Undeniably, an essential part of an organization’s success depends on securing the right salespeople. Your efforts and responsibilities as a sales manager should not stop here, however, as this is just your start on a path to building a top-notch sales force. An everyday focus on sales team management, building sales reps’ competencies, as well as instilling product knowledge and skills are a crucial part of your day-to-day job too. New competitors emerge and products similar to yours get launched every day. Customers demand an always positive user experience and access to support anytime, anywhere. Keeping your sales team ahead in the game and updated on new product releases is critical for providing customers the experience they expect.
We thought it might be a good idea to list some tips and tricks we at Melon rely on to ensure our sales team is always up-to-date with company and product developments. By no means are we claiming this list to be exhaustive so feel free to add your piece of advice below in the comments.
- Put together a sales plan to summarize your sales team objectives and define how you are going to measure success and failure. Be sure to consult your sales reps when finalizing it, don’t try to push it on them. Instead, brainstorm together new ideas and get their buy-in to achieving it. A good plan is synced with all stakeholders and helps your team focus on delivering clear objectives. It also defines the key performance indicators that you can track on a weekly basis.
- Introduce Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs bring in clarity in terms of what/when is expected from the team as well as improve the overall transparency of the team in front of management and other stakeholders. They help sales reps learn by trial and error and improve on an ongoing basis while allowing you to monitor the progress of reaching your sales plan objectives. In general, the most straightforward way of measuring the effectiveness of your sales efforts is by using the Sales Return on Investment KPI (sROI).
- Use a CRM to track how each sales rep gets on with qualifying their prospects and facilitates their progress in the sales funnel. It can also help you track performance, generate reports and analyze real-time dashboards in order to identify areas for improvement, forecast revenue and optimize the execution of your sales plan. There are plenty of free CRM solutions that offer a neat set of features to get you started.
- Address key areas of improvement by introducing custom-tailored training to fit the individual needs of sales reps. Identify each sales person’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can craft sales enablement collateral that will lead to an uplift in sales performance. Assess how each of your sales reps is performing and provide them with the sales management and leadership support they need. Set goals and clear metrics for your training – team members should be well aware of how they get evaluated. Ensure that sales training materials are easily accessible 24/7 and there are various training courses and formats to keep your sales team learning on a continuous basis.
- To speed up sales talent development and retention, implement cost-efficient eTraining tools. Once you have recruited your sales team, a Learning Management System would be a great fit to meet your sales force evolving training needs. Not only does it help you create and maintain a well-trained, savvy and motivated sales team but will help you reduce turnover/attrition rate in your team. Read more in our previous post here.
- Constantly work on enhancing collaboration between marketing, sales and customer (after-sales) service/success – be sure to agree on a common definition of a Marketing/Sales Qualified Lead and the handoff process between the teams. Establish a process to keep all teams on the same page and up-to-date regardless of their geolocation. Ensure marketing and customer support transfer actionable information to the sales team. Align marketing, sales and customer service leaders around the same objectives and use the same metrics.
- Strive to improve each touch point of the prospect funnel by offering Omni-channel customer experience. Customer demand is forcing organizations to search for opportunities to expand their digital footprint and extend delivery channels, in order to create an engaging, satisfying customer experience. The new generation of customers are constantly connected and in control of the buying process, have growing expectations and are often more informed about the competitor offering than your own sales reps.
- Ask your existing customers for referrals – undoubtedly, one of the most effective ways to generate qualified sales leads is to let your existing database recommend you to other prospects alike. Let your sales reps network systematically: it’s a great method to meet new potential customers and get key insights into your core market.
- Improve your sales meeting efficiency – you need your team on the floor, selling rather than attending meetings and discussing processes on a daily basis. Keep each sales rep focused on delivering their personal targets. Help your team members learn from each other and promote a positive competitive environment and attitude.
- Use market intelligence to better prospect your leads. Teach your sales force to better understand and target your key customers’ needs, to personalize their approach to match those needs, which would result in improving the conversion rate from qualified leads to paying customers. Sales intelligence helps to prioritize which account to sell to, reduces prospect research time and generates more leads.
- Dedicate time to educate your sales team how to make cold calling/outbound sales. This will help them generate their own leads and reduce their dependency on marketing, as well as let your sales reps better understand your prospects’ needs.
- Set different incentive schemes for your “hunters” – the sales reps who are in the front lines, researching and winning new territory, and your “farmers” - the team members who are expert in maintaining and nurturing a lead. When putting together your bonus system, account for different in size and revenue sales areas so that you give everyone an equal chance. Incentivize new/renewal/upgrade sales differently – unlike a renewing existing customer, a new sale will help your business grow.
- Last but not least, don’t manage your sales reps – lead them. Don’t focus too much on metrics and deadlines but find ways to motivate and reward your team in a format that brings out the best in them, in a way that inspires everyone.
Ready to give Melon Learning a try? Not only does it help your sales force accelerate product knowledge, while minimizing cost and time spent on training, it accommodates ongoing training and helps sales reps increase revenue through repeated learning.