Vacations, training sessions, incentives, and attractive salaries; you have put in a lot of resources into building your sales team. And yet, it’s a struggle to meet your sales targets.
This gap between your efforts and results isn’t because your sales team is hardly working, but because somewhere down the line, their efforts and time are not being utilized properly.
What plagues the system
Sales team spends a lot of its time on low-value, administrative tasks. A McKinsey study shows that salespeople spend barely about 30-40% of their working time on the tasks that involve core selling. Other studies report that most of the sales teams claim they do not have access to the data needed to do their jobs. Lack of access to data and bureaucratic work processes prevent sales teams from achieving their goals. This has to change for an enterprise to truly drive revenue.
A 5-Step Plan
The entire focus of the sales team should be utilizing their talents to do the job they were hired for—sell. With a few adjustments, reinvented strategies and technological changes, your team can dramatically improve their productivity enabling them to boost revenue. In this blog, we will discuss a 5-step plan which encompasses every step of your sales pipeline – from onboarding to billing.
1. Revolutionize recruitment and onboarding processes.
A revenue driving sales team needs all of its members on the same page. Yet in the case of most sales teams, there remains a lag in bringing the new recruits up to speed. A study done on companies worldwide revealed that 59% of them took more than half-a-year to fully train their new hires. This delay means loss of productivity for your team and loss of revenue for you.
Improving your employee onboarding process should be a continuous process. However, most companies are still following practices that are decades old in training their new recruits. The onboarding processes and the training modules are outdated. There is definitely more to learn how to sell than cramming up and remote sessions with little to no interaction.
Leverage technology to improve the onboarding experience for your new sales recruits so that they can catch up with the rest of the team soon and start creating value for your enterprise. Technology can smoothen your onboarding process and make it more efficient. Here are some ways to integrate technology for better learning:
- Video tutorials for better comprehension of concepts
- Post training modules online allowing trainees to finish according to their learning speed
- Chat groups and use of social media to encourage and supplement learning
- Track their performance digitally and introduce friendly competitions and challenges, gamifying the process
It’s important to keep in mind that the training content has to be revamped as well so that the training is effective:
- Introduce Customer relation management (CRM) as a central idea to every sales activity.
- Give importance to product knowledge as much as sales skill development. The balance is imperative for a successful sales team.
- Enable your trainees to create their own learning plan so that they are empowered to learn according to their capabilities and speed
- Teach the concept of social selling as your customers are more likely to engage when they know and trust your sales teams. This requires fostering relationships with the customers through social media and online.
Improving onboarding process is only the first step to meeting and going above your sales targets. Even a well-trained salesman is ineffective if he or she doesn’t truly understand his prospects and their preferences. You must empower your sales team with the information they need to sell better.
2. Connect Sales people with Data.
Your salespeople are trained to extract most of the data available to them and increase revenue. But what happens if most of them do not have any kind of access to the data they need? Frustrations, lower revenues, and lesser productivity.
Research suggests that only 23% of salespeople have access to customer data and it is crucial for a holistic understanding of customers. Modernizing CRM would help your sales team access the data they need. Enable and leverage the following to truly empower salespeople:
- Real-time customer data
- Mobile data accessibility with actionable insights
Having complete knowledge of their customers can help the salespeople develop meaningful customer relations. This personalized attention not only helps close deals faster but also boosts customer retention and loyalty. Moreover, your sales team spends less time acquiring data and more time on sales.
With these two steps, your salesman is trained and empowered to improve selling capabilities. To align with future goals and vision, sales leaders should also have visibility into how their team is performing as well as what is to come.
3. Increase visibility into performance and predictions
Developing realistic targets for the sales teams depends on the ability to accurately predict future sales. These predictions impact everyone – right from the individual members of the sales team to the highest chairs in the organization.
It is important to enable seamless information flow to the sales leaders like how many leads to expect and sales closure rates so that they can effectively use that information to decide which leads to pursue, which issues need closer attention and which kind of opportunities to chase. Adopt a two-fold plan to better control how your sales pipeline flows:
- Better transparency and exchange of data between the upper strata and the sales leaders
- Sales cloud tools that help make sales predictions more accurate.
The plan would result in more realistic targets and smarter coaching sessions.
Better visibility into the performance of the sales processes and making predictions will help your organisation increase sales. At the same time, it is important to note that your sales performance is tied to the sync between your sales and marketing teams.
4. Bridge gaps between sales and marketing
Sales and marketing are both important departments for increasing your company’s revenue. Yet it seems that they both speak different languages. This disconnect hampers the productivity of both departments as a result. This combat needs to be transformed into collaboration.
Part of the blame game between them is that they tend to operate in different silos. Both departments tend to have different styles of modus operandi which have little to no intersection, thus hampering the sales output. A proper merger of ideas and working styles of both departments must happen so that both sales and marketing can meet their common goal of boosting revenue. Here is an action plan:
- Come together to agree upon what kind of content sales teams need
- Share key performance indicators
- Decide how marketing can personalize the content for the sales teams
- Enable a cloud based platform for sharing ideas and managing resources
- Cross-train members of both departments
- Organize data-influenced coaching for both departments along with training sessions with experts
- Arrange routine meetings of both sales and marketing.
Better communication between marketing and sales teams leads to relevant content, better quality leads and higher sales. You could also look at streamlining your selling processes and pricing techniques for greater increase in sales.
5. Streamline the pricing and processing
In optimizing your sales pipeline, the sales processes and pricing are equally essential for increasing sales output. Yet these components almost always get left out from optimization. Most organizations across the world have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to streamlining the pricing.
With increasing complexity of modern sales transactions, these processes get even more convoluted. The right sales techniques and right pricing of products are key to a successful deal, yet the sales team bears the brunt of failure in their absence. Deals should be fast and simple; in order to achieve that, streamlining the sales process and product pricing is essential. Here’s how you can do it:
- Establishing definitive limits for discounting, special pricing and compensation
- A cloud sales system that allows customer configuration and price calculation almost instantaneously
Your sales team can thus deliver competitive quotes while protecting your margins as well as closing deals faster. A streamlined pricing and sales system can go a long way in increasing sales productivity.
This 5-step approach can help you overhaul your sales department. However, it might not be sufficient on its own. The plan has to be complemented with brainstorming for innovating ideas for increased participation of the salespeople in the decision-making process and implementing technical innovations to digitize the sales process.
At Savantis, we work closely with organizations to help them digitally transform in alignment with their business goals and vision for the future. Through the implementation of latest CRM solutions such as SAP Sales Cloud, we are tying back-end processes with the front-end solutions to create a holistic experience for both employee and the customer. For further questions, please feel free to get in touch with one of our experts.