A sales team often strives toward good numbers because the bottom line in sales impacts their commissions and how much money they make. But, what if you could inspire your sales team to do even better and drive results higher than before? What if you could ramp them up to the point that they reach for bigger and better goals than they or you dreamed possible? What is the magical formula that makes already good salespeople excel further?
Although different sources list different numbers, there are well over a million salespeople in the United States alone. The numbers may grow higher when you cast a wider net and consider jobs where the person only sells for part of their work day. There is a lot of competition out there, all clamoring for the attention of consumers. If you want your sales team to stand out and have success, you must consider some adjustments to the way you train and the way you do business.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do that will ramp up your entire sales team and improve individuals enough to help your company become more profitable and empower them to sell more.
1. Build a Team
A sales team needs to be just that — a team. If your salespeople work against each other, trying to grab clients for another salesperson in your group, then they aren’t making the most efficient use of their time or resources. Spend time doing team building activities. Go on a quarterly retreat or have trainers come into the office and work with them as a group.
As a company, you should set parameters on what’s acceptable. For example, if one of your salespeople specializes in corporate accounts, the salesperson who specializes in small businesses shouldn’t go after any potential corporate leads. Teach your salespeople to share leads they come across and reward them for doing so with bonuses. Make the good of the company an important goal and recognize the employees who work toward that.
2. Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM software allows your sales team to see at a glance who already spoke to a potential client and what the client’s needs are. Your sales team can pull up information and reach out to contacts who may not have signed up the first time around but might be very interested in what you have to offer.
In a study of 1,200 companies, around 82.9 percent use a CRM system. However, not all of them fully train their sales force to use CRM in a positive way. If you implement a quality CRM system and train your employees how to use it to increase sales, you’ll have much more success with this strategy.
We interviewed several industry experts and asked what their favorite CRM platform is and why. Here are the results of our research;
Nicole Zeno from Clever Cow Media, Inc wrote:
My favorite CRM is Zoho One. This tool is not only super user-friendly but it has modules that expand as your company grows. When we implemented this CRM in my company, we were able to customize it in ways that other CRM could not handle but also give it to our team (some of which are older and not great with technology) and they were able to use it with very little to no training.
- Highly Customizable
- Integrates with email marketing, social, website and more
- Grows with your business
- Great price point ($75/month/user up to 5 users then $30/month/user)
Features I want To be Improved:
- More help documentation and How-Tos
- Better video chat integrations
- More integration for service providers like salons and massage therapists
Will Rogers from eXp Realty says;
I have experience using nearly a dozen CRMs, and this is the best I have found.
My favorite is HubSpot.
Its best features:
- Much more user friendly than its competitors, a clean cloud based software.
- Can be used by other salespeople on your team without extensive training.
- They have a great free inbound sales certification available to everyone.
- Built for internet leads. Has features such as email tracking, mass email marketing, web retargeting and some great customizable templates for contacting leads.
- Easy to share documents and work on contacts within different members of your team.
Ways to improve:
- It would be nice to allow third party companies to build apps for the platform, like other CRMs. This could add more functionality for different types of businesses.
Cost: HubSpot is “freemium” so the more features you need to add for your business the more you will pay. For premium features starts at $50 per month and goes up from there. A great free version for those just getting started.
Michael Benghiat from The Music Kitchen says;
My small team has been using Hubspot or the last 18 months. I looked at all the lower-priced CRMs and chose Hubspot for its many features and low price. They also have unparalleled customer service!
Overall, we can work our daily sales plan without having to worry about the program. That’s what the best tools do, IMHO. We also use GSuite and it interfaces seamlessly.
I chose the Sales Pro plan which is an amazing deal at $50 per month per user (billed annually). The Sales Pro plan includes:
- Dashboard with real-time data on Sales Performance, Productivity, Deal Closed vs. Goal, etc.
- The ability to create email templates that you can quickly add to any email – this is a major plus.
- A Chat function on your website.
