The first quarter is in the bag, and we are halfway through Q2. Does hitting your revenue targets seem like a bridge too far? Or maybe you can’t even see the bridge? Is fear crawling up your spine because the sales aren’t rolling in? Read on.
Growing your business requires structure and intention. By focusing on these 5 key areas, you can begin removing fear and building a high-performance sales culture.
5 Keys to Sales Growth
- Define the Ideal Client Profile for your team
- Optimize your Sales Process
- Establish Accountability
- Consistent Sales Coaching
- Sales Specific Hiring Process
CEOs and owners can get off course easily when they’re laser-focused on growth. You can be lured into the marketing funnel with promises of endless inbound leads. You can be smitten by automation and all the shiny new tech stacks. These paths only delay the inevitable but you can get back on track with the 5 keys above. All the other investments will amount to nothing if these are not implemented first. Let’s dig in.
Ideal Client Profile
When was the last time you reviewed the prospects and businesses your team is targeting? Is your sales team aligned on the right business to pursue? You may be surprised. A whiteboard session and time in the field could shed light on why sales might be stagnated.
Specifically, look at the current problems plaguing your clients. Which ones can you help mitigate? Run through the exercise of what, who, where, and, why.
- What type of businesses are your best clients?
- What problems do you help them solve?
- Have you built questioning strategies for your reps to uncover pain?
- Have you built models to help them monetize the pain?
- Who in those businesses owns the problems that you solve?
- Is your team calling on the right people?
- Are they reaching decision-makers?
- Where are these businesses located?
- Why do they want to work with your company?
- Can everyone on your team deliver an on target value proposition?
By getting clarity around these attributes and building the profile with problems, your team will easily identify the right people and start conversations.
As boring as this sounds, it is where you need to spend considerable time getting it right. If you don’t have a staged, milestone-driven, sales process that takes your client (and your sales team) through their buying cycle, you will struggle to grow sales.
A sales process becomes the foundation for every other aspect of sales management. It even affects sales hiring because you use this to help onboard your new talent. It is so important we wrote an e-book Email firstname.lastname@example.org for your free copy.
A staged process means specific steps must occur to move the project forward. It allows your Sales Managers to properly coach their sales team and keeps them on the right path. Your team will have a common language and structure to follow. The other benefit is increased sales; it is estimated that an effective, staged, milestone-centric sales process can add 12%-18% sales growth to your pipeline. Do you want the best way to begin to get the team aligned? This is it.
Establishing a sales process and building it into the sales team’s daily work sets the foundation for the next factor necessary for a performance-based sales culture.
All weak sales teams excel at making excuses and shirking responsibility. Excuses limit growth and hinder all efforts for improvement. Jocko Willink, coined the term “Extreme Ownership.” We must own the outcome of our efforts to improve. Your sales managers must help the salespeople come to that realization so your business can grow and that begins with the sales process.
Monthly 1:1 meetings with salespeople are where this first takes shape. Pipeline reviews, deal strategy meetings, and reviewing sales activities now have a context and common language. Leadership can easily stay current on deals and track effectiveness. Accepting responsibility and creating accountability for efforts and results leads to the most important role of your sales leaders.
Your salespeople are like corporate athletes and every athlete needs a coach. All successful teams of any type have an effective coaching culture; it’s how they drive performance. Top athletes crave coaching because they want to get better—they expect feedback and use it to drive greater performance.
Unfortunately, we don’t see enough coaching these days. The move to virtual and remote work added a new wrinkle but don’t fall for that excuse. Your sales managers must coach and help the salespeople improve.
Sales Specific Hiring Process
The final piece is a specific and robust sales hiring process. Hiring salespeople differs from hiring other types of employees. Why? Because salespeople are skilled at talking and gaining trust quickly. Even those that underperform in the field are often skilled at interviewing. Sometimes the best sales project they win is the last job they were awarded. As the company leader, you must help set the criteria for sales hiring.
Everything from sourcing candidates to onboarding needs to have a sales-specific orientation. Sourcing, Screening, Interviewing, Offer, and Onboarding are the five key blocks of a sales-specific hiring process. In the next few weeks, we will delve further into these areas.
You don’t have to give in to fear.
If you build out the processes and practices in these areas—Ideal Client Profile, Sales Process, Accountability, Sales Coaching, Sales-Specific Hiring—you will have the tools in place to drive growth.
You absolutely can turn around lackluster performance and begin building a high-performance sales team. It will take focus and effort but, the payoff is high performance. Bonus—no more fear of missing your numbers.