Looking to improve sales performance on your team? We’re here to help you.
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that the modern world of sales is metrics driven and process oriented. But too often, metrics and process get stuck in the board room or on a spreadsheet, never making it down to frontline sales managers and reps.
Vantage Point Performance partner Jason Jordan paints a vivid picture in Cracking the Sales Management Code: Imagine if a war general carefully crafted marching orders, but never handed them to their platoon leaders and foot soldiers. It would be chaos.
Misalignment around key initiatives creates confusion, causing sales teams to miss quota. You want to know how to improve sales performance, so LevelEleven founder Bob Marsh joined TopOPPs founder Jim Eberlin to address these issues in a recent virtual hangout.
Click here to listen to the audio recording, or check out the highlights of what they said.
Expert Advice on How to Improve Sales Performance
Be ‘In the Know’
- “It’s really important for frontline managers to be in the know. They should be using software like [sales activity management], watching the right kind of metrics. Otherwise … you’re guessing, and you end up punishing the reps cause you’re just not in the know.” – Jim Eberlin (@jeberlin)
- “It’s metrics that really help you with what’s going on …. You can tell whether or not the reps are actually executing like you want and if that execution is really working. There’s times where we had to change our messaging – the reps were doing what I told them to do, but we just found some things weren’t working, and there were some changes going on in the market [so] we had to change up how we were going after the pain points and asking certain discovery questions.” – Jim Eberlin (@jeberlin)
- “When I started hitting my stride and becoming successful, I realized it wasn’t some magic closing technique. It all came down to the day-to-day behaviors that led to sales.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
Focus on Key Activities that Lead to Sales
- “The majority of the sales organization, whether we like it or not, is going to be made up of middle- or bottom-performers, and they just get lost. They get lost in unimportant activities. They’re focused on the bottom of the funnel. They get themselves stuck because they’re always chasing the deal to hit this month’s quota, and then they’re kind of toast for the next couple of months.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
- “Where companies often get lost is when considering what activities lead to sales, [asking] ‘What are the metrics we want to measure?’ ” [They] end up creating a lot that are just not manageable. There’s some research that says 83 percent of all the metrics that companies use around their sales organization are unmanageable. Unmanageable defined as, you can’t walk up to someone and say, ‘I need you to do this to change this number.’ ” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
- “You have to pay attention to close rate, deal size, etc. Those are critical numbers to how you build your plan. But it’s hard to walk up to someone and say, ‘Hey, you’re close rate is too low. Can you fix that today?’ You can train them on how to talk to the right customers and how to have higher value conversations, and you need to do that.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
Define Your Sales Process
- “Having a consistent process is super important. I think a process that revolves around the way the customer buys is important…understanding that there are multiple different processes based on the size of the company.” – Jim Eberlin (@jeberlin)
Foster a Positive Working Environment
- “The only way [monitoring sales rep activity] becomes a problem is if, culturally, you’re making that a problem. If you’re going to micromanage people and take them out back because they made 75 calls instead of 102 and shame them in front of the team, that’s a cultural issue. That’s not because you’re managing activities. It’s because of the way you’re coaching and managing around them.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
- “You want some activity reported because they need to know, themselves, how they’re doing. They need to know where deals are getting stuck? I think it’s important for frontline managers to make sure that reps somehow record what’s going on and not be afraid of that.” – Jim Eberlin (@jeberlin)
These two experts have a lot more advice on how to improve sales performance, including tips on buyer personas, onboarding sale reps and defining metrics. If you like their insights, check out another virtual hangout with Jim and Bob: How to Immediately Amp up Your Sales Coaching.