As a seasoned sales leader, you've learned some potent industry sales performance tips and tricks throughout your career, and you've likely passed along a few of these to sales reps on your team. Nevertheless, your customers—and the best tactics to reaching them—are always changing. To drive your sales performance, you need to understand the benefits of sales transformation, remain open to the process of improvement, and vigilant in your search for bleeding edge skills and techniques.
Below are several tips you'll want to pass along to your sales team.
1. Understand the Customer Mindset and Adjust Practices Accordingly
The key to accessing the peak of sales performance is to understand the customer mindset, and adjust your practices to cater to the modern buyers audience. The customer base you are selling to is more educated than it’s ever been, so brunt force techniques are best left in the past where they belong. Intuitive, intelligent sales reps can leverage the complexity of the modern work environment to provide valuable thought leadership—and ultimately close more deals
2. Always be Looking for an Opportunity to Connect and Empathize
Customer communication has changed in recent years, but whatever the method, it is undeniable that gaining customer trust is key for reps. In order to gain this trust, a rep must make building rapport a priority by first connecting with the customer by empathizing with their needs.
One way to do this is by sharing other customer stories with prospects. By leveraging the praise and success of happy customers in a sales interaction, new prospects have a good sense of the success and performance rates of your previous engagements. This will further enable customers to trust that your reps will be able to help them solve their current business problems.
3. Ditch the Pitch and Have a Real Conversation
It turns out that simply using the word, “pitch,” can be intimidating or leave a sour taste in the mouth of both sales reps and potential clients, ultimately impacting your sales performance.
According to Wendy Weiss, known as The Queen of Cold Calling, “salespeople sometimes think it means they should talk at someone, but that’s not an effective way to communicate. A good pitch is one where you ask questions, listen to the prospect, and offer them a solution to a problem.” The pitch needs to foster interaction and an active conversation.
4. Learn from Mistakes to Keep Growing
If you have only one method in sales, it is guaranteed that you will fail. You have to tweak your pitch to your audience in order to make it personal and give the customer what they actually need, not what you think they might want. Take the time to really research your audience and get to know what interests them. Are they focused on the cost factor? Or are they searching for the best quality and don’t care how much it is?
5. Listen Up Before Speaking Up
Get familiar with the 80/20 rule: 80% of content is catered to the reader with tips, tricks, and knowledge related to our service, while 20% is specifically about our company and what we are doing. Take that principle and apply it to your sales pitch – you should only be talking 20% of the time, while the other 80% should be devoted to the customer asking questions, answering your inquiries and telling you about themselves.
6. Show You Care and Understand Pain Points
Introverts tend to be excellent listeners, and because of this inherent skill, are able to make more quality sales more often. So how can you capitalize on this knowledge and improve your sales performance? Simple: show that you C.A.R.E. about every prospect and play using an introvert-like strategy.
A key value of this introspective character is the focus placed on listening and understanding. Put this energy towards your customer meetings and watch your sales performance increase.
7. Let Your Data do the Talking
When it does come time to talk, inspire your customers by sharing valuable thought leadership data and benchmarking insights with them. Providing them with solid market infographics, actionable information, and comparative analytics gives them the strong impression that you understand their business and have their best interests at heart. This will prompt them to communicate more readily, and inspire them to learn more about how your products can benefit them long term.
8. Turn to Loyal Customers and Enhance Relationships
Building these relationships is essential to improving your sales performance. New blood is important for keeping your prospect pool fresh and vibrant, but your first friends can be an invaluable source of return business and glowing recommendations. If you take care of your customers, they can make your job a lot easier.
9. Stay Connected with the Ecosystem
By establishing relationships not only with the customers but also with influential peers is valuable as well. One of the biggest SaaS ecosystems is the Salesforce.com community, so keeping current with this ecosystem is imperative.
Social media is another important arena to master—especially LinkedIn and Twitter, where reps can become advocates of their work while connecting with customers and partners. In the end, it never hurts to meet people the old fashion way first, namely, in person. Then, you stay connected to them through their preferred social media platform.
10. Personalize Incentives to Drive Sales Performance
Focus on incentives that lead to sales, such as lead conversion, prospecting, face-to-face conversations, and advancing stages. Of course, don’t throw all of these goals at the sales reps at once—meter them out in threes, to ensure maximum completion rates across all your reps. This should not be based on an educated guess, but rather on benchmarking data that you can leverage to get ahead.
11. Engage Your Team Through Gamification
If you want something to last, you have to keep it interesting. There are a wide variety of things you can do to spice things up in the bullpen, and if you plan out engaging systems that cater to your specific sales reps, you can capitalize on their potential and increase their sales performance.
Focus on maintaining engagement through sales gamification—like SPIFFS—and allow reps to brag a little. Give real-time feedback and keep up with the changing opinions of your team. Finally, make the badges and level-ups as easy or challenging as you like, so long as they maintain a strong motive.
12. Embrace the Journey
In the day-to-day of an average sales rep, the driving force is not simply the end incentive, but the buzz of competition, the positive camaraderie, and the process of seeing sales reps meet their goals and push forward to the next one. You need these elements to create a strong sales team structure and boost sales performance.
13. Be Head Strong and Defend Against Objections
Make sure that you know how to address the four most common objections: budget, authority, need, and time (BANT). Sure, you ultimately want to close a sale. But do you want the customer to walk away happy as well? Do you want to conquer BANT objections? Write out your main goals before you even pick up the phone and keep them in front of you during the course of your sales call.
To end, the game has changed, and if you can't win if you don’t change with the game. If you stay motivated and inspire your reps, the payoff will be gaining loyal, successful clients—and a rich, enviable pipeline.