If you are managing a sales team, your job depends on whether or not your reps hit their number.
But what if your team is made up of just average performers?
How do you move those in the middle-of-the-pack to the top?
Or, what if you’ve hired a bunch of new reps?
How do you ensure they’re ramped quickly and efficiently?
Before you can answer any of those questions, you need to take a few steps backward.
In order to reach quota attainment, each and every sales team needs to follow a sales process, implement structure around goals, and monitor their performance.
We’ll cover how to effectively accomplish each of these in our 3-step guide.
Let’s start with the basics…
Establishing a Winning Sales Process
Every sales team has a sales process, but does it actually enable them to reach quota attainment? Rarely.
Your sales process is the heart of your revenue machine. It’s what takes your big picture, sales strategy and empowers your team to make accurate forecasting decisions that will ultimately lead you to your quota goals.
At the end of the day, there’s no wrong or right way to hit your number (if you do know what works, go ahead and skip to the next blog in our series). But understanding your market and your company’s internal dynamics will help you reach a solid decision.
An easy way to hit the ground running is improving your sales process by observing top performers.
On average, star performers usually make up approximately 10-20% of a sales team. Another 60% are middle-of-the-pack, and the last 20% are poor performers.
For account executives, this is determined by the pipeline created, the number of deals closed, the amount of revenue brought in, and the overall sales cycle length.
As a manager, look back at the last 5 or 10 deals that closed and ask yourself the following:
- What were the major steps in the process?
- What did touchpoints with the customer look like?
- How well do they build trust with the prospect or customer at the beginning of the appointment?
- How well do they balance the dual functions of talking versus listening?
- What was said during the conversations between reps and prospects?
- How well do they formulate and ask business-focused questions?
- How well does your salesperson comprehend the buyer’s needs and priorities?
- How well do they present your products and services as targeted solutions versus pitching a list of features?
- How long did the entire process take, and how much time elapsed between each step?
The more examples you have to base your average on (and the more people on your team those examples are coming from), the better.
Map your observations to a generic example and formulate a plan around how you can best hit your number.
It should look something like this:
In order to begin your sales process, you need to start by sourcing net new people, companies, and/or organizations. These contacts (pulled from online research or a pre-existing database) are associated with the goal of driving new business for your company.
Whether it’s with a cold call or email, or something more unconventional (social media, direct mail), setting an appointment is the critical next step for reps to follow. These conversations with early-stage leads allow you to gather information and judge their worthiness for moving forward.
Qualification and Research
Regardless of what stage of the sales cycle your customer is in, you should always be learning more about the prospect and their business.
The qualification stage usually takes place during your first appointment. The idea is to confirm that your prospect is both able and potentially willing to buy your product before you spend a lot of time trying to pitch to him or her.
You can then tailor the buyer’s journey to their specific needs, which improves the likelihood of a deal closing and ultimately achieving quota attainment.
Addressing Pain Points and Highlighting Value
As a prospect moves through the sales cycle, most sales reps find the sales demo is when they showcase true worth. This stage typically comes after a few conversations, as it’s only for well-qualified prospects. And you use this time to demonstrate all the ways your product or solution fits your prospect’s needs.
Hitting the Gong
Closing varies from company to company, but it usually includes delivering a proposal, negotiation, receiving the buy-in of decision makers, or any other related actions. It’s during this stage that you begin to see your sales process is actually working.
For each stage, it’s important to make note of why a prospect moved from one area to the next. Use yes or no questions or questions with quantifiable answers to determine what worked and always base these off of the customer’s own actions — never solely on the perception of the rep. reason/cause will be based on the customer’s own actions and not on the perception of the rep.
Click here for the next post in our Sales Manager’s Guide to Quota Attainment series.