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Sales meetings are a necessary part of managing a sales team. However, they’re often unpopular because the sales team feels like they are a waste of time.
Many sales managers do not have a sales meeting agenda, choosing instead to wing it or follow a plan to which only they are privy. This strategy is also not an indicator of success and leads to the feelings that the unpopular meeting is, in fact, a waste of time.
The most successful sales meetings are ones which utilize a sales meeting agenda because they help keep your meeting organized, on-track, and on-time.
Define the purpose of the meeting
Communicates the priorities for the sales team and provides an organized process to facilitate productivity
Increases engagement with the priorities, as well as boosting their accountability to their targets
Opens the flow of dialogue and collaboration, which can lead to improved team bonding and performance
It helps organize all these items and set expectations for the goals of the meeting.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at sales meeting agendas, explore what items we recommend as topics, and share some share tips and tricks for how to use the sales meeting agenda to run the session.
Ready to learn how to run your sales meeting efficiently and effectively? Let’s get to it…
The intro is a chance to help everyone transition from what they were doing into what they are doing now. Chances are they could use a second to get into “meeting mode.”
The intro should be brief; a quick review of what you are going to talk about at this session or a recap of what you talked about at the last one.
One important caveat about the introduction: it should be positive. An upbeat beginning is an excellent way to transition your team into meeting mode, but with energy and anticipation rather than dread and anxiety.
Once everyone is settled in and ready to work, you should review sales team performance per your key metrics. The idea is not to call anyone out or do a deep dive on the numbers but have an overview of how everyone’s performance is on the four or five metrics you have identified as vital to their evaluation.
Tools like Spotio’s Sales Tracker can help you have an idea of what is going on in the field. Plus, the reporting features make preparing it for the meeting easy.
Next, you should have a sales update. Not only does it hold your salespeople accountable, but it also helps motivate everyone.
Once you have covered sales, go over the activity of the people in the room. Having people talk about what they are doing and what is working for them is an excellent way for the sales team to collaborate with and learn from one another.
Obviously, you don’t need the whole rundown. Focus instead on the most significant opportunities and also any that have been in the pipeline for a while. The team can help make suggestions on how to move these opportunities on to the next step.
This agenda item is also where team members should share feedback. As the customer-facing part of the team, they have unique access to what’s happening in the market. It can be an invaluable resource for your organization to share and document this information.
Another excellent way to keep your sales team thinking about what’s next is to request a scheduled sales activity report.
Technology can help the preparation or review for this agenda item. Spotio’s Sales Territory Management functionality gives you an excellent overview of each sales rep’s territory and scheduled activity. Moreover, you can outline exactly where to go and what action is needed at each prospect, which streamlines the prep and frees up more time to spend selling.
At the beginning of each quarter, you likely assigned some specific goals for each of your team members that will help them be successful. The sales meeting agenda should ensure these objectives are analyzed from time to time.
What the quarterly goals are vary by the rep and the organization for whom they sell. Some organizations assign training objectives for sales reps, like clinical education for highly specific medical or dental equipment. Others might have trade show goals for their sales reps, like bike equipment manufacturers attending the big bike races in a region.
No matter what they are, you should touch base on them from time-to-time to ensure that the progress you expect is made in those areas. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Related) goals is an excellent way to stay on track toward a long-term goal.
It is an excellent rule of thumb that every meeting should provide value for your sales reps. Adding to the sales meeting agenda some time for training on relevant skills is an excellent way to ensure that value.
Some organizations do something called a Pitch Round Table. This activity involves bringing your best pitch tips and tricks and sharing them with the group. Then in a collaborative effort, everyone takes the best of the best to improve their pitch.
There are quite a few options for training time. You can have everyone bring two common objections and have everyone brainstorm ways to overcome them. You can also show a video, share a blog post, or stage a role play for different sales skills or scenarios.
When everyone is together, it can be an excellent time to cover important company business and any housekeeping issues for the team. From policy changes to feedback from other departments, including these areas can help—just be sure to move through them efficiently.
As the sales manager, including these items on the sales meeting agenda is crucial to upholding a transparent culture. As the manager, you often have information that the team does not. Be sure they understand the company’s strategy, are aware of any new product launches and know about the latest marketing campaign.
Sharing success stories has two essential goals for your sales meeting agenda. First, it gives an opportunity for a sales rep to bask in the glow of success while telling their colleagues about a significant win. Second, it provides other members of the team ideas for what they can do to create success stories of their own.
It’s also an excellent way to keep a positive vibe in the meeting. Energizing the team with a great story of success can contribute to a productive meeting.
Knowing what is going on across town or across the country with your competitor can help you respond to threats to your business. Also, having an idea of what is going on in your industry as a whole will react appropriately with the way you approach prospects in the territory.
Assign every sales rep one or two competitors. Then have them report back over time on what they know about the competitions offer, products and pricing, and any news or changes at their organization. Then, have the team brainstorm on how to respond.
Another idea is to assign one competitor to the entire group and have time devoted each week to take a close look at the designated company. You can analyze their business strategy, proposed unique selling proposition, marketing campaigns, and even how they target their territories and brainstorm strategy to counteract them.
Technology has ways to use this data to enable your team to qualify leads in the field. Spotio’s Lead Machine helps you target the best possible areas for canvassing by providing up-to-date data.
Opportunities and Threats are two items typically used in a SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Knowing what openings could be present for your team to capitalize on and preparing strategies to counteract for any pressures or risks to the territory that can derail you are an excellent activity for the group.
Roadblocks can be obstacles that could deter you from your goals in the coming week. Perhaps there is an internal roadblock because another department has an issue, like a product going on back-order or weather-related delays in logistics or maybe a key person in the organization will be out of the office at the end of the week. Discussing these roadblocks in the meeting can have reps already thinking about ways to manage them in the coming days.
Miscellaneous items or “walk-ons” are areas that were not on the agenda but needed addressing. These issues might have come up in a discussion during the meeting or one of the team members introduced it. Use a couple of minutes to see if it is something that can be addressed quickly or if it should be set aside for the next week’s sales meeting agenda.
A great way to close a successful sales meeting is to review any action items. Everyone should know what they need to do when they leave the meeting and plunge back into their territories.
Also, clearly communicate your expectations about what a complete action item is. For example, if you want a sales rep to follow up on a competitor’s marketing offer, and you want all the collateral and links to their media ads, be sure you say exactly that to the sales rep. (Otherwise, it’s your fault if they do not come back with the right materials—at least in part, anyway.)
Bonus Sales Meeting Agenda Item…Motivational Topics: Ending on a positive note is crucial to a successful sales meeting agenda. As a sales manager, your job is to encourage the best performance from each of your team members. Motivating them is a vital part of this effort.
Some sales managers like to share the company’s success at this point in the meeting or the success of the sales team as a group overall or in a particular area. Others might share a success story from another industry or from past or present sales team members. Some people like to share philosophy concepts or a pertinent quote from sales training organizations.
You can get creative with this one. It is all about creating that engagement to do a little extra to hit the sales goal.
What you include on the agenda is only part of your sales meeting agenda success. How you run the meeting is vital.
One way to prove to your team that sales meetings are not time-wasters is to commit to a start and end time. It also shows you value and respect their time.
Your sales meeting also serves as an example of how you want your team to treat customers. Be a good example and keep the meeting on track and on time.
Losing focus in a sales meeting is an easy thing to do. Salespeople (and sales managers) like to talk. Also, phones, tablets, and watches tend to interrupt our lives, too. It’s up to you to keep the meetings on track with the agenda.
One way to keep the meeting focused is to set up “house rules,” which can be anything from whoever is holding the talking stick has the floor to no technology at the table.
You can also use a timer to keep discussions within a specified time limit. If the debate isn’t over, you can always assign the topic to the next meeting.
Another idea is to make a rule that no one can introduce new business once the agenda is set. Instead, you can assign that topic to the next sales meeting agenda.
Like anything in sales, you need to plan for success with your sales meeting agenda. It will communicate the purpose of the meeting, establish the topics to be covered and set the proper expectations for the team.
Sending the sales meeting agenda out two or three days before the meeting not only solidifies your plan for the meeting ahead of time, but it also sets proper expectations for the team, both on what they should prepare and what they will learn.
Salespeople do not appreciate when it is unclear why you want to meet. When you confirm the purpose of your meeting through the agenda items you include on the plan, you clarify your reason. Not only that, establishing the intention helps you focus your time on the most pertinent sales items you need to relate to the team.
Once you have a set reason for your meeting, the agenda items you include should roll-up to that purpose. In other words, the topics need to contribute to the confirmed purpose of the meeting.
Let’s say the theme for the sales meeting is pipeline replenishment and maintenance. Agenda items should include pipeline filling and management topics like prospecting, qualifying, and scheduling demonstrations. Another idea is to practice overcoming objections to move leads through the pipeline faster. Maybe you have your best prospector share their cold calling techniques with the team.
What you don’t want to do is to set the goal of pipeline management topics and spend the meeting covering the sales planning for next quarter. The agenda needs to focus the energy on the issue at hand.
Another way to assure your team that the meeting is not a waste of time is to propose a meeting duration. You can do this for the overall session, or you can include time estimations on each topic. We recommend reviewing past agendas to produce accurate time estimations.
To stay on track during the meeting, you can set a timer or alarm on your phone. Make a commitment that when the alarm goes off, you will end the session within two minutes if you are still talking. That should give you enough time to wrap things up or make a plan to resolve whatever you haven’t yet covered.
While we are on the subject of estimating time, we should mention that some meetings take longer than others. Not all sales meeting agendas are created equal when it comes to duration.
Per MeetingKing.com, research shows that people’s attention drops off after 30 minutes. The drop off in attention span increases as the meeting time does. Therefore, the shorter your meeting, the more engaged your sales team is likely to be.
Also, many people come from one meeting only to go straight into another. Then, the second meeting starts late, and so on. If you were to schedule your sales meeting to end five minutes before the half-hour or hour, you could help eliminate that timeline slide.
The default option in many meeting scheduling systems is one hour. However, you should only have an hour-long meeting when absolutely necessary. Examples of when a more extended session is required could be for an annual review, a project with many participants that need to weigh in or discuss portions of the project or to introduce a new product or offer launch.
