a sales leader can take is to become intimately familiar with their company’s corporate strategy and identify the key attributes of clients that move the company closer to its strategic objectives. Once these attributes are identified, an ideal customer profile should be developed and shared with the sales team. The ideal is just that – it’s ideal. Sales people are not expected to only sell to ideal customers, but having an ideal customer profile enables sales people to become more discriminating about who they spend their time with.
It also enables them to put a hurdle in front of prospects and see how motivated they are to jump over it. When a sales person says, “These are the kinds of companies and people we do business with – how well does this describe you?”, they can then invite prospects to qualify themselves.
2. Shift your team from selling products to selling bundled solutions. Most sales people sell products. They do not sell solutions (despite their claims that they engage in solution selling). In reality, they listen long enough to hear a need for their product and then they begin pitching. This immediately sets them up for failure because 1) most products can be easily replaced with other products and, therefore, 2) products can be easily commoditized.
The best sales people don’t listen for product needs, instead, they listen for problems and priorities.
The best sales people don’t listen for product needs, instead, they listen for problems and priorities. They go further and ensure that those problems and priorities have broad and strategic implications. Only after they have clearly identified these problems and priorities, and fully understood the implications with the prospect, do they even begin to think about solutions. Sales people who show up with the answer before they’ve even heard the question are only pretending to sell solutions. Crafting a solution is a creative exercise that is in response to properly understanding the problem to be solved. This creative exercise involves configuring multiple products together in a unique way to address a specific problem.
3. Get your team to use structure, scripts and stories. Typically, the people that gravitate toward a career in sales are the people who hate to be pinned down. Unlike a customer service agent, or an accounts payable clerk, who thrive in a highly structured environment, the thought of structure will usually drain a sales person’s energy. Yet, without structure, there can be no consistent performance and there will be no continual improvement.
To be effective, sales people must understand that there is a process to buying. They need to create value by engaging in the right activities at each stage of the buying process.
To be effective, sales people must understand that there is a process to buying. They need to create value by engaging in the right activities at each stage of the buying process. There are many sales engagement tools available today that will enable you, as the sales leader, to structure what content gets shared with prospects at each stage of their buying journey. Stories sell, especially when they are timed correctly. As part of their sales script, your sales people should understand which stories to tell at each point of engagement, and you should be able to track the persuasive power of these stories when told properly and at the right time.
4. Show me the money.
ROI calculations work wonders at this stage to alleviate anxiety in the buying committee and justify the buying decision.
While engaging prospects emotionally, encourage your sales team to uncover the quantifiable information that will lead to a return on investment calculation. In the early stages of a sales opportunity, it is relatively easy to get a hold of this information. This information can become increasingly difficult to access once the sales opportunity matures. It is critical that these numbers are not made up and that they do not come from the sales professional. It’s critical that the key stakeholders supply these numbers. At the point of decision, the anxiety level will be high. ROI calculations work wonders at this stage to alleviate anxiety in the buying committee and justify the buying decision.
5. Use metrics that matter. For the average sales person, success is measured by the size of the deal. This is old school, short-term thinking. Getting the deal is just first base. A lot more work needs to be done before the deal can be considered a success. This is because the client determines success. Win-win means your sales person wins after your client wins.
The more your team understands what the prospect is trying to do strategically, and the metrics that measure that progress, the more you and your team will be perceived as strategic partners and not just vendors.
For this reason, it is critical that success metrics are determined prior to the deal closing. In fact, a significant point of persuasion with the economic decision maker and other key stakeholders will be how much your team can move the needle on the one of two strategic metrics that really matter. The more your team understands what the prospect is trying to do strategically, and the metrics that measure that progress, the more you and your team will be perceived as strategic partners and not just vendors. Strategic partners always make a lot more money than mere vendors.