Running a successful sales team is the best feeling in the world.
Running a sales team that is working hard and getting the results they deserve is the second best feeling in the world.
The worst feeling in the world is managing a sales team that is not producing the results they want, need or deserve…that’s tough on everyone, you, them and the business.
The thing is – when the sales team is working well, no-one stops to ask why…what are we doing today that makes us successful? Is it the market? Our offering? Pricing? Our sales skills? Our Competitors being weak? The time of year? Rarely do we ask these questions when things are going to plan and commission payments are large….
Knowing what is really going on in the sales team, understanding the critical success factors that contribute to high sales performance and where the customers and prospects see value is vital to weathering some of the tougher times.
When fortunes do start to dip then swift action is needed. Failure is endemic and contagious, a bad month becomes a bad quarter very quickly.
Here are some of the things to monitor – in good times and bad:
- Conversion rates
- Calls to leads
- Leads to sat appointments
- Presentations to quotes
- Quotes to orders
- Average number of orders per week/month
- Average sale price per week/month
- Sales acquisition cost
- Up sells
- Cross sells
- Add ons
- Sales stats – phone time, client face time, prospect face time
- Regularity of updates into the CRM
- Consistency of orders
- Accuracy of pipeline
- Customer satisfaction feedback
- Attitude/Time keeping and general admin
- Invoice queries
- Resolution times
Very rarely does a company fall off a cliff in terms of sales performance, it’s typically a steady decline. Careful monitoring of some KPI will let you, the sales manager, know it is happening before it happens….leave it too late and playing catch up can take a lot longer.
If you are in a position where the sales dip is not reversing then more drastic action needs to be taken.
- Building a core team to concentrate on – help them build their performance as a small group, rather than taking on the whole sales team, then use the group of newly invigorated sales performers to lead and show the way for the rest of the team as you work on groups 2 and 3.
- Look for the easy wins – work out where the team can at least stabilise their sales performance.
- Think about removing poor performers and bringing new talent into the sales team.
- Take an independent view of the marketplace – competitor analysis, lost sales analysis to see if there are any external factors at play
- Benchmark your sales team against the competitors
- Attend more client facing meetings with the sales team
- Take care not to inject desperation into the team, this will drive morale and the prices through the floor
- Be sure to celebrate every single order that comes in – spread the word that it’s still possible to sell and bring back orders
- Don’t let failure become acceptable
- Don’t lower the bar
- If you hear the sales team telling each other how tough it is out there then give them a different view of the situation – if one person’s story of how bad it is out there is reinforced by another person…it can very quickly become gospel
- Look for sources of leadership within the business that are not being supportive, productive or displaying the leadership skills needed during times of non-performance, and bring them onside.
- Build confidence in the sales team – in the people, the business and the teams within the business.
Minutes matter in a sales turnaround situation so commit to not letting even 1 hr go by without pushing something in the business forward – whether its’ through coaching someone, getting on the phone to help the sales team close off some business or talking to suppliers to see who they can refer you to…lots of poor sales managers will want to sit around and chat about how bad the situation is…yet fortune favours the brave and as Ben Franklin said – well done is better than well said.
If you would like to learn more about sales turn around or if you have a specific issue you would like to discuss in confidence then please call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Griffiths – Lead Consultants and Director
Morton Kyle Limited
0779 002 1885