Avoid scheduling meetings longer than an hour. The occasions where meeting for more than an hour is necessary are rare. Some examples could be an outside trainer is attending, or a new technology implementation is underway. However, for all regular sales meetings, strive to be short and sweet regularly.
Taking time to hear from everyone about the sales activity in the sales meeting can be a useful part of the sales meeting agenda. However, it should not be a section to which a lot of time is devoted.
The point of the exercise is to have your sales team accountable and ready to contribute to the meeting—with a possible side-effect of igniting that competitive spirit so prevalent in successful salespeople. If you spend too much time in this area though, you could have the opposite effect.
Remember that your CRM can provide sales reporting. If you want a more comprehensive review at the meeting, then run the reports right before the sales meeting and distribute. Have your team share the highlights and low lights and then, move on to other topics.
Saleshacker.com recommends devoting time on your sales meeting agenda to shared learning and collaborative improvement. Have the team members present something they learned over the previous week to the team. Then, discuss as a group what the team member discovered.
An example could be an innovative way to automate follow up with prospects. If a team member discovers something that could help everyone automate lead maintenance for their pipelines, have them share it with the team. Then, the other team members could ask questions or offer suggestions that might tweak the solution even more.
Saleshacker.com also recommends having a place where people can submit their learning (possibly email or an online shared document). Then you can add it to the agenda for the discussion.
Your meetings should all provide something that will help your sales team achieve their goals in either sales or customer satisfaction. Each session should have something they can use the same day toward either of these goals. From role-playing to best-practice sharing, industry trends to TED talks, you have lots of sources for this value-delivering agenda item.
If you want your team to value and respect your sales meeting, have a consistent meeting date and time. When you frequently cancel or skip it, you send a message that the sales meeting is not important.
One thing your team members have in common regardless of experience is hearing objections. Sharing how to overcome these objections once encountered is an excellent item for your sales meeting agenda.
The value of this exercise is two-fold. First, it is morale boosting for newer team members to know that even the battle-hardened experts face objections. Second, it gives everyone new ideas and ways to position the product or service in the market and increase the value proposition they are selling.
Having an interactive sales meeting is energizing to the team. Listening to one person talk for 25 minutes (or more) is not. Ensure that your sales meeting agenda includes time for lively discussion or other presenters to keep the team engaged and excited about the topic at hand.
A discussion is a team-building exercise. For sales team members that are struggling, the supportive environment and instructional nature of their team members can lift their spirits and inspire them to continue to strive for excellence.
You should establish prep tasks for the meeting. Everyone should know what you expect from them in detail.
After the meeting concludes, you should do a quick recap of the topics and assign follow up tasks via email or group message. For example, if you discussed learning more about your competition, assign people research tasks. If you trained on overcoming objections, have each rep prepare two times he or she used the techniques suggested and what happened as a result.
On the subject of follow up, if you have a pertinent issue to discuss with one member of the team, be sure to discuss it after the meeting. The sales meeting agenda should focus on issues that everyone needs to hear and consider, rather than the specifics of one individual.
The sales meeting is your time to motivate the team. It’s even better when you use the items you include on your sales meeting agenda to help them drive each other with team-building discussions or collaborative problem-solving.
Also, the sales meeting might be the only place where the team interacts with people at the company regularly or for any length of time. So, the sales meeting agenda should contain the type of content that promotes the culture you want to foster with the sales team.
Go out with a bang.
EZ Cater.com, an online order site for office catering, suggests ending the meeting on a high note to energize the team. The team should finish the meeting feeling positive about the company, their product and their ability to hit their goals, and galvanized enough to go out and do it.
There are many ways to “end on a high note.” You can pay a compliment to their presentations and recap what they contributed to the sales meeting. You can share a success story from your past or, better yet, from one of them. You can tell a joke, provided you have talent in this area, and it’s HR-approved 🙂
It’s easy to establish a tone to a sales meeting where you are the teacher, and your team are the students. If you are the center of the agenda and control all the content, as well as being the one who answers all the questions, then the team is likely to feel like this meeting is about you.
However, the sales meeting should be about them, not you. Through what you include on the sales meeting agenda, you should let the team own the meeting. You should facilitate and manage it more than “run the show.”
Open up the floor to your team to inspire their engagement. Also, having other people lead the topic will decrease the “classroom” feel and increase their ownership in the issue at hand.
Your team is more likely to participate in a genuine way when they feel like they are part of the meeting rather than a party to it
From defining the purpose to communicating expectations, the sales meeting agenda sets the stage for increasing sales team engagement and accountability. Also, the items you include present the type of culture you expect for your team and facilitates collaboration, which boosts morale and increases team bonding.
Keeping your meetings focused and streamlined is another vital contribution a sales meeting agenda can provide. The most successful sales meetings don’t just happen; they are planned ahead of time with careful consideration and deliberate organization.
Perhaps most importantly, an efficient meeting is effective at providing value to your team. And when the team gains something that will help them improve their performance, they will not think of your sales meeting as a waste of time. Instead, they will consider it an investment in their success.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at email@example.com or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 field sales acceleration and performance management software that will increase revenue, maximize profitability, and boost sales productivity.
Want to see a product demonstration? Click here to see how SPOTIO can take your sales game to the next level.
A few years ago, Microsoft Streets and Trips users discovered their software was no longer supported. The exit of the software created a void for trip planners waiting for a new player to fill in where Microsoft left off.
SPOTIO provides an alternative for Microsoft Streets and Trips that fills that void with all the things Microsoft’s product did well for trip planning and then taking it to a new level of functionality and efficiency powered by the internet.
Before Google Maps or Siri, and before Bing Maps and all the other online navigation helpers, many people who needed to get around in the U.S. used a self-contained, offline navigation software called Streets and Trips by Microsoft.
Microsoft’s Streets and Trips was a mapping software designed for people unfamiliar with North America to navigate the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with a variety of services including route-mapping. You bought it on CD-ROM and loaded it into your computers, no internet required.
– Street-level maps of the U.S. and Canada which included 2.5 million points of interest along the way with easy-to-see icons of what restaurants and hotels are around your destination
– Trip planning functionality for multiple destinations, as well as scenic detours and fuel and rest stop planning
– One-click trip optimization to get the quickest way to your desired destination
– Road type optimization feature, so you choose the way you want to go, e.g., freeways, scenic route, country backroads
– Capacity to add notes, phone numbers, reservation codes to stops
– Offline high-speed planning capability, which some users said was faster than their internet connection
– Drag and Drop utility for rerouting on the fly, no internet connection required
The last version of the software also added customer ratings for businesses. However, you had to be online to see these.
As a DOS-Based program in an increasingly Internet-driven world, Microsoft Streets and Trips was discontinued at the end of 2014, with support ending a few months later in 2015. Microsoft sought to migrate Streets and Trips users to Bing Maps, their online mapping system. The move to sunset both Streets and Trips, as well as the business version of the software MapPoint, was part of a broader strategy by CEO Satya Nadella to focus on products that were part of Microsoft’s future rather than its past.
Microsoft purchased the program in 1994 from NextBase, a UK software development team based in a team member’s garage, and developed the program for the next two decades. The European version of the software was called Microsoft AutoRoute, which was also discontinued.
Once Microsoft acquired the program, it commingled NextBase’s route technology with the Encarta World Atlas mapping technology to create earlier programs that were separate, one for mapping and one for route planning that were released on Expedia in the mid to late 1990s.
In 2000, Microsoft evolved away from Expedia and merged the separate programs branding it Microsoft Streets and Trips (although in Europe, the AutoRoute brand remained). Today, the programming behind Streets and Trips and MapPoint were the basis for Bing Maps.
Microsoft Streets and Trips users who miss the software will find that new technology has filled the void and added to the features and benefits enjoyed by its users. SPOTIO’s navigation software does everything that Streets and Trips did, and more.
For example, with our routing utility, SPOTIO offers many of the same tools that Streets and Trips did.
Street level mapping enhanced by Google Places, which integrates directly with SPOTIO and provides detailed business information and map views of surrounding businesses around your destination.
Routes can be calculated for multiple stops, allowing you to pre-plan your trip in great detail before you ever turn the key on your vehicle.
SPOTIO creates efficient routes based on distance from point to point and optimizing it by the shortest path, or by the scheduled stop times and arranging them by meeting durations and calculating arrival times based on start and end times for events.
Captures notes about destinations, including pertinent trip information, which is available with a tap on the pin.
Just like Streets and Trips, you can make changes to your route as you go. However, unlike Streets and Trips, you can use SPOTIO on your Android or iOS mobile devices and change your routes from them. Drop pins on the destinations and tap them later for their exact address or to add information about the stop.
Plus, SPOTIO calculates driving and walking times to your destinations. It’s up to you to figure out which will give you a better option for your day.
SPOTIO also has automatic functions that simplify your planning.
For example, it automatically integrates into your calendar without ever leaving the app. You set the appointment in the SPOTIO calendar, and it goes to your Google or Outlook calendar, too.
Also, SPOTIO automatically calculates your mileage for easy tracking of distance and expenses.
SPOTIO’s integration with Google Places is one of the reasons it is the optimal Streets and Trips alternative for 2019. There are over 100 million “places” in Google Places, all with comprehensive points of interest data.
Also, Google Places data updates daily, to the tune of 25 million updates every day. Not only that, the Google Platform has one billion (that’s with a “b”) active users every month, giving the data a scale backed by an infrastructure that has no equal.
In other words, when you use SPOTIO’s trip planning software, you can trust that you have the most up-to-date information about your destination in real-time.
Consider the following comparison of SPOTIO’s user interface compared to Microsoft Streets and Trips.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 field sales acceleration and performance management software that will increase revenue, maximize profitability, and boost sales productivity.
Want to see a product demonstration? Click here to see how SPOTIO can take your sales game to the next level.
“History of AutoRoute and Streets and Trips.” www.laptopgpsworld. Web. 29 May 2019. <http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3562-history-autoroute-streets-trips>.
