Ways to Improve Your Team’s Sales Performance
Your sales team is an integral part of your business. They are the main factor that influences your sales performance, and they work hard to ensure your success. Despite the effort that your sales team puts in, you might not be satisfied with your company’s sales performance. That is more than okay. The most successful companies are always looking for ways to improve, which is part of what makes them so successful. By providing your team with the necessary training and support, you can dramatically boost your sales performance. You will contribute to your business’s future accomplishments while also aiding your team’s professional development.
How to Improve Sales Performance
It may seem self-evident, but the most important way to improve your sales performance is to have a goal in mind. Without a goal, your company will lack direction, and your sales team will have nothing to work toward beyond their next paycheck. You want your employees to be as invested in your company’s future as they are in their own, which means going beyond purely financial motivation. Creating goals that apply to both them and the company as a whole can help you here.
Setting SMART Goals
SMART is a widely used mnemonic for setting goals, and we recommend using it when you start looking at ways to improve your sales performance. Setting SMART goals saves time because you will not have to create a new system from scratch, and it helps keep you organized too. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Specific information about each aspect is listed below:
Specific goals are clearly defined. Improving your sales performance is a goal, but it is not a specific one. Instead, consider increasing your sales from one quarter to the next by two percent or another definitive number.
Measurable goals are quantifiable. If you approach your sales team and tell them that you would like them to be better about cold calling, it is unlikely to be effective. Better is subjective. Look at the number of cold calls your team has been making, their average conversion rate and then set a number-based goal decided upon after looking at that information.
Your sales performance goals need to be challenging, but not impossible. You can ask your sales team to bend over backward trying to meet unrealistic standards, but they will end up burned out, unhappy and less productive than they were to start with. An achievable goal is an attainable one, but it should not be boring or seem like busywork either.
Your goal needs to matter to everyone working toward it. If it’s not relevant, or you or your sales team does not see the point, it is not going to work. There needs to be buy-in. If you are working in retail sales and you want to increase the number of people signing up for your mailing list at checkout, you need your cashiers to remember to mention it as well as enthusiastically explaining the reasons your customers should sign up.
Your goal has to have a time limit. If you do not set a deadline, there is little incentive to work toward a goal. Something else will always take priority, and your goal will continue to be pushed down the to-do list.
Sales Performance Metrics
Sales performance metrics are one aspect among the many that makeup sales performance analytics. While analytics refers to the entire process, from data collection to analysis to storage, metrics are only the numbers you track. How many sales did you make over a specific period? What was your conversion rate for different sales activities? How much time do your salespeople spend on sales activities versus administrative tasks? Without sales performance metrics, you will not be able to identify areas for improvement because you will not have the necessary data.
Track Your Sales Performance
Depending on the size of your company, tracking your sales performance might not be easy. If your sales team consists of you and one or two other employees, your spreadsheet is going to look much different than a large company employing hundreds of salespeople. The most convenient and effective way to track your sales performance is to use an automated software program.
You, your sales team and the people you have in management positions all have better spending your time than collect and analyze data. Even if you have someone whose job consists solely of monitoring your company’s sales performance, that person still cannot work as quickly or accurately as a specialized software program.
Your Sales Team’s Performance
You can learn a lot about how to improve your sales team’s performance by identifying the internal and external factors that motivate each team member. By customizing incentives, you can increase employee loyalty and dedication.
When you look at sales performance, look at the sales team as a whole as well as each individual. Is there one person who significantly outperforms everyone else? If so, why? Is it something you can extend to the rest of the team? What about underperforming employees? In many instances, underperforming employees do not have the tools they need to succeed. When identifying the problem, you can solve it. You will rarely encounter someone who is simply apathetic or lazy, which is good news. Training existing employees is much easier than hiring new ones.
Sales Performance Management
Employees take behavioral cues from their managers, so if you are concerned about your sales performance, look at management first. What attitude do your managers project? What expectations do they set? If your managers do not share your values and goals, you will struggle to accomplish anything. You need their support just as much, if not more than they need yours.
Consider the difference between management and leadership. Do not just focus on hiring and promoting good managers, make sure the people you place in positions of power are leaders as well. Good leaders are compelling. They create relationships founded on trust and a mutual desire to succeed rather than using their authority to get things done. Good leaders help your team grow rather than keeping them static, and that is what you want when you are looking for ways to improve your sales performance.
