Keys to Top Sales Team Performance Today

Some sales teams are built with focus to bring in the results.  Others are seen as just a group of people that have been given a name tag and a department within the overall business.  The performance between these two teams is radically different.

The sales team is the life blood of the business (or should be).  When they are producing the results you get all of the following:

  • More clients
  • Referral business
  • Greater volumes of sales
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Dominant market share

I weak link in a sales team can slow or destroy the foundations of growth and client stability.  So what are the characteristics of a top sales team today?  Try some of these:

  1. They will have a clear understanding of the goals for the business and where they sit in the overall plan.
  2. They will understand how they can improve the business from their position in the market.
  3. They will have and accept key performance indicators both as a team and also as individuals to which they agree to strive and achieve.
  4. Objectivity will be the case in any team assessment as the year progresses.  Members of the team will accept guidance and objectivity.
  5. The team should be cohesive and committed to each other in building the results for the overall business.
  6. Whilst the team will have a leader, each person will understand that they are leaders themselves in what they need to do with their clients and territory.
  7. There will be a high degree of trust between members of the team, and where required the team will support each other in any client or sales requirements.
  8. A good sales team is flexible so that the overall goals are encouraged through the pressures of any single transaction or client connection.
  9. The members of the team will understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide backup to fill the shortcomings of each other.
  10. The team will have a strategic plan of action that they stick to in business and as part of ongoing team performance.
  11. Knowledge and service will be high on the agenda when working with and serving clients and prospects.
  12. Every team member will understand the priorities of growth and stability as it applies to the clients that they have.

To manage a sales team you need a leader of skill and drive.  A sales team is a unique business unit that is different than all others and that requires direction, and seeks respectful leadership promoting the core values of business.

High Grade Customer Growth for Sales Teams

In any profession you need clients.  It takes time to develop them, serve them, and then over time they will leave.  It is a simple fact of business that your clients will eventually develop a new focus or requirement.  They will move on.  It really does not matter how strong the relationship is today; they will one day have a change of circumstances and they will move on.

This then shows us that we should have a solid plan and system to help us find new clients.  Every day the plan has to occur.  You have to improve your client base and database.  We call it the sales pipeline.

Many salespeople struggle with all of the things that they have to do every day.  The list of tasks can be overwhelming.  A typical day for a sales person will include:

  • Talking to current customers
  • Finding new customers
  • Following up on orders
  • Paperwork
  • Customer service
  • Placing new orders
  • Meetings
  • Talking with management
  • Reviewing product information
  • Entering customer detail into the database, etc

It’s a long list; you can probably add some things to the list yourself.

Without a day system, without some form of control you will struggle.  When a salesperson is struggling, the business and client base suffers.

Out of all of these things in the list above, the most important is ‘finding new customers’.  Everything else ranks below that key issue.

So how can you shift the bias of the day so you get to create some more clients?  The simple answer is that you shift your priorities and make prospecting number one in your diary every day.

It is a well-known fact that most salespeople do not like or easily accept the discipline of the job.  They would rather be ‘socialising’ with current clients and talking to the people that they know.  Whilst this is a part of doing business, it still ranks behind the issue of finding new clients.

When you understand this problem, it is easy to do something about it.  You simply shift your mindset to one of client growth and new business.  Every day you make new calls to businesses and people that you have not spoken to before.  It takes about 3 weeks to see some momentum, but eventually you break through the problem and new clients start to evolve.

If your income depends on your sales and your customers, it is a good choice to shift your mindset to this new way of doing things.  Develop the new habit of connecting with the right people.  Sales success can be yours.

Battle Hardened Market Share in Tough Markets

In this business environment some companies and industries will be more successful than others, but it is the sales team and customer service team that are now more important than ever before.  Consistency in client contact will help consolidate market share and protect your income.

If your business is struggling in any way, take a look at your sales team first to see just what they are doing or not doing.  Too many salespeople listen to their peers when it comes to results and activities.  If you have any ordinary performers in your sales team it can spread like a ‘cancer’ in and across the entire team.  Complacency breeds complacency; top performers are required in today’s sales environment.

