Productive. Efficient. Tenacious. If you’re a sales leader, your team wish list probably looks a lot like that. This is an era when hitting quota isn’t enough – an era when leaders feel pressured to be audacious in their goals and aggressive in their demands. But just what does great sales performance look like as opposed to just good? And how can your team get there?
If you’re feeling bleak about the consistent caliber of your team’s performance, you’re not alone. B2B sales struggles are more of the rule than the exception, with 50 percent of sales time squandered on unproductive prospecting and lost productivity costing companies at least 1 trillion a year. That’s right. 1 trillion.
This obviously creates a certain pressure, given that sales success directly connects to revenue. In some fields, “excellence” is a nebulous metric, open to debate. But in sales? Caliber equals money. There’s just no way around it.
Speaking of nebulous, there’s no shortage of advice out there on what defines an effective team. Words like vision and value and agility get thrown around quite easily, describing what a skilled sales pro looks like. But how to get there? That’s a different story.
So let’s put these in practical terms – the 6 activities of a top-notch sales culture.
Using data to make decisions. Your competitors are all about analytics and turning data into insights; if you don’t join them, you can say goodbye to successful closes and say hello to lost opportunities. We are living in the Golden Age of Data, where the right metrics can unlock the door to rising ROI. Sales cycle length, conversion rates, content consumption, average deal size – collectively your metrics draw a map to smarter strategies, faster processes and higher performance.
Turning to the right tools. There’s plenty of software on the market that eliminates tedious manual tasks, streamlines workflows and saves time by making the team more productive. If your reps are still wasting hours on administrative busywork instead of selling, it’s time to invest in good tools and liberate them to do what they do best.
Goal mapping. Here’s a common misconception among sales leaders – they’re sure their team understands the organization’s overarching goals, but they often don’t. Those top-level strategies and scoreboard objectives just don’t trickle down as naturally as you’d think. To change that, communicate specific goals – not too many, 3-5 is the sweet spot – and implement dashboard programs to keep those goals front and center. Then map out workflows and measurements aligned with those goals.
Group and individual coaching. Another common blindspot. Many leaders train new reps and call it a day. Or they have their team get updated training once a year as a group. But coaching individual sales reps on their specific development areas is key to cultivating a high-performing team. So is group training on buyer personas, competitors and new products. Set up sessions with Marketing so Sales know what content is available, where it is and how to use it. Your company is an organic entity that’s always changing, from messaging to customers to products, which makes ongoing training a must.
Gaming. We’re not talking a Hunger Games-style competition here, but rather a fun and challenging activity to bring out the best in your team. Gamification applies the fun part of games to your actual sales activities, which can help invigorate your reps, reward top performers and motivate less engaged team members. In fact, Salesforce reports that 71 percent of companies that implemented gamification saw an 11 to 50 percent increase in sales performance.
Collaboration. Your sales reps are probably on the road a lot, traveling, in the field and paying client visits. So it isn’t that surprising if they don’t feel all that close to the rest of the team. How often do they work together? Do they share tactics and strategies and feedback? Arrange sessions where sales pros work together and have your top performers coach the less successful reps. By replicating your star sales pros’ best tactics across the team, the overall performance will skyrocket.
Take a moment and see how many of these activities your team is doing. There’s always room for improvement in any sales department – and the road to an accelerated close rate could be right under your nose.