"Optimizing sales performance starts from the very top."

Use these best practices to optimize your team's sales performance

Optimizing sales performance starts from the very top: the sales leader. Sales leaders have a unique position in the company’s sales ecosystem to positively influence and empower their sales force to achieve higher levels of success. Sales representatives are the frontline and get the brunt of the pressure to deliver results, especially in a B2B environment where you need to create more customer contact than ever before. Sadly, some crumble under pressure and look for support in their sales managers to deliver direction and inspiration.

Yet, sales managers have their own set of problems and pressure to deal with, making it far too easy to be distracted or burn out and empty the tank in terms of meaningful input. To avoid going down an underperforming or lackluster sales spiral, here are some of the best practices to optimize your team’s sales performance.

Use sales intelligence for better prospecting

Any piece of data that can help you better understand your prospects (and existing customers, for that matter) is information you desperately want to get a hold of. Why? Because it will benefit you in multiple ways. For instance, if you know which technology your prospect is currently using (a huge bonus would be their tech adoption history), you can better target companies that are close to being your ideal customers. Knowing their full tech stack, as well as multiple technology combinations allows you to gain a deeper sense of their needs so you can personalize your approach and tailor a message that perfectly aligns with what they’re looking for. There is loads of data you can leverage, including top clients, web traffic, business type, geographical breakdown, their tech expense and other information important to your tailored sales pitch. Not only will you significantly improve your knowledge of prospects, you can also uncover potential users for your solution and widen your focus to new verticals, technologies, and geographies.

DataImage credit: TechnologyAdvice

Set up alerts to uncover needs

When approaching prospective customers, timing matters. A large part of effective lead nurturing hinges on proper timing. Engage a prospect before they are ready for it (or too late), and that sale will most likely go out of the window. The key is to build a meaningful relationship instead of focusing on selling, which is where utilizing real-time alerts does wonders for your team’s prospecting efforts. For example, setting up notifications when a certain company adds or removes a specific technology (similar to yours) can help you identify if the prospects are in the “ready-to-buy” zone, as well as help you get a glimpse of their proverbial taste. Knowing where the prospect is currently in the sales cycle allows your salespeople to stay ahead of important events and craft an approach that will be more receptive and centered on USPs that relieve major pain points, be it a less costly option, a more encompassing solution, and so on.

Determine metrics and KPIs that make sense for you

Each business differs from one to the next. For some, market penetration is at the top of their list while others appreciate short lead response above all else. The truth is, there are numerous important metrics and KPIs to track. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different answer most of the time so your team should focus on those that matter to your business the most. Figure out which metrics are key to your success and stick with them. From the classics such as sales opportunities, lead to sale rate to the average cost per lead and else, you also need to account individual metrics as well. These include sales per rep, the number of sales calls made and emails sent (on a quarterly, monthly or even weekly basis), the amount of time spent prospecting, and so on. Metrics and KPIs are an integral part of a top-performing sales organization and a glue that holds everything together communication-wise. Sales managers that clearly define and present what to aim for and what is expected to their sales reps are the most effective ones. If your sales team is not adequately empowered to achieve great results, you risk failure.

Keys to Developing KPIsImage credit: Beranard Marr

Track and analyze your data

Needless to say, no list or argument about best practices regarding sales optimization would be complete without mentioning the need to track and analyze resulting data. Without it, optimizing your sales team is a fool’s errand. Once you identify your key parameters, you’ll want a simple way to track and analyze them. Ideally, you want a tool that measures everything during the entire sales cycle. This all depends on your needs and wallet, too - do you really need an enterprise-level tool to track sales numbers? My guess is not really, especially since customizable, detailed reporting gives you pretty much all the information you need and there are more than enough sales insights platforms around to provide you with just that.

Make the best with today’s tech

Despite rapid and often breathtaking advances in business intelligence, many sales departments don’t have the time or resources to properly assess and implement new technology. And yet, the right tech solution can easily help achieve optimization and hit their numbers and goals. Technology easily closes any gap in the system, allowing your team to work more efficiently and effectively, driving results across the entire business. However, tech is only a brush to paint the big picture. You need to invest time and effort in order to gain a greater understanding of your team’s sales performance. You have to do your due diligence on this one as it’s the only way to accurately gauge both individual and team effort on any given level, as well as identify issues and turn them into wins. The inner strength of a great business is a great sales team and you’re the key cog that makes it run as smooth as silk.