Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, your business needs sales to survive.
With reports revealing that the UK suffered a 20.4% economic decline during April 2020 alone, the development of an aggressive sales strategy is now more important for British businesses than ever before.
As a result, business owners UK wide now face the challenge of mobilising their sales teams, with a focus on new, innovative and strategic campaigns that they hope will drive revenue and revive business operations for late 2020 and beyond.
How can business leaders ensure that their sales team deliver and what common mistakes should they avoid to drive business recovery both during and post COVID-19?
According to global B2B research organisation, Sirius Decisions, 60-80% of sales people leave their roles due to lack of connection with management and lack of competence in leadership. An effective sales operation is one that has clear vision and direction, with individuals understanding the overarching growth objective and the importance of their role in helping to achieve it.
A bad, underperforming sales team is generally down to poor leadership. In addition to direction and vision, sales professionals need support and praise, particularly during a period when businesses are battling against an impending recession.
In the words of Richard Branson: You shouldn’t be looking for people slipping up, you should be looking for all the good things people do and praising those.
Find Your Hedgehog… And sell it
According to the book ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins, one of the core things that enables a good business to grow and develop into a great business is their capability to identify their ‘hedgehog’, being their one thing they can do, provide or deliver better than anyone else in the market.
Your customers are more likely to trust and buy from your sales team if they are extremely knowledge and passionate about what they are selling. By honing your market niche, your sales team can become industry experts in your particular product or service, installing passion, belief and resulting conversions.
Fulfil Your Promises
The same B2B sales research by Sirius Decisions, also revealed that 89% of sales professionals leave their roles because of deficient compensation.
Time and time again you hear the story of a salesperson who has been promised a specific compensation package for achieving their objectives, but either doesn’t quite receive it in the way it was originally advertised, or the goal posts move.
Sales professionals thrive on achievement. If you have promised a certain compensation package, you need to deliver it. The more you invest into your sales team, the more they will invest into the business. Other schemes like profit share will also prove beneficial by ensuring your sales reps have more ‘skin in the game’ and therefore become more passionate about succeeding in their role and driving the business forwards.
Efficient Operational Processes
Sales teams need structure to deliver results. The best way to provide this structure is through an effective CRM system that is tailored to your business needs.
A good CRM system is one that is both easy to use and has sophisticated features to drive sales activity like a real-time sales dashboard, a sales pipeline, customer quoting capability and email marketing integration.
Many businesses shy away from investing in CRM systems as they have often wasted a lot of time and budget trying to integrate a variety of solutions that their sales team have neglected to use. However, to drive efficient sales processes, you need an effective CRM solution.
Taking the time to find a CRM that is right and can be tailored to the needs of the business will not only create effective operational processes but will also secure buy-in from your sales team, driving revenue as a result.
Measurement of progress is vital when driving a new sales strategy. An effective CRM solution will enable you to track success across the business, ranging from the different products or services sold to the individual performance of staff members within your sales team.
The latter will prove beneficial in creating healthy competition, whilst enabling you to assess who is and isn’t right for the business at this critical time. In addition, measuring success will keep your sales strategy on track, ensuring your team remain focused and dedicated to driving new revenue.
Ultimately, to ensure your sales team performs, you need to combine a clear strategy with an effective CRM solution that drives activity and enables you to measure and reward success.
Without a clear strategy, your team members will adopt a scattergun approach, unlikely to be aligned with business objectives without any passion for the product or service they are selling; which, at this challenging time, is not something you can afford.