Sales management is always on the lookout for strategies that will help increase sales performance. Many find that they have focused on improving selling skills, streamlining opportunity pipeline development or some other technique to boost performance. Here are a few top strategies to consider as you strive to improve your sales effectiveness. They have proven to be successful across many different industries:
Execute a well-planned experience of meaningful value
The goal of your sales organization is to deliver unparalleled value to all customers and prospective customers. In order to consistently deliver this customer experience it needs to be clearly defined and supported in the work flow (see: Becoming Sales Effectiveness Experts). For each sales stage in your pipeline you should specify the value and experience to deliver, the insights to capture, as well as the gating and exit criteria.
Detailed contact plans indicating the cadence and frequency of contact, the voice mail messages to be left, call scripts, objections and insights to capture - all need to be outlined and be easily available to your sales reps. You also will need to capture this information in a fashion that is quick and provides value back to the sales rep. It will provide measurement for compliance and effectiveness management.
Never stray from a customer-centric focus
Every email, call and meeting should have clear value to the customer, a specific call to action, a requested time frame and a little humor. There is a time and place to talk about your products and services. That should be in response to questions, to specificied needs or well understood problems. It is helpful if you have a team meeting and challenge the group to transform their usual conversations to this new value perspective. Let the sales reps challenge and critique each other and develop best approaches together. After a while, this will become second nature. Customers will like you more, trust you, share more insights - and buy more!
Gather customer feedback whenever possible
Strive to gather customer feedback that you can capture, measure and use to create deeper value and to align content and strategy. Your sales reps are responsible for driving an effective discovery process. What does this mean - and can you measure the effectiveness of your team’s discovery? Can you use this feedback or is it stuck as text in notes in your CRM system? Now is the time for you to define each and every question that is required to understand customer needs (see: Insight Sales Discovery Process). Document the expected answers with your sales team. Scoring the answers will allow you to calculate the effectiveness and completeness of the reps' sales discovery. You will find over time that a higher Insight Sales Score correlates to a higher probability of closure. In fact you might replace your Opportunity Close % with this new statistic. You now have an opportunity to use this feedback to select best strategy and to align relevant content.
Be helpful, be honest, and be on time
The most effective sales strategies are not complicated. Try to be helpful in understanding and providing assistance to your customers and prospects. There is a difference in the tone and quality of the engagement when a sales rep is trying to be helpful. Customers respond positively. They like and trust the rep and are more likely to share insights and needs. Customers can detect when a sales rep is only interested in selling their products or services. They back off. They won't easily engage and your sales process is commodotized.
Here are the last suggestions. They are obvious but worthwhile stating. Do what you promised to do - and do it on time. Be polite. Be friendly. Be honest.
The key to improving sales effectiveness is caring about your customers, having a plan to deliver value, and gathering and using feedback to improve the customer experience.