When you are not getting your share of the market and the sales, here are the things that you should look at first:

  1. Split your sales team into high achievers and average performers.  Determine who is producing the sales and the orders and find out why that is the case.  The balance of the team will be doing a mixture of ‘nothing much’.  When you know the differences in your team you can handle the issues of skills improvement, redundancy, repositioning, and refocus.
  2. When your industry is slow or under pressure, it is the systemised action of your top people that will get you through.  It is likely that your top people will be less than 10% of the workforce.  Replicate the systems that work into the balance of the team.  Those that can’t handle the change should be reallocated or made redundant.  Experimental salespeople do not work.
  3. Split your customers into 3 groups.  Firstly your top clients should be determined and allocated into a VIP section of your business.  They should get better treatment and service than all other clients.  The second group of customers are those that have the potential to move to a Key Account status.  You job is to find out how to do that and why it should occur with each customer in this group.  The third group are those customers that randomly purchase goods or services and that are unlikely to move up the client pipeline status to a Key Account.  If you are going to remove the poor performers from your sales team, then you can drop the third group of customers to free up some time for the remaining salespeople.
  4. Get your prospecting model sorted and strengthened with your top salespeople.  Use the best systems and ideas that they have to consolidate the prospecting system for your business and local area.

This is all about strategy.  Focus on your people and the business will generally come in, albeit in a modified form.  Business is all about people so go back the people level and sort it through.  Opportunities will soon come back to you and the sales team.

Create Action Habits to Build Sales Results

Human beings are creatures of habit.  When we are left to our own devices we shape the day into a series of habits that suit us.  Everything that we are today is the result of our application of our habits; everything else that happens to us is just luck.  Given that luck is not all that frequent, the only way you can really progress is through changing your habits.

This process of habit change is easy to say and not easy to do.  That is because we have choices as individuals, and if we do not discipline ourselves we tend to go down the easiest road.

Developing the habit of taking consistent and focused action towards you goals is the way to implement success in anything.  So developing a habit is like training; you have to do it each day.  The more you practice the better you become.

It is best to change your habits before the real pressure is on, because habits under pressure are not as effective as controlled and focused habits.

To make good habits, you must simplify the things that you do.  As you simplify you can be far more effective.  The way to progress here is to think of action as a muscle that you must strengthen each day.  So start your action exercises.

Newsletter Marketing Converts Prospects to Clients

It really doesn’t matter what business you are in, the information that you can provide to your prospects is of high value to them.  If you provide the information as a free service, you are likely to convert more prospects to clients.

The process of ‘giving freely’ is a great marketing tool in many industries.  For this very reason you should create a regular professional e-zine or newsletter to send out to those prospects that you have connected with over time.

Information is valuable to your market; provide information in articles that will help them save money or grow their market share.  Either way they will have an interest. 

Creative writing can be a challenge because of the time and the effort required to select the material and prepare it for despatch.  If that is a problem for you, then you can locate professional copywriters to put some material together for you on a regular basis.

The key here is to provide information that is useful and do so in a regular and convenient format.  That will normally be a newsletter.  Here are some ideas to help:

  1. Regular contact with your market can be achieved by an online database and auto responder system.
  2. You can feed your online database by using a website capture form.
  3. The frequency of your online newsletter can vary subject to your market, but is generally accepted that a newsletter once every 2 weeks is acceptable in most industries.  The point is that you have to create the interesting content.
  4. Consistent branding should be achieved across your website, newsletter, and marketing material.  Have opt-in forms in all of them for clients to join your database register.
  5. When you communicate to your prospects, provide exceptional value and relevance.
  6. Personalise your communication so that the articles and the newsletter talk to the person.  When you write your newsletter, do so from the angle of personalisation.  Talk to the person on an individual basis rather than some generic broad informational manual or article.
  7. Make it easy for the prospect to contact you via mobile, email, and calling in.
  8. Put a name on everything.  If the prospect wants to make contact, they have a name to make contact with.
  9. Allow your newsletter to build your circle of influence and relevance.  Over time it can multiply the value of your prospect database.  When you make that regular telephone call to your prospects, the conversation will be much easier.
  10. Follow up your database a few days after you send out your newsletter.  Talk about the feature article to see if that was of any use to them.
  11. Ask your prospects if there is anything that they would like you to handle or discuss in upcoming newsletters.

As easy as this process is, many businesses struggle with e-zines and databases.  They seem to find the organisation and process a bit of a challenge.  Make no mistake here; business today has changed radically and the levels of communication have opened right up.

Be prepared to be a ‘cut above’ the competition when it comes to the client and prospect communication process.  Over time it will help you build massive market share and opportunity.