How analytics, employee engagement and training can help you hit your sales target this year
We’re well into 2017. As a sales manager, the challenge of achieving your sales goal this year is a very real part of your everyday life. While there’s a long list of things that you can do to ensure that you’ll hit your sales target, we’ve come up with ideas for three areas you can focus on to turn your sales team into a stronger, more effective machine.
These are simple ideas, but like all ideas they can only become real if you apply them. So, if you’ve found yourself looking for simple ways to use your data to increase your deal close rate, have a feeling that your employee engagement level is hurting your team’s sales ability, or realise that your team has forgotten important on-the-job knowledge, this blog post is for you.
Achieving sales goals with the help of simple analytics
As a sales manager, you’ve experienced the impact a shrinking pipeline. You may even have found that there’s seldom any tangible information as to why leads are not converting into opportunities and later closed deals.
Sure, you’ll see that opportunities are marked as “lost” with the occasional “not interested” or “lost to competitor” comment. It’s all acceptable. Lost opportunities are common occurrences in sales organisations.
While these and other reasons for a shrinking pipeline are valid, how does your sales team use the reasons to go to market and win? How are you using this information to help your team close more deals?
The realisation that you may not know enough about your lost opportunities and why your team is not closing more business can be crippling.
At TuYu, we believe that use of analytics can be as simple or as complex as you choose. We also believe that basic data can help businesses make impactful decisions. In order to make your own data work for your business, you need to be willing to ask yourself and your team a few questions to figure out how to drive more meaningful interactions with your prospects.
For example, if you draw a report from your CRM and find that there’s a 35% drop-off in opportunities midway through your sales process, it’s time to figure out what’s missing.
If your team is like most sales team, and some how manages to lose steam midway through the sales process, here are seven questions that could help you figure out how to decrease your drop-off rate and close more deals:
- Are prospects looking or asking for collateral, like case studies and sales sheets, showing your solution working in businesses like theirs, but your sales team just doesn’t have any to share? If yes, you need to work with your marketing counterpart to build the right collateral to support your sales process. Most decisions happen behind closed doors and without salespeople at the table. Without the right collateral to turn to as evidence, most business decisions cannot be made, leaving the opportunity open to competitors who are prepared with the right collateral.
- Is there an objection or set of objections that occur too often? If so, what are they and can you create strong rebuttals for them? Could you restructure the dialogue your sales team uses, or channel the conversation to a place where the objections are easily handled?
- Do prospects seem to be slow to understand the application of your solution in their business? If so, how practical is the application of your solution and how tangible are the results that a prospect can expect? Is there data that can bring the challenge your customer experiences to life in a new, simpler or impactful way?
With these questions in hand, you should be able to discover some of what’s missing from your sales process and start plugging those holes.
Maximise employee engagement
In a survey conducted by global recruitment firm, Hays, 83 per cent of the respondents believed employee engagement to be important to their organisation, with 14 per cent believing that it mattered to some degree. This shows that employee engagement, in different forms, is something that staff want.
The good news about employee engagement is that it can be managed. As a manager, being able to control the level of engagement your workforce exhibits is directly related to the amount of effort you exert. If you commit to creating the right environment for staff to show how passionate they are about what they do, they will reciprocate.
A core component of driving engagement and creating high performance sales teams is creating a structure that recognises performance with the right rewards. In our last blog post “9 things to get right before launching your next employee incentive program”, we explored what setting up your next incentive program should look like. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, make it your next stop. It’s a great guide to use, especially if you’re looking for a simple, yet effective way to drive performance and keep the momentum going every month.
If you’ve found that employee engagement levels are not where they should be, here are a three questions that can help you zero in on what’s causing the low level of staff engagement and how you can turn that around:
- Is your’s a fast-paced and high-stress environment? If yes, what simple yet impactful changes can you make to your workplace that will relieve some of your sales team’s stress? Introducing an element that can reduce stress shows employees that you care for their well-being. A simple token of appreciation from you can inspire reciprocation from staff thereby driving engagement.
- Do most of your deals close at the end of a quarter, showing little urgency by sales staff to close more businesses consistently on a monthly basis? If so, uncover what the driving factors are behind this behaviour. Inconsistency is common in sales teams. Introducing an incentive program that rewards sales staff for closing deals consistently will help you easily project more accurate forecasts and the business show a linear revenue growth trend.
- Do team members feel equipped to go to market and win? If not, a lack of confidence can attribute to low levels of self-esteem and therefore poor performance. Isolating training deficiencies can fix the low self-esteem issues and produce more confident and successful sales people. Enhancing employee confidence levels shows employees that you care about their careers. Training is another important mechanism for driving employee engagement.
Make sales team training a regular occurrence
Sales team training is serious business. Getting the obroarding process in your organisation right could increase your staff retention levels, however, getting it wrong could hurt your company’s growth prospects.
Research by Sales Management Association shows that a third of new sales hires are ill-equipped to do the job by end of the onboarding cycle. Imagine the impact that one third of an ill-equipped sales force could have on your prospects and your businesses future. Making sales team training a regular occurrence is therefore a must.
The term “reboarding” is getting a lot of attention within organisations today. At its core, “reboarding” is the practice of ongoing training to make sure that in the midst of advancements in industry and your business, sales representatives are able to communicate the most effective message to prospects and customers, essentially making sure that your sales team is always firing on all cylinders.
Reboarding is not just about amassing product knowledge, it’s also about sharpening sales skills, soft skills and overall business acumen.
To get the best out of your reboarding program, here are three aspects to keep in mind:
- Know what your team’s weaknesses are. For example, does your team seem to not follow your sales process? If so, you need to understand what is driving that behaviour and correct it. I could be that they’ve simply forgotten what happens at different stages.
- Schedule your training at the most convenient time possible. If you have a field sales team that schedules their sales meetings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; figure out whether the first Monday or Friday morning of every month would be a convenient time to schedule training.
- Make it enjoyable. For most employees, training is never fun. Most switch off midway and start doodling. Introducing different mediums of learning, like videos and quizzes, can help switch the pace and capture your team’s attention to make information stick.
Achieving your sales quota is always going to seem slightly daunting because of ever-changing market conditions. There is, however, some satisfaction in knowing that the practice of selling is based on human output that is quantifiable, and that it’s possible to create an environment which exemplifies the right behaviours to yield the best possible results.
Is your business looking for an easy, quick and secure way to incentivise your sales team?
Building an internal incentive program for your sales team can be a challenging and time consuming task. TuYu’s mobile rewards solution removes all of the admin and stress involved with creating high impact employee incentive programs.
With our easy-to-use, secure cloud platform, we offer companies a streamlined, innovative way to reward staff instantly, ensuring a quick turnaround time between qualifying for a reward and being rewarded appropriately.
Using TuYu, your employees are able to redeem rewards in-store at 70 000+ till lanes across South Africa, using their mobile phones.
Download the TuYu Rewards and Recognition Value Proposition Guide for more how your business can use TuYu for your next sales incentive program.