Everyone wants great salespeople. But it is sometimes difficult to find them. And sometimes when you do, in many respects, it is like the NFL draft. They look good on paper or maybe at one company, but when you get them, they are not successful at winning new customers. Why is that? Is it because they were not a good sales rep in the first place, or that you somehow did not help them become successful with the role, training and compensation plan that you gave them?
Based on my experience with many successful sales performers, here are 3 tips to help you lead the sales team to success:
1. Qualified Leads!
Your marketing and SDR (Sales Development Reps) team should be generating qualified leads (SQO-Sales Qualified Opportunities) through an aggressive and targeted Inbound and Outbound marketing effort. However, the most successful reps to do not sit and wait for SQOs. They work with the marketing team to put on targeted webinars, workshops, campaigns and events. In my companies, we require newly-hired reps to bring at least 200 contacts with them, and load them into our CRM database so we continue to build that company asset. After we do that, we start to strategize how we can market to the segments of the database.
We also ask our reps to get social themselves (inbound marketing) and develop a strong social profile not just sharing and networking, but positioning as a thought leader in our space. We do not hire new sales reps who have less than 500 LinkedIn connections. The point is that the rep is active in the inbound and outbound marketing efforts and being creative and energetic in helping to generate SQOs.
“Your goal is not to ‘close a sale’. Your goal is to build a Raving Fan of your company.”
2. Give them a lot of selling time!
A study by Pace Productivity suggests a sales rep spends only 23% of their time selling. That’s 77% of the time they are not selling! Administrative and planning tasks are taking up a large percentage of their time. The sales rep wants to quote quickly and effectively, and get contracts signed rapidly, but all these other activities, are bogging down and frustrating the sales rep.
One of the ideas I implemented in one of my companies is what I call ‘agile meetings’. I hold a 15-minute ‘War Room’ meeting once a week with a sales rep, their manager and me. 3 people. 15 minutes. We cover two key accounts (that I pick in advance) from their funnel (that I study in advance). If we need a follow-up discussion around a specific topic, we can schedule that. But that is it. You would be surprised what you can learn (and help with) in 15 minutes. Keeping it rapid and focused with an upfront agenda, you can eliminate the long 2-hour pipeline reviews with a room full of reps! There is time savings and cost savings here!
In addition to making the sales rep happy, think about the impact you can have on the business from giving the sales rep more selling time: If a sales rep spends 23 % of their time selling today, and is generating $1 million a year in sales revenue, then by freeing up another 23% of their time, you can double your new revenues!
3. Great Products!
You can create a lot of buzz within your sales team – and with your associates, prospects and customers – by a continual release of exciting and innovative new products. I will be writing about this in more detail in my next article, but it is proven that building an innovative company that releases a continual stream of new products that customers love, is a competitive advantage!
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
If you can figure out how to motivate the sales team by developing great products, giving the sales team more selling time, and helping them generate qualified leads, you will lay the foundation for what it will take to beat your competitors and win new Customers and take your business all the way to the top!