For many companies, the halfway point of the sales year is an important time. It's time to analyze your team's performance, focus on your wins and losses, and adjust strategy to stay on track towards goals and finish out the year strong. Regardless of when the midpoint of your fiscal year falls, a mid-year review is an important annual milestone that sales organizations can't afford to miss. Once your mid-year analysis is completed, it's time to kick your second half into high gear.
So where do you start? We've broken down the best ways for you to increase sales in the second half of the year to finish out your fiscal year strong.
Build up Your Sales Pipeline
The more opportunities you have in your sales pipeline, the greater your chances are for increasing sales revenue. Not every opportunity will close, but with more leads, you set yourself up for a better chance to close more deals. As a result, it is critical to give your salespeople the tools they need to create more qualified opportunities at a faster pace in order to increase sales.
They shouldn't have to sit around waiting for leads to be generated. In addition, consider various methods for improving motivation such as adjusting their compensation plan around increasing and closing more opportunities in the second half of the year. Make sure salespeople spend less time on administration, and more time talking to prospects and clients.
Each salesperson should know the number of opportunities that are open and then, focus on the prospects who are ready to buy. After that, focus on getting warm prospects to the buying stage. Make sure every qualified opportunity is developed and carried through the next stage of the sales pipeline. Determine your revenue goals, then work backward.
How many opportunities are needed to reach your revenue goals? How many opportunities must be closed to reach your revenue goals, and by when? And, focus on a diverse set of prospecting activities from calls to webinars to presentations to utilizing social media to advertising, and more.
Remember that while it's exciting to close a deal, salespeople must always find at least three more opportunities to replace that deal. Don't follow wins with a drought. Keep your pipeline filled–this means continually moving on to the next step.
Consider the Timing
As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep sales moving. After each win, salespeople need to find three to four opportunities to replace that win. It is crucial to celebrate wins, but it is just as critical to keep the opportunities flowing. Many sales organizations are pumped at the beginning of the year, but then, that excitement starts to wane during the second half as wins have come in, and commissions have been paid.
As a result, it is important to create a compensation plan that continues to promote an active and diverse pipeline. Even if a few salespeople are ahead of their numbers, they should be motivated to keep pushing through the end of the year. So, timing is everything. The sooner reps work on filling and progressing their opportunities, the sooner they can close deals. And, making this a repetitive process is the key to increase sales during the second half of the year.
Get More Sales From Existing Customers
Once a prospect has made a purchase, that should not be the end of the road. In addition to finding more qualified opportunities, sales reps should be focused on upselling and diversifying a customer's purchase history. Several ways to do this include:
- Determining complimentary products your customer could buy based on their purchase history.
- Searching for more contacts within an account.
- Offer valuable ideas on how customers could improve their business operations.
- Improve your after-sales support
Increasing revenue from existing customers is one of the most effective ways for increasing sales during the second half of the year. They have already shown a verifiable interest in your company's products and services; certainly, there are opportunities for more purchases. When you spend more time with existing customers, you can tap into the potential to offer more complimentary products and services.
This can be as simple as selling a customer a variety of sides when they buy a package of protein. The key is to make sure your customers are aware of other products and services you have to offer. Of course, it is important to make sure your products and services are relevant to their needs.
Spend Time With the Right Prospects
Attracting the most qualified prospects will only happen if you target the right market. If your company sells cat food, then you won't have much chance of success if you're marketing to dog owners. Instead, you need to market to cat owners with a need to buy the type of cat food you're selling, and the budget to buy your cat food.
To get these types of prospects, you need to create an ideal customer profile or persona–this is a fictional version of your ideal prospect that finds value in what your business has to offer. You can create your customer profile by researching successful sales histories, looking at social media and website interactions, reading customer reviews, and lead capture forms.
What are the key differentiators that make up your ideal prospect? Questions to ask include:
- What size of company is the right fit for your product and services?
- What types of companies would find your offerings valuable?
- How many employees does the company have?
- What is their industry?
On the other hand, your prospect might be an individual. In this case, questions to ask include:
- What job function does your prospect perform?
- What is their budget for your products and services?
- What is their average salary?
- Where do they live?
- What is their age group?
- Why would they choose you?
- What problems do they have?
Having a clear picture of your ideal customer will transform your marketing strategy to make it more tailored to their needs. Then, you can fill your pipeline with more qualified prospects.
Shorten Your Sales Cycle
One of the biggest obstacles to sales effectiveness is a sales cycle that is too long. The second half of the year can fly by rather quickly. This is the time of year when prospects and customers are in and out of the office taking vacations. Then, in the fall and winter, there are holidays.
So, the sales cycle should be shortened to increase sales effectiveness and revenue. When thinking of how to improve sales, you must sell as much as possible, as quickly as possible. While our earlier suggestions focused more on qualifying, if you want to shorten the sales cycle, then you must disqualify the deals that are not likely to close now or in the near future. Not all prospects are going to be your buyers.
Say you have a lead to close ration of 3:1, two of the three will not close during the current cycle. The quicker you disqualify these prospects, the sooner you can spend your time on more qualified prospects and then, shorten your sales cycle. Furthermore, make sure you're asking the right questions. When sales reps feel pressured to make sales, they can often start to talk to the prospect instead of with the prospect.
Yet, it is important to ask the types of questions that will allow you to find pain points that your solutions can adequately address. Moreover, you want to look at your prospect's aspirations so that you can further drive the demand.
And, it makes sense to ensure you are talking to the right person either as an individual prospect or within your target company. The fastest way to shorten the sales cycle is to speak directly with the decision maker. Find out as quickly as possible who has the authority to spend and make decisions. Plus with the right compensation plan, sales reps will want to focus on shortening the sales cycle.
As you can see, increasing sales during the second half of the year can be accomplished. You just need to focus, fine tune your sales tactics, and talk to the right people.