Not all of your reps make quota, right? Do you have a process in place to help the reps who struggle to improve their results? Some sales managers go on ride-alongs and demonstrate their superior selling skills to motivate and teach their reps. Other times, reps need a little more from you. Liz Heiman explained the details in a recent post for Sales 3.0 Conference.
Soft Skills Development
Reps may have a difficult time selling because their skills are weak in a key area. They may not be natural hunters. It takes a specific kind of personality to connect at trade shows and cocktail parties. And it takes another kind of personality to do a great job at discovery. You may already have some of this information about your reps if you gave them a comprehensive sales assessment test during the hiring process.
If you haven’t been able to match a rep to their natural job fit, don’t worry. As long as the rep is open to coaching, you can help them improve their discovery skills. And you can practice various closing scenarios, for example, with them until they feel more confident. You can also develop soft skills like empathy and emotional intelligence.
Top-Level Strategies to Help Reps Make Quota
The Ideal Prospect
There’s another piece of the sales puzzle you need to provide to help your reps do the best possible job. Heiman says it’s all about “your ideal customer profile.” Sales reps are usually not privy to corporate strategy and why decisions get made about specific products and services they are selling. But they should know who they are targeting, especially those who play a hunter role. If they don’t have a clear idea of the customer persona they should be going after, they’ll waste their time and yours on prospects who don’t fit. Maybe you’ve decided your sweet spot in the market is mid-level companies, perhaps those with fewer than 500 employees. If you don’t communicate your target clearly to your reps, they may try to land a whale with 5,000 employees simply because the contact person was willing to talk at a trade show.
If you’re working on a national scale, it’s up to you to divide territories in a way that makes sense to your reps. Work with them on creating a list of prospects to pursue. When your reps know what to do, they will spend less time pursuing prospects that likely won’t close.
Developing an ideal prospect can be a time consuming and hit-or-miss process. Don’t be afraid to revisit the concept you’ve developed. After your reps have done prospecting for a while, they’ll give you valuable feedback. Often, you’ll use that feedback to refine your target customers.
Sales reps can also struggle with lead management. A strong CRM system and your emphasis on using the system can help reps stay on top of leads. But don’t count on your reps to take care of this task on their own.
Excellent lead management requires the attention of sales managers. You’ll need to step out of your sales manager role and work with marketing on leads. That means creating content that your reps can share with prospects.
After a big event, such as a marketing campaign or a trade show, don’t rely only on your reps to score the leads. Develop your own guidelines and talk with them about where each lead is in the funnel. Prospects who have just begun to explore solutions to a problem and who have a yearlong buying horizon should receive one score. But, potential customers who are actively considering solutions and expect to make a purchase in the next 90 days should be flagged in your CRM system as a higher priority.
When you work with your reps to prioritize leads, they will spend their time on prospects that are more likely to close quickly and help them reach quota. Research shows that when a formal sales process exists, reps will close more deals.
While some of your reps will be motivated by how much money they'll earn when they make quota, others will be more altruistic. The social responsibility angle is increasingly important to your younger staff members. Are you doing a good enough job of communicating that position to your reps?
Your company’s vision and what it stands for often won’t come up until late in the sales process when reps talk to prospects. But reps need to buy into what the company stands for early on. You can help them connect to the vision by talking about the latest developments in your department meetings and in your one-on-one meetings. Give them specific examples of what the company has been doing and be enthusiastic when sharing this information.
Being a part of something larger than themselves will energize them and boost the energy they need to make quota.