Can you believe it? A brand new year is just a couple of weeks away. But instead of wasting your energy on crafting doomed-to-fail resolutions like eating less red meat – which, let’s be honest, you’ll kick to the curb by February – now is the time focus on something that really matters. Reevaluating and refining your sales strategy.
To help you get started, here are the three critical questions you should be asking yourself when developing your sales strategy.
1. How do your sales reps spend their day?
Keeping an eye on sales activities is an important part of the sales process. But how often do you examine your internal processes for inefficiencies is your sales reps’ field times? Administrative processes should be studied and their effect on both teams should be evaluated. Start by taking a hard look at your administrative procedures, contracts, billing and paperwork.
Next, review your sales team’s role in those processes. Why? Typically performance and productivity take a hit when your sales team members are stuck chasing orders, dealing with superfluous paperwork or addressing customer issues that might be better addressed by a well-trained customer service team.
The point of asking yourself this question is to see where opportunities lie for your team to be more efficient. Don’t eat up sacred selling time. Ask yourself the following question, “Could we recognize higher revenue growth with a different perspective on administrative procedures?”
2. Is your sales pipeline accurate?
We don’t have to tell you that hitting your sales targets is a great. However, on-target sales numbers can also be hiding an inaccurate pipeline. If that’s true, why have a pipeline report? If you don’t have a comprehensive and clearly defined sales process that correctly outlines each stage of a deal, the reality is that some deals that could be closed are falling through the cracks.
Going on the “gut feeling” of the individual sales representative should not be used as an indicator of when a sale should come together. While the notion of letting reps have their own, personalized approaches to the sales process may seem like a good, people-focused management strategy, the reality is that an undefined sales process leaves too much up to chance and is highly inaccurate, leading to unacceptable, unstable revenue swings. In addition, it will also be very challenging – if not impossible – to determine where a sales representative could benefit from skills training and development.
3. Is your sales magement team effective?
Sales managers can make or break a sales team. So ask yourself, “Are your managers inspiring revenue growth? Do they adapt their managerial style based upon the skill set of the individual sales rep they’re coaching?”
These questions are important, because no two sales reps are alike. So new team members or sub par performers should have goals and benchmarks that differ greatly from those given to your top performers. Tracking calls and appointment numbers, while appropriate and effective for new employees, is not going to inspire high achieving salespeople. In fact, it is quite insulting.
Managers who track performance watch revenue soar, while those who manage menial activities scratch their heads and try to figure out why sales numbers are stagnant. Take time to evaluate your team:
- Who are my top performers, reps who are quota each month, under performing reps, and new sales representatives?
- How can I effectively train and develop each salesperson on the team to foster individual growth and greater revenue?
- Do I have an appropriate onboarding program in place for new sales reps?
- Are my managers trained to effectively encourage individual growth within the team?
Investing the time for proper planning will lay a strong foundation for an effective sales strategy. So watch out for quota achievement, an active and accurate pipeline, healthy margins, account penetration and new business. Identify and implement best practices. Nurture sales reps at all levels building and expanding upon their skill set.
The best way to ring in the New Year is with a new perspective on how to give sales reps back their much-needed and sacred time for selling. Look across the board within your organization for how to amend and improve processes. Make it a priority to improve performance with more effective and adaptive sales management techniques. And finally, develop a sales plan that makes room greater revenue growth in the coming.