A Leader Asks "How to Improve my Sales Results"

All great business leaders have this question. They realize that in order to turn a profit for their organization, appease the shareholders, feed the workers’ families, and make a positive impact on the community – their company has to bring in enough topline revenue.

This article will discuss the two primary ways to improve your organization’s sales performance, in the order that they should be addressed.

 

1. Create and Implement a Dedicated Sales Process

Sounds like common sense, right? Unfortunately, it’s not commonly practiced. If you survey salesforces, you’ll find that many expect the individual salespeople to know the answer to strategic initiatives such as: Who do we sell to? What positive impact do we provide? Who in that organization is in charge of creating that type of impact? How should we position to them?

You cannot increase your sales by relying on individuals to dictate the answers to these questions. This type of strategic thinking and planning should ultimately be conducted at the leadership-level and be communicated down throughout the organization. By answering those questions, you are ultimately guiding your salespeople on who to target and what to say to them.

Giving concrete direction to your team in these areas is well worth the time. Think about it, if your sales organization is contacting the wrong decision-maker of your targeted company with the wrong positioning message of how people and companies like them achieve a result – do they even have a fighting chance of winning a sale? Likely not.

Once you have the right market and message in place, you can begin developing the company-wide methodology your team will use at each stage of the process.

Prospecting Process 

What agreed-upon marketing channels will we commit to targeting and communicating with our market on? What will create/say in these channels to gain the interest of our targeted stakeholder? How will we make a 1-1 outreach and what will we say? Unfortunately, prospecting today is often sporadic in organizations and fails to unify the company’s efforts across communication platforms. There is no process or timeline in place for what gets said to a prospect, where it gets said, and how often it gets said. To increase the number of new appointments entering the organization, make sure you have a process for lead generation and prospecting.

Needs Assessment Approach

Once we have an appointment with a customer, what questions do we ask to capture and develop the complete and accurate business and technical requirements need for constructing a proposal? As an organization, how do we evaluate where a prospect is today and what they are looking to accomplish? If we do not have a standardized process for evaluating a prospect this way, then we run this risk of misunderstanding and miss-solutioning.

Proposal Standardization

Once we have understood the prospect’s requirements, how do we write high-quality proposals? What should it contain / not contain to ensure that we are closing upwards of 70% of deals that we are qualified to? If you expect each salesperson to write their own proposal with no structure and guidelines you are taking on a huge level of risk and variability in this critical sales process component to winning business.  

Presenting and Closing Approach

How do we present our offering and proposal to the targeted company? How do we bring together all relevant stakeholders to ensure business case accuracy and that there is no delay of stall? When asking for the close, how do we reiterate the business case and risk mitigation at fair market price? Your organization should have a closing plan to rely on in the heat of the moment with a prospect. 

Negotiations Plan

Unfortunately, not all deals will close the moment we ask for it. In B2B sales, there will often be negotiations and objections that occur. How will we anticipate and respond to common negotiations around price, stall, and competition? How will we showcase and defend relative value when needed? Negotiation process plans are often overlooked by teams and that results in slimmer profit margins and unnecessarily longer sales cycles. 

Account Management Process

How do we maximize the total lifetime value of an account once we’ve won it? What is the company-wide customer management plan to ensure we are fulfilling expected business outcomes? What is our process for quarterly check-ins to resell, upsell, and cross-sell our products and services?

 

Think about how many mistakes an individual could make at each one of these process points. To really ensure that your sales results improve, can you see why you need to implement a standardized selling methodology across your company?

For a complete guide on the sales process used by the top 1% of B2B organizations, download the Smart Sales Method.

2. Maximize your Sales Talent and Team

Okay, initiative A was to get a solid methodology in place for your team to follow – now let’s talk about building the best team that you can.

Much like the foundation for a good sales process, building a good sales team requires the answers to a few strategic questions. What is the greater purpose of our organization? Who do we aim to serve? What allows us to compete effectively? How are we perceived in the marketplace?

Answering these questions will help you formulate your answer to the most essential question of all strategic talent acquisition programs – Why should a successful sales representative leave where they are currently employed and successful to come work for you?

Once you have that answer, start communicating it. That answer should be the cornerstone of your organization’s recruiting campaign and listed in every proactive reach out. That answer is what is going to initially attract them to being receptive to your organization.

From there, it’s time to reach out. Much like how sales operates, recruiting salespeople requires proactive outward communication, rather than simply waiting for inbound applicants. Determine what roles you need to achieve your company’s goals and create a targeted list of competitors/adjacent businesses that you want to recruit from. Have your team reach out to them to see if your position would be interesting to them.

Once you have a pool of interested candidates, begin your evaluation process. See if they have the track-record, skill, and desire for executing a sales process on targeted customers and decision-makers that are like the ones that your organization works with. If they do (beware that only a few will), those are the representatives that you should hire to maximize your team’s talent and win more deals. Onboard them effectively so they understand your offerings, target market, and marketing & sales process within the first 90 days.

Can you see how talent acquisition programs like this outpace the standard “post & hope” hiring strategy of your competitors.? By getting your candidate messaging in order, identifying right-fit candidates, and running campaigns to them – you earn the right to have high-quality sales talent join your mission.

For a full guide on strategic hiring initiatives, attracting talent, finding & contacting talent, interviewing & evaluating, and offering & onboarding, download the CEOs Guide to Building Sales Teams.

 

Closing Thoughts

The best way to improve your sales results is by implementing processes into your organization. A selling process ensures that all your reps are taking a consistent approach to prospecting for new business, proposing and closing deals, and managing the account. A strategic talent acquisition program improves your sales team by communicating to proven and capable sales talent why they should leave where they are to come work for you. Once you have a sales process and place and a hiring program for attracting and finding salespeople, make sure that you onboard them quickly and provide sales training to upgrade their selling skills in each process area.