No matter what business you are in, sales will make or break you. Every business needs sales to survive, because it’s how your business gets the necessary finances to grow. Though, even if you feel comfortable selling, growing a successful sales department can be difficult.
This list will give you ten key points to focus on as you work to grow your sales department:
1. Set measurable goals
As you set your goals, be clear about the whom, what, and how you need to focus on. Write down your specific measurable goals. Use numbers as you define your goals. Numbers will help you set your goals and measure them. A good number to start focusing on is 25. Try and make 25 phone calls each day, and make them count.
2. Create systems
Your sales system is a set of fundamental principles, processes, tools, and strategies that will guide your sales team. When you create a system that works for you, you