Owners who want to bring in top dollar for their company when they sell, need to ensure that their revenues show steady growth for at least three years running. But, with an increasing number of customer buying decisions being made before they ever talk to a salesperson, it’s critical that your sales methods are up to date and effective with the modern day buyer in mind.
Let’s take a look at seven proven ways to increase sales, despite changes in buyer behavior.
Companies that have a set sales playbook are 33% more likely to be high performers, but 40% of sales teams don’t have one. Playbooks are critical to your team’s success and should be used heavily for training. A playbook defines the tools, language and processes your sales team should utilize. With clearly defined value propositions and steps for approaching a new prospect then selling them your solution or product, you can think of your playbook as providing the recipe for success. Create a playbook, train with it heavily, and be sure it’s kept up to date.
This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many owners consider sales teams or marketing efforts as their first places to cut costs. This is a dangerous move. If you don’t have enough sales people or no one knows about your product, how will you increase revenue? Be sure to hire sales reps with experience and proven results. And hire enough of them to realistically achieve your sales goals. Then pay them properly.
Don’t know how many reps you need? Reverse engineer starting with your sales goal; divide that goal by your average sale and that’s about how many sales you’ll need to make. Then consider the average time to sell and amount of effort required. How many sales could one rep reasonably make in one month? How many total reps do you need to hit your goal by the end of the year?
Reaching out in one hour or less means you’re 7x more likely to qualify a lead compared to those who make contact in 1-2 hours. That figure jumps to 60x more likely when compared to those who wait 24 or more hours to follow up. So never forget: one hour or less. Train your teams to follow this rule and illustrate why it’s important. And if you can respond even faster, by all means! 35-50% of sales go to the first vendor to respond.
When working new prospects, the most effective process is to call first and follow that call with a relevant email. If you left a voicemail, mention that in your email and convey why what you have to say matters to them. Don’t just email information about your company or product unless they ask for that specifically. If you spoke with them, include details from your conversation to show that you understand their pain points and what they’re looking for. Then illustrate how you can provide that. Remember, the goal with an email is to help the sale and no one wants to read an email all about you – they want to know why they should take the time to read it and talk to you.
Always remember: let them do the talking! You need information before you can qualify and effectively sell. Guide the conversation with thoughtful and targeted questions that reveal if they’re qualified and get them to illustrate their need for your product or service. This is a much more convincing approach because then they’re the ones telling you they need your product. After they’ve created the case, you just have to put the final pieces together so they can see how your solution or product is the obvious answer.
It takes an average of eight cold call attempts to reach a prospect and 80% of sales require at least five follow up calls to convert into a customer, but 44% of salespeople give up after only one call. 44%?! That’s insanity given these stats. When training your sales team, and in your playbook, make it very clear that you expect reps to be persistent.
Create a minimum number of attempts for getting a prospect on the phone or converting them to a customer and enforce those expectations. Sharing stats like this with your sales team on a regular basis can also help motivate them to keep going – if they know everyone has to call eight times before they ever get someone on the phone, it’s not as intimidating to make enough dials.
Can you believe that 91% of customers would provide referrals but only 11% of reps ask for them? While it can feel uncomfortable, if you do it properly, asking for referrals is a simple and easy exchange. The ask doesn’t have to be formal or pushy. If you’ve had a great rapport with someone and sold them a product or service that’s going to have a positive impact, you shouldn’t feel like you’re intruding by asking this simple question – do you know anyone else I might be able to help with this same problem? Or do you know anyone else that might find this as worthwhile as you did?
Of course, there are tons of ways to ask, and none of them need to include the word “referral”. Cater the ask to the buyer’s style and your product, service, or industry. If they don’t have someone to refer right then, give them some cards and ask them to think of you if anything comes up. Actually, do that either way!
Improve Your Bottom Line
If you’re thinking about selling your company in the next few years, ensure that your sales team and processes stay up to date with the changing landscape. But, don’t forget these tried and true methods either.