Improving Sales Performance: Strategies for Success
October 20th, 2023
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Virtually every business leader wants to improve sales performance. After all, the better your sales team performs, the more revenue and profit you can potentially make. An empowered sales team with a strong win rate paves the way for rapid company growth and evolution.
The problem is, constantly optimizing sales performance can be easier said than done. Countless factors, from changes in market trends, to issues with complex sales processes can cause results to dwindle. Fortunately, there are ways to get your business back on track.
Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about improving sales performance, and the strategies you can use to drive success.
How to Track Sales Performance: Setting Benchmarks
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. That means the first step in optimizing sales performance in your team is gathering the right data. Notably, how your company defines a successful sales team can vary depending on a number of factors.
Across all industries, the average closing rate is only 2.4-3.2%. However, it’s not just closed deals that offer an insight into the success of your teams. To effectively examine your current position in the sales world, you’ll need to look at a range of sales performance metrics, these include:
- Operational metrics: How long do your sales teams take to close a deal? How many meetings do they schedule, and how often do these meetings turn into a closed deal? Looking at things like sales cycle length, average cost per lead and sales activities among your team members will help you to determine how efficient and productive your employees are.
- Performance metrics: How well do your sales reps perform on a day to day basis? How many new leads do they collect, and what are their average client acquisition rates? How many deals do your sales managers close, and how many customers do they retain?
- Revenue metrics: How much total revenue do your sales professionals generally earn on average each month or year? How many deals contribute to your annual recurring revenue, and what’s the average deal size for your successful sales reps?
Depending on your business, you might want to look at other metrics too, such as customer satisfaction metrics. Happier customers generally contribute to higher revenues, with better customer lifetime values and more repeat purchases.
Easy Ways to Improve Sales Performance
Once you’ve established benchmarks for tracking sales performance, the next step is finding ways of improving your results. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success here. Different businesses may need to use different strategies depending on their products, industry, and target market.
However, the following tips can help to improve your chances of success across virtually every landscape:
- Hire the right people
The first, and easiest way for business leaders to contribute to excellent sales performance, is to hire the right people in the first place. Finding sales and marketing professionals with the right skills and attitudes significantly reduces the amount of work you need to do to train your team members.
However, that doesn’t mean that training isn’t necessary. Often the long-term success of any sales team or sales leader depends on their access to the right training and support. When hiring new staff members, look for people who have the potential to be incredible with the right guidance.
- Invest in sales enablement
Improving sales productivity and performance often relies on an investment in sales enablement. Sales enablement ensures salespeople are properly equipped to engage customers and prospects successfully. Depending on your organization, you may have a robust enablement strategy in place already. If not, you’ll need to think carefully about what you can do to empower your teams.
Assess the sales cycles and strategies your teams already use, and ask yourself what kind of resources, technology, and documentation they’ll need to reach their goals.
- Set clear goals for teams
Even the best sales professionals can accomplish more when they have a clear vision of what they need to achieve in their roles. Providing employees with clear goals to work towards, such as quota attainment goals, or revenue targets, can help keep them moving in the right direction.
Remember, while it can be tempting to set ambitious goals for your sales teams, it’s important to ensure they’re realistic too. Overly ambitious goals can actually harm your team’s motivation levels and lead to disengagement.
- Regularly update your sales strategy
While it’s common for most companies to have a consistent sales process, the strategies you use to increase sales performance may evolve over time. As you gather data from your sales and marketing activities, and learn more about your market, it might be worth making regular updates.
Think about how you can adapt your sales activities to changing customer preferences. For instance, you might start experimenting with video prospecting or social selling methods. Examine the results of your strategies regularly to determine which methods you should continue to use.
- Use KPIs to drive decisions
As you work on updating your sales strategy, it’s worth looking beyond market trends. Ultimately, it’s your business data that will help you to make the right choices for your company and your team. Using analytical tools, you can track important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your team, looking at things like win rate, sales content usage, sales cycle length and conversion rates.
Using these KPIs, you can determine which sales professionals might need additional training and coaching, which of your sales materials and methods are most effective and more. You could even determine which strategies lead to better customer retention and loyalty.
- Simplify Sales content
Many sales organizations provide their agents with scripts and documents to help guide them through the sales cycle. While the right content can help to drive deals forward, it can also become complex and difficult to leverage over time. Using your sales enablement platform, you can organize different pieces of sales content into segments based on your teams and your campaigns.
You could even consider using AI tools to help employees rapidly find the content they need when dealing with a complex deal. This can improve the efficiency and speed of the sales cycle, leading to more closed deals and a higher win rate.
- Help teams build rapport
The best sales managers and business leaders know that there’s more to consistently closing deals than simply having the best products and services. Customers buy more from companies they trust. They want to build relationships with sales reps, based on shared values and priorities.
While training your sales teams to communicate clearly, actively listen to customers, and maintain a human tone is helpful, you can also help them build rapport in other ways. For instance, providing access to CRM tools where sales professionals can find comprehensive customer profiles is a great first step. This allows each team member to personalize the sales process more effectively.
Quick Tips for Coaching High Performance Sales Teams
Although all of the strategies above will help you to increase sales performance in your company, it’s also worth remembering that excellent results come from comprehensive training. Sales teams need step-by-step guidance and coaching from professionals to accomplish their best work.
A strong sales coaching and training strategy is how business leaders ensure they can take their sales performance metrics to the next level. Here are some quick tips for coaching high performance sales teams, and unlocking better results:
- Focus on the whole sales team: A lot of companies make the mistake of focusing all of their training efforts on either the top performers in their team, or those who are struggling to reach their quotas. However, a comprehensive training strategy should focus on your entire team. Customize training and coaching strategies to every sales professional in your business, to help each individual maintain their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.
- Give your teams purpose: Arguably the main driving purpose of a sales professional is the desire to make sales and earn money. However, many professionals want more than this. Sales reps want to feel they’re contributing to the overall success of the company, and making a real difference. With this in mind, share clear visions and missions with your employees regularly. Show them how their work is influencing the evolution of your organization.
- Learn what motivates your team: Aside from an aligned purpose, sales professionals are often motivated by a variety of different things. As well as being motivated by financial rewards, they may also feel more inspired and energized by opportunities to learn new skills, connect with different people, or improve their professional brand. Knowing what motivates each sales rep will help you adapt your coaching style to them.
- Uce incentives effectively: Incentives are a valuable motivator, and an excellent tool for accelerating and improving sales performance. Competitions, contests, and opportunities to win awards can push your employees to go beyond their boundaries. When offering incentives, focus on rewarding the behaviors you want to see more often in your employees, such as the ability to retain a customer, or build rapport.
- Practice multiple sales scenarios: Role-based training can be an engaging way to improve your salespeople’s skillsets. Preparing your teams for different scenarios with simulated cold calling experiences and similar strategies can give them the confidence they need to work more effectively in their roles. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to build camaraderie between different members of your sales and marketing teams.
Unlocking Incredible Sales Performance
No matter how incredible your products and services might be, it’s easy for sales performance to stagnate. As trends change and customer preferences evolve, companies need to ensure they’re constantly investing in helping their sales professionals to thrive.
The tips above should help you to improve your sales performance metrics, and train your team members to be more successful. However, if you want to give your staff some extra support, why not encourage them to join the Hard Skill Exchange?
Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the latest tactics and strategies for boosting sales performance, delivered by industry leaders.
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