How to Improve Sales Performance
Categories: Sales Productivity
Sales professionals are under constant pressure – tasked with taking on bigger territories, facing higher quotas and making more customer contacts than ever. You’ve probably felt this stress, and like many others, you might struggle with the high demand and need to improve sales performance.
Everyone is striving to close that bigger deal, deliver on their quotas, and generate revenue. Sometimes, the key isn’t adopting new tactics. It’s about bringing your focus back to the basics of selling, and making sure you’ve got the essentials down.
Review these strategies, the fundamentals of a successful sales process, and learn how honing these basic skills improve sales performance.
Drop the Logos
Think about your last sales presentation. Did it contain the slide that talked all about your company? When you started, how many employees you have, the number of customers, your locations all over the globe….'Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Customer – Look at our logos!'
Did you show that slide right after your intro slide? We’ve all made that classic seller mistake.
Your company may be long-established and have a great history of pleasing customers. These factors could differentiate you in the marketplace, to a point. We call these traits Holistic Differentiators.
Many sellers have been trained to talk about these differentiators early in the sales process, when you don’t have much else to talk about. But, follow this tactic, and you run the risk of derailing any deal before it’s even begun.
Remember, timing is critical when it comes to your B2B sales conversations. Potential customers want to solve their business problems and they want to know how your solution can help. They really don’t care about your financial stability or company culture, especially early on in the buying process.
The client is much more focused on communicating his or her needs and evaluating how your company's products or services match-up. During this discovery phase is when you need to highlight how your solutions can help alleviate the customer’s specific challenges. It isn't the time to provide your company story, no matter how good it is.
Holistic differentiators make a customer feel good about doing business with you and may be most useful in confirming that the customer is, indeed, making the right decision in choosing your products. Save them for late in the buying process because they help to mitigate risk.
They make your soon-to-be customer feel comfortable about doing business with you. If you find yourself discussing your company's financial stability or its leading position in the industry, instead of engaging your customer in a discussion of their needs and requirements; it’s time to retool your approach.
Logos make for nice and colorful PowerPoint slides. Mapping solutions to problems make for signed deals.
Truly Understand Your Customers’ Pain Points
It’s impossible to sell large deals consistently without hearing and understanding your prospect’s pain points. Understanding your prospect starts with effective discovery. Conducting a great discovery session gives you the information you need to effectively tie your solution to the buyer’s most pressing business need. There are a number of reasons that you could be missing out on key information during the discovery process. Maybe you’re not investing enough time into researching your prospects, or you’re not asking the right questions that truly dig deep into the negative consequences of the business. Put a magnifying glass to your discovery process and identify where you could make improvements.
When you put yourself in the shoes of your customers during the qualification process, you have a better opportunity to empathize with and understand their challenges. Then, you can tailor your sales conversation, like presentations and supporting materials, to address those pains directly.
Prove Your Worth
To truly convince prospects of the benefits your solution provides and improve sales performance, you need actual proof that you can effectively address their pains. This starts with a series of supporting materials that speak to results, instead of simply outlining solution features. People want to know you can do what you say you can do.
Make sure you have a firm grasp of where your company has proof of results. Remember, numbers and dollar signs are compelling supporting information. Customer testimonials and proof points can be the key components that help you push a customer to choose your solution over a competitors’.
One of the easiest ways to generate business and improve sales performance is to work on your referral game. Leads from referrals are usually primed for partnering with your business. They already have trust in the contact that referred your solution, and that trust translates to your business, too.
Sometimes, earning a referral is as simple as asking. When you solve a big challenge for a customer, ask that customer if they know of anyone who also needs your solution and if they could provide an introduction. If your customers are satisfied and reaping the benefits of your solution, they’ll be apt to pass the word along to someone else that could benefit, too.
Remember the Fundamentals
Even if you’ve been selling for years, basic selling fundamentals are critical to closing an opportunity. Whether your company has formal sales training initiatives or not, keep your skills sharp. Role plays, pre-call planners and opportunity reviews can help even the most seasoned salespeople. Regularly consume resources that can offer continuous tips and training to help you improve sales performance..
Communicate Your Differentiators
Don’t just rattle off features and functions that make your solution different than a competitor's’. You have to communicate differentiation in a way that has meaning to the buyer. A feature you have that your competitor doesn’t, won’t get you the deal if your buyer has no use for it. Be sure you are articulating your differentiation while giving it context around your buyer’s requirements.
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