18 October 2016

(Blog) 10 Ways to Get Your Sales Team Gold Medal Ready for 2017

“Raise your sail one foot and you get ten feet of wind” (Chinese Proverb)

An effective sales team provides the life blood for any businesses’ growth and development, and the Sales Manager’s role is to provide the team with the clarity of purpose, framework and stretch needed to constantly achieve high performance. Consistent delivery of the basics, and value differentiation, are the keys to staying ahead of the competition and, in this vein, Harvest’s Paul Barnwell has identified 10 Top Tips to help Sales Managers create a sales culture that will win in 2017:

1. Identify and clearly communicate your goals, and how they will be measured

Sales goals need to be absolutely transparent, and aligned to the overall business strategy. Sales teams should be in no doubt about what success will look like; what is expected of them; why it is expected of them; and how results will be measured.

2. Develop a detailed sales plan

It’s all very fine knowing where you want to go, but you also need a clear map about how you are going to get there. Involve your team in developing the plan and, especially, their part in delivering it; it will increase its effectiveness, and their sense of ownership and determination to achieve it. Be willing to change course if it is not realising the desired results.

3. Identify and concentrate on the right priorities

Every business will have to achieve more with less in 2017, so prioritisation has never been more important. If you don’t get your team to work on the things that really matter, you will dilute your outcomes dramatically. Keep focusing on the required end-game and adapting priorities to meet changed circumstances.

4. Get organised

Create an environment where activity planning and organisation, and a structured engagement approach (that is not apparent to the customer), are how your team fundamentally and continuously operates. No customer meeting should take place without proper pre-call planning. At a minimum your team should research each customer / prospect, and establish a clear set of objectives and a clear value-add for all calls. Make sure your team uses a diary / technology to effectively manage and report their activity.

5. Segment your customer base

Not all customers / prospects are the same, nor should they be treated the same! This statement raises hackles in most organisations. Nevertheless, the truly great ones know their customer base intimately, and develop tailored sales and service propositions that are both customer centric and commercial. And, they openly communicate their approach to their sales teams to ensure they are properly aligned to the segmentation model.

6. Develop a clear, holistic and high impact value proposition

Has your organisation got a clearly defined proposition that describes the total benefits of partnering with your business? Does your sales team know what it is? Can they articulate it to customers / prospects consistently, and in way that is highly compelling? It’s amazing the number of businesses that don’t work on this! Spend time developing your proposition and reap the rewards of increased sales and your team’s continuous reinforcement of the brand.

7. Be ruthless on consistently delivering the basics

Inspect what you expect. Coach, mentor and develop your team’s skills and capabilities. Communicate what good looks like, celebrate success and manage-out constant underperformance.

8. Nurture your existing customers

Many surveys say that retaining an existing customer is five to seven times more profitable than attracting a new one. Your organisation has already proven itself; that’s why your customers did business with you in the first place! Create a climate of nurture, where your sales people show customers that you still value the relationship. Your sales team should be extending its network of connections in their businesses; it should be up selling and cross selling; it should be creating dependency and locking-down relationships for longer.

9. Reward the behaviours you want

Businesses get the behaviour they reward. All too often, businesses want to promote product X or service Y, but have a reward structure that drives contradictory results. It’s obvious, but how can you realistically expect sales people to promote something, when the rewards are telling them to do the complete opposite?

10. Selling is not just about selling

Your sales team should have its finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the market: What’s selling? What’s not? What’s the competition doing? What trends are emerging? What do your customers need now? What will they need in the future? Capture that gold dust on your CRM system, and communicate it to key internal stakeholders so they can rapidly re-align your business.

Author: Paul Barnwell (Learning Specialist)

October 2016

Tel: 01 4974622

Email: paul.barnwell@harvest.ie

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