Jung, Brian. “Microsoft MapPoint vs. Streets & Trips.” Smallbusiness.chron.com. Web. 29 May 2019. <https://smallbusiness.chron.com/microsoft-mappoint-vs-streets-trips-55760.html>.
Smolaks, Max. “Microsoft. Plans to Retire MapPoint Software By The End of The Year.” www.silicon.co.uk. 18 July 2014. Web. 29 May 2019. <https://www.silicon.co.uk/workspace/microsoft-to-retire-mappoint-149394>.
Protalinski, Emil. “Microsoft will discontinue MapPoint and Streets & Trips on December 31, 2014.” Thenextweb.com. 7 July 2014. Web. 29 May 2019. <https://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2014/07/07/microsoft-will-discontinue-mappoint-streets-trips-december-31-2014/>.
Fried, Ina. “Microsoft Quietly Shutting Down MapPoint in Favor of Bing Maps.” www.vox.com. 11 July 2014. Web. 29 May 2019. <https://www.vox.com/2014/7/11/11628758/microsoft-quietly-shutting-down-mappoint-in-favor-of-bing-maps>.
Smart Selling Tools, an analyst and consulting firm specializing in sales productivity and performance technology, has just released their 2019 Top Sales Tools Guide and recognized SPOTIO as the leading Field Sales Engagement Tool.
“SPOTIO recognized that outside sales reps suffer from a lack of tools compared to their colleagues in inside sales. So, they created a platform designed to address the specific needs of field salespeople like, customer mapping, route planning and lead management”, said Nancy Nardin, Founder & CEO, Smart Selling Tools.
“By recognizing and solving this pressing need, SPOTIO was a shoe-in for this years accolades.”
Smart Selling Tools evaluated a multitude of sales software and solutions across seven technology categories to produce this years guide. SPOTIO received recognition in the Field Sales Engagement category.
“Our goal is to provide outside sales teams with tools and resources designed specifically for selling in the field, and we’re thrilled to have our efforts recognized.”
“SPOTIO is focused on making outside sales teams more efficient, productive and successful. The development of our one of a kind software provides outside reps the technology they need to be successful.”
– Ryan Dunagan, VP of Marketing, SPOTIO
About Smart Selling Tools
Smart Selling Tools, Inc., is an analyst and consulting firm that specializes in sales productivity and sales performance improvement through the use of smart sales tools. Businesses of all sizes can find suggestions and reviews for sales and marketing software along with great resources to learn about revenue generating tools.
Smart Selling Tools doesn’t sell sales software. They just provide great information to help you find the right sales tools for your organization.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at email@example.com or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 field sales acceleration and performance management software that will increase revenue, maximize profitability, and boost sales productivity.
Want to see a product demonstration? Click here to see how SPOTIO can take your sales game to the next level.
Whether you’re a sales rep, a sales manager, member of the ops team, or the business owner, you share one fundamental concern: how to increase sales volume. From top to bottom, everyone is serious about increasing sales numbers.
Sales drive the business. They fuel the growth, fund the new ventures, and fill the coffers from which the salaries are paid.
With so much riding on sales, it’s essential to have sound strategies for increasing sales volume. Following is a list of 25 ways you can increase sales volume and boost revenue.
#1 | Assign Top Reps to High-Value Territories
When you want to increase sales volume, it makes sense to put your most successful salespeople in front of the accounts that have the most potential. A manager’s formula for success is first to understand which reps produce the most sales and then draw a territory that maximizes that potential. Technology can be a tremendous asset here.
Spotio’s Territory Management Software can create strategic territories based on criteria like zip code or neighborhood. With the area already targeted, the sales rep can then plan an efficient day — and get in front of as many potential customers as possible.
#2 | Find Your Client’s Needs
Your job is to identify pain points and offer a solution that will solve their needs.
Once you determine what your client needs, assign a value to what the problem costs in revenue, over time, lost opportunities, customer churn or all of the above. Breaking it down in dollars and cents is an excellent way to emphasize how your product or service can benefit their business.
#3 | Focus on the top accounts
To increase sales volume, your most valuable resource is time; you want to spend it where you can get the most bang for your buck. That will be at the accounts with the most potential.
To identify top accounts, first understand your target customer profile. You want to get as specific as possible so you have characteristics that you can use to sort through a list and find matches. Some examples could be annual revenue, the number of locations, type of industry, and so on from there.
Once you have a target customer profile, you can use technology to do the heavy lifting for you. Spotio’s Lead Machine, which is part of the lead management software on the platform, can identify accounts that match your criteria in the various territories. After you draw an area on the map, you then enter the ideal customer details, and the software does the rest for you.
#4 | Seal cracks in the sales process
Every sales organization and even every salesperson has their sales process, and like the humans that created them, they have areas of opportunity. Streamlining and optimizing the sales process can help you increase sales volume.
A sales process has different stages for each of your leads. If you track the relationship of the lead, or the stage they are in the sales process, you can tailor communication that addresses where the individual lead is at the moment.
However, time is still your most valuable resource, so automating these communications is vital to your sales strategy. For example, the Lead Management services on Spotio includes lead intelligence, like colorization for your leads based on their current stage in the process. It can also yield reports for prospects that warrant a second call or identify the “hot” lead.
Pertinent messaging for the appropriate stage leads to improved potential for engagements and progress to the next step. It stops leads from falling through the cracks.
#5 | Employ a thorough qualifying process for prospects
In addition to focusing on top accounts, meaning those with the most potential that fit your target profile, you also need to qualify your prospects. You need to ensure they are an appropriate fit for your product or service.
Qualifying involves asking questions. You need to ask about their current situation, whether the contact can make purchasing decisions locally, how much budget this available, among others.
If the prospect’s answers fit the parameters of your target customer (and they can sign the purchase agreement), you have found a match. If not, you would likely be better served to move to an account with greater potential.
#6 | Use tools to scale your prospecting
Once you know who you want to sell to, you must find as many of those people—as fast as possible. Prospecting is a crucial part of your sales process. However, it can also be time-consuming and frustrating.
However, many tools exist to help you find as many excellent prospects as possible without you using as much of your precious time. Spotio has a Sales Prospecting Playbook that includes techniques, tools, and examples for you to use.
Spotio’s Sales Prospecting Software can scale the prospecting process and generate more leads to close. With three programs to help you, you can identify the accounts with the most potential (lead targeting), automate the administrative tasks associated with the sales process (lead management), and schedule appointments without difficulty (calendar integration).
#7 | Always remember WIFM
WIFM is an acronym for “What’s in It for Me?” and it is essential to increase sales volume. Your prospect does not buy because of you or because of all the features you shared about your product or service. They buy because of what the product does for them.
Of course, knowing WIFM is imperative for the sales rep. You must have complete clarity on your product knowledge and be able to position yourself in a way that shows how your product benefits the customer.
Features are only what the product has, benefits are what the product does.
An essential part of your strategies to increase sales volume should include a focus on what the product or service does for the lead’s business. Not only will sharing the benefits engage your prospect, but it will begin to build a relationship of trust between you.
#8 | Employ Pain-Based Selling
Pain-based selling is a technique to reinforce that the prospect needs your product or service. It also lays a foundation for a partnership between you and your customer.
Pain-based selling has a process. You first ask the customer what their biggest challenge is in their business. Then you follow it up with what would happen if they should fail to meet that challenge. Next, you ease the prospect’s pain with the benefits of your product or service, which will (lastly) begin a partnership.
Sandler Training uses Sandler’s Pain Funnel with their pain-based selling efforts. The process reveals the reasons for your prospect’s pain, even when they might not have been aware of it themselves. You begin the process after the prospect has shared with you what they are willing to tell you at the beginning.
Most of the questions in Sandler’s Pain Funnel are open-ended, meaning they invite the customer to share more information rather than a yes or no answer. The point of the questions is to get the client thinking about how they feel about the problem and how they might need a better solution than they have now.
#9 | Align Sales with Marketing
Peanut butter and jelly is an example of a combo of things that is better when paired with the other. You can say the same thing about sales and marketing, too.
Sales is a customer-facing team. The sales team have direct contact every day with what customers want, the questions they ask, and the problems they face.
Marketing is an operational team. The marketing team understands how to deliver the information to customers that can lead to a sale.
When you combine the street-knowledge of the sales with the messaging skills of the marketing,, you have a much better tool with which to communicate. Allying the two groups has a direct effect on increasing sales volumes.
One example of how you can use the combined efforts of the two teams is to create an excellent presentation for prospects. It should communicate the benefits (or WIFM) to the customers in a creative way. Whether it’s PowerPoint, an interactive web demonstration or a video, making an effective presentation is paramount to increasing sales volumes.
#10 | Exploit your strengths & work on your weaknesses
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what those are are vital in order to become the best sales rep you can be.
Self-Awareness can help you make the most of what you are good at while addressing your “areas of opportunity.” Make a list of all the activities involved in the sales process, e.g., prospecting, qualifying, engaging, presenting, closing, etc. Then, divide those tasks between two columns labeled “Strengths” and “Weaknesses” (or if you prefer, “Opportunities”).
Next, make a plan for the following week. In the morning, while you are energized and ready, set aside time to engage in an activity that addresses a specific weakness.
For example, you can job shadow a colleague for an hour who is excellent at cold calling to get some tips. Another example is practicing closing techniques with someone who is outstanding at asking for the order.
Once you have your time for addressing a specific skill set scheduled, you can now turn your attention to your strengths later in the day. If you are excellent at qualifying leads, build in time to make some calls to new leads. If you love canvassing in person, set aside time to get out and about.
#11 | Improve your time management skills
As we mentioned before, time is your most valuable asset when trying to increase sales volumes. You need to maximize your time to yield the best possible results.
It’s an excellent idea to have some idea of your closing average when you are addressing your time management. You should know how many cold calls it takes for you to find a good lead. You also need to be aware of how many leads you need to find a qualified prospect. Finally, you need to know how many qualified prospects it takes to close a sale and how much your average purchase agreement is.
With the numbers you now have, you know what activity you need to accomplish in a week. For example, if it takes five cold calls to get one lead, and you need seven leads to find a qualified prospect, you now know you need to make 35 calls to find a proper opportunity. Depending on how many qualified leads you need each month, you now can ensure you make enough cold calls to get there.
