As a sales manager, you’re always interested in how to increase sales performance.
Not only do you take great pride in your team’s accomplishments, but you also know the value of empowering them with the best available tools and processes. Plus, the better your team’s sales performance, the greater your revenue and growth potential.
However, before you can optimize sales performance, you need to recognize areas most in need of improvement. By acknowledging and addressing the problems your sales team is struggling with, you can pinpoint exactly which sales muscles need the most strength training.
Today, we’ll help you identify opportunities to streamline your sales process and increase sales performance.
Troubleshooting: Does Your Sales Process Need Improvement?
Chances are, your sales process is partly to blame for any dips or plateaus in your sales performance. Not sure how to tell if your current sales process is effective as-is or in need of an overhaul? Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team to assess your sales process.
Can you track it?
Your sales workflow should be quantifiable. It should be easy to tell how far along your leads are in the sales process and predict when each deal is likely to close. By measuring metrics like sales velocity, close rate, and conversions at every step of the process, you can forecast revenue and track improvement over time.
To track your sales performance accurately, start by setting individual and team-wide goals to be reviewed on a monthly or quarterly basis. The sooner you start tracking, the quicker you can find ways to improve.
Can you repeat it?
A good sales process doesn’t fall into place by accident—it needs to be intentional. By creating (and documenting) a repeatable, consistent sales process, you can empower your sales reps to perform their absolute best.
Is it easy to explain?
Every step of your sales workflow should be clearly defined. The best sales processes are easy to follow and have clear actions and criteria that make it obvious when a prospect is moving from one stage to the next. Plus, having a well-defined sales workflow makes it easier to onboard new sales reps, because expectations and sales activities are laid out clearly for each step.
Does it minimize friction for your customers?
Every interaction during the sales process contributes to how leads perceive your brand and, ultimately, influences their buying decision. Assess your sales process to ensure that it prioritizes the customer experience by reducing friction and placing emphasis on benefits that matter most to each type of lead.
How to Drive Increased Sales Performance as a Sales Leader
Your greatest weaknesses are also your best opportunities for improvement. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges sales managers face and how to improve sales performance in each one.
1. Your team’s sales performance is inconsistent (and you don’t know why!)
One of the most common sales performance issues is a lack of consistent results. If you want to improve your team’s sales performance, you need to build some level of predictability into your sales process.
To get consistent results, you must create a defined sale process that enables your team to repeat past success. Make sure your team is following the same sales steps, documenting their activities in the same way, using the same criteria to determine when a prospect has progressed between each stage
2. There’s a noticeable gap between top performances and the rest of your team.
In some cases, there’s a major disconnect between top performers and the rest of the team. When your best sales reps account for the majority of your wins, it’s not necessarily a sign that you need to hire better people—it’s a sign that your team could benefit from some serious mentorship.
Talk to your reps individually and as a team to find out what’s working best for each person and where certain team members are struggling. Make an effort to codify best practices and use data to track improvements over time. And, if your team members are willing, coordinate one-on-one coaching sessions between vets and newer team members to help everyone perform their best.
3. There aren’t enough new leads entering your pipeline.
Without enough leads entering your pipeline, your team won’t be able to hit their sales quotas—and sales performance will suffer. It’s basic math.
If you’re not sure why leads are drying up, the first step is to identify the cause. An empty pipeline can result from a number of issues, including not doing enough outreach, losing track of contacts, or a poor response rate to cold email outreach.
Once you know where the problem is stemming from, you can make changes to fix it. In most cases, sales automation can go a long way in remedying these problems. For instance, if you’re sales team is failing to connect with potential leads due to poor organization or lack of time, you can set up automated outreach campaigns that sync with your CRM and send follow-up emails at appropriate intervals.
4. Your win rate is not where you need it to be.
If you do have plenty of leads coming through your pipeline but you’re still not getting results, there’s a good chance you’re not targeting the right type of leads. The solution? Tighten up your lead scoring system to improve pipeline quality. Of course, this isn’t always simple.
The issue could be that you’re casting too wide of a net because you aren’t sure who your ideal customer is yet—in which case, you need to narrow the field and create an ideal customer profile. If you can pinpoint where your top-converting leads are coming from, you may want to refocus more of your energy and resources on your most profitable channels and lead sources.
5. Even qualified leads are disappearing before they close.
Now, if your team is generating plenty of qualified leads but deals are still lingering in the pipeline, you need to focus on building and maintaining momentum in your sales process.
To diagnose the problem, talk to individual team members, review your pipeline, and try to pinpoint whether there’s a specific step or action at which leads tend to disappear. From there, you can focus on increasing velocity and smoothing out any kinks that impact momentum.
It could be that your contract workflows need to be streamlined to get more deals across the finish line. If so, look for ways to reduce customer friction at this crucial step. For instance, consider the value of digital contracts and eSignatures that minimize back-and-forth and make it as easy as possible for prospects to say yes to your offer.
6. Your sales forecasting isn’t reliable.
Remember, the best sales processes are easy to measure, replicate, and understand. If you don’t have an effective sales process down pat, you won’t be able to forecast revenue with any real confidence.
Left unchecked, an inaccurate forecasting model can have a severe impact on your sales performance. One of the most common causes of unreliable forecasts is a lack of consistency in data capture and reporting. You can improve these by choosing a few key metrics for your entire sales team to prioritize. This will enable you to collect detailed data without diluting your focus.
For example, if everyone is committed to accurately measuring conversion rates and time spent at each deal stage, for instance, you can forecast your close dates and incoming revenue more accurately.
7. Your sales team isn’t using their time effectively.
At its core, sales performance is the measurement of how effectively your team is hitting their sales goals—which correlates with how efficiently they’re using their most valuable resource: time. Unfortunately, the average sales rep spends more time on administrative tasks (27.2%) than actually selling to customers (36.5%)!
Does your team spend too much time on administrative work? This is a huge problem with a relatively easy fix. Start by deciding which sales activities your team should prioritize and identifying which tasks are taking the longest—and then, look for ways to leverage sales automation to streamline both.
8. Your CLV is too low or dropping.
As one of your most important sales metrics, customer lifetime value (CLV) can tell you a lot about how well your team is performing. The higher your CLV, the better—but increasing this number requires patience and commitment to long-term improvement.
To maximize customer lifetime value, you must either reduce customer acquisition cost (by speeding up sales velocity and automating contract workflows) or increase deal value (perhaps through upselling, cross-selling, retention, or focusing on landing bigger clients).
Empower Your Team and Increase Sales Performance
Improving your sales team’s performance isn’t just about closing more deals (though that is a happy by-product of doing so). By improving your team’s overall performance, you can boost your potential for growth in terms of deal value and optimize profit by streamlining the sales process.