Optimizing sales is a top priority for sales managers and salespeople in every company. It’s also a priority for the C-Suite, the consulting leads and anyone who enjoys getting paid each month, putting their kids through school, and having the occasional holiday.
Optimizing sales is a top priority for sales managers and salespeople in every company. It’s also a priority for the C-Suite, the consulting leads and anyone who enjoys getting paid each month, putting their kids through school, and having the occasional holiday. A company’s ability to sell in a consistent and predictable fashion is often the clearest predictor of their long-term viability as a business.
While there isn’t a cookie cutter approach that works for all companies and individuals across the board, adopting certain proven sales strategies can provide a roadmap to success for your sales team. These strategies, once understood and embraced, provide a framework for success, while still allowing for individual creativity on behalf of the sales team.
The thing about having a well-structured, consistent series of sales strategies is that your customers and prospects, plus your own sales team, will know exactly what to expect and what is expected of them. Whether you’re an experienced sales rep, just learning the ropes, or somewhere in between, this concept translates across all levels of expertise and industries.
At Trinity Perspectives, we’re fortunate to work with B2B companies worldwide and help them get to the heart of the sales strategies that actually work for organization or industry sector. We apply Win/Loss Reviews to help us remove the guesswork from these sales cycles and deliver unfiltered feedback and insight from the one source of information that matters most, their customers and prospects. So what exactly are we trying to find out?
i) We help our clients understand the reasons why they missed out on closing a particular deal.
ii) Why a prospective customer may have walked away at the 11th hour, or suddenly made a decision in their favour when the sales team thought they were losing.
iii) We help them understand the detail behind why they are winning or losing against key competitors in specific geographies or industries.
iv) Most importantly of all, we help them understand what they can do to rectify, improve, or overcome these issues.
Based on more than 5 years of in-depth interviews with C-suite decision makers, I have identified 7 best practices sales strategies to help your team navigate the complexities of the sales world and land more sales. The material below encompasses organizational measures you can take to help you convert more leads, better understand who you are pitching to, develop adaptable strategies, and stay ahead of competitors.
1. Invest in your sales team
Your sales team is your most valuable asset. Sales training can be a worthwhile investment to better understand what tactics are helping or hindering your team. It also provides valuable insight on how to sharpen their skills, learn how to overcome objections, and develop a winning character that makes people want to buy what they’re selling. With some guidance and the right tools, they can crush their sales goals, which puts your company on the winning side of the equation.
2. Identify the decision maker
An important distinction to consider is who you are really selling to: are you talking to the decision maker, an influencer, or a gate-keeper? Often the decision maker will be removed from the process until the latter stages of the sales cycle. Being able to correctly identify who the decision maker is and gain access to them may be a critical step in helping you close sales more quickly.
Of course, it’s always best to speak directly with him or her, but that’s not always an option. In that case, you need to adjust your sales strategy to anticipate how the decision maker might think, what objections to address, and use your internal coach or sponsor in the account, to influence the decision maker from a distance.
3. Prepare for objections
Prospects want to know that you are listening and addressing their concerns to find them the best solution. A great way to demonstrate this is to show up prepared to answer all of their objections.
In my experience, there are two proven strategies to handle objections. The second-best strategy is to workshop all of the likely objections which may be raised and prepare intelligent and well articulated responses.
The best strategy is to raise the issue yourself, before the customer has the opportunity to. The benefit of this approach is not only that you address their specific question, you also create a more trusting atmosphere between you and your prospective customer.
Sales management tip: I recommend working closely with your team to identify possible objections that may come up and help them prepare not just the words they will use, but how they will say it. You can do this by having each team member presenting and receiving feedback on areas of improvement or missed objections. Doing this exercise builds confidence and gets everyone on a level playing field.
4. Measure up to the competition
Nearly every industry is becoming saturated, which means consumers have an abundance of options. Do you know why your customers choose you over the competition? Maybe it’s time to find out where you have an edge. Get to know about their use of technology, customer satisfaction, level of service, pricing, marketing and sales strategy, etc. Research where your competitors excel or fall flat, and what they are changing, so you can stay several paces ahead.
The question you want to seek to answer is, “What are your company’s strengths and weakness compared to what’s happening in the market? Know what you do better than the rest. You can also use this knowledge in your sales pitch and play it up in your marketing strategy. The moment you lose sight of where you stand in relation to your competitors, you run the risk of being passed by.
5. Understand your targets
Have you narrowly defined who your customer is? It’s crucial to develop a deep understanding of your audience. Follow the adage, “Go an inch wide and a mile deep.”
You need to know:
i) Who they are (both personally and professionally)
ii) How they think and behave
iii) What their industry is all about (not just a surface-level understanding, but an in-depth sense of the prevailing factors which influence their industry)
iv) Their wants, needs and desires - understanding these at both a professional and personal level is important, to determine how to present a compelling value proposition
v) What gets them up in the morning and keeps them awake at night
If you can confidently answer all of these questions for your target audience, you’re in good shape. If not, there is more work to be done. The formula for success lies in seeking answers to these questions, once you have identified the right person to engage with in the first place.
6. Agility and flexibility are key traits
The most successful companies are those that continually adapt to an ever-changing climate and are flexible and responsive enough to make real-time decisions as necessary.
Knowing when to change, pivot, or disrupt largely depends on how well you measure and track performance along the way. It is essential to regularly analyse trends within your market and assess why you are winning or losing business in key markets, geographies, or industries. These routine check-ins can help you quickly determine where you’ve veered off course in order to make changes.
7. Set up clear goals and accountability
Every successful sales strategy is based on results and accountability. You have your team's goals, and then you have individual goals. Hold every individual accountable for meeting their goals and completing their tasks. When individuals fall short, take action quickly or provide additional training to refine and polish their skills and prevent repeat occurrences. Equally important is to have a method for rewarding when goals are met and expectations are met or exceeded.
By: Cian McLoughlin
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Submitted On Nov 23, 2016. Viewed 124 times.
Cian McLoughlin is the Amazon #1 best-selling author of Rebirth of the Salesman, a regular sales and marketing commentator in the mainstream media, and one of the Top 50 sales bloggers in the world about sales strategies and management
for the past 2 years. He has also been featured in well-known publications like Sky News Business, Sydney Morning Herald, MindFood, Rain Today, Smart Company, and Huffington Post, to name a few. Cian is a passionate proponent of an ethical, honest, and authentic approach to sales. His company, Trinity Perspectives, is committed to helping sales organisations unlock the latent potential of their customers’ insights with their Win and Loss Reviews and Sales Transformation services.