Good sales managers focus on metrics. Quantifiable data is one of the most useful ways to judge how well your sales team is performing, and many sales managers would argue that their team’s close rate is the most important metric of all.
While a poor close rate is certainly a symptom of a problem, often it isn’t the problem itself. A poor close rate is usually proceeded by deeper issues from the beginning stages of the sales process. This means that simply telling your sales team to “close better” won’t improve results, nor will a training session on how to close better.
Often overlooked factors affecting your sales team’s ability to close:
A failure to close is often indicative of a larger problem. One of the most common issues is spending time on unqualified leads. While it would be great if every lead we came across was qualified, the fact of the matter is that some leads will be substantially better suited for your product or service than others. Spending time on unqualified leads will not only reduces your team’s close rate, but it will also take significant amounts of productive time out of your sales team’s day.
Usually, the reason that time is spent on unqualified leads is due to missing key information on that particular lead. Often the problem is the sales process itself.
It will be helpful if you have specific criteria that scores your leads as you engage with them prior to and during the initial discovery stage. List the key insights that are needed to understand their potential, readiness to buy, strength of existing relationships, alignment of your solutions to stated needs and other industry or company specific factors that apply to your organization. It will also help your close rates if you have outlined expected answers to these key questions and your best response to them.
Overemphasis on your solutions
Another issue that can negatively influence your sales team’s ability to close is an overemphasis on promoting your company’s specific product or service. Prospective clients, for the most part, do not particularly care about your product or service. What they are interested in, however, is solving their problems, saving time, money, and aggravation. It is incumbent on your sales reps to always be in service to helping the buyer in the most effective way. Don’t rush into providing an estimate unless asked and don't shy away from recommending alternative solutions that are a better fit for a specific need. When your team learns the patience required in delivering real value they will garner trust and acquire long-term and loyal customers, when the time is right.
Not setting expectations
Many salespeople fail to clearly and explicitly laying out the next steps in the process at the end of a call or meeting. If more time or information is needed, your sales representative must explain what is expected. At the end of a meeting, both the prospect and the sales representative should know exactly what the next steps are. Ambiguity is the enemy.
Training and closing techniques matter, but they are far more effective with a solid sales process to back them up. The Insight Sales Process helps increase sales effectiveness while improving your sales team’s ability to deliver customer value. The process turns conversations and meetings into insight data, so that sales representatives can be coached on the areas where they need improvement. Insight Selling also provides the diagnostic tools necessary to make a smart and informed assessment of a particular prospect’s viability, which can help ensure that your sales team is spending their time most efficiently and on the best leads available.