Sales performance is the lifeblood of all sales departments – and a sales team is only as good as the sales performance of its members. It’s a harsh reality, but salespeople must earn their keep and bring in customers. While a large part of the work will be done by the sales reps, the responsibility of ensuring that each rep is meeting (and, hopefully, surpassing) targets is the sales manager’s quandary.Improving the sales performance of both yourself and your team requires ongoing work, rather than quarterly overhauls in processes. Making a handful of small changes can have a greater impact on sales performance than something drastic and once-off. Read on for seven small ways in which you can boost your and your sales team’s sales performance.
1) Do similar tasks in batches
This applies especially to routine admin tasks like making calls, following up on calls or updating your CRM. Time is required to get into the flow of a new task, and each time you switch tasks, time will be wasted getting your head into a different way of working. Instead, trying grouping similar tasks together and getting through them in one sitting. If it takes five minutes to get into your call routine, and ten minutes to make a call, it’ll take you 65 minutes to make six calls, instead of 90 minutes to make six calls at random intervals. Those 25 minutes (multiplied by the number of people in your team) can be spent on activities that improve sales performance.
2) If you can automate it, do it
Sales and marketing automation not only cuts down on time and money, but have made it possible to do things we couldn’t do before. For example, the collection and analysis of data and the sending of lead nurturing email workflows – to name just a couple. Monitoring buying signals across social channels is something else that can be automated, saving you from manually trawling social feeds. Identifying tasks that can be automated streamlines your sales process and gives you back time that can be spent starting valuable conversations with prospects, therefore increasing your chances of closing deals.
3) Reinvigorate outbound email lists
Your email lists let your sales team know which leads are ready for a sales call, or in this case, a sales email. An out of date email list containing nothing but a name and email address won’t get your sales team very far. It’s more than likely that their emails will bounce, or become unsubscribed. And as I mentioned in a previous blog, bounced emails are not good news. The way round this is through data enrichment. This means capturing more detailed data about each prospect that’ll help your sales team zoom in on which of these prospects are ready to buy. Data enrichment can aid sales performance by giving your sales team more information about prospects, which should result in more personalised and successful emails.
4) Focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to leads
The point above emphasises how knowing more about your prospects helps you to determine the ones that are ready for a sales call. Even though a higher volume of leads has the potential to bring in more customers, experience tells us that casting a wide net doesn’t actually boost sales performance. The shorter and more focused a list of leads is, the less time your team will spend on fruitless calls to uninterested leads (which could damage your brand) and the more likely it is that the leads they do call are ready to buy. The trick is to understand what constitutes a high-quality lead so you can create lead generation strategies to attract them. These individuals will know their pain point, want a solution, know your company exists and see value in your product.
5) Invest in the right tools
Investing in new tools might make your heart either leap or sink, depending on your penchant for new technology. On the one hand, tools bring efficiencies, but – like inputting client data into CRM – they can also take yet more time out of your team’s day. Only Invest in a tool if that tool creates time efficiencies which can be spent instead on making the right sales calls. Ask yourself how much that extra time is worth, and this will tell you how much is worth spending on a new tool.
6) Know where your leads are in the sales funnel
Your sales team should be fully briefed on each of the three stages of your product’s sales funnel: top, middle and bottom. Knowing where in the sales funnel each lead is is crucial for knowing how and when to communicate with them. Leads at the top of the funnel have only just discovered the product you’re selling, and so a sales call would be inappropriate and probably unwanted. Without knowing whether a lead is at the top of the funnel, or at the bottom, your sales team will waste time calling them all, instead of focusing their time on reaching out to bottom of funnel leads and nurturing leads at the top and middle of the funnel.
7) Get your sales and marketing team working together
I’ll admit, this last tip for improving sales performance isn’t as incremental a change as the previous six, but it’s one of the most important ways of ensuring that conversion rates are as high as possible. ‘Smartketing’ (the alignment of sales and marketing) has the potential to increase revenue by up to 208%, according to marketing automation giant HubSpot. Not only that, companies that have successfully aligned their sales and marketing close 38% more deals. Aligning sales and marketing involves setting up clear definitions on what constitutes a lead and a qualified lead (one that’s ready for a sales call), establishing feedback channels and ensuring that goals, and metrics to measure these goals, are aligned between both teams.
Understanding the unique stages a lead goes through before they are sales-ready is an important part of boosting sales performance. To learn more about what it takes to convert a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL), download our guide: