3 Tips for Improving Sales Effectiveness

Organizations struggling with longer sales cycles, lower close rates, and higher employee turnover are looking to increased sales effectiveness to help resolve many of the core underlying issues that drive these unwanted results.

The following represent the areas of improvement that we have found consistently deliver the greatest performance gains vs. required investment for our clients. Programs to improve each of these areas can typically be started with a minimum up-front investment that can be later scaled-up as results from the program are realized.

Provide More Effective Leadership

There's a lot more to effective sales leadership than motivational speeches and the occasional tweak to your compensation program. Real leadership requires providing specific, actionable guidance that will help your salespeople realize measurable improvements in their performance.
Providing this type of guidance means you need to know what your reps are doing, what's working, what isn't working, and which best practices should be disseminated across the sales organization. This level of insight can be difficult and time consuming to ascertain if you have limited visibility into your sales operations.

The video to the right illustrates how effective CRM use and robust reporting provides sales managers and VPs with the kind of intelligence they need to effectively lead within their sales organization.

Focus on the Right Opportunities/Leads

One of the most effective methods for increasing your sales effectiveness is to focus your limited selling resources on the opportunities and leads with the highest probability of closing.

Although simple in theory, identifying the best opportunities and leads to pursue requires that sales reps have access to intelligence that indicates which prospects are most interested in your company's products and services. Two key sources of this intelligence are Marketing data (what has been communicated to the prospect and how they responded) and website activity (allows prospects to self-identify their needs and level of interest), both of which are shown below: 

Making this type of sales intelligence available to your reps from within your CRM system will not only allow them to make better decisions about which leads and opportunities to pursue, but it will also help them identify their prospect's needs more quickly so they can have more effective conversations.

Increase Collaboration and Teamwork

Sales reps spend a approximately two days per week of their time writing proposals, developing presentations, designing solutions, and creating other material that more likely than not has already been created by another team-member for a different opportunity at some point in the past.

Not only does such re-work waste time, it limits the effectiveness of each piece as presentations and proposals that were proven to be successful are not leveraged and the elements that were most effective are lost.

As a best practice, organizations should adopt a system that allows them to capture their tribal knowledge and bring the most effective knowledge and collateral to the forefront - whether it's a proposal, presentation, case study, or any other piece of sales and marketing collateral. This type of collaboration will empower your salespeople to leverage the most effective content available and present the best solution possible for each opportunity they are pursuing.

The following diagram illustrates how this type of collaboration and teamwork can be realized through the effective use of technology.

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