- The ability to assign contacts in the CRM to different lifecycle stages.
- The ability to create and track Deals along the sales cycle.
- A Tasks board that helps manage daily workflow.
- The ability to run online meetings
The CRM tool by itself is excellent. You can log notes on conversations, set reminders, and even record phone calls (with permission). There are tons of other features.
The CRM tool is actually available for free but users don’t get access to the Sales functions.
For improvements, they have really done a good job including all the features any sales pro needs. My only gripe is that I wish Hubspot would not change the CRM’s layout in the name of “improving” it, which they’ve done a couple of times.. You get used to working in the CRM and when they make “improvements” they usually end up creating more work as you have to learn the new layout and functions. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the current version!
Stanley Tan from Selbys wrote;
We use HubSpot as our CRM and the reason why we chose HubSpot over the other CRM is because it has a built-in email marketing tool.
Emails can be sent out based on the data from the CRM.
For example, if last contact with this client was 180 days ago, send a re-engagement email. Another example is if the contact viewed our pricing page, send out a pricing email.
One of the features we would like to see with HubSpot is the ability to send and receive emails from the tool itself. Right now, we have to navigate between our emails (we use Outlook) and our CRM (Hubspot) when dealing with clients.
3. Focus on Obligation Management
In every company, there are outstanding invoices that haven’t been paid. This costs your company money and may discourage your employees who brought the new clients into the fold. On top of that, some contracts simply aren’t beneficial to a company in the long-term. You want to bring in new parties who help you become profitable as a company. If you’re more profitable, your employees benefit in better perks and higher wages.
Spend time looking at obligation management and which relationships do and don’t work for your brand. Ask your salespeople to put a price tag on the value of each customer relationship. Obligation management looks at more than whether the client brings in funds. It also looks at how much time each salesperson has to spend wooing the client, demands from that customer and any other factors that eat away at your business’ time and resources.
Each quarter, hold a meeting with your sales staff and discuss clients that fall in the bottom 10 percent as far as the value they offer compared to their demands. You may need to part ways with some clients to free up space for new, less difficult, customers.
4. Upgrade Your Website
Most businesses today do at least part of their sales online. If your website isn’t the best it can be, you may miss out on sales opportunities. People are impatient. If your site fails to load quickly, they are likely to bounce away — perhaps to a competitor’s website. However, your updates should also look at overall user experience (UX) and what upgrades would make the buyer move through your site more seamlessly.
Look at your website as an investment in generating leads. When users land on your page, is it clear what action they should take next? Is your website visually pleasing and does it reflect the tone of your business? Look at your site through the eyes of a first-time visitor and make any changes needed for a positive first impression. Your sales team is much more likely to send leads to the website if it is one they are proud of.
5. Lead With Confidence
What type of leader are you? Do you ask your employees to do one thing while you do another? If your company mission is to help one person at a time, do you also embody this philosophy or do you appear to only be out for yourself? Think about what you can do to set the example for your employees. If you want your brand to be known for going out of the way for its customers, do you go out of the way for your employees? When was the last time you hosted a free Taco Tuesday event for your workers?
Don’t be afraid to go after big clients yourself and bring in a trusted salesperson to close the deal. Trust your team to have your back and show them the skills they need to succeed. If you don’t have the skills, then develop them. Attend conferences, training sessions and Dale Carnegie courses.
6. Track Successes — Big and Small
In the everyday hum drum of life, your employees may feel their goals aren’t attainable. No matter what job a person does, it’s easy to get a bit bored with the process and forget what the brand strives for. Keep your sales team ramped up by recognizing their success. Don’t just give a gift when someone lands a big sale, but take an employee to lunch who you notice has reached out to more new contacts this month than before. Even if their effort doesn’t yet equal success, investing in someone who is passionate is a worthwhile endeavor. Together, you can figure out what skills they need to close the sale.