Time management means that you use your time as wisely as possible. Knowing how many cold calls are going to get you to your sales numbers, you can start by scheduling time each day to cold call. Cold calling before you even open your email is a great way to get the day started—and your time management efforts kicked off, too.
Technology can also help you streamline your planning and maximize your time. Spotio’s Sales Route Planner can optimize your course, allowing you to visit as many targets as possible in the most efficient path. Also, you can employ the e-contracts feature to close on site rather than lose momentum while the buyer is waiting on “the paperwork.”
#12 | Encourage word-of-mouth advocacy
When customers are delighted and surprised by a great experience, they tell their friends about it. As part of your multiple strategies to increase sales volume, you should encourage your most loyal customers to share their experiences with their friends and colleagues.
To incent more advocacy, you can reward them with little perks or gifts. Some organizations award points for customer referrals to put toward technology or gift card rewards. However, you might discover that your best customers will refer you based on your relationship alone, with or without the extra bonuses.
Your best customers are easy to identify. However, some of the other accounts you work with might be willing to provide referrals as well. To determine if an account would advocate on your behalf, PowerHomeBiz.com, a small business publication, encourages you to ask three questions:
1. What feature do you like best about my product or service?
2. How can we make our product or service even better or more valuable for you?
3. Who do you know that could also benefit from my product or service?
Not only will you receive valuable feedback from your customers and show that their opinion matters to you, but you also can get some great tips for leads to follow up on afterward.
#13 | Share case studies
It’s one thing when you talk about how a product or service will benefit a prospect’s business; it’s another to have someone who uses your product or service talk about it. Case studies are success stories from past or current customers that give prospects another perspective on whether your product or service will benefit their business.
An excellent way to get customers to endorse your product or service through a case study is to write a rough draft for them to edit. Few customers have the time or energy to start from a blank page. As their sales rep, you usually have a decent idea of how your product or service has improved their bottom line or solved a problem they faced in their business and can write a version for them to tidy up and add pertinent details (i.e., dollar amounts or percentages of growth, etc.).
A rough draft serves as a way to streamline the process for your account to share their story with minimum effort on their part. Then, you have a useful (and authentic) sales tool to help prospects feel more comfortable moving forward with your proposal—from an unbiased third-party.
#14 | Calculate incentive compensation automatically
Commission structure is the most motivating aspect of a salesperson’s job. It’s human nature (especially salespeople’s nature) for you to want to know what your incentive amount will be on any given sale/week/month.
However, figuring amounts can be time-consuming. Perhaps more importantly, it distracts you from the task at hand: earning that commission through increasing your sale volume.
Sales incentive programs usually motivate salespeople. When you automate the calculation, you create a win-win situation. You know what you are going to earn, and you can get back to work earning more in as little time as possible.
A commission should be paid within a month to be an effective motivator. Also, shortening the time between the closed sale and the commission associates the reward with the activity, which is beneficial to inspire behavior.
#15 | Strive to win sales contests
Another excellent motivator is the sales contest. Sometimes the reward is significant, like a luxury vacation or a large cash amount. Sometimes the prize is silly, like possession of the team’s Tiki-God or bragging rights.
Sales contests bring out your competitive spirit, which is a lot like the spirit that drives you to hit your sales goals. When your sales manager invests time and resources in a sales contest, you should take full advantage of it.
Technology can help you keep track of where you are in the contest as well. Spotio’s Sales Performance Management Software has a Sales Leaderboard and Team Management software that can track the team’s performance.
Whatever the trophy or honor, striving to win a sales contest will increase your sales volume. Moreover, one of the best prizes will be making your sales plan.
#16 | Visit prospects in person
The human connection between the salesperson and potential customer is a powerful tool for increasing your sales volume. Face-to-face interaction trumps online interaction for emotional engagement.
It is not always the best choice. For the sake of your time management and your potential customer’s, online and phone interaction can handle much of the business involved in the sales process. However, it should not replace your human contact.
When you invest the time and effort to visit a prospect in person, you invoke a natural relationship-building element. One of the ways it enhances the likelihood of making a sale is that it demonstrates that you are interested in your client and care about their business. It also begins to build a foundation of trust.
#17 | Increase your outreach to your potential customers
Making as many contacts as possible is a practical strategy for how to increase sales volume. Ensuring potential customers know what you have to offer is essential to the sales process.
Today’s selling environment has a plethora of ways to make contact. The tried-and-true methods of in-person meetings and phone calls are excellent.
Automated email strategies can also aid in your outreach efforts. When used in concert with Spotio’s Lead Management software, you can craft email blasts for your potential customers.
Social selling is another channel that can help you get the message out to your future customers. Using the different social media platforms, you can post content put together by your marketing team or mock up your own to access more qualified leads. Canva.com has a significant library of templates that can help you create a catchy and professional looking marketing status update.
#18 | Promote offers
If WIFM is the essential message of your pitch, your proposal is a close second. People need to know what you are selling, the bargain they get in exchange for the WIFM you shared.
The best offers are clear, simple, and provide significant value to your customers. However, your offer should also create urgency, meaning the customer has to decide within a specific time frame.
Urgency not only helps customers decide to move forward, but it also shortens the sales cycle. And a shortened sales cycle decreases the amount of time you wait to get your commission check.
Your offer can feature many different motivating factors. What you include in the proposal is up to you. It could be a sale price. It could be a cash-back offer or access to a premium level of your product or service at the regular level’s price point.
The only essential is that it adds something of value if the prospect acts by the deadline. One caveat is that specific industries have restrictions for what they can include in the offer. Ensure that what you promise is within the bounds of the laws that govern your industry (We’re looking at you, medical and pharmaceutical sales).
How you communicate the offer is also an essential part of your strategy. If you send out information on a future sale, you can position the proposal as an “inside scoop,” meaning they have first dibs on the goods. If you contact prospects after the deal, you can capitalize on the positive feelings from their first sale with a follow-up purchase.
#19 | Eliminating your prospect’s feeling of risk
People have a natural risk aversion. Psychologists call it Loss Aversion, and it is one of the parts of Prospect Theory.
Loss Aversion can make it difficult for your prospect to try something new because they might perceive it as a risk, that they might lose something if they buy your product or service. It can be an obstacle to them moving forward in the sales process.
If you can eliminate your prospect’s feeling of risk, you might be able to move them forward to a sale. Money-back guarantees are one assurance you can give your future client. Risk-free trials are another way you can remove this obstacle.
Many times, once the customer feels they are not going to lose anything, they feel more comfortable moving forward with the sale.
#20 | Create affiliate programs
An excellent way to increase sales volume quickly is to deepen the relationship you already have with customers. It is easier and faster to work with customers you already know than it is to attract, find, qualify and close new customers.
This strategy to deepen your relationship with existing accounts is well-served by affiliate programs or strategic partnerships with an organization that complements your own. Finding additional products and services that work with both of your client bases can increase sales volumes for both organizations.
A successful partnership will have services that do not duplicate but work together to provide a full complement of solutions for your customer.
For example, a window installation organization could have a partnership with a window cleaning company, or a SaaS (software as a service) organization could have an IT support company they work with for their customers.
In some cases, you can use the existing client lists of both companies to market each organization’s benefits. This effort could save both companies time and money in customer acquisition costs while providing a valuable resource to existing customers.
#21 | Keep the customers you have
Per HubSpot, customer retention is an excellent strategy for increasing sales volumes. Customers that have bought from you before spend 67% more than new customers.
HubSpot recommends a few different ways to leverage the customers you have to increase your sales volume. You can do something as simple as raise prices, starting with a lower percentage test to ensure it doesn’t have the opposite effect. You can also build a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat business with increased value propositions, like premium service add-ons or other additional perks.
Implementing a subscription service is another tactic to increase sales volume with existing customers can also be how you can increase sales volume. HubSpot also recommends personalizing the buyer’s journey to increase emotional engagement that leads to customer loyalty.
However, there are other benefits of customer retention for you. When you hold on to your customers and build customer loyalty, your current customers will recommend you to friends and family. And let’s not forget all the money that you save in marketing costs and lead acquisition; you already have your customers’ information.
#22 | Never stop cold calling
Keeping your sales pipeline full is a foundational skill for any salesperson. Today’s cold call is tomorrow’s qualified lead—and next month’s new business. Prospecting is an essential activity for increasing sales volume.
The point of a cold call is to introduce yourself and determine if you can move the contact to the next position in your sales funnel. As Brian Tracy says, you are warming up a potential customer.
Cold calling can be frustrating. Remember it is a numbers game, meaning the more calls you make, the more potential you have to make a connection. The diligence will pay off and make the effort worthwhile.
#23 | Become a master of persuasion
When it comes to how to increase sales volume techniques, persuasion is an essential one. Convincing people to get to a yes that will enhance their business and solve their problems is a foundational skill for increasing your sales success.
Brian Tracy champions the “Four Ps” of Persuasion:
Power means the way you present yourself to your prospect. If you think of yourself as an expert in your product or service, the prospect is far more likely to be influenced by your opinion for their business.
Positioning is a complement to power in that it addresses the way you talk and act. When you assert yourself in specific ways, people think of you a certain way, which can be helpful when you are trying to convince them to act in their best interest.
Performance means that you strive to do your very best at everything you do. People respect competence, hard work, and excellent follow through. Ensure that you perfect these areas in your career, and customers will want to work with you.
Politeness is another vital quality. Respecting others and what they do is crucial, in work (and in life).
Part of becoming a master of persuasion requires you to be an excellent negotiator. Proficiency in negotiation techniques that find win-win opportunities for both parties is essential to increasing sales volume.
Brian Tracy says master negotiators have three qualities. First, they ask good questions that uncover the needs of the prospect and move them to the next phase of the sales cycle. Second, they are patient and listen for ways to give the prospect something they want.
Finally, they are prepared for their interactions and can move the sale forward if the opportunity presents itself. Part of this skill is learning how to overcome objections.
Objections are the reasons prospects give not to move forward with the sale. They are offering resistance, but only because they are interested. Having a handle on the common objections you might encounter with your product or service is an excellent way to increase your sales volumes.
