"I could sell water to a whale"
While many salespeople have an abundance of confidence (it's really a prerequisite for the job, right?), the sales department still needs support just like any other part of a company. And we're not just talking about office supplies and working phone lines. Here are five ways that your business can give its sales staff the support they really need to boost your bottom line:
1. Show them the data. Virtually every aspect of business is driven by analytics these days, but sales had been all about the data for decades. To keep up with the competition, provide your sales team with the most cutting-edge metrics. The right ones vary depending on your industry and customer base, but consider analytics such as lead conversion rate and quote-to-close.
2. Invest in sales training and upskilling. If you don't train salespeople properly, they'll face an uphill climb to success and may not stick around to get there with you (hence the high turnover often found among sales staff). Once trained, offer your sales team continuing education, or "upskilling," to enhance their talents.
3. Effectively evaluate employee performance. For sales staff, annual job reviews can boil down to a numbers game whereby it was either a good year or a bad one. Make sure your performance evaluations for salespeople are as comprehensive and productive as they are for any other type of employee. Sales goals should obviously play a role, but look for other professional development objectives as well.
4. Promote positivity, ethics, and high morale. Let's face it: sales is a frustrating grind. It's not uncommon (or uncalled for) for your sales team to fall prey to negativity. This can manifest itself in various ways, not limited to plumetting morale, poor interactions with customers, and even unethical or fraudulent activities. Urge your supervisors to interact regularly with salespeople to combat pessimism and find ways to keep spirits high.
5. Regularly re-evaluate your compensation model. Finding the right way to compensate sales staff has challenged, if not perplexed, companies for years. Some businesses opt for commission only, others provide a salary plus commission. There are also options such as profit margin plans that compensate sales people based on how well the company is doing.
If your compensation model is working well, you may not want to rock the boat. But re-evaluate its efficacy at least annually and don't hesitate to explore other approaches. Our Firm can help you analyze the numbers related to compensation as well as the metrics you're using to track and assess sales.