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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
If you are looking to improve your business model, sales, or market share, have a good look at the number of times that you call your customers or prospects on a regular basis. Persistence pays when it comes to opening up opportunities in sales with your clients.
Why Make Contact?
Prospects are always on the lookout for tips and ideas to help them do things at a better price or a lower cost. For this very reason you can be a solid source of knowledge and information relative to your industry. If the competition is not serving their clients well or keeping in regular contact, you have an opportunity in waiting.
Far too many sales people stop the contact process after just a few approaches; if they can’t get the prospect or client to move to the next step in the sales pipeline, they shut down the contact process and simply move on.
Top salespeople keep the contact process going with real and relative ways. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Use different techniques of contact so you can be real and relevant in each approach.
- Be memorable in a positive way. That will mean some relevance and importance to the client.
- Have different comments to use in each approach. Practice dialogues for seasonal sales and shifts in market trends.
- Do not show desperation in any approach or client contact. Prospects and clients can sense it and will close the door on your approach. Clients like to deal with ‘winners’.
- Ask the client or prospect if you can remain in regular contact into the future.
- Keep your database accurate and up to date in all respects.
- Get to know the Key Clients of the competition so you can disrupt and disturb their market or dominance.
Do you know what your ideal client looks like? Do you know what your client wants by way of product or service? Do you know when they want to buy or sell? Key questions like this will help you tap into the right people at the right time.
A sales attitude is required to create better market share and more business. When you look at the average sales team, there is a significant difference between all members of the team and on that basis they will need to be individually managed and encouraged.
There are many different performance models available for sales team analysis. Essentially there is one of the clear fact that is common to all. Some salespeople are good on building relationships with customers and people generally; other salespeople will be good at closing the deal then moving on. For this reason it pays to have a variety of a good salespeople of both types in your team.
It is a notable fact that these two types of sales characters are distinctly different and approach prospecting and selling from different angles. Your sales manager or team leader is likely to be one of these characters; they will not normally relate to the other sales character well at all. That will then alienate and frustrate the other part of your sales team.
This is where the team leader needs to carefully manage the two different sales styles regardless of their personal selling style or bias.
Here are some other tips that can apply to the establishment of a solid sales attitude within the business team:
- Prospecting for new business should be the number one event in every sales person’s diary each business day. There is simply no excuse for not prospecting. A good sales team is built on business generation and not order taking.
- Customer contact and customer service follows as a close second to the prospecting process. In this economic environment, customers need to be encouraged and nurtured through the sales cycle.
- There is a real difference between ordinary customers and key accounts. Importantly, your business and your sales team needs to differentiate between the two and service them differently.
- Every salesperson should be responsible for filling and maintaining their sales pipeline. Over time the pipeline should be growing in your prospects, customers, and quality of sales.
- You will need a good customer relationship management (CRM) software program to help with your sales pipeline. In only this way can you track the relationships with suspects, prospects, and clients. The selection of software for your business will normally be based on the product or service type, and the contact methods that you use. Also give some due regard to the ongoing customer interaction and the other departments in your business that will be contacting the same customer over time. Every stage of the customer contact cycle needs to be entered into the CRM system.
As a final note, your best salesperson should never be promoted to the level of sales manager. There is a lot of difference between managing salespeople and achieving results.
The best salespeople do not normally make good sales managers as they simply cannot explain their methods to the sales team and encourage the right type of action to be taken.
Good sales management is a very specific process requiring a very skilled professional that understands your business.