Increase Sales Productivity and Motivate Your Sales Force

Guest Blog | Dave Kurlan

Do your salespeople have the desire and commitment to do whatever it takes – every day – to reach their goals?  Here are several tips for how sales managers can motivate, inspire, cajole and incent their sales teams to make their numbers and then some.

Goals – Raise expectations in order to celebrate superior performance.  Don’t forget two crucial items: First, you need a forecast and plan derived from goals (not the other way around) and second, goals are derived from the individual’s income requirements.

Incentives – If an individual has the goals but the company’s compensation isn’t designed to reward superior achievement, the incentive to perform can’t be maintained.  If the company has a rock-solid compensation plan but the goals are lame, the personal incentive to perform will be missing.

Managing the pipeline – The key to managing the pipeline effectively is working with your critical ratios.  Use the Monthly goal, closing percentage, average sale and length of the sell-cycle  You need to determine for your sales team how many new opportunities must enter the sales pipeline each month; how much the opportunities need to be worth and strict deadlines to reach the goal(s).

Accountability – You must hold each salesperson accountable to something measurable every day, such as the number of conversations required to schedule the number of sales calls required to identify said opportunities. Perhaps more important, you must have consequences (like no gas reimbursement) for failing to meet those requirements and consistently follow through whenever necessary. Develop the nerve for full accountability and you’re nearly there.

Skills – The more the better, but let’s focus on the most important skill sets for overachieving.  Your salespeople must be able to hunt for new opportunities, identify the most qualified and be able to close them.  Anything else they can do is bonus.

Urgency – Your salespeople must have enough urgency to get their opportunities closed, when they become closable, even when their prospects are using stall tactics. Prospects may have had compelling reasons to buy in the first place, but people have short memories.  The time away from dwelling on the problems desensitizes prospects to the problems they had intended to solve.  Successful salespeople won’t let that happen because they bring a sense of urgency to things while unsuccessful salespeople are afraid that if they make repeated follow-up attempts their prospects will feel pestered.

Weaknesses – Unfortunately, there are weaknesses among individual sales reps that will neutralize all of the previous eight factors.  A few red flags: non-supportive buy cycle; a need for approval; a tendency to become emotionally involved and money issues.

Coaching and sales training – Your coaching must support any training initiative and help salespeople overcome their weaknesses, develop skills and master the selling process.  While most training will be conducted by sales development experts from outside your firm, the coaching absolutely takes place from within.  Pre-call strategizing and post-call debriefing, with every salesperson, are daily requirements.

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Dave Kurlan, CEO of  Objective Management Group, is author of “Baseline Selling: How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball. ” Dave blogs about sales management at Understanding the Sales Force. He can be reached at dkurlan@objectivemanagement.com.

Contact ZoomInfo today for more information about increasing sales productivity and motivating your sales team.

 

Increase Sales Productivity By Personalizing Online Communication

Sales execs, perhaps more so than other business professionals, have a talent for picking up on non-verbal communication when meeting face-to-face with clients or potential clients. The furrowed brow. The fidget. Darting eyes. Nervous laughter. They are various signals to sales executives that they may need to modulate and/or adjust their strategy to make the person sitting (or standing) across from them more comfortable with the situation. After all, non-verbal communication is at least 50% -70% of all communication, depending on whom you ask.

Still, even with non-verbal communication sales executives have the benefit of being in the physical presence of clients and, depending on the signal(s), have the opportunity to make alterations right then and there. Not so online, where sales executives are increasingly selling their products and services.

As Patricia Wallace, Ph. D. and author of “The Psychology of the Internet,” told The Wall Street Journal recently, on the Web “nobody sees you yawn.”  (It reminds us of a famous New Yorker cartoon that conveys a similar thought.) We were quite taken with the quote and decided to contact Wallace to get her take on the psychological challenges of online sales.

The use of language – crafting e-mail messages or leaving verbal messages on the telephone – cannot be underestimated. Sales execs “need to understand that the Web environment is fraught with one potential or another to say something that is going to be grossly misinterpreted,” said Wallace, who is also senior director, CTYOnline and Information Technology at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth.

Part of the challenge is how to harness the type of skills (verbal and otherwise) that click in face-to-face settings to the online environment, Wallace said. She stressed that because online sales are (generally; read: Skype) not face-to-face, sales executives must be more personal (and respectful) in both tone and delivery.

It starts with the opt-in approach and being sensitive to privacy issues “They need to lean on the side of opt-in, and ask people, ‘If I give you this information will it be a benefit to you?’” Wallace said.

She added that joining appropriate social networks is another way that sales executives can get to know prospects in their space via a more personal vein. Sales execs also might consider establishing their own social networks in which the point is not products and services, per se. Wallace pointed to Johnson & Johnson as an example of how companies can use social media to their advantage. Johnson & Johnson’s health channel, on YouTube, features a wide array of videos designed to promote a better understanding of health and healthcare delivery throughout the world.

“The idea is to say ‘Let’s provide a service,’ a place where people can obtain value,” Wallace said. “[Sales execs] need to touch buyers in ways that go beyond a click-through or a cold-blooded checkout. It’s a face-to-face meeting, followed up by an e-mail, with an invitation to a Webinar or a special event.”

Contact ZoomInfo today to see how we can help personalize your online outreach and increase your sales productivity.

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