5 Ways to Increase Your Sales Force Effectiveness Right Now
What to Do When You Don't Have All Year
We've all been there before - we know there's something we need to do for an extra "boost," but we just don't have the time (or budget, bandwidth, etc.) to make it happen. With that situation in mind, here are five actionable, easy, and cost-effective steps you can take to increase your sales force's effectiveness right now:
#1: Leverage Sales 2.0 resources
Some Sales 2.0 tools can be put to use immediately.
Are your reps having trouble reaching prospects? Try Jigsaw. It's free to sign up and takes just a few minutes to learn. The paid versions are even better.
Looking for a way to quickly find news and insights on your prospects and customers? Try Google Alerts - simply enter the company's name and create an alert - it's free and it can't get any easier. Alternatively, take a look at InsideView - it interfaces with many CRMs and integrates research and data from many different sources.
Your sales team should also use their social media accounts (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). These are extremely valuable tools for discovering customer insights and competitor intelligence, along with connecting and building relationships. Find the ones that are most useful for your organization (and the ones that your customers use) and get started!
#2: Prepare better
I'm biased of course, but it's a fact that pre-call planning helps sales rep performance. In our survey of top-performing sales professionals, these reps told us that the three key benefits of pre-call planning are: (1) greater control of the sales process, (2) more effective use of time, and (3) better customer-specific need discovery. Do you think increasing performance in these areas would help improve your sales force effectiveness?
Do you need to have a formal pre-call planning process? In the long-run, the answer is probably "yes", but we're not talking about the long run here - we need actionable steps you can take now.
To that end, make sure your team is clearly identifying the objective of the call they are going to make. What key data points do they need to uncover? What questions might the customer ask? How will these questions be answered? Make sure your reps are going beyond the standard web research and purchase history pre-call due diligence.
Once you get started on these ideas, you can begin to implement something more formal for the long-run.
#3: Take a look at your sales efficiency
As a sales executive, your job is to maximize the return on the investments (ROI) and assets (ROA) that your company has entrusted you to manage. Are you as a sales executive squeezing as much revenue as possible out of each dollar you are given to manage?
For example, take a look at (what's left of) your budget - are you getting the maximum return on every dollar that is being spent? Can you redeploy budget dollars in order to increase overall return on this money that will be spent between now and the end of the year?
Need help? Let us know. We can help you find out your team's sales efficiency index and share ideas for improvement.
#4: Get back to basics
What are the "fundamentals" for success in your business? Calls per day? Face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers? Pre-call planning?
Sometimes just focusing on the basics leads to an increase in performance. Tony Gwynn, 8-time batting champion and statistically one of the most consistent hitters in the history of baseball, hit balls off of a batting tee daily during his career.
What do you and your team need to do on a regular basis in order to be successful? What is your team's batting tee?
#5: Set expectations
While the previous four actions can be done now, they will still involve commitment on the part of your sales team.
Set expectations now for performance and usage of these steps, as these expectations will both give you points of accountability and a foundation from which you can grow your team's performance.
Now get started!
Break out of the summer mindset and get results between now and the end of the year. Not only will these action items improve your team's performance, but they will also help you identify even more opportunities for improvement.
Photo credit: Jon_Marshall
Need Other Ideas?
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