Almost all businesses, at one time or another, will experience stagnant or declining sales. Many times, companies attempt to improve sales by simply increasing quotas, terminating those who don’t hit quota and then rehiring new salespeople without diving into the actual growth impediments.
An alternative and better option would be to bring out the magnifying glass and perform an in-depth analysis of the actual sales challenges and then develop specific solutions to address those challenges. Sales analysis, however, does not strictly have to come just from sales leadership but should involve everyone (i.e., the sales team). When salespeople are provided the opportunity to participate in management level projects, like developing solutions, the outcome will yield greater ownership and motivation. Furthermore, the process of involving salespeople in projects like this can help uncover potential future sales leaders.
Depending on the size of the business and number of salespeople, several small teams of salespeople could be established and assigned certain key areas to analyze. These teams would identify the challenges within each of the respective areas and then be tasked to develop specific solutions to help improve sales performances. Team results can be compared for similarities and differences to develop an overall sales department strategy.
Here are a few areas that the team or teams can focus on analyzing:
What are the primary motivators that drive customers to purchase the company's products or services?
What benefits or problem solutions are customers seeking?
How do most customers prefer to buy, what steps do they take in the sales process, who is involved, etc.?
What markets does the company target? Why? What is working and not working?
How does the company attract, engage, and acquire new customers? What is working and not working?
Why does the company close some sales opportunities and not others?
Sales team performance
What factors contribute to the salespeople reaching their goals?
What factors contribute to the salespeople not reaching their goals?
Possible solutions from analysis
Who would be the ideal customer to target and why?
What are the most effective ways to reach the customer and then rank them?
What produces the greatest impact to close a sale and why?
What are the key indicators to determine if the sales process is working?
What metrics should be used to determine a salesperson’s success and over what time period?
How should salespeople manage themselves and their time to maximize results?
How can management assist salespeople to achieve results?
What type of training is most beneficial to salespeople and how often?
What could best enhance the sales process?
What else would be needed to win more customers?
As previously mentioned, brainstorming among salespeople is a valuable endeavor that can uncover growth opportunities from individuals directly involved in the sales process. It is through this type of analysis that other observations, in addition to the direct sales process, can be made regarding critical business issues that might have a positive or negative effect on sales. Some of these observations and issues might uncover:
Employee turnover and morale among salespeople
Sales training and product/service training
Company position relative to the competition
Access to management
Ramp time for new salespeople
Regular scheduled sales meetings (or no meetings)
Profile of best customers
These, as well as other sales challenges, must be overcome before sales can reach the next level. When the sales team works together as a cohesive unit, the underlying problems and issues can be resolved. Businesses that dedicate adequate time and resources on developing a structured approach to solving sales challenges see their efforts pay off with increased revenues, higher closing rates, and motivated salespeople.
About the Author
Jason Halberg is an accomplished executive who, in his most recent success, founded an internet startup and grew it into a company with 200 employees and $50 million in revenues. He is passionate and committed to helping fellow entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. Through this company, High Voltage Advisors LLC, he consults business owners and executives who are looking to achieve faster growth by leveraging his expertise in sales and marketing, business operations, process automation and problem solving. If you are looking to increase profits and reduce stress, then schedule your complimentary business assessment consultation with Jason today.