No matter how well you structure your sales funnel, you still have to rely on a diverse sales force to promote the benefits of your company and convert leads into clients. Failing to see major flaws in your workflow can affect your bottom line and make it exceptionally difficult for salespeople to achieve their goals. Don't wait until sales plummet to assess potential problems. Evaluate the effectiveness of each step in the sales process, so you can solve problems before they escalate.
How Do Employees Allocate Time?
If you want to know why your salespeople aren't closing more deals, ask for a breakdown of their daily work schedules. Your employees may have difficulty meeting quotas if they are slowed down by administrative work or outdated equipment. Ask employees what obstacles they face, and make sure they have all the tools they need to collect data and answer customer questions on the spot.
Consider your options for streamlining data entry, such as customer relationship management software. Your salespeople can devote more time to forging new contacts if they have a fast, organized way to manage leads and track their sales activity.
Are Your Performance Goals Measurable?
Hoping for sales isn't enough to make them happen. Your workforce must diligently search for opportunities, follow up with leads, assess customer needs and maintain good relationships before and after each sale. As a leader, you can help salespeople stay on track by providing target numbers for each individual task, rather than leaving your employees to figure out the sales funnel on their own.
Routinely review your company's sales patterns to determine your mean ratio of proposals to sales, says Troy Harrison, president of SalesForce Solutions. Take note of the number and type of interactions that lead to closings, so you can narrow the process you take to onboard new clients. Identifying your company's ideal success model helps you develop standard metrics for gauging employee performance. As a result, you can discover whether individual workers are losing traction at specific points in the sales funnel or choosing to take damaging shortcuts.
Do You Have a Clearly Defined Audience?
Salespeople are more successful at finding qualified leads if they understand the needs and standards of both the business and the customer. Qualified leads are interested, ready to make a purchase and able to meet your price point. Your job is to provide a clear image of your target clients and how your company offers value in comparison to the competition.
If your sales force isn't bringing in good leads, find out what questions your staff are asking customers. Look for red flags when reviewing customer interactions, and contact clients to find out what factors may prevent them from making purchases.
Some salespeople may be too aggressive or dismissive, pushing sales without listening to the customer or explaining how your services work. Others may be too timid or undisciplined to make connections and respond to customer concerns. In both cases, it's up to you to assess patterns of behavior and decide whether a salesperson has the talent to succeed with more guidance and motivation.
Do You Provide Coaching and Recognition?
Regardless of skill and experience levels, salespeople thrive when they are constantly learning new techniques for solving problems and pitching ideas. Keep your workforce up to date on best practices, so you can continually move employees up the performance ladder, says Mark Donnolo, found of SalesGlobe. You should also look for flaws in your recruitment process to avoid hiring candidates who aren't likely to improve with long-term coaching.
If your skilled sales force is losing motivation, ask your team how you can improve morale. Foster positive competition and provide recognition by setting up a point system. Reward workers who exceed their activity goals and demonstrate high-quality interactions with good leads to emphasize the equal importance of productivity and customer service.
A strong sales force is constantly evolving to offer competitive products and meet the changing demands of the industry. Complacency and lack of communication can prevent you from maintaining a high level of performance. Make it a priority to identify and address barriers to success, so your business is always moving forward.
Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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