Increase sales performance in 4 simple steps
In a bid to increase sales performance, sales leaders often focus on the size and shape of their sales team. At the start of a fresh sales year they strive to remove the poor performers and replace them with eager new hires. In addition, they seek to expand the team to match the inevitable growth in their sales target.
Rightly so as, undeniably, the required revenue growth will usually depend on the majority of sales reps hitting their targets.
However, there’s a common misconception that there is a cause and effect equation that marries together this hire-and-fire approach with an increase in sales performance. When it comes to sales performance, bigger doesn’t always mean better. And there is certainly no guarantee that our new hires will fare any better than those they have replaced.
In fact, a lot more business value can be readily gained by simply learning how to squeeze more out of our existing sales team. Here are 4 easy steps to increase sales performance by getting more from your team:
1. Optimise your sales process (or ‘Winning Way’)
The ‘Winning Way’ is the repeatable journey that every deal has to travel in order to reach a successful outcome. Identifying the ‘winning way’ is the first step to repeating it. Time and time again.
How do you find your repeatable blueprint to success? Simple. By looking into the sales behaviours of the most successful reps! What do we mean by ‘sales behaviours’? These are the behaviours (often complex in their nature) that successful reps use to drive a strong cadence for deals, define the way the broader team is engaged, even define the way they use the CRM system – all these strong sales behaviours should be the things we seek to replicate in others.
For example, successful sales reps never allow close dates to slip into the past, they maintain a strong cadence of meaningful next steps and touch points. Successful reps qualify deals out of their pipeline early and drive strong pipeline creation. These are just some simple examples of positive (strong sales activity cadence) and careless (close dates in the past) sales behaviours that make up a winning pattern.
Take time to pinpoint even the tiniest innovation these reps bring to your already tested sales process. You’d be amazed at how much impact subtle tactics can have on results.
2. Coach your users to follow your sales process
Use your newly found path to success to coach your wider team. Don’t just lay down an end target for them to reach. Coach them through the entire sales process. Guide them during each stage of your defined sales journey with appropriate tips. Set smaller, more consumable goals for them to meet as the deal progresses along the way. Consequently you will find that the sum of all these smaller parts adds up to a wholesome, healthy deal!
And remember, the strongest part of a sales team, is a knowledgeable and innovative sales leader who can drive a team to achieve more.
3. Manage by Leading rather than Lagging KPIs
Lagging sales KPIs are the indicators that tell us what has happened. They represent the final output of our efforts. For example, a target to ‘close £100K in the current quarter’ would be a lagging KPI. These KPIs are easy to measure but very difficult to directly impact. They are tough to impact because they are often rear-view facing in their nature.
On the other hand, leading KPIs track the steps necessary to reach our final output. For example, we know that achieving sales behaviours such as ‘making 50 meaningful call connects a day’ or ‘completing 10 face-to-face customer meetings a week’ will dramatically increase our chances of hitting a target of ‘£100K of closed revenue in the quarter’. These are known as leading sales KPIs. They are easy to measure and easy to drive. Managing them will also undoubtedly have the biggest impact on your end results.
As a result, the fastest way to increase sales performance is often to determine the leading KPIs (such as call connects made, meetings booked) that will make your lagging KPIs (deals closed) happen.
It is then a simple case of driving achievement of them. Use these KPIs to coach your team. Ultimately this will move the discussion away from the traditional stick-based ‘sell more’ and bring a focus onto the leading KPIs that will make that outcome far more likely to happen, such as ‘make more calls during the golden calling hour(s)’.
4. Reward the sales journey, not just the destination
It is often useful to draw a comparison of a modern sales leader to an elite sports coach. The sports coach would not simply request that their team ‘win the game’. This is obviously the desired outcome. They would instead focus on the individuals in the team, their strengths & weaknesses and what they need to contribute in order to make the desired outcome a reality for the team. In essence this is exactly the role of a modern sales manager.
There’s no denying that motivated and happy employees make the most capable and successful team members. Maintain a high degree of sales momentum by rewarding your team as they successfully navigate the steps that make up your sales journey.
Keep motivation high by rewarding your team every time they undertake a high-value sales behaviour (think leading KPI). Run competitions that focus not around won deals but around leading KPIs such as filling the pipe, contact scouting in an account or documenting meaningful next steps. Acknowledge the benefits your reps have on every aspect of the sales journey and as a result they’ll be a lot more likely to undertake these winning behaviours right off their own backs.
If you’re stuck for ideas, take a peek at our comprehensive Sales Contest guide for ideas that boost sales performance.
Start increasing the performance of your sales team today!
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that these are only four ways to increase sales performance!
There are many more secrets to getting the most from your existing sales team. If you’re hungry for a little more sales performance inspiration, we’ve got this eBook with 6 sure-fire ways to increase the output of your sales team.
Simply fill out the form above to get your free copy!
SuMo increases sales performance by monitoring & coaching the high-value sales behaviours that deliver sales success.
What will SuMo deliver for me?
- a clean & healthy sales pipeline
- improved forecast accuracy
- accelerated sales performance
SuMo is in use by blue-chip organisations globally such as UBM, Vodafone, Roche, SIG, G4S, and Qlik.