“As long as people keep coming in the door, everything will be fine.”
It’s tempting to believe this truism is completely true – that as long as you’re making sales, you’re winning and don’t have to worry too much about improving. However, there’s always room to make your processes more efficient, and to find better ways to connect, nurture, and retain your clientele.
If you’re evaluating the success of your sales team, we’ve put together a few questions you should ask to determine areas for celebration and areas for improvement.
#1 - How efficient is your sales process?
It doesn’t matter how many prospects you connect with or how many leads you get unless you close the deal. And even if you are closing deals, you can still find ways to make the process more efficient for your teams.
If you’re spending three months or a year closing a sale, determine whether that’s what is to be expected for your industry, or whether you’re lagging behind.
If it’s not normal, where is the process unraveling? Is there a specific sticking point for multiple clients? Even within your own team, you may find that you’re able to generate prospects but have trouble continuing relationships over a longer timeframe.
Take a look at how many team members are involved in the process and how many working hours it takes to close a deal. Automation tools, nurture campaigns pre-loaded into your CRM, and smarter data analysis – all these tools come with a price tag, but they may be worth it based on the time you save and/or the additional revenue you generate.
#2 - What are you evaluating – wins or losses?
It’s easy to look at a situation where you didn’t get the sale and play the coulda-woulda-shoulda game. You can try to guess where you went wrong, analyze the numbers, and make adjustments based on the flaws you come up with.
But however valuable this is, there’s just as much value – and sometimes even more – in asking yourself what went wrong when you actually were successful at closing the deal.
The natural impulse is to pat yourself on the back and celebrate, then feel a little complacent because of the success you’ve achieved.
The old adage may say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, there are plenty of opportunities to tweak your processes even on a winning sale.
Honest conversations with clients are one of the best ways to get some of this information. Ask them candid, open-ended questions, like, “What’s one thing we could have done better?” or “What was the most frustrating thing about our process?”
One caveat: don’t allow any negative feedback they provide to color your future business dealings. Instead, look at it as constructive criticism and use it to your benefit as you improve your sales processes.
#3 - How well are your teams communicating?
Like a relay race, your hand-offs between team members should be seamless. The experience for the client is lackluster if they have to repeat their issues, goals, and pain points each time they interact with your sales team.
High-growth companies can reach out to prospects up to 16 times in a matter of a few weeks. Imagine how frustrating it is for the customer, and how much time is wasted for your team, if communications aren’t flowing smoothly between team members and the customer is repeatedly engaged in repetitive, time-squandering conversations.
Look at analytics regarding your team’s communication, but also go straight to the source. Ask your team members how they feel about their process and what could be better.
Make it clear that you’re not pointing fingers; instead, you’re working to make everyone’s workday more efficient and everyone’s sales strategies more successful.
#4 - How happy are your customers?
Happy customers increase the value of their relationships with you, and happy customers recommend you to other companies.
NPS (net promoter score) is one rating companies use to determine customer satisfaction. However, while NPS reflects how a customer feels about your product in the moment, it doesn’t necessarily reflect how successful you will be at retaining their loyalty long-term.
And, because it’s costly and time-consuming to secure additional customers (up to 6 to 7 times more expensive), it’s important to make sure you sold them successfully on your company as a long-term partner, rather than as a one-and-done client.
To keep selling them on your business, and to apply successes or lessons learned to future sales, drill deeper into your customer relationships to find more actionable insights.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Most companies work hard to determine the root causes of customer dissatisfaction. But it’s equally important to determine the sources of customer delight."
Determine what your customers loved about your product or service and what really works for them in their daily business efforts.
If you see a pattern across certain industries or buyer personas, adjust your sales communications (scripts, social selling, etc.) to incorporate some of the positive feedback you received. And it goes without saying, if your customers aren’t happy, take time to fix the problem.
#5 - Have you checked your LinkedIn social selling index?
Focusing on engagement and building relationships through social selling is a great way to build your network of prospects. Three-quarters of salespeople who use LinkedIn report higher sales success rates than those who don’t.
And, your LinkedIn social selling index shows how good you are at making a connection and converting through the business-oriented social platform.
The social selling index rates you in comparison to others in your industry, so you can gauge how successful your pitches are and whether that’s in the median range for your area of business. In addition, it’s updated daily, so you can frequently update and test your messaging to find the pitch that resonates best with your potential clients.
#6 - How have you emphasized the value accross the process?
Some companies focus their commendations on the salespeople that close the deal. However, that approach ignores a large portion of the work that goes on behind the scenes.
The staff members who prospect successfully, make cold calls, and nurture leads are creating a funnel that allows your closers to be successful. Gauge metrics at each stage to find your best success stories and the hidden gems on your team who are plugging away in their own areas.
Taking a holistic look at your sales efforts will yield a greater range of areas for improvement. It also allows you the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of your entire team and develop your up-and-coming sales superstars, rather than focusing only on the people who generate the final results.
If you’re concerned about your sales success, you may want to look at ways to streamline and improve your processes. Working with an outsourced sales team can give you a new lease on life when it comes to your sales success. Here’s what they can offer:
Taking on some of the more cumbersome tasks
One of the things salespeople tend to dread is outbound calling. And, it can also be an extremely time-consuming process.
In fact, the average sales rep spends about 25 hours a month just dialling or leaving voicemails, most of which are completely ignored by prospects.
Working with an outsourced sales team gives you the opportunity to determine where they make connections and where in the sales process they hand off to your inbound team. They can provide the energy and upfront effort to build up your prospects and leads, then give you the opportunity to seal the deal.
Focusing on pain points and highlighting ways to improve
When you manage all your sales in-house, it may be difficult to find time to thoroughly review data. When you partner with an outsourced sales team, their entire focus is growing your sales successes and giving you excellent leads to work with.
Your data gives them guidance on how to proceed successfully. And, as such, a full team is available to focus on your needs.
Quality assurance team members will work to make sure your message is being communicated as intended and generating the best possible results, while trainers will make sure the staff is educated and has a thorough understanding of your product, benefits, and approach.
Keeping your funnel full and continue to nurture leads
More than 71% of qualified leads are never followed up with.
That lack of follow through isn’t necessarily because of lackluster sales teams; instead, it’s because your in-house team is busy juggling multiple responsibilities. When you have an outsourced team focused on creating leads and driving those initial contacts forward, you’ll build and nurture a bigger pool of potential clients.
Being successful in sales can mean different things to different organizations. Whether it means growing numbers, increasing efficiency, or building strong partnerships, an outsourced sales partnership may be one tool that helps you move the needle on your success stats.
As you consider how to continually improve, what programs and partnerships have been most helpful to your sales team? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.