Sales Performance Coaching
Sometimes an outside perspective is helpful when you are taking stock of your sales performance. You know your company better than anyone, and that is usually an asset. However, trying to find one minor factor that influences your sales performance can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Being aware of everything and set in your thought patterns is a drawback in cases like that.
Bringing in an experienced sales coach can be invaluable. Not only do sales coaches help you achieve your goals, but they also influence the behavior and mindset of the people on your sales team. A sales coach aids in assessing skills and developing ways to improve, without being hindered by office politics, ingrained expectations or their interpersonal relationships with people on your sales team.
Analyzing, Evaluating and Measuring Sales Performance
Once you have collected the data from your performance metrics, you can analyze, evaluate and measure it. Whether you love or hate data analysis, it is crucial for your business’s success. That does not mean you have to be the one that crunches the numbers or painstakingly generates reports if you don’t want to be. There are entire businesses and software programs dedicated to the behind the scenes work that produces the results you want to see.
Sales Performance Analysis
A spreadsheet full of numbers does not do you any good if you cannot make sense of them, so after you have collected your data, the next step is to analyze it. When you analyze your sales performance data, look for meaningful patterns and trends. Ideally, you will be able to use this information to make predictions and prepare for the future.
Ways to Analyze Sales Performance
Microsoft Excel is the traditional tool for performing data analysis. It does require some specialized knowledge, but many people are familiar with the basics, and there are plenty of training courses available online. However, it may not be as comprehensive of a tool as you would like.
Salesforce’s Tableau CRM—formerly known as Einstein Analytics, formerly known as Wave—is another popular choice even with its confusing number of name changes. It’s AI-driven, which makes it far faster and more efficient than even the most knowledgeable Excel user. Although Tableau is a fairly recent acquisition by Salesforce, the software is fully integrated so data can be transferred seamlessly from one program to another.
There are numerous other tools available for a wide range of industries, needs and budgets. If you are still looking for one, search for business intelligence tools rather than data analysis programs. You will find options like Microsoft’s Power BI and Oracle’s Cloud Analytics. Tools meant specifically for business intelligence purposes will be more thorough and better suited to meet your company’s needs.
Sales Performance Evaluation
Evaluating sales performance can be complicated, but with enough preparation, it does not have to be. First, decide what your key performance indicators are. By which factors will performance be judged? Where do those indicators currently stand? Once you know that, you can set your SMART goals. From there, the rest of the evaluation process should fall into place without issue.
That’s what makes SMART goals useful. You have a specific, measurable goal set, which means you can tell how much progress you have made toward it. You will also know when you have definitively met your goal. You will not have to decide when you’ve made a satisfactory amount of progress.
Holding a weekly or monthly meeting with your sales team and other relevant parties can help you evaluate your progress toward your goals. These meetings should also help you identify problems before they negatively impact your intended results. Do not let the meetings drag on if there is no useful dialogue happening. The time your sales team spends in meetings is time they do not spend working directly toward improved sales performance.
Sales Performance Reports
If you are using a business intelligence tool, it may generate sales performance reports for you. If you are not, you may have to put your reports together manually. When you are writing a report, make sure you know your audience. Is the report for your sales team? A board of directors? Stakeholders? Internal or external use? The right tone, language and data visualizations are all vital to creating a useful sales performance report.
Sales Performance Measurement
Measuring sales performance is not difficult once you have decided which metrics to measure. The metrics you prefer may vary based on your goals or current circumstances, but in general, we recommend tracking:
- Your total revenue per day, week, month, quarter, year and over longer periods to see potential seasonal trends.
- The revenue generated by each of the different products and services you sell. Does anything need to be phased out? Marketed more intensively?
- The percentage of your sales that come from existing customers versus the percentage of sales from new customers. You can determine your customer retention rate and the success of your outreach to new customers with this information.
- The revenue or number of sales generated by different sales activities. You can focus on activities that are more productive this way rather than wasting your time failing to reach customers or receiving a “no”.
There are many other metrics you could track, ranging from everyday minutiae to broad, overarching trends. However, the above suggestions are a useful place to begin.
Final Thoughts on Sales Performance
There are a wide variety of options available to you if you are searching for ways to improve your sales performance. Sales coaching, performance metrics, analytics and goal-setting can all influence the success of your sales team. If you are looking for expert advice on improving your sales performance or otherwise transforming your sales strategy, book a call with Selling Revolution today.