Sales managers constantly ask their reps to achieve aggressive goals. If sales milestones are met in one year, the yard stick is moved further in the next year. Rather than ask for more and more production from reps year over year, great sales leaders seek to continually refine and evolve the sales process.
It’s about growing and building your sales team so that they are equipped with the tools they need to succeed. Helping your team become more productive results in a boost to the bottom line.
As you begin this journey to evolve your sales process, be sure to keep these five steps in mind:
1. Let Reps Focus on Selling
How common it is for companies to actually grow year over year? Salesforce conducts a large yearly study called the State of Sales Report, where they report that 69% of companies remain flat year over year. Only about 24% experience significant growth.
So what drives high growth? High-growth companies are always looking for ways to build efficiencies into their sales process. They’re quick to cut out the middleman and to minimize the need for multiple internal approvals, quotes, and legal sign offs. These companies give their reps back the time they need to generate leads, qualify prospects, build customer relationships, and become trusted advisors.
2. Understand Trends in the Buyer’s Market
“Among the many factors driving the increase in virtual selling, buyer preference stands out. Buyers are digital-first and don’t feel the need for face-to-face communication.”
– Trish Bertuzzi, President and Chief Strategist, The Bridge Group
Contrary to conventional wisdom, all sales meetings are not equal. Especially if you end up talking to the wrong person about the wrong topic. Thriving teams know how to take a step back, look at all their account data, use AI to compare it against a dynamic model, and tease out the right next step to close deals. In other words, they’ve got the tools, data, and insights to get the right meeting with the right person all the time. And they’ve set up a process that makes it all routine.
This includes achieving operational excellence with everyday interactions, too. Plugging CRM data into your email system can turn sales reps into productive powerhouses — even when they’re not face-to-face with customers.
3. Get Marketing and Sales Teams on the Same Page
Growth-focused companies understand the value of marketing and sales teams working in tandem. Why? Because they don’t believe in silos. They tear down the wall between sales and marketing — and keep it down forever. When both teams share one information, leads arrive on time — and in context — so reps know who to call first. Marketers can also refine lead gen efforts on the fly with the help of real-time customer insights from sales. It’s a win-win across the board.
Reps also need an easier way to nurture lower-priority leads. A copy/paste experience doesn’t cut it anymore, nor will those blanket newsletters move the needle. Impersonal communications have a greater chance of being deleted and may actually work against your brand. Instead, by understanding what types of communications have resonated with your customers, you can be smart about your approach to their buying journey and engage them in a much more personalized way. Closer alignment between sales and marketing is key to making this happen.
4. Get Smart, Get Predictive
Seventy percent of the most successful companies leverage sales analytics and intelligent forecasting, according to Salesforce’s State of Sales Report. These organizations have built-in processes for leveraging the knowledge of today for tomorrow’s success. Instead of being caught off guard, they rely on data and insights to make every step of the sales process more efficient and effective.
5. Tap Into Your Partner Network
Building out your partner channel is a powerful way to scale business growth and success. However, channel partners (not unlike your customers), have a lot of choices. By similarly personalizing every touchpoint you have with your channel partners, you create a frictionless experiences that makes it easier for them to work with — and sell on behalf of — your business. This will make them far more likely to sell for you instead of for a competitor. And you can achieve this with clicks — not code. You just need a simple, ongoing way to share data with partners. This will ensure that you’re all on the same page. Supporting indirect sales through your partner network can actually become the evolutionary leap you’ve been waiting for — especially in those times when you start to see flatline growth.
The Never-Ending Story of Sales Evolution
Your company’s products may be great today — and they may be even better tomorrow — but they’re never going to sell themselves. What will move them however, is a sales process that evolves as your business grows and supports every effort to land the right meeting with the right person, every time.
Even though evolution can feel a bit like an ebb and flow, the effort behind evolution needs to be always on. There should never be a moment when you or your team isn’t looking for new ways to refine your sales process to meet and exceed your customers’ needs. Practice this long-game strategy enough, and winning will look and feel even easier.
With content from our partners at Salesforce.