Reduce Sales Team Failures By Using the Information You Have

published on May 6, 2014 | tagged in:

In this age of big data, the lack of information is still a big cause of the failure of sales teams. According to the TAS Group, 67 percent of sales people don’t hit their quota. Even more shocking is that 23 percent of the companies surveyed didn’t know if their sales force hit their targets. Lack of information or a failure to pay attention to the right information spells doom for any sales force. If you recognize any of the following traits, it’s time to overhaul your sales processes and get your team back on top.

What Happens in Your Sales Process?

The thought that more leads equals more sales pervades some companies. Playing the numbers game, they keep generating leads for the sales people without knowing what is happening in the sales cycle with existing leads.

What mistakes are you making with your sales team? Are sales people spending too much time qualifying? How many contacts does it take them to get an appointment to speak with leads? Every sales person has their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying those and working on the weaknesses is more productive than throwing more leads at them. As their technique improves, they will have more successful conversions and will need fewer leads.

Hold Your Process to Performance Standards

Every step of your sales process should be assigned a weighted average based on its importance in the sales cycle, says Manage Your Leads. It’s not all about the percentage of closes. How much time should sales people spend on cold calls? What percentage of initial contacts result in more significant sales discussions? Establish a baseline for each step of the sales cycle and evaluate your process frequently. Make adjustments until you have the right balance in all steps for your company and products.

One way to be diligent about your sales cycle is by tracking it with tools that manage your overall sales pipeline with software like InsightSquared, which focuses on sales analytics. These tools follow leads from generation to close with metrics about each step. You’ll know where in the cycle each lead is and what is needed to move to the next step. For example, you’ll know if a sales person has prospects bunched up in a post-demo follow-up step but can’t get back to them in a timely way. Your sales managers will have a better idea when to step in and offer assistance instead of losing a deal due to delays.

Make Sales a Team Effort Again

There is so much emphasis placed on individual sales quotas and targets that people forget it is a team effort. Each sales person has access to all of the resources in the company to make the sale. If the focus is on making the sale instead of making one’s numbers, then everybody wins.

Sales managers should be prepared to step in at any stage of the sales cycle. They are not just the muscle to bring in to close. Consumers are good with the team approach if each person adds value. They don’t want to feel simply passed around to a different high-pressure sales person. “Let me get you connected with another person on our team who specializes in supply-chain management” is a way to engage your team and let the customer know you are trying to come up with the best solution for them.

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