The key to ensuring the survival of your business in the contemporary, highly competitive market where the circumstances change on a daily basis lies in how good you are at selling your products or services, no matter what industry you are in. As the rules and circumstances are changing constantly, so should your selling practices.
To improve and adjust to the new demands of your clients and the market itself, what you need is a well-structured approach to sales performance management, which will advance the skills and techniques of your sales team.
Here are a few tips on how to best manage your sales performance.
Have a plan
In order to ensure that your sales reps use only the best practices which enhance their ability to sell, you will need an effective sales plan. It should establish clear guidelines for your sales team members, and lay out your company goals as well as activities needed to reach them.
The execution of the sales plan can be easily measured and the plan itself reviewed if your goals are properly quantified.
Setting both precise activity goals, such as calls per day, and result goals, like sales per month, is also a great way to help your team members better understand their role and focus on the important tasks.
Recognize the needs
No matter what the method of communication with your prospect is, in sales, nothing matters more than gaining their trust.
In order to reach that point, you need to recognize your customer’s needs, empathize with them, and try to sell the product and service accordingly, as a solution to their problem.
Instead of making a sale, try out the golden 80/20 rule and focus on listening and understanding the prospects 80% of the time following this ratio. This requires the active listening technique which is crucial for realizing how to best help your prospects.
Many sales reps fall into the trap of talking endlessly about all the amazing features and specs of their product or service, and this “me, me, me” tactics is a surefire way of losing prospects.
Follow up with the leads
Following up with the leads and keeping them “alive” and engaged is an important task in managing your sales. Days of the manual follow-up are long gone, as many client relationship management (CRM) tools are making it easier to track all leads as they move through the sales process, and even automating some of its parts.
Using online chat managed service on your website can also boost your sales performance, as such a practice can nurture and engage your leads, and help you determine whether your lead is qualified before booking a meeting.
Sometimes, your team members need to make cold calls, by approaching complete strangers and turning them into prospects. The main goal of a cold call is to make an appointment, and the odds are much higher if beforehand making a call you:
- get enough information on who you will be taking to and what’s important to them
- make a plan about how to best approach them
Creating a playbook with best practices included may be of great help to your sales reps, as it can allow them to focus on quickly qualifying leads and making appointments.
Word of mouth
Referrals are the most valuable tactic when it comes to providing new leads, as research suggests that referral leads convert 30% better than leads converted from other channels.
People trust friends more than they trust brands, and nothing promotes your brand better than a recommendation coming from a customer who is satisfied with your service or your product. It easily gives your business much-needed credibility and trustworthiness.
In order to get more referrals, you should make a practice of sending follow-up emails to your audience, making it easy for your existing customers to submit a testimonial or a review.
Customer referral programs are a great way to increase your sales performance, so if you haven’t started one already, you should make it your priority.
Leverage email marketing
Emails are also a very effective resource in increasing your sales performance, by keeping your leads active, informed and interested.
Tracking email engagement as well as using email template sequences to further personalize your communication with prospects can be almost fully automated if you use the available tools. The same applies to creating highly tailored and targeted email campaigns.
Still, having in mind that only 9% of sales emails are opened, there are some general rules you should follow in order to raise the chance of your emails being opened, read or replied to:
- emails should be from 50 to 150 words long
- avoid words such as free, social, press, invite, and other spam triggers in your subject lines
- use questions as your subject lines to spark your prospects’ interest and curiosity and imply that your email offers solutions
- launch your campaigns on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
The subject line is of vital importance, especially if we bear in mind that 30% of people open an email based on how well it captures their attention and recognizes their need – that is, based on the effectiveness of your subject line.
So, if you want to review and manage your sales performance, you should start from the very basics, such as making a good plan and getting to know the needs of your prospects, as well as by focusing on establishing timely, relatable, and meaningful communication with them.