The fact that 90% of startups fail within the first 10 years might not be solely because they missed sales goals, but it doesn’t help. A company with strong sales will weather the ups and downs that any business faces. The secret of those companies is to have a strong formula for driving sales.
Even the most experienced and talented sales professionals hit a slump from time to time. No one is too good to never have to recalibrate their selling style. If you can’t figure out why sales have taken a turn down, maybe it’s time to sit your sales team down for a refresher course.
Before you get started, be sure you know what your goals are. In order to set your sites on driving sales back into the black, follow these 8 tips from the most successful insiders in the game.
1. Make Your Mission Clear
Everyone on your team needs to know what your goals are. In order to set your goals, you need to know where you stand within your industry. Every company has their own business niche, with one thing that they do the best.
Then make sure that you know who your ideal client base is. They’re not the people on the team. This means that there’s more listening to be done than talking during the process of driving sales.
Make sure you know the general budget of your potential clients. Knowing how much you can ask for and how much you typically get will help you set achievable sales goals.
Print your slogan or mission statement on branded products that your team can hand out at events.
Building a sense of clarity will help unify your team around a set of central ideas that form the backbone of your sales force.
2. Make Specific Goals
Whether you’re talking about how many calls you want to make each day, how many leads to follow up on, or how many referrals to achieve, you need goals. They can be adjusted over time but don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Be sure that they’re achievable.
Achieving goals, even when a bar is set low, builds morale and gives the team a sense of progress.
Make sure you have results-based goals. These are often concrete numbers like how many sales you get per month or the overall amount per sale. Track these numbers closely and keep an eye on the results.
Over time, aim to increase your activity by slightly raising your goals. Be aware of seasonal slumps that might affect productivity. Keep everyone focused and turn your goals into a mantra.
3. Follow Trends and Customer Needs
The needs of your customers will change over time. Be aware that customers may also only buy the things that they absolutely need. You need to be flexible with all of your products
Depending on your product, trends could move away from where they were a few years ago, leaving you with excess product. Your goal then becomes to reposition your product. Emphasize different qualities of your product than you emphasized years ago.
If it was the look and feel of the material that once set you apart, now you can emphasize the durability. Instead of relying on a function that’s now out of date, emphasize how it works in a different way than originally marketed.
4. Ask Questions and Listen To Answers
This is a simple prospect but it’s often lost on sales professionals who think they know what a customer wants. In the world of customizable iDevices, no one wants to be told who they are or what they want. Let your customers tell you what they need.
Ask customers creative and relevant questions that can lead you to direct answers. Follow up if you need clarification. Customers will appreciate your directness and interest in their perspective.
After you get enough answers, you can pivot your sales tactics to ensure you’re speaking to their needs.
5. Take Responsibility
As the leader of a sales team, your company relies on you for driving sales. But at the end of the day, it’s your team who brings in the numbers.
When they succeed, let them have the spotlight. Be willing to avoid or diffuse credit from yourself to your team. When there are issues, take responsibility to keep morale from suffering on your team.
6. Fundamentals Count
Every salesperson has their strengths and weaknesses. Set goals catered to every member of the team to help them strengthen skills that need help. Set goals for yourself as well.
Have regular meetings with guest speakers. If you can get guest speakers on a remote connection, hook them up with a remote system. Companies like the TV Aerial Company provide equipment for good sound and visuals that will get your team pumped.
Devote your time to creative presentations and prospecting skills. Find ways to imagine better approaches to everything that you do on your team. Ask your team to give constructive feedback, but not criticism.
7. Improve Your Attitude
It’s your attitude and confidence that will fill in the gaps when you’re struggling with a sale. If you fear taking a certain risk, face that fear and see if you can sell against the odds.
Your team’s productivity will rely on their resilience and happiness. Be sure that their perspective is always constructive and that when it’s not, they’re committed to changing their attitude.
A revolution in how your team is driving sales won’t happen overnight. It comes through dedication and persistence.
8. Be Time Conscious
Set priorities for your schedule. Know what is important and what is urgent. Make sure no one is wasting time on tasks or leads that aren’t going to get your team where you want to be.
If you can fill one extra hour of productivity a day, that’s six extra weeks of the year you’ll see of productivity in a year.
Driving Sales Takes Passion
As the team leader, you will set the tone for your sales team. When they are struggling, you’ll be the one to help improve their attitude. You are responsible for your team, so make sure you’re listening to every member and focusing on their strengths.
If you’re prepared to improve your sales across the board, make sure you’re taking advantage of marketing opportunities on every channel.