Your business plan is strong and your products are solid – but for some reason, your sales team just can’t take leads to close. Is it your sales staff? Is it your sales leadership? You need to change something to increase your sales, and you need to identify the culprit sooner rather than later.
In truth, sales is an incredibly complex dance, and you can’t blame just one offender for failing to close a deal. In reality, you are likely the primary reason your sales team can’t close because you aren’t providing the training, tactics or tools to get clients through the funnel. Here are some major mistakes you could be making, unknowingly crippling your sales efforts.
You Aren’t Training New Hires
You advertise available sales positions with postings that demand three to five years of experience, expecting applicants to have three to five years of sales experience. Then, when you bring new hires onto your sales team, you can be confident they know exactly what to do and how to do it.
However, not all candidates have the three to five years of experience you might expect. Some of them might use internships or work-study placements to fill that qualification; others might have spent three to five years in a field adjacent to sales. In all of these cases, your new hires need you to guide them through the sales process, so they know how to identify prospects, chase leads and close deals. Even applicants who do have five solid years in sales need training in your company’s products and processes.
Failure to train your sales staff will result in sluggish sales. If you don’t have the time or know-how to train your sales team, you need to hire a sales manager who does.
You Are Pushing Ineffective Tactics
You have a minimum number of sales calls your team members must make every day. You mandate that first interactions must be face-to-face. You tell your sales staff to inflate the effects of the products. You want the sales process to go faster and faster, so you can move on to bigger and better sales.
All of these are ineffective, outdated sales tactics that are putting your entire business at risk. Instead, you should use data to inform how you attract clients, how you interact with clients and how you sell products. You should also pay attention to sales trends in your industry to understand how your competitors are managing their sales. For example, if you run a B2B, you should probably begin transitioning to account-based selling, which has been shown to be more effective for business clients. Just because tactics worked for you 20 years ago does not mean they will work for your team today; you need to be flexible and informed to maintain a high-performing sales team.
You Aren’t Providing Adequate Tools
Yes, it is possible for a salesperson to close a deal with only words and a handshake – but that’s not an optimal strategy for everyone. To move sales along quickly and confidently, your sales team needs dozens of tools, the least of which is a telephone and a company email address. The most important tool your business needs is customer relationship management (CRM) software, which tracks interactions between your team and clients but can also help manage marketing campaigns, identify sales opportunities and perform other services to enhance sales. There are many CRM providers, and you should research your options – with your sales team – to determine which is best for your sales strategy.
You Don’t Trust Your Sales Team
Trust is mandatory in any interpersonal situation, but especially in sales. Not only should your clients trust your sales people, but your sales staff must trust you to lead them straight. Finally, you must trust your sales team to perform their duties to the best of their ability. In large part, trust in sales is demonstrated through autonomy: If you hover around the sales floor, butting into each and every interaction with a client, you demonstrate that you don’t trust your sales staff, and your clients will start to feel that distrust within themselves.
While you do need to help new hires become accustomed to the sales process, once they demonstrate their ability to follow leads and close deals, you should leave them well alone. You should be able to step in every once in a while to teach new techniques or motivate your staff, but you shouldn’t have to hold your team’s hands through each and every sale.