How to Streamline Your Sales Process
The U.S. economy is still a far cry from where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit about a year ago. Nonetheless, as vaccination efforts continue to ramp up, many experts expect stronger jobs growth and more robust economic activity in the months ahead.
No matter what your business does, you don’t want your sales staff hamstrung by overly complicated procedures as they strive to seize opportunities in the presumably brighter near-future. Here are five ways to streamline and energize your sales process:
- Reassess territories. Business travel isn’t what it used to be, so you may not need to revise the geographic routes that your sale staff used to physically traverse. Nonetheless, you may see real efficiency gains by creating a strategic sales territory plan that aligns salespeople with regions or markets containing the prospects they’re most likely to win.
- Focus on top-tier customers. If purchases from your most valued customers have slowed recently, find out why and reverse the trend. For your sales staff, this may mean shifting focus from winning new business to tending to these important accounts. See whether you can craft a customized plan aimed at meeting a legacy customer’s long-term needs. It might include discounts, premiums and extended warranties.
- Cut down on “paperwork.” More than likely, “paperwork” is a figurative term these days, as most businesses have implemented electronic means to track leads, document sales efforts and record closings. Nevertheless, outdated or overly complicated software can slow a salesperson’s momentum.
You might conduct a survey to gather feedback on whether your current customer relationship management or sales management software is helping or hindering their efforts. Based on the data, you can then make sensible choices about whether to upgrade or change your system.
- Issue a carefully chosen challenge. What allows a business to grow is not only retaining top customers, but also creating organic sales growth from new products or services. Consider creating a sales challenge that will motivate staff to push your company’s latest offerings. One facet of such a challenge may be to replace across-the-board commission rates with higher commissions on new products or “tough sells.”
- Align commissions with financial objectives. Along with considering commissions tied to new products or difficult-to-sell products, investigate other ways you might revise commissions to incentivize your team. Examples include commissions based on:
- Actual customer payments rather than billable orders,
- More sales to current customers,
- Increased order sizes,
- Delivery of items when customers prepay, or
- Number of new customers.
Again, these are just ideas to consider. Ultimately, you want to set up a sales compensation plan based on measurable financial goals that allow your sales staff to clearly understand how their efforts contribute to the profitability of your business.
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