We're back for part II in our series to determine what the number one way to improve the efficiency of your sales team is.
We've all heard it: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." So why not copy what others have proven to be successful? As long as you are not dealing with anything proprietary, isn't imitation just good business? It's the real point of best practices, right?
The trick, of course, is that often things get lost in translation. Just because one sales rep has success with a given technique, those who follow eagerly and hopefully in his footsteps may not. There are lots of reasons why—not the least of which are personality, delivery, timing, the ability to read the needs, moods and motivations of customers and so on.
Nonetheless, there is value is being aware of what sales leaders across the board—even (or perhaps especially) if they are experts in fields far removed from yours—have found to be successful.
What insights do these answers hold for your sales team? How can you imitate what they are doing to realize greater success? Or how can you modify your approach, blending others' good ideas with the best of your own? In Part I, we shared answers from six of these leaders to this question: What's the number one way to improve the efficiency of your sales team? Part II continues with six more.
More experts answer
7. Craig Wolfe is the Founder and CEO of CelebriDucks. Previously, Craig created animation art lines for major companies, including Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Bush and M&M/Mars.
"To get your sales force excited, and not by what you would think, i.e. higher commissions, etc. Instead, you have to inspire them. People in sales are human and in the end, like all of us, need to be inspired by what they do. . . . You have to develop a product or program that turns them on. Salespeople always want to go to their clients with something that will excite them."
8. Eli Martin, is head of sales for eZanga.com., a metasearch engine specializing in online advertising and services.
"Keep people motivated. If you keep them motivated, they will feel valued. In order to let them know you truly value them and their opinion, it's important to ask for and appreciate their input. What motivates them? What is the goal they are working for? Know these things, and your team will know how much their success means to you and the company."
9. A partner of Vantage Point Performance, Jason Jordan is one of the reasons the firm is a leading sales management training and development company. A recognized thought leader in business-to-business sales, Jason is co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code. He also teaches sales and sales management at the University of Virginia.
"If you want to improve the efficiency of the sales team, the best advice I can give is to have your sales managers implement a sales management rhythm. A sales management rhythm is simply a plan that outlines the formal and informal interactions sales managers and their sales force engage in to achieve sales goals, and it essentially provides a framework for how to prioritize the high-impact activities sellers must execute to achieve sales objectives and business results.
A sales management rhythm . . . defines what interactions should take place, who should be included, how frequently the interactions should take place, as well as the duration and purpose of the interactions. . . . This creates clarity of task for sellers, and research shows that sellers who have task clarity in their role are proven to be both more motivated and more productive."
10. Hank Boyer is President and CEO of Boyer Management Group. He leads a sales group that has grown annual sales from $24 million to $780 million in seven years.
"The #1 way to improve the efficiency of your sales team is by using behavioral profiling to better understand existing staff and prospective new hires. In my experience, this is one of the highest return investments a sales organization can make:
Candidate selection is improved by better matching natural selling styles to opening—account profiles—territories.
The sales manager sees clearly how to most effectively manage each individual on staff.
New hires are on-boarded and up to full productivity in a third less time.
Overall communications effectiveness increases as the team better aligns around a common core."
11. Emmanuelle Skala, Vice President of Sales at Influitive. In previous roles, Emmanuelle was the first salesperson at two business-to-business software start-ups, and throughout her career, she has managed every aspect of sales.
"The best way to improve the productivity of your sales team is to increase the customer referral contribution in your pipeline. What if every time one of your reps closed a deal, they could get five more referrals? . . . Always get your reps to ask, 'Is there anyone else in your network who would benefit from our solution?'"
12. Daniel Thomsen is the Global Sales Manager at LILLY + Associates International, a shipping and logistical firm.
"The number one way to improve the efficiency of any sales team is to have a 360-degree view of the customer from all aspects of the customer interactions. Many sales are lost when the sales person is in front of a customer and is unaware that the customer has current issues with their company. . . . Only by having complete knowledge of the customer history and current status can the sales potential be maximized."
Next time: In Part III, we'll examine common themes and offer key suggestions aggregated from expert opinions.