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9 Best Practices for Improving Your Sales Team Performance

Written by Joseph Dutson

Published on December 21, 2020


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Sales performance refers to how effective your sales team is at achieving their sales goals. The performance of a sales team is measured both at individual and group levels. The metrics used vary from one company to another. One standard metric is the sales revenues generated.

If companies don’t generate enough revenues, they lose money. That leads to job losses. Despite how important it is for sales teams to perform well, most organizations struggle. 

Reports show that 23% of companies don’t even have any idea if their sales departments achieve their quotas or not. And 67% of sales professionals don’t attain their quotas. The reality is many sales departments have low productivity rates.

The good news is that it’s not out of your control entirely. You can do certain things within the organization to improve your sales team’s performance. Here are several strategies you can use:

1. Create a Good Lead Qualification Framework

For 46% of B2B sales reps, lead quality and quantity is their biggest challenge. Bad lead quality could prove to be a huge problem.

Prospecting is the first stage of every sales process. If the foundation of this process is not sound, the entire sales cycle will have issues. So, your company’s leads determine the kind of prospects you end up having to sell to. 

The quality of leads is directly proportional to the number of prospects you have access to. For this reason, you need to ensure your sales team comes up with the best possible lead qualification and scoring framework possible.

The process of creating this framework should involve both the marketing and sales departments. A suitable lead qualification and scoring framework will enable your sales team to convert prospects much better. That, in turn, will improve the overall performance of your sales teams.

2. Set Measurable Sales Objectives and Milestones

Every member of your sales team should have something by which to measure their performance. What is it that your company wants to achieve now and in the future in terms of sales? In what order should these things be accomplished?

Your sales objectives should be clear and measurable. It helps to break down your sales goals in the form of smaller milestones. Milestones ensure sales reps don’t feel overwhelmed and instead feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve them. They enable everyone to know they are on the right path and give them the morale they need to push forward. 

When salespeople have something to measure their efforts, they will take better steps to improve their performance. 

3. Hire the Right People

What kind of people do you have in your sales team? To whom have you entrusted with the responsibility of selling to your prospects? Are they knowledgeable? Can your potential customers trust them?

The reality is that only 3% of buyers trust sales reps, which means companies are not hiring the right people. If people can’t trust your salespeople, how do you expect them to buy your products and services from them?

So, take the time to hire the right people. Find salespeople that are passionate about their jobs. They should also present a positive image of their profession to those you want as customers. Only then would they be able to sell. The more they sell, the better your overall sales team performance will be.

4. Have an Effective Training and Onboarding Plan

Very few professionals come equipped with all the skills that they need to sell well. 

One HubSpot Report shows that 46% of salespeople never intended to go into the sales profession. About 24% of them studied business, 17% didn’t even go to college, and the rest have qualifications with nothing to do with sales.

That may explain why about 55% of salespeople lack the most basic of sales skills. That means most sales teams are staffed by people who have little to no idea what they are doing. 

To improve sales professionals performance who are ill-equipped to do their job, you need to train them often. You can use both the classroom training and the self-paced sales-aids. Both methods are quite popular with companies that offer sales training.

For every dollar that you spend training your sales reps, expect $29 in incremental revenue. And practical training will help boost the individual productivity of your sales reps by 20%. So, it pays for your company to invest in training continuously.

Also, look at how you onboard new salespeople. Sales playbooks help sales reps learn what to do in different selling situations. That also ensures they teach the newbies the right thing to do right from the start. By having a sales playbook as part of your onboarding and training process, your sales representatives are 15% more likely to achieve their quotas.

5. Enhance Communication within the Sales Department

Are the lines of communication clear? If they are not, they should be.

As a sales manager, you must know what is going on within your department. Your sales team must also understand what is going on elsewhere, which will affect how they do things. That is why communication is essential. 

Communication will enable you to learn about the challenges your sales team is facing. It will provide insight into what needs to change for people to work better. It’s also by communicating; the entire sales department can refine its sales processes based on the sales team’s feedback. 

When there is clarity about what everyone is expected to do, it’s easier for the entire team to function as a unit. And that leads to improved sales performance.

6. Embrace Technology

The era of manual work is long gone. But to what extent your sales department embraces technology is up to you. On average, most sales representatives use six tools to enhance their selling activities. These tools are used for contact management, phone communication, social prospecting, sales cadence, data services, and email engagement.

By incorporating technology, you make work much easier for everyone. Technology makes it easier to track leads and prospects, automate tasks and workflows, measure sales activities, generate reports, etc. 

CRM applications like HubSpot alone can improve sales productivity by as much as 34%. On the other hand, automation can boost sales productivity by 14.5% and improve deal closures significantly. 

Therefore, if you want to see a significant improvement in your sales team performance, make technology part of your sales strategy. Incorporate technological tools at every stage of your company’s selling process.

7. Track Relevant Sales Activities and Offer Incentives

It is not enough to set sales objectives and milestones; you must also track how each metric performs at each step and responsible for the individual performance.

But most importantly, you must incentivize the relevant sales activities. According to the 2018 state of Sales Report, the current trend is based on compensating sales reps based on usage, not deal size. 

Regardless of which sales activities you choose to track, you should incentivize those that bring your company its best results. Employees like to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. And most of them feel more motivated when they are offered incentives.

Incorporate an element of competition by holding sales contests. Human beings are geared to want to win. Most people would be inspired to do better so that they could beat the competition. Just ensure the rules are fair and the competition is maintained at a healthy level.

8. Improve Collaboration among All the Sales Stakeholders

While there is nothing wrong with a little bit of competition, your sales team should work as a unit at the end of the day. 

Your company is better positioned to improve its overall sales team performance if it engages in collaborative selling. This form of selling can enhance productivity among sales professionals by as much as 25%. This involves your sales, data, and marketing teams working together to achieve common goals.

Collaboration also means that individual sales team members can lean into each other and help each other out. Someone within the team should step into a mentorship or coaching role if someone needs guidance or training.

Sales teams that operate by the adage, “You are only as strong as your weakest link,” are likely to do better as a unit. So, you may want to promote a transparent and collaborative culture in your sales department to improve your company’s bottom line.

9. Create and or Streamline Your Sales Process

Does your company have a sales process? To what extent does it use the process to sell products and services? Does everyone find it useful?

Research shows companies that have a formal sales process are more likely to be high performers. Having a sales framework is beneficial. It enhances accountability, removes redundancy, improves forecasting, etc. 

When sales reps are enabled to do their jobs properly, they are more likely to produce great results. So, do take the time to create a sales process. See our blog post on how to create a sales process here.

If your department has an inefficient sales process, work with all other stakeholders to streamline it. By doing so, you will help improve both individual and team performance of your sales team.

 

A company’s survival depends on the revenues it generates. The revenues it generates depend on the performance of the sales team. Therefore, you need to implement strategies to improve your sales reps’ performance at the individual and team levels.



Originally published Dec 21, 2020 12:00:00 PM, updated Dec 21, 2020