As a startup, we understand that business moves at the speed of light and that keeping sales teams productive, motivated and on target are the keys to long-term success. Here, we wanted to share just a few of our best-practices to boosting productivity in sales teams.
1. Have a sales playbook
A Sales playbook is important because it keeps everyone on the same page with the entire sales process. It’s also great for training new hires, coaching and reviewing best practices. Everyone knows that sales is a numbers game, so when you finally figure out what works it’s important to turn it into a repeatable process so that others can follow and your organization can thrive. Creating a good sales playbook is a never-ending process. Just like a sports playbook, you’ll need to study the competition, change the way you operate and be sure to keep the inventive plans fresh and new. One word of caution though: Don’t live by the sales playbook; it’s a great resource but making employees follow it to the letter will create sales robots who can’t think on their own and adapt to questions or challenges.
2. Be clear, concise, and consistent in sales calls
Telesales has gotten such a bad rap lately as a result of shady sales practices that people are already on guard as soon as they hear that you’re selling something. That’s not a good way to start a conversation! Instead, offer some expert advice on industry trends and slowly ease into the conversation, building confidence and trust as you go. If possible, research the client you are calling and mention some similar interests or shared background. Once you have built rapport, be clear in your message and delivery.
3. Automate tasks. Good software saves time and energy
The purpose of most software is to simplify the things that we are already doing anyways. CRMs replaced Excel sheets, sales motivation software replaces the sales bell and whiteboard, and so on. The more you can automate tasks, the more time you will have to focus on other core parts of sales management and sales development. Pick your systems wisely and provide good training to ensure proper user adoption.
4. Invest in professional development
People are everything and they will ultimately make or break your company, so you need to treat them well. Every salesperson needs two things: money and recognition. Having a clear incentives plan is critical and then following up with thanks and celebrations when people meet or exceed goals is equally important. If you don’t recognize and reward your salespeople, someone else will and they will leave you. Consider investing in a sales motivation software like SalesScreen to drive activity on KPIs in a fun new way.
5. Recognize great accomplishments
Similar to the point above, recognition is a critical part of the sales management process. People need to be rewarded and appreciated for their hard work. The better you are at celebrating the successes, the stronger your company culture will be. And at the end of the day, a strong sales culture can accomplish just about anything.
6. Create a content library
It’s important for both your sales and marketing teams that lots of high-quality content is available to go along with your product demos. People usually want something to show their decision makers and the quality of your content is often the difference between winning or losing a deal. Be sure to have updated images and clearly articulated benefits that relate to your product features. If you create an online sales library and make the items downloadable in exchange for contact information, they make for great lead generation!
7. Turn clients into promoters
This should be the goal of every business. You want clients so happy with your product and so impressed by your service that they do your marketing for you. Word of mouth is by far the best source of new leads and results in an almost 80% conversion rate for most industries. There is nothing better than having your customers refer new clients to you. But in order to do this, you have to make the effort to build real relationships with them, have an outstanding product and provide the highest level of customer support.
8. Clean up your CRM
For most sales teams, the CRM is a powerful tool… but it can also be a messy disaster. Some hot leads have gone cold, some have been contacted numerous times, some leads have multiple contacts listed, and so on. Nothing wastes a sales person’s time like trying to sort through an endless list of unknown contacts. The best way to keep a CRM clean, of course, is to do it every day. However, some folks are too busy and some are just not great at this. So, if you want to really boost sales activity, have a CRM Spring Cleaning day and get everything organized. Then, start making some dials.
9. Bring sales and marketing together
Your sales and marketing teams should be operating in perfect unity, both completely aware of what the other needs and providing proper feedback and guidance. However, for most organizations, this is dreamland. The sales team is frustrated because the leads aren’t good enough and the marketing team is frustrated because the sales team doesn’t take time to explain what they need. So, at the very least once a quarter (ideally once a month), you need to bring everyone together and have a full day meeting to discuss materials, sales process, upcoming events and everything else. Yes, it sounds like a big strain to bring everyone together for a whole day seminar, but the reward of unity and shared vision is well worth it!
10. Breathe new life into old products
Perhaps you’ve got some products that nobody has taken the time to sell lately? We actually went through this recently where we have another completely good product, but nobody is focused on selling it. So, we redid our marketing, created some new ads, placed a small sales target on it and sat back to view the results. For the amount of effort put into it, the reward has been substantial! All it takes is a little vision to breathe new life into a product and really turn up the sales activity!