Having a paying customer is what a company works for, right? No matter how great your product is — if you cannot sell it then it doesn’t have value. This revelation makes the sales team all the more important, doesn’t it? A team of incompetent salespeople is enough to kick you out of business. If your sales team isn’t trained enough, demotivated, and doesn’t possess the right selling strategy, you will lag behind your competitors.
A recent study by McKinsey & Co. reveals that 25% of the buying decision for B2B purchases depends on the interaction with sales personnel. If this disturbing statistic has woken you up, you should take the following three steps today. These steps will bring your sales team’s efforts back on track and in line with the company’s goals.
1. Train your sales teams to pursue the right leads
Many companies make a grave mistake while pursuing leads. They either run behind clients that don’t belong to their industry — the so-called low hanging fruits — or they lack the knowledge and the skills to identify whom to approach and whom to avoid. This mismatch between your target segment and the actual client base happens because of the absence of a well-thought sales strategy. Sales managers often ask their subordinates to write a target number on the whiteboard, which they have to complete within a specified interval of time. Since the sales team’s performance is judged based on that, they even approach clients that belong to an unrelated industry.
As a sales manager, it’s your duty to monitor what clients your sales team is approaching. Prepare a list of target industries and ask them to stick to it. Your team shouldn’t get clients only because they are willing to offer you a premium.
Divide your team based on different geographies, industries, demographics, etc. Also, make sure that the CRM isn’t filled with details of customers that lie outside your intended target segment. Send advisories to your sales team periodically that they need to strictly adhere to the ideal client profile. Apart from awarding the “Best Salesperson Of The Month”, you can also award the “Best Customer-Bringer Of The Month”. Steps like these will encourage your sales team to approach the right clients and not chase just any deal.
2. Upgrade your sales team with shifting sales strategy
Most companies try expanding their target markets after a short period. There is no harm in doing so but they fail to organize their sales team accordingly. Suppose a publishing company well known for its non-fiction books, plans to expand in the fiction category. If it doesn’t prepare a robust sales strategy and fails to update its sales team, it will bear massive losses.
The following are the few changes that the sales team should make before undertaking such a huge transformation:
- Search for customers that write fiction stories instead of non-fiction articles.
- An upgraded ERP System that complies with the new-found needs of the sales strategy.
- Brainstorming sessions with the management team that will explain the nitty-gritty of the new expansive strategy.
- Conduct extensive practice sessions so that the sales team gets comfortable in dealing with the new set of customers.
Traditional sales strategy doesn’t work in such scenarios. It’s critical that the salespeople understand what they are doing, are comfortable dealing with the new set of customers, and have the authority to
It’s essential that you have a well trained and updated sales team that can execute strategies flawlessly.
Develop a team that possess values beyond the products and services it sells
In the early days, sales used to be an extremely tight-controlled activity. The sales team were given a script that they had to follow. Any deviation from the script would invite a series of punishments and harsh criticisms. It was the era of “cold-calling” where sales were considered a tapestry of rules and regulations, and no creativity was allowed. But today, the story has changed. The term “Sales” is associated with as much as art as with science. Rules still exist, but they aren’t as strict as they used to be. They are more like safety sticks that help salespeople travel carefully through a dark room instead of being self-driving cars that offer no control in the driver’s hands.
In the era of information, your customer knows way more than you. You cannot expect to sell your products and services by just listing the features. Believe it or not, the person you are calling has already gone through it on your Website or Web Apps. Thus, your sales team must have the knack to develop personal relationships. They should be ready to provide practical solutions to the client’s questions in real-time.
Furthermore, they should understand the client’s objectives and explain the product’s benefits coherently. They should also shed light on opportunities and services that the client might not have thought of.
You cannot expect your sales team to function according to the company’s strategy by just emailing it to them. You will have to set good examples and ground rules. You will have to explain to them the benefits of executing strategies flawlessly and the drawbacks of not doing so.
You must hold brainstorming sessions periodically, work with the team closely, and monitor their activities. Moreover, it would be best to reward employees who stick to the strategy and mentor those who underperform. With time, you will see a change in their attitude and also see your profits skyrocketing.
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