#24 | Nurture Relationships
Having successful customer relationships is a foundation of a salesperson’s career. The ability to build rapport and trust with your accounts is a significant factor in sales success.
Nurturing relationships is a traditional method for increasing sales. However, it has stood the test of time because it works. People like to work with people they like and trust, two significant factors of successful relationships.
However, strong customer relationships do not come without a price. As Forbes points out, strengthening relationships requires time and energy.
Nurturing relationships involves listening to what your clients need and giving it to them, even if it means customizing the package or adding in personalized services. The extra effort is worth it; Saleshacker reports that 53% of C-level executives buy because of their relationship with the salesperson.
#25 | Create packages
Creating a package that solves your prospect’s challenges is an excellent way to position yourself as a partner. If you are a single-product supplier, it might necessitate contacting some complementary products and services providers to present a comprehensive solution.
However, it is crucial to limit the choices. When a prospect has too many options, it can be as frustrating as not having enough and can lead to indecision.
You can limit choices a couple of ways. You can arrange the proposal in a way that controls how many options a prospect sees. You can filter the choices by using qualifying questions to eliminate certain products or services for the initial proposal (although keep them on the back burner; as you develop the relationship you might revisit the option).
Another way to create packages is to arrange a system of pricing tiers. Pricing tiers are based on the psychological principle of Choice Architecture. One of the principles of choice architecture dictates that how you present the options is as important as the content of the options themselves.
A decoy option is an option that is added to the mix because it is less attractive than the other options. For example, if you think of drinks in a restaurant, the small is often the most expensive per ounce for the least amount of drink. Not surprisingly, most people choose either the medium or large drink instead.
Tiered pricing can simplify the decision for a prospect, especially when presented in small, medium, and large options. Most people will choose the option in the middle because it’s not too small, not too big, it’s just right.
Let’s face it; everyone wants to increase sales volume from up in the C-suite on down. Sales are the engine that drives the organization, providing the funding for all the goals of the company.
These 25 suggestions can help you fuel that engine with more revenue and improved strategies to increase sales volume. Try them out and put the pedal to the metal toward smashing your sales goals.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 field sales automation and performance management software that will increase revenue, maximize profitability, and boost sales productivity.
Wallace, Tracey. “6 Ways to Boost Customer Retention Rates.” www.hubspot.com. Web. 23 February 2019. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-retention-rate.
“14 Proven Strategies to Increase Sales of Your Product.” www.briantracy.com. Web. 23 February 2019. < https://www.briantracy.com/blog/sales-success/proven-strategies-to-increase-sales-of-your-product/>.
“The Four Ps of Persuasion.” www.briantracy.com. Web. 23 February 2019. < https://www.briantracy.com/blog/sales-success/the-four-ps-of-persuasion/>.
Kappel, Mike. “Small Business Strategies to Increase Sales.“ www.forbes.com. 25 January 2017. Web. 23 February 2019. < https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2017/01/25/small-business-strategies-to-increase-sales/#53f9ac215b1b>
So, you’re looking to implement a new CRM? The decision to invest in your company’s technology solutions is always an exciting one. While a CRM investment will undoubtedly pay off in many ways (increased sales, shortened sales cycle, increased rep productivity, etc.), there are many things to consider to ensure a successful implementation.
With many products on the market, you’ll need to invest substantial energy in finding the system or service that best meets your needs. Most importantly, you’ll need a bullet-proof plan for bringing your team along; sales management and sales reps will make or break your investment.
In this article – whether you’re in Sales Operations, Sales Management, or a Sales Rep – we examine what you should consider when making a CRM investment to ensure that each arm of the sales team is set-up for success.
Depending on the size and maturity of your business, your industry, and existing processes and systems, your CRM needs will differ.
While simpler business models may only require a basic system that auto-responds to potential customers signing up for an email subscription, more mature and complex businesses will require a robust system that integrates important processes like marketing automation, contact and lead management, point of sale (POS) functionality, sales reporting, sales process management, employee tracking, and more.
You will need to consider the time and resourcing your organization will need to dedicate to implementation, training, and maintenance. While some systems are simple and well-supported, more custom CRM implementations require entire teams within and/or outside the company to build, maintain, support, and further develop the solution.
When choosing a CRM, it’s important to think not only about where your organization is today, but also where your organization is heading. As your organization grows and evolves to meet new customer needs, you will likely need new features and functionality.
As you plan, start by asking yourself where you expect your business to be in one year, three years, five years. Consider what needs you’d have if your customer base grows significantly or if your company expands to serve new audiences or offer additional product lines.
Would your CRM needs change? Would the system you choose today be able to grow with you or would you need to start from scratch?
When looking at different CRM options, do your research to ensure you understand the reputation, pros, and cons of the CRM solutions you are considering. Look at how the CRM provider ensures the solution is stable and reliable.
Keep in mind that your CRM is an important and integral part of your daily business operations. An unstable and under-supported solution can cause major disruption or loss for your business.
While some CRMs publish pricing directly on their website, make sure you look beyond the obvious platform and service costs. Consider the cost of implementation, consulting and training costs, third-party integration, as well as other opportunity costs.
While investing in a CRM may seem like a no-brainer, you need to consider how you’ll measure ROI to prove value for your organization as well as to help fuel future investment decisions. At the most basic level, you should expect your CRM to help you boost sales and revenue while decreasing the cost of acquiring a new customer.
Measuring increased sales is straightforward. Using your accounting records, you can pull sales and revenue reports for the past three years and compare them with the new reports from your CRM. Measuring decreased acquisition costs will prove to be more complex as you’ll need to look at a variety of costs such as marketing, travel, labor, and more.
Have a plan for what you’ll look at and keep in mind that even if costs stay the same, the cost-per-sale improves with more revenue.
Consider the investment you’ll need to make in training your staff, process documentation, and driving internal adoption. CRM implementation is not easy. It’s likely that your sales staff will initially see it as an unnecessary new administrative burden, particularly since they won’t see the benefits immediately.
A robust training and adoption plan will be critical to your success. In addition to the end-to-end processes, workflows, and tactical instructions, your training and adoption plan needs to cover how everyone will benefit from using the new system.
What new data will the system provide to help sales reps close more business? How can they use the CRM to automate tasks and get time back? This piece is so important since you’ll only see full benefits with 100% adoption.
With a CRM, sales managers and their teams are able to collect and aggregate data about prospects and deals. With dashboards and reports, sales managers get visibility into each sales reps pipelines, deals, and contacts, allowing them to better support and coach the rep for success.
Sales managers can also track each reps progress toward attaining their quotas towards quota attainment, monitor revenue, and see where things may not be moving as expected.
Forecasting is a critical activity for sales managers, allowing them to plan strategically and make informed decisions. CRM allows management to view trends and perform data-driven forecasting with proper pipeline visibility, visibility into which lead sources are proving to be most successful and metrics like year-over-year growth.
Sales manager can use this data to form sales projections for upcoming months and adjust pipeline estimates if needed.
With a single place to track leads, prospects, and customers, sales managers can surface patterns to identify the sales processes that are working well and which ones require improvement.
A CRM is only as good as the data inside of it. A sales leadership and management team will get zero value from the investment if the data is incorrect, inconsistent, or missing.
Too often, while trying to drive adoption, organizations focus on the new tasks and accountabilities for sales reps, forgetting to emphasize the benefits to the reps themselves.
The sales team has worked hard to establish their client relationships and industry networks, which can make some of them a bit reluctant to share their data with the entire office. Demonstrating the benefits is the most important factor to adoption.
It’s important to sell the system as a valuable sales enablement tool and not a way for management to redistribute their accounts or monitor every contact and activity.
For example, sales reps can expect to see a shorter sales cycle due to data accessibility.
Sales reps will benefit from increased insights to their prospects and customers including things like how they interact with marketing efforts or usage and consumption of your products and services. They gain the ability to create and use activity reports and see data that will improve the volume and size of their sales.
To make sure your sales reps are on board, consult them through the implementation process. Get their valuable feedback on the features that will help them the most and take the time to understand their pain points so you can design the solution to help.
In addition, get feedback on the usability and design of the system to ensure its intuitive, easy to use and adds value.
Once the system is implemented, make sure you have adequate support in place to aid in the transition, answer questions, and remove any roadblocks that may slow adoption.
Investing in a CRM is highly likely to benefit your organization. In fact, according to Nucleas research, for every dollar spent on CRM solutions, companies experience an $8.71 return on investment.
As you look at options, build a plan and move toward implementation. Keep in mind that having your team on board is critical to a successful data-driven future with CRM.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at email@example.com or comment below.
Determining commission structures for sales reps is a critical piece to your sales plan. It sets the bar for the level of talent and skill set that you’ll attract to your sales team.
It seems simple, right? More money = better salespeople?
This isn’t always true. Higher earning potential through a commission time only comp plan won’t necessarily outweigh the risk a salesperson inherits by not having a guaranteed income source. Elite sales professionals expect to be paid a salary that they can rely on.
In short, a sales rep views their base pay as how they’ll be valued and treated by the company. Their salary is what they rely on to live.
Sales commission is most commonly known as the variable component of a total sales compensation package. While an on-target earning (OTE) is almost always established, the total commission earned is dependent on each salesperson’s individual goals and their performance.
Your commission structure ties a sales rep’s performance to the amount of money he or she will take home each paycheck. It’s no secret that accountability produces results, and a well-structured commission plan is an excellent way to incentivize top performance.
So, while the salary component of a salesperson’s comp package is fixed and pretty easy to understand, the variable portion has a large amount of room for flexibility and configuration depending on the type of sale and sales process a company has in place.
Because there’s no one size fits all, sales compensation plans come in many shapes and sizes, including: salary/hourly + commission, commission-only, tiered commission, residual commission, and variable-rate commission. Of these, the easiest and most commonly used approach is to pay a certain percentage based on the revenue generated from a single sale. Very simply, a sales rep who closes a deal for $500 with a commission rate of 5% earns $25 per sale.
