This post was originally published by Jenny Boling on lessonly.com.
There is much more to a company than selling and making money. Team building, collaboration and connection with other teammates, delighting customers through continuous innovation, job satisfaction, and a greater purpose are just a few more. And, making money is the result, not the goal, of these activities.
That being said, companies that achieve the items we just mentioned can expect to see more motivation and confidence among their teammates. And, it just so happens that sales reps who exhibit confidence about what they’re selling and how they’re selling it have a better chance of closing the deal. Additionally, the companies that succeed are those that prioritize and optimize sales performance.
As you think about your team’s success and how to improve sales performance, keep in mind that while an individual seller might succeed based on talent alone, a successful sales team requires collaboration. So, if you’re looking for ways to inspire and improve sales performance across your organization, here are some of our favorite initiatives.
8 ideas for sales performance improvement
- Put people first: Every sales team, like any other organization composed of people, should be people-centric. Get to know your reps on a more personal (but still professional) level, and let them do the same for you. That kind of attention will make them more inclined to follow your direction, give them more of a stake in the team’s success, and ultimately improve sales performance.
- Embrace tech and digital transformations: Keep up with the constantly changing requirements of technology and marketing best practices to ensure your data is accurate and accessible by anyone in your organization. This allows you to examine your processes and provides insights to improve sales performance.
- Prioritize sales coaching: It’s not particularly shocking to point out that sales isn’t always intuitive. It often takes some guidance or expert-level insight to really get your reps’ feet set in the field. That’s why having a sales coach, confidant, or mentor designated through your organization can help reps round out their sales skill repertoire and put them on the right track. Plus, providing an additional perspective on your reps’ professional development can also help you see your efforts more objectively.
- Reduce administrative tasks: Admin tasks are some of the most time-consuming aspects of a salesperson’s daily workload. So when you’re deciding how to measure sales productivity, this is a biggie to be aware of. Many sales teams struggle to find time to fulfill all the administrative aspects of their role, such as filing expenses and updating contact information in a CRM. After all, more than half of every sales team’s time can be sucked up by activities that aren’t essential to their core function. Not only does this limit the team’s ability to improve their sales funnel, but it also creates more work for everyone involved. Reducing the admin burden is one of the best things that companies can do to ensure their sales teams are happy and productive.
- Create incentives: If you give a mouse a cookie, or better yet a bonus, sales performance will improve. Incentive compensation is the main driver of sales behaviors, and getting it right is critical to maintaining high performance and improving stagnant or low sales performance. The most important factor in your compensation is aligning sales incentives with your overall objectives. This ensures your sales team has its eye on the right opportunities and is prioritizing the very best deals to reach your goals. Keep in mind that no two positions play the same role in closing deals, so creating incentives specific to each position will motivate your team and empower them to succeed.
- Don’t be complacent: You should always be a step ahead, which means staying active. Always keep a careful pulse on how your business is functioning by staying on top of your team’s sales performance analysis and key performance indicators (KPIs) to avoid anything that might throw your team’s progress off track or undermine performance. Also, avoid fixating solely on improving the low performing reps and recognize that your overachiever reps need to be consistently challenged, too. Keep them on their toes. Shine a light on what they’re doing right—but make sure they know they always have room to grow and refine their skills.
- Track progress in quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (observed) ways: Try to do this type of sales performance evaluation on a weekly and monthly basis so you can have visible, definitive evidence of your progress and potential gaps. Beyond helping motivate reps, it can also give leaders a high-level understanding of how performance relates to the big picture of your org’s success. With these types of sales analysis, we strongly recommend documenting your success. Positive personal morale will keep you afloat and boost your individual sales performance over time, and having a record of your wins can be a big help.
- Celebrate wins: A career in sales is filled with its share of ups and downs, and understanding both sides of the coin is key to long-term success in the field. Too many salespeople get fixated on the “down” side of their performance or the reasons for low sales performance. Every win counts, and celebrating each one can give you the momentum you need to keep going.
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