A good sales team is necessary for your company to grow and make the difference between success and failure. Here are some strategies to ensure that your sales team is selling and negotiating at its best.
Evaluate your sales force
If you already have a sales team in place, you need to evaluate their performance. Are your salespeople upholding your company’s image. Are they developing excellent relationships with your customers. Are your salespeople interfacing with repair and delivery departments, and above all bringing in the sales?
Even if your salespeople are not doing too poorly, additional training can take their sales skills to the next level. Attending sales programs can arm them with tool-sets, processes, persuasion skills and more to help them succeed. Salespeople can learn through various realistic role-play exercises how to tailor negotiation styles to suit a client’s personality, product and service opportunities.
Hold them accountable
One of the critical measures when evaluating your sales force is their productivity. Use monthly sales stats and divide sales volume by the number of sales personnel to get a good idea of what the average salesperson in the team is bringing in.
Knowing the performance of each salesperson is also valuable. You are likely to have some excellent salespeople carrying the load for some who are not performing as well.
Remember that productivity is about more than just generating sales. Some salespeople may be very good at selling but neglect great customer service. Others may over-promise to get a sale – knowing that this will put too much pressure on other departments.
Some may manage to sell a large number of items with low margins and not focus on more profitable products and services. Check whether some salespeople have a high number of returns or clients who fail to pay – they could be costing you money.
Go all out with training
You may choose to keep your team the same size but find different people to fill the positions of those who are not performing well. First, try to establish why specific team numbers are underperforming. If this is due to their lack of negotiation skills, sales negotiation training could make a big difference.
Screencasts, quizzes, reading books and attending sales negotiation courses are just some of the ways to help keep your sales force motivated and up to date. Your salesforce could learn how to neutralize the tactics of buyers in a non-confrontational manner, and understand how to develop more rapport with buyers.
It is even possible to use negotiation sims in workshop environments. Simulators gamify role-playing and give sales staff unique negotiation challenges to learn from. Salespeople can take risks and grow in their ability to make deals in situations that don’t bleed company profits.
Add the right people to the team
You may conclude that you need to employ more people for your sales team. If you hire the wrong people, they can damage customer relationships, destroy your brand image and hurt sales. Hiring the right people will free you up to spend your energy on other tasks because you can rely on them.
Your sales team is not just there to make sales, but probably has the most daily contact with customers. When thinking about hiring new salespeople, you need to consider personality, experience, reputation and skills.
Has the candidate any sales negotiation experience? Would the candidate be able to develop a deep level of trust and rapport with customers? Would the candidate be able to persuade customers without making too many negotiation concessions? Is the candidate teachable or better yet: a lifelong learner?
Some people with vast sales experience think they have it all figured out. These people might be too set in their ways to listen to new approaches. If you suggest attending a negotiation seminar to them, they may be offended. Learning should never end for your sales team.
Give your team the tools to succeed
It’s not enough to have all the right people if they do not have the tools to deliver the results you expect. Think about how they will go about interacting with customers and closing sales.
Do they have the most efficient ways to write and submit orders? Could some paper processes be replaced with more efficient methods? Do they have the means to communicate efficiently and effectively at all times?
- Applications such as Dropbox allows the storing of files in the cloud for easy collaboration.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps with targeting the right prospects.
- Trello is a free project management tool.
- ToutApp is a paid sales tool that provides template sharing, team analytics and engagement tracking.
Have the right compensation plan
Obviously, when compensation is tied to performance through a bonus system or commission, it gives salespeople more incentive to perform at a high level. However, having sales staff worrying they won’t be able to pay their bills is counter-productive.
Considering your compensation plan, you need to think about keeping your costs and risks manageable without exposing yourself to the higher risk of not being able to attract the right talent.
You need to do whatever you can to make sure your sales team is able to operate to the best of its ability. This may involve establishing more accountability, offering them more sales negotiation training, giving them all the tools they need to succeed, and compensating them well.