Determining the right commission plan for your business can be an extremely complex task that often overwhelms even the most experienced owners. To help guide you, answer the following questions before reviewing the various commission structures:
1. What are the company’s sales goals and sales budget?
2. How much should you pay and how much should they sell?
3. How long is the average sales cycle for your product or service?
4. Are you offering benefits, bonuses, or incentives of any kind?
5. Is this a fair structure that will motivate each salesperson to work hard?
6. What is the average revenue per sale (ARPS) or average price point?
7. What is the salesperson’s role: lead generator / canvasser or full-cycle?
8. Does the salesperson provide support and training to the customer post-sale?
9. Is it a one-time sale or is there typically repeat business and upsells?
10. Does the sales rep handle customer service / account management, or do you have a team?
Answering these questions will help you determine SMART sales goals, performance measures, and payout formulas. Doing so will allow you to more accurately judge how much you should be paying your team, and how your commission plan should be structured.
By laying out detailed answers for the questions above, you’re ready to follow this simple 5-step approach that will guide you through the process of creating a fair – but effective – commission structure. A challenging, yet achievable, commission structure serves as motivation and inspiration for salespeople.
Remember that your commission structure extends well beyond just compensating your sales team for their work. Science has proven the best strategies to motivate sales reps. Compensation is an extrinsic motivation, and while it’s not enough on its own to keep salespeople hungry 24/7, a poorly structured commission structure can actually demotivate your foot soldiers.
Prior to laying out your structure, you need to establish detailed figures as it relates to what your company needs to experience a return on sales revenue. There are 4 components involved in this process:
Determine Gross Sales Profit (GSP)
Calculate your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Percentage of Sales Revenue (SR)
Calculate your Budgeted Sales Expense Percentage
Analyze your Sales Revenue Goal
Any combination of things can influence your compensation plan during the design phase. While there may be too many to efficiently address each and every one, list and plan for as many as possible. Some of which include:
Local market conditions & what’s being offered for similar positions
Job expectations specific to your roles
Who’s responsible for generating leads – the sales rep or canvasser / lead generator
Amount of post-sale support expected from sales rep
Level of industry knowledge & experience required to be successful
Average sales cycle length & the number of opportunities that can be worked at one time
Basic or complex sales process
Setting the standard for what your salespeople should be paid involves looking at more than just the work they put in. Start by establishing a benchmark for a sales rep who achieves their sales target in your market and industry. If you need help, reach out to people you know in this position or, if you’re part of an association within your industry, use them as a resource; they should be able to provide you with a considerable amount of relevant data.
After you’ve determined what your benchmark will be, then comes the fun part associated with creating a sales commission structure. Now is when you need to set individual goals. This is what each salesperson’s performance will be measured against.
You may be a rock-star, but don’t forget how difficult it is to find top performers. Set your standards based on above-average salespeople so that the target is challenging, but not on the level you expect of top performers.
Crunch the numbers to ensure you’re setting realistic quotas and not making it too easy or too hard. The graphic above shows that only 9% of the sales compensation expense was used out of the 15% allocated. The company now has 6% to use toward incentives, marketing, sales coaching or other resources to help the team reach their goals.
Choosing whether to pay your sales team salary only, making them 100% commission-based, commission-only but with a draw, or any other combination is a difficult decision. It often feels like a balancing act between trying to put a plan in place that properly incentivizes while making sure the company is making its margins.
Salary / Hourly Only
Salary + Commission
Commission Only With A Draw
Tiered Commission Structure
Salary + Bonuses
Commission + Bonuses
Salary + Commission + Bonuses
The phrase, “it’s the little things that often matter most” has never rang more true than it does as it relates to sales commission structure. Salespeople loving bragging about the perks they receive from their job. Whether it’s a cool office, providing breakfast every morning or covering expenses, these simple “extra” things go a long way.
You’ll be surprised by the positive comments you hear and boost in morale you see by offering certain perks in addition to your commission structure. A few items that go a long way in attracting and retaining top talent:
Car / Mileage Reimbursement
Cell Phone / Data Plan Reimbursement
Computer / Tablet & Data Service
Customer Entertainment Expense Account (can be controlled by requiring pre-approval)
Free Memberships (gym / social / recreational clubs)
Health Benefits & PTO
The top commission structures for the door to door and field sales industries aren’t necessarily revolutionary, but each model has several variations. Some companies combine and blend the methods outlined below to create a more specific plan that better matches their process.
Determining a standard or uniformed commission rate for outside sales reps is particularly challenging due to the vast number of unique sales processes and commission structures that have been established.
The low end usually bottoms out at 5%, with some companies paying as much as 40 – 50% commission per sale. These are typically businesses that have implemented a commission-only structure.
Despite such a large range, the industry average usually tends to land between 20 – 30% of gross margins. It’s also sometimes broken down by gross sales with the industry average ranging from 7 – 15%. This translates to an average annual salary of $66,805 for outside sales reps. Indeed lists the average tenure for this position as 1 – 3 years.
A commission only plan is the better of the two options if deciding between commission and salary or hourly only. A straight commission structure means a sales rep’s earnings will consist of entirely variable pay. It’s a rather risky option for some salespeople, especially those who are new. This is because there’s not a fixed salary component.
Paying hourly severely limits the company’s ability to get maximum productivity from their team. A commission only structure is typically used for 1099 sales reps (independent contractors). With this type of sales commission structure, the sales professional who thrive are those eager to hunt and close their own deals.
It can be pretty difficult for some individuals to determine what outside sales job will suit them best based on their experience, personality and selling ability. There’s not only risk for the sales rep in a commission only model, but for the company too.
A commission only plan is best suited for companies with shorter sales cycles and a considerable opportunity for sizable commission earnings.
Commission only plans are particularly popular because the sales rep doesn’t get paid if the company doesn’t’ get paid. Despite the challenges that could arise – like targeting the wrong prospects – straight commission is primarily used as a way to mitigate risk. But…
These plans do come with a rather large amount of risk for the rep. If they aren’t generating revenue for the company, they aren’t making money for themselves. This can lead to a large amount of turnover and unhappiness, casting a black cloud of negativity that destroys your company culture.
When implementing this model, recruit and hire the sales professionals who understand the difference between a sales job and sales career. They’ll have far more experience under this structure and understand what they’re walking into prior to joining your team.
Revenue commission models are one of the most well-known and basic structures available to field sales organizations. This type of sales commission structure works best with products and services that have a set price point.
Example: If your company sells a service for $500 that has a commission rate of 10%, a sales rep would earn $50 each time they sell that service.
They’re also favorable for companies attempting to gain market share or enter a new market because they’re less likely to be focused on profit, and more concerned with achieving a larger business goal.
It should be noted that revenue commission plans typically fail to align with the larger, broader goals of a field sales organization or the unique DNA makeup of a sales team.
Contrary to simply looking at the money coming in with each sale like in a revenue model, a gross margin commission structure includes the sale price and the costs associated with converting that sale. By taking both into consideration, the company arrives at the profit of each deal.
Example: If your company’s service costs $1,000 but accrues $500 in costs to complete that transaction, the sales rep would earn a percentage of the remaining $500 profit.
Those supporting a gross margin commission structure usually believe that all sales should benefit the company’s bottom line.
A draw against commission is excellent form of reassurance for your sales team. A draw is essentially a “guarantee” that a sales rep will make a predetermined amount of money each month for their efforts, regardless of their sales figures. Draws are best for new hires, ramp periods, long periods of change and uncertainty, and training.
Draws against commission are basically advanced payments to the sales rep. A rep who earns commission smaller than the draw amount keeps their commission, plus the difference between the total commission and the predetermined draw amount. There are a few variations to this structure, most notably, a “borrowed” draw that must be paid back according to the specified terms.
Example: A sales rep is eligible for a $2,000 draw in their first month and winds up taking home $1,000 in commission. The sales rep would then keep all of his or her commission in addition to $1,000 from the set draw allowance.
A tiered model is a sales commission structure that is particularly popular among sales reps, especially those who are highly motivated or top performers. Sales people earn higher commission rates after closing a certain number of deals, or, surpassing a total amount of revenue generated.
Example: A sales rep earns 5% on all products sold up to $10,000 in total revenue generated. Under the tiered model, the same sales rep would now earn 8% on all revenue generated after surpassing the $10,000 mark.
This sales commission structure significantly motivates and incentivizes the top performers to continue selling. A tiered model provides salespeople with the freedom and flexibility to explore additional areas they may not have considered previously, like upsells and new product offerings.
Base pay rate only is rarely used in today’s sales landscape for multiple reasons, one of which being its lack of incentives. Failing to properly incentivize results in an exceptionally low level of productivity due to a lack of motivation.
Example: Your company pays each sales rep an annual salary of $60,000. This translates to a weekly take home pay just over $1,150 (before taxes), regardless of performance level.
A base pay only structure is most often used by companies who operate almost exclusively on inbound leads. These businesses have a sales staff that is almost in more of a customer support role than they are a sales position.
The skill set required to succeed is fairly basic since the sales team works primarily on inbound leads. A base pay rate is most effective when your team is there to walk potential customers through the questions they have as opposed to overcoming objectives, for instance.
If you want to attract the best salesmen and saleswomen, you’re going to have to pay for it. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Offering an hourly rate in addition to commission places responsibility on both parties, the company and the sales team. Both sides are making a commitment.
The company is committing a greater financial reward to the salesperson by paying them for their time in addition to what they sell. The sales rep is committing their full skill set and effort to working to earn that hourly rate or annual salary.
In this setup you’ll pay less per hour / base salary than you would if you were just paying an hourly / base rate. The same is true for the commission your organization will offer, but in total, there is much more upside for the sales rep. Commission should always be uncapped to properly incentivize the reps on your team.
The best sales reps in the industry are looking for companies who will invest in their success. One of the best ways to show that you have their best interests in mind is to measure the exact times they make the most money.
The key is having the data to back it up. In order to determine these types of advanced analytics, you have to stop being lazy and track every attempt they make. Tracking the outcome of every door your sales team knocks on will give you the metrics needed to determine when they’re having the most success, and ultimately making the most commission.
