Throughout my entire career I always believed that hard work, alone, was all I needed to be successful in sales. I would join an organization, ramp quickly and hit the pavement running. In actuality, my success had been achieved with a mix of great training, a drive to continuously learn new things, tremendous support from my team, a dose of good luck, and of course, hard work.
Throughout the last 10 years I have worked with numerous organizations struggling to grow. I have seen the classic mistakes that organizations make: unclear vision, lack of leadership, bad hires, etc. However, the biggest mistake I’ve seen is the lack of support for sales teams. I get it – if sales can’t hit their numbers, budget lines get axed. But that doesn’t mean you leave your sales reps high and dry to fend for themselves until they can hit their numbers. That means they need more support to be successful and it’s at this time when providing that support is most critical.
Putting the burden on the sales rep is not only ineffective, but it also results in lack of brand continuity. Below are 5 easy steps to turn your revenue numbers around.
- Arm your sales reps with updated content. They should always have a stock of resources that they can use.
- Centralize this content so the sales reps don’t have to spend time digging around. If your reps can’t find it, they won’t search for it.
- Develop content for specific sales situations, whether it’s industry or role. Align content marketing with buying cycle. With the right content, you can guide prospects from initial touch point to close by giving them the exact information they need at each stage of the buying process.
- Sales reps are in need of a standardized process because it helps them be more efficient, develop stronger skills through repetition and spares them from having to reinvent the wheel with every prospect or opportunity.
- Sales reps need to be guided through identification of customer needs, selecting the best offering for those customers, articulating and proving the value that the customer will get from those offerings, and then reinforcing that value to the customer.
- It is easier to manage the sales funnel and the expectations surrounding sales activities. Managers can determine where in the sales process the sales reps are getting stuck so they can address the issues.
3. Competitive Intelligence
- Understanding what you’re competitors are doing and the price at which they’re selling their solution will allow you, as the sales rep, to be prepared should you have any objections throughout the selling cycle. Ask your client what companies they’re considering and come prepared with information on how you stack up against the competition.
- Ask your customers why they chose you. This information will help you create an asset that addresses your strengths over your competitors.
- Lead generation strategies are important. Have marketing share what content they’re using to generate leads. It’s extremely important that sales reps know where their leads are coming from if they’re going to close them effectively.
- Provide all useful information about leads to the sales team. The easiest way to gather this information is through lead-capture forms. What size is the company? What is the lead’s title? Understand where the lead is in the buying cycle and properly nurture this lead. Nurtured leads have a shorter sales cycle.
- Look at all non-sales related tasks and consider how they might be minimized or automated.
- Consider what non-sales activities could be delegated elsewhere to ensure sales reps spend more time selling. Consider what parts of the process can be taken up by others in the business or by technology.
- Implement and manage the right metrics and reports that get your team to focus on activities that will maximize sales growth.
These five areas help you best align your organization behind your sales team. Once these areas are covered, your customers will be inspired to do business with you, ultimately meeting your revenue goals. How far along are you? Did you find other tips that have also helped?