Guest Post: Petra Odak
Poor sales performance is, unfortunately, something most businesses will encounter at least once. While it’s normal to stagnate when faced with unforeseen circumstances like a global pandemic, or even something less threatening, here are a few tips on how you can get ahead of the problem and prevent poor sales performance.
In this article, we’ll explain how to better nurture your existing clients in order to secure repeated purchases, how to distinguish yourself from the competition, and other tips on how to improve your field sales performance.
Realize you have a problem
The first thing you need to do is face your problem head-on. As soon as you notice poor sales performance, you need to start working on the solution. Now, don’t get us wrong, this article will not be placing judgment or showing you how to put all the blame on your weakest link. It’s about straightening your team and coming out on the other side with the same number of team members and a higher number of sales.
The first thing you need to do is reevaluate your sales targets. Because if they’re set wrong, you’ll have a hard time reaching them. This often happens when you raise your sales target too quickly. By doing that, you’re not only setting unrealistic standards but also affecting the motivation of your coworkers, which we’ll get into later on.
Analyze your team’s sales performance by calculating these two KPI’s – customer acquisition cost and average conversion time. They will tell you how much money you’re investing in acquiring new clients and how much time it takes them to go through your sales pipeline.
Those are usually good indicators of what needs to be changed in order to improve your sales performance. If you’re spending too many resources on every single lead, and you end up converting fewer than planned, you’ll quickly start losing money.
The remedy here is to go over your marketing investments and carefully choose the ones that work for you. If you’re advertising your services via Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads, analyze which ones bring in the most revenue and cut the rest out.
Also, go through your monthly subscriptions and look at how many tools your teams are using and if there is a way that you can cut down the cost of different sales tools while keeping the value they provide by switching to a different tool. For example, can you save costs on help center software and instead use direct contact channels with your customers?
If it takes too much time to convert a client, try increasing your lead response time and pinpoint your high performing channels and double down on them. You should also try automating a part of your sales and marketing process.
The easiest way to do that is with SPOTIO’s Task Automation tool which will simplify data entry, log visits automatically, accelerate sales with messaging templates, and more.
Motivate your team members
As we said before, if you raise your sales targets too quickly, your team will lose interest in meeting them, since they don’t get any recognition for meeting the last ones and they may feel like their work isn’t appreciated.
You have to make sure to acknowledge your employees’ achievements and give credit where credit is due. That’s why you should work out a reward system for your team members. You can reward them with a bonus on their paycheck, more vacation days, or something along those lines.
On a grander scheme of things, you should create a career path for your employees. Give them educational opportunities and talk to them about what their future within the company can look like. That way while they advance in the company, your company will advance as well and your employees will feel more inspired to reach their full potential.
Pay attention to the potential clients
Once you qualify your leads, you should really listen to your potential clients’ needs. Being aware of their particular needs is crucial because the only way you can plan your sales approach in the later stages of your sales process is by incorporating them.
You need to know why that person contacted you and not someone else, as well as understand their behavior and buying patterns. When you break it down, not every one of your clients is going to use your product or service in the same way and different features are going to draw in different people and brands.
That’s why it’s important to listen to your leads and create content based on their business requirements. Businesses with a lot of employees will need unlimited access to your services, in the terms of the number of people that can access the interface, the number of downloads, storage space, etc.
On the other hand, smaller collectives will look to get the best value for their money, without the need for all of their employees to use your services, or having unlimited access to your features.
Is your USP unique enough?
Your USP (unique selling point) should make you stand out and the best way to explain this is with the textbook example we’re sure a lot of marketing professors still use and that is the Coca-Cola and Pepsi branding difference.
While their products are in the same category – fizzy non-alcoholic drinks, most people outside of the marketing industry could tell you the difference in their marketing approach. While Coca-Cola is more focused on family branding and Christmas time, Pepsi is more in line with young people and pop culture.
With such a different approach to their branding, it would be hard to confuse them. Now, these two companies have decades of building brand awareness behind them, so if you want to stand out in your field, you’ll have to differentiate yourself from your competitors from the start.
How many competitors do you have, and what are their USPs? Is there enough space for all of you to exist in the same marketplace? If the answer is no, think about implementing changes that will make your product or service more desirable to others.
Don’t be afraid of technology
Sales and technology go hand in hand and there are a plethora of different sales tools your team can use. The problem occurs when the sales team isn’t encouraged to work on their tech skills.
That is why you have to coach your team and actively look for tools that could simplify your sales process. One of them worth investing in is definitely Better Proposals – a business proposals tool that will simplify your proposal writing, sending, and analyzing process.
With a rich library of templates, you’ll easily find one for your industry and all you have to do is fill in the blanks and create a pricing table. Your clients can easily sign your proposals as well as pay your first fee with the integrated payment option.
In the end
Everything you do matters! Investing in your sales team, their knowledge and skills. The most important takeaway from the article is to start working on your strategy as soon as you see a drop in your sales performance and face it head-on.
Without placing the blame on anyone, try and work on the camaraderie of your team and motivate them to work towards common goals.
Petra Odak is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, a simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.