To determine the best sales commission structure for your business, it’s paramount to understand the importance of an efficient and effective sales process in the field sales industry. Fine-tuning your sales process will help you develop a sales commission structure that is beneficial to all parties.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 sales enablement and territory management app to increase your revenue, maximize your profitability, and increase your team’s productivity in just 2 weeks.
Whether you’re in sales, marketing or customer service, a CRM is critical to the success of your business. It acts as the internal system of record and single point of truth for the company.
A CRM lets you establish and cultivate long-term relationships with your customers so that you can increase revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
But which type of CRM do you need? Which is best for your business?
CRMs make up the largest software category – estimated to reach $35B by 2023 – with thousands of vendors catering to different industries, company sizes and sales team structures.
Across the categories, three main types of CRM emerge:
So it’s important to know which type is best for your business.
In this article, you’ll discover more about each type of CRM, what each one offers, how you can use them in your business, and why they should not be viewed as a silver bullet.
A CRM – short for Customer Relationship Management – is a software solution that helps businesses to capture prospect and customer interactions in a single database.
In 2008, only 12% of businesses used a cloud-based CRM – this figure has now increased to 87%!
Research by Innoppl Technologies showed that 65% of sales reps who adopted a mobile CRM solution hit sales quota. Only 22% of reps using a CRM without the mobile functionality hit the same sales targets.
Teams can use the information in a CRM to send emails, make calls, add notes, schedule appointments, create reports, and manage sales pipelines from the CRM system. Any interactions from the customer are automatically added to their record, so everyone has the latest visibility.
Sales teams can use a CRM to learn more about their prospects and customers, and manage their sales pipeline better. The CRM also helps automate day-to-day tasks, like scheduling follow-up calls at an agreed interval. And managers can track, view, and report on their team’s performance.
|Editor’s note: Different sales team structures – inside vs outside vs channel – have very different needs and should not take the same approach to customer relationship management.
For example, a field sales CRM should look, feel and act a lot different than an inside sales CRM. The type of CRM should always match the business model. The risk is lower end-user adoption. In fact, over 90% of companies have a CRM adoption rate less than 40%. And the #1 reason for lack of CRM adoption – manual data entry.
Marketing teams can use a CRM to target their ideal customer profiles (demographics, location, etc.) when planning campaigns. The CRM also measures the ROI on their marketing activities and campaigns so they can adjust accordingly in the future.
Customer service teams can use a CRM to help maintain and retain existing customers. The CRM database provides insights into a customer’s previous issues and interactions, so they can manage the current situation and plan future customer engagement activities.
A CRM solution allows you to focus on selling and keeping your customers happy.
But there are other benefits, too, like enhancing customer relationships, reducing customer churn rate, increasing sales and revenue, and automating communication and tasks.
Let’s take a look:
Research by Software Advice shows that 74% of users said their CRM system gave them improved access to customer data.
A CRM captures every interaction along the customer journey (prospect to lead to customer) from multiple teams to create a 360 degree view of the customer. Using this information enables you to provide better customer service and communication across all departments.
A CRM reduces the mundane data entry tasks by automatically adding and updating customer records in the database. For example, when a potential customer visits your website or signs up for your mailing list, or when existing customers send an email, their information is automatically loaded into your CRM.
With every piece of customer information in one place, you can ensure everyone across the business is communicating the right message consistently.
A CRM helps to visualize your sales pipelines so you can prioritize which deals to work on. By visualizing the pipeline, managers can create conversion percentage benchmarks and immediately see when deals are falling through the cracks.
Research by Capterra shows that 47% of polled CRM users said their CRM had a significant impact on customer retention.
Using data from the CRM – e.g. user requirements, preferences, buying habits, etc. – you can customize and personalize your products and services to help reduce churn rate.
Insights from a CRM help you identify your most profitable customers and build stronger relationships with them. This inside knowledge increases your sales revenue as you know the optimal time to target repeat business.
With a deep understanding of the ideal customer profile, you can create “lookalike” accounts when prospecting. For example, once you know who your most valuable clients are, and where they are located, you can formulate more targeted marketing and field sales campaigns.
Without a CRM, business functions often work in silos with separate pieces of customer data. A CRM shared across business functions means you can work together to achieve the same goals and objectives.
We’ve looked at the core benefits of a CRM solution, but the application and use cases will vary depending on the specific needs of the team using it.
In the next section, we’ll cover the 3 main types of CRM tools, and focus in on the sales team use cases for each different type.
There are three main types of CRM systems:
Let’s take a look:
An Operational CRM is the most common type of CRM and is used in many different industries.
This type of CRM is excellent for handling customer-facing communications and helping businesses manage their day-to-day sales, marketing, and customer service operations.
An Operational CRM can automate your sales process from lead generation to closing sale, as well as managing your sales force. For example:
Scheduling follow-up reminders to contact prospects at agreed intervals.
Tracking a contact and updating their status from prospect to qualified lead once they’ve completed certain actions or met specific criteria.
Reporting on sales team performance.
Field sales example:
SPOTIO’s CRM helps Field Sales Reps build and visualize their pipeline with its lead management module. Reps can filter leads, opportunities, and customers with colorized pins to visualize their pipeline:
Inside sales example:
Salesforce offers a variety of CRM categories, including Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics Cloud, App Cloud, and Sales Cloud with functionality best suited for larger inside sales teams.
Inside sales reps can use the Sales Cloud CRM to manage contacts, access sales enablement documents, track sales activity – leads, opportunities and closed deals – and take action from any location, on any device.
The CRM allows reps to spend more time selling to the right prospects, and do it with the best data at their fingertips.
|Editor’s note: It’s important to remember that one size does not fit all.
For instance, an early stage inside sales software company should be using a different CRM than an enterprise outside sales team.
Similarly, many companies have both outside and inside sales teams. In this situation, it’s better to have one primary CRM and then “bolt-on” a mobile technology built specifically for the needs of the field sales teams.
For example, large enterprise sales teams often use Salesforce for its core internal sales activities and then bolt on SPOTIO for its field sales reps, as both tools work together seamlessly.
SPOTIO’s native 2-way integration with Salesforce makes it easy for reps to collect data and record notes in the field then sync it back into Salesforce in real-time.
See how Salient Medical Solutions bolted SPOTIO’s mobile CRM functionality on top of Salesforce and increased field sales productivity by over 15%.
An Operational CRM also allows you to automate some of your marketing activities at various stages of the customer funnel. For example:
– Adding and tagging new email subscribers to your CRM automatically.
– Initiating a welcome email campaign whenever a new prospect enters the system.
– Identifying existing leads in your CRM for your next marketing campaign.
HubSpot allows you to automate your email campaigns using targeted workflows, and then personalize your emails for each recipient using specific details from your CRM:
– Stores and organizes contact and lead information
– Streamlines daily business operations
– Automates some sales and marketing activities
You should consider an operational CRM if:
– You have a linear sales process
– You are a sales and marketing led business (new business focused)
– You lean towards workflow automation and prefer software to perform redundant administrative tasks
An Analytical CRM gathers, stores, and analyzes information about your customers. This typically includes customer data, marketing data, sales data, and service data.
Here’s how each of them dovetails together.
Customer data includes general details like location, age, gender, marital status, and income bracket. The more data you gather, the clearer picture you create; e.g. What does this person want? What are their buying habits? These reports help you plan your marketing campaigns.
The SPOTIO Lead Machine is a great time-saver when you want to generate qualified leads in a chosen territory. Using up-to-date customer profile data you can find prospects who are ready to buy in three quick steps:
1. Select your target area
2. Create your ideal customer profile (e.g. income, credit capacity, age of home, eco friendly, square footage, etc.)
3. Import your leads and start selling
Marketing data lets you measure the success of your campaigns. For example, you can generate reports to discover which leads convert the best and which campaigns yield the highest ROI.
Sales data, along with marketing and customer data, help you plan new campaigns, assign sales territories and track rep performance. Reports can help identify sales trends and patterns. So, for example, you can understand:
– Which products are your Top Sellers
– Which products sell least in Winter
– Which products sell most in Florida
– Which reps sell the most
– Which territories should be assigned to different reps
Service data helps with three core areas:
1. Customer service
2. Customer satisfaction
3. Employee performance
Your staff has access to data in the CRM which includes buying habits and past purchases, so when they’re dealing with a customer, they can quickly check for up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.
An analytical CRM system allows you to capture and address customer satisfaction issues early on. For example, if customers complain about the same thing; e.g. a software bug, you’ll be able to see the pattern and issue a quick fix to stop any further escalation.
As well as tracking customer complaints, an analytical CRM can also track how your employees are handling those complaints, plus other customer interactions in general. These reports help identify areas for improvement in performance reviews.
For example, SPOTIO gives managers a clear view of how the top sales reps are performing and also where leads are falling off in the sales process:
Historical data shows exactly what happened with every prospect up to the point of the last contact. The background knowledge saved within SPOTIO prepares the sales reps for their next customer meeting and helps sales managers coach their team to success:
– Gathers, stores, and analyzes customer information from multiple teams.
– Helps organizations to plan sales and marketing campaigns.
– Tracks key performance indicators set by the business.
You should consider an analytical CRM if:
– You have account management driven sales process
– You have a finance led management style
– Your end-users are data driven and value metrics
A Collaborative CRM – sometimes called a Strategic CRM – enables an organization to collect, organize, and share customer information across multiple teams. For example, sales and purchase history, customer service contact, marketing preferences, and technical support interaction.
When teams collaborate and share customer information, they can maximize profitability, and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
There are two significant parts to a Collaborative CRM:
– Interaction management
– Channel management
Interaction management allows you to record and analyze every interaction a customer has with your company. Monitoring interactions helps you identify issues that an individual or groups of customers may be experiencing.
Channel management allows you to record the preferred method of communication for each of your customers. Some customers prefer text messages, others prefer a phone call, and some might prefer email. Either way, it’s better to contact your customers using their preferred method, so you get a positive response.
Imagine your company sells a mobile app. A Collaborative CRM would allow multiple teams to resolve issues reported by customers.
The customer service team can get an overall view to see how many customers are experiencing the same problem with your app.
If it’s a widespread problem, they can alert the technical support team and request a quick fix to alleviate the situation. Then, when the fix is ready, the customer service team can contact each customer using their preferred communication channel to advise them of the next steps.
Furthermore, this information can be shared with the marketing team so they can tailor messages in the future.
The integrated e-Contract functionality in SPOTIO gives sales reps immediate access to office files and documents. Instead of emailing documents back and forth, customers can sign contracts on the spot:
Reps can also take pictures onsite as well as access files, such as product spec sheets, presentations, etc.
– Collects, organizes, and shares customer data across multiple teams
– Improves the overall customer experience with unified messaging
– Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
You should consider a collaborative CRM if:
– You have multiple stakeholders and departments moving in and out of the platform
– You have multiple locations or have a digitally driven company culture where most communication occurs online
– Your comfortable with customer data being easily accessible by most in the company
So, what type of CRM does your business need?
Here’s a quick recap:
An Operational CRM is excellent for handling customer-facing communications as it helps businesses manage their daily sales, marketing, and customer service operations.
An Analytical CRM is best for getting an overall picture of your sales, marketing, and service performance as it gathers, stores, and analyzes customer information from multiple teams.
A Collaborative CRM is best for connecting multiple teams and improving customer loyalty, as it gives a 360-degree view of the customer journey from prospect to customer support.
All that said, a CRM is not a silver bullet. Rather it is a foundational cornerstone of your sales tech-stack, and companies that are achieving the most success – whether operational, analytical or collaborative – recognize this.
A CRM will only take your sales, marketing and customer support so far, and oftentimes you’ll need to purchase additional software to integrate with a CRM as your team evolves and business grows.
Outside sales teams looking for an all-in-one CRM solution that accommodates operational, analytical and collaborative use cases should try a demo of Spotio’s field sales CRM today!
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at email@example.com or comment below.
Without sales, you don’t have a company. This makes the role of sales manager a crucial position with profound impact on the organization. Effective sales managers are not just knowledgeable about sales; they possess management skills and abilities that enable a sales team to continuously stretch beyond their current performance and achieve the next level of success.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” — Lao Tzu
Effective salespeople must have two basic qualities: customer empathy and a drive to compete. On top of these important qualities, effective sales managers must also be skilled in attaining superior results through the performance of others by leading and setting up the individuals on the sales team for success.
A Sales Manager with an excellent sales record – but who does not lead and bring out the best in others – can break a dream team. It may seem like enough to assemble a group of talented sales performers that fit well within the organization, but even the best salespeople will leave the organization or fail without the strong presence and vision of an effective sales manager.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Proverbs
Effective sales management begins with leadership. The best sales managers not only manage but lead with the following 12 core strengths of highly effective sales managers.
Effective sales managers drive their teams to meet their sales goals with intense focus and urgency. These goals, coupled with clear deadlines, rewards and consequences establish expectations for the sales team. They must be set early and communicated clearly.
To be most effective, goals should follow SMART criteria:
Effective Sales Managers must be excellent coaches that look out for the performance of the team as a unit and the attainment of each individual salesperson’s full potential. Great sales managers consistently strive to build individual sales skills and team confidence by holding group and 1:1 coaching on an established cadence and as needed.
They should adapt their coaching to the occasion, recognizing that different people respond to different coaching styles. The best sales managers take time to make one-on-one time valuable, personal, and focused on the individual salesperson’s needs.
A committed coach also serves as a mentor. Personalized mentorship accelerates professional development; effective sales managers act as a mentor to support the current and future development of individual team members while supporting the strategic direction of the sales organization.
Not only do effective sales managers teach the ropes, they also provide the necessary tools to succeed. Sales managers must be experts on the company’s products, sales processes, and sales enablement tools.
The best sales managers feel comfortable with transferring this knowledge base and enable the team to go from good to great by making them confident problem solvers and decision makers.
Most importantly, the best sales managers provide frequent and relevant real-time feedback on their team members’ performance.
Being coach and being player are two very different roles, and effective sales managers must be prepared to transition from individual contributor to manager with all the responsibilities that leading a team entails.
Managers who suffer from the Star-Athlete Syndrome – who cannot adapt to the manager mentality – have a challenging time leading their sales teams even when they demonstrate genuine aspirations to do something greater for the team.
Effective sales management focuses on the underlying behaviors that drive sales results like account development, lead generation, qualifying opportunities, managing the pipeline and closing sales. Effective sales managers consistently measure the team’s performance by tracking metrics and paying attention to key indicators that serve as markers throughout the sales cycle. Keeping a watchful eye on sales performance alerts sales managers of any risks in meeting targets and allows time for remediation.
Effective Sales Managers consistently measure performance against metrics and enforce the sales process to hold salespeople accountable for meeting targets. They avoid the micromanaging trap by cultivating a high-performance environment where peer pressure motivates salespeople to be better.
When salespeople exceed goals, they are intrinsically rewarded with praise and recognition. Those who don’t meet their goals celebrate on the sidelines eager to prove their value and redeem themselves. Accountability flows from the top down and the best sales managers hold themselves accountable for the success and failures of the team. After all, the success of the team defines the success of the manager.
Communication is a key function of a manager. Sales managers are tasked with communicating expectations, rewards and consequences along with all the other rules of the game. Effective managers take time to ensure every salesperson understands the metrics they are accountable for, along with the process and the tools they will use to attain them. They will foster an environment where feedback and ideas are expressed openly by the team in a dynamic flow.
The best sales managers communicate to inspire getting behind the team’s goals. Instead of using authority, they use motivation to command action.
Effective sales management begins with creating a positive work environment where salespeople know they are valued employees and their role is important to the organization. Sales managers set the tone and the code of conduct for the team and enable a healthy culture where everyone is happy to come to work.
The best sales managers invest in team unity to boost morale with team-building activities outside the office and other informal social events to prompt the team to get to know each other outside the pressures of the job. The more managers know about how each salesperson wants to be treated, the better they can cater to their unique development needs.
Team unity is also a product of success and failure. Success is memorable, and everyone likes to celebrate success. Effective sales managers reward success and celebrate immediately to create a continuous loop of motivation that reinforces the value of the sales team.
Managers also leverage disappointments to help the team grow and learn from mistakes and to find strength within the group to march on.
Effective sales managers stick to a standardized sales process that the sales team can count on for consistency and predictability. They define sales processes that are simple and flexible and can be used to monitor progress and enforce accountability. The best managers seek to streamline existing processes when opportunities for improvements are evident. They are receptive to automating tasks and redefining processes to eliminate activities that do not contribute to sales performance.
Effective sales managers lead their teams. They are superior confidence builders and exercise their influence to lift salespeople to a high level of sales performance. Studies demonstrate that effective sales managers directly affect each salesperson’s ability to reach high performance status and exceed their quotas.
Effective Sales leaders go beyond motivating and inspiring the team. They use accountability for targets, streamlined sales structures to nurture a high-performance sales culture, and provide the right tools to enable the sales process. Effective sales managers also focus the team on targets and eliminate conflicts of interest and other distractions that deter the selling function.
Effective Sales Management embraces technology to streamline the sales process and monitor accountability. Great sales managers take the time to learn the tools in detail. They also have a keen eye to spot opportunities for automation and process improvement to help eliminate inefficient tasks that prevent a salesperson from being in front of the customer. They seek out digital solutions that help the team handle sales tasks more efficiently.
They maintain a flexible process structure and are agile to incorporate sensible technical solutions. For instance, good sales managers leverage cloud computing and mobile technology to allow secure remote access to CRM tools, relevant business intelligence and data that empower sales teams on the road and enable their sales organization to stay nimble and competitive.
Effective sales managers lead their sales teams to keep their commitments and targets. In addition to overseeing the personal development of each team member, they also seek to improve their own performance as managers. The best sales managers take it upon themselves to always strive to be better sales leaders.
While organizations most often have formal development resources for managers, the impetus for self-development comes from within. Effective sales managers are willing to put in the extra work for self development to stay ahead of the curve.
Transparency is a concept that good sales managers tackle in their journey for self-development. It takes courage and confidence to display your team’s performance against goals for anyone in the organization to see. A transparent approach allows the team to be responsive, connected, competitive, and agile.
Effective sales managers set the stage for transparency and demand corresponding behaviors from their sales teams.
Effective sales managers take the responsibility for growing their sales teams. They dedicate substantial time to recruiting, hiring and onboarding new salespeople. They are constantly scouting for new talent and prefer to take their time hiring to ensure they have found the best person for the job.
When assessing talent, sales managers look for skills critical to the sales process as well as personality attributes that align well with the organization. Staying abreast of the talent market and building a pipeline of applicants, the best sales managers can quickly replace under-performers and continuously build the future success of the team.
Effective sales managers have the sales expertise required to help their teams master products, processes and tools. As experts in sales, great sales managers are able and willing to roll up their sleeves and participate in the sales process with tactical advice and support during sales meetings. They bring a wealth of practical experience to customer meetings and model top-tier behavior.
Effective sales managers are experts in sales pipeline management. While salespeople are generally focused on the task at hand, sales managers cast a wider net to ensure focus on deals in the present as well as deals in the future pipeline.
“A key differentiator of great sales leaders is their ability to dispense tactical sales advice and add value during customer meetings.” – Harvard Business Review
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch
As a bonus, here is a list of 40 desired character traits possessed by highly effective sales managers. Use this as a guide when you’re looking to hire a new sales manager or to evaluate your current leadership team to find opportunities to grow.
“In almost every survey conducted, honesty has been selected [as the desired trait] more often than any other leadership characteristic.”— James Kouzes and Barry Posner
An outstanding leader excels in:
“It is possible to give away and become richer! It is possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the generous man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself.”
Like any skill one acquires in life, effective sales management begins with an interest in practicing what you’ve learned until you get it right. Whether you’re a sales manager who wants to make an initial impact or a sales manager with tenure who strives to excel and attain mastery, you can grow and develop quickly by identifying one or two areas to focus on and crafting a measurable plan for growth and improvement.
No leader is perfect, but the commitment to mastering these traits translates into a more productive, healthy, and profitable team culture.
Questions or comments? Contact SPOTIO at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
SPOTIO is the #1 field sales acceleration platform to increase your revenue, maximize your profitability, and increase your team’s productivity.