Host a weekly morning meeting where you call out your sales team and individual employees. Make sure you’re fair with this. Don’t just recognize the people you like, but find something positive about everyone. Yes, some people deserve more accolades than others, but you can also offer private praise and bonuses when warranted.
7. Build Sales Skills
If you want your sales team to do better, you must offer intensive training. Send your salespeople to workshops and conferences where they can learn better methods for selling. Offer in-house sessions where the seasoned workers on your staff offer tips to the newbies. How do you close a sale when the lead is undecided? How often should they follow up? When should they give up for now and move on to the next lead?
Make skill-building fun by offering roll playing opportunities. Get the team together and practice selling to a “difficult” contact or cold calling a lead someone else referred. The more practice your staff gets, the better their chances of performing well when they face a real customer.
8. Recruit the Best Staff
Let’s face it, who you hire for your sales team has a huge impact on how well they all perform. A nasty attitude can impact your entire sales team negatively. Some personalities are better suited to sales than others. Start your search for a new employee by having them take a personality profile. Only hire those who seem to have extrovert indicators. At the same time, you want someone honest, hardworking and loyal, so look at their work history. How long do they stay with an employer?
Once you get to the interview phase, you’ll want to ask them about previous positions. What is their attitude? Is it negative or do they have positive things to say? An upbeat person is more likely to plug away when the going gets tough. Instead of asking questions, ask them to sell something to you. Set your product or a ballpoint pen in front of the person and ask them to sell the item to you. Only hire those who perform well and meet your standards.
9. Set Goals
Set realistic goals that might make your sales team stretch but are achievable and reward your team for reaching those goals together. Talk to your leads about what goals make the most sense and how you can provide the support needed to reach those goals. Targets can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or all of the above.
Daily rewards typically don’t receive any prizes but are simply there to guide the worker successfully toward the larger goals. A weekly goal has a bigger impact on the business and you can easily reward the team with some small token such as donuts on Friday morning or a shorter paid workday. Monthly and quarterly goals are much bigger goals that drive growth and profits. Think about rewards you can give such as cash bonuses, gift cards and electronics.
10. Be Authentic
Don’t try to trick your team into making you more money or promise rewards you can’t deliver. If your employees don’t see the benefit to them or feel you’re trying to fool them, they aren’t likely to work as hard as they can for you. Instead, be authentic. If your goal is to make enough profit to buy a new yacht, tell them that is your dream but also figure out what is in it for them. Perhaps you want a new yacht, but you’re going to let them each have a day they can go out on the yacht with you and bring their families. Or maybe you’re going to give them some other reward when you hit a certain number of sales.
At the same time, don’t be selfish. If your employees don’t have decent benefits, do you really need a new yacht or should you spend that money ramping up the benefits package and investing in your business and your top performers? Company churn will cost more than you think. It costs a lot of money to recruit and train employees. The longer they stay with your business, the more that investment pays off.
11. Encourage Recognition
Think back to the last time a fellow employee said good job and praised you. It felt pretty good, didn’t it? Encourage your workers to praise one another and put some teeth behind it. Start a program where they can post a praise on a bulletin board and give away small gifts to someone who did something extraordinary or went out of the way to help them. Give each salesperson on your team $50 or so a month to give out in the form of gift cards, coffee vouchers or prizes such as candy and goodies and encourage them to share these prizes with others — they can’t keep for themselves and must split up between at least several people — for work done well.
Empowering your workers to recognize the accomplishments of their co-workers builds a community of recognition. Everyone wants to strive to do their best and help each other so they can both give and receive gifts and praise.
Inspire Your Team and Yourself
Building a company culture that recognizes effort and cheers on success drives your workers to do the best they can. However, it should also inspire you to improve your own tactics and accountability. Your sales team looks to you to set the entire tone for your company, so it’s important you build up their attitude while also working on your own. With consistent effort, you’ll build an unstoppable sales force.
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Lexie is a graphic designer and UX strategist. Her work is featured on Manta, Marketo, Website Magazine, Creative Bloq, and Sunlight Media.
Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.