I want to give you a gift. I know you want sales team improvement and you want it NOW, so I am going to give you 10 steps that, if executed fully within the next 90 days, will dramatically change your sales operation forever.
While it might require that you reallocate some of your budget towards this project, the ROI should prove more than worth it.
1. Give everyone aptitude testing
First and foremost, put everyone in the sales department and other customer-facing positions through the CPQ sales aptitude assessment. This will illuminate who has the natural knack for sales and who would be better suited for another position.
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2. Shift people to the right spots
Give your staff members the best possible chance to succeed by moving them into positions they are best suited for according to CPQ results.
Most people will agree with the test results and will appreciate the chance to move into roles more aligned with their natural talents. A few will require some deeper conversations, and you might have to offload one or two who refuse to play ball. Either way, you can expect dramatic sales team improvement.
3. Invest in a training seminar or course
Now that you have your sales personnel in the right roles (inside sales vs. outside sales for example), invest in some training to beef up their skills.
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4. Role play the most often-heard objections and closing the deal
With everyone having some training under his or her belt, fit in some role play at your sales meetings or other unobtrusive time. Ask what objections prospects are giving your salespeople about your product or service that are hard to overcome. Figure out a way to handle them, and have the team practice on each other until they can move past the objection to the close.
5. Develop or refine your formal sales process
The next step in sales team improvement is to codify exactly how business is sourced and leads are handled from first contact all the way to delivery. Don’t give into the “lone wolves” who do things on yellow sticky notes or on the back of napkins. Get everyone on the same system so that managers can monitor the action and business is not wasted.
Most likely, you will be using CRM software as part of your formal sales process, which leads us to…
6. Get your CRM system cleaned up/functional
A hundred thousand dollar investment in a CRM platform which collects dust is no fun. Get your data input or, if there is already a bunch of customer information in the database, get it cleaned up and accurate so it becomes usable. This might require an “all hands” event, where the entire staff comes in on the weekend to input data, or temps are brought in to help.
7. Contact every single past customer for upsells and referrals
With clean data in the CRM, it is time to put it to work. In addition to working current prospects, organize a quick campaign so that your salespeople are contacting past customers on the phone, making personal visits, or sending something via email or snail mail. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since the last transaction – past customers are a goldmine of new revenue.
8. Have everyone work their LinkedIn and other social media accounts to make appointments
While working existing leads and past customers, have salespeople also leverage their LinkedIn accounts to make appointments. There are many articles on just how to do this all over the web, such as this one.
For those with strong Twitter and Facebook followings, personalized direct messages to their top prospects work better than just spamming people’s timelines.
9. Get coaching for your managers and executives
If you have done everything as indicated thus far, there should be quite a turnaround in activity by now. At this point, invest in coaching for your top people so they can run the machine better and keep themselves and the people under them motivated.
Need a coach? Read about Asher’s Coaching Programs.
10. Foster an “everybody sells” atmosphere
The last step is the cherry on the top. Imagine if everyone sold in your company – from the receptionist to the accountants. Very few companies have the foresight to offer commissions or bonuses to those employees that go above and beyond their job description and bring leads to the firm on their own initiative. For example, you could pay them directly, or split a commission with the experienced salesperson who takes over the transaction once the lead is brought in by the non-sales employee.
I would love for you to try the above and share the results you’ve obtained. Even applying one or two of them for now will certainly result in sales team improvement, don’t you agree?