Early in my career I had a manager that told me that “a great sales manager is a great manger of people, not sales”. We have seen this repeatedly in our interactions with sales managers over the years. Sales coaching is a valuable skill that assists sales personnel to maximize their success. Coaching takes over from where formal training leaves off, and is a key tool for reinforcing lessons learned during training, helping sales staff to assimilate training material and developing latent selling skills.
August 22, 2014 1:29 PM
Sales is a tough job. It takes a certain type of person to be able to turn it on, deal with rejection, stiff competition and inevitable failures. Putting together a good sales team is essential for any business, and getting them to bring their personal best every day, while still working as a team can be even more challenging.
Topics: Sales Team,
August 21, 2014 1:27 PM
Sales prospecting entails identifying potential customers. In today’s Google-driven world this process has never been so competitive, especially with B2B sales. Traditional prospecting techniques have changed; a recent article in Forbes highlights this shift and notes that we are now in the age of the customer and not of the seller.
August 12, 2014 12:30 PM
Mobile CRM is a great tool for sales representatives, providing them with up-to-date sales information that enables them to be more effective and increase their productivity. Mobile CRM uses sales teams’ smart phones and tablets to connect to their organization’s CRM database with a flexible interface allowing them to customize screens to suit their individual needs.
August 5, 2014 12:25 PM
Sales teams that are motivated believe in themselves, have confidence, a drive to succeed, and consider they can achieve the seemingly impossible. Motivation goes hand in hand with success.
July 15, 2014 12:18 PM
Customer Relation Management software enhances the interaction between the sales team and customers by providing sales staff with relevant customer information, including details of previous transactions, names of key contacts, and the historical relationship between the parties. It gives staff the ability to manage and schedule their time through activity lists, reminders, and calendars and tracks leads, quotations, and order status in real time. CRM software allows management to accurately forecast future sales.
May 21, 2014 11:09 AM
Contact centers represent a great method of handling high volumes of calls, but very often sales from these centers do not live up to expectations. Part of the problem is that many contact centers have the dual function of customer service and sales and it’s usually the customer service ethos that prevails.
In many instances, the reason for this is historical as contact center management are in many cases drawn from customer service departments.
With the right contact center tools, sales teams can generate significant revenue especially when the key focus moves from departmental costs to sales per employee. Several tools and techniques can be used to bring about this change.
In active selling, the sales person controls the sales process. This does not mean manipulation or a hard sell, but rather a process where the salesperson recognizes a sales opportunity and actively pursues it. Key elements of this include:
- Sales training so that the salesperson has the ability to navigate to a sale
- Ability to identify what the customer wants or needs.
- Presentation of a solution to that need.
- Effective techniques for closing the sale.
Sales incentives can galvanize effective salespeople, although care needs to be taken to ensure that the incentives are related to the whole sales process and not just the value of orders taken. Long-term customer satisfaction is important for repeat business so the incentives must include measurements of this.
Internal sales team competitions can work well, especially when small teams compete against each other. Another option is to make an award to the top sellers so that several employees will be recognized for their efforts, thus building team spirit.
Measurements of Sales Results
It’s important to focus on sales results rather than costs. Ultimately, the department should be measured on the profit generated per employee rather than merely dollars spent per employee. Avoid measurements solely focus on costs as these encourage cost-cutting measures that may affect the ability of the team to perform.
Contact center tools should include sales metrics that allow the contact center manager to evaluate overall center performance while permitting measurement of individual salesperson performance.
The best salespeople are good listeners. Customers trust salespeople who take time and effort to understand them, and it is important to develop effective listening skills. There are three essential steps in effective listening:
- Comprehension: The salesperson must take time to understand what the client is saying. This requires concentration, and distracting noises and influences must be avoided. Questions should be asked to clarify key points, and it’s a good idea to repeat these points to ensure full comprehension.
- Retention: The salesperson should ensure a full understanding of the customer’s needs and record salient points. Needs should be summarized before proceeding.
- Response: An essential part of communication is giving the client feedback through appropriate responses that advance the conversation. Ditch the script, they don’t work well enough.
Training and Coaching
Sales training is an important aspect of effective selling. Salespeople need to understand the fundamentals of selling, but it’s surprising how many salespeople never receive training in sales techniques. Training should be supplemented by one-on-one coaching. Using information derived from sales metrics, the team leader or manager needs to coach each salesperson to identify areas of weakness and guide personnel on becoming more effective.
These contact center tools represent techniques needed to develop an effective sales team. Sales Improvement Group specializes in contact center improvement training. They will evaluate your contact center operation and suggest ways to improve revenue, including providing training for team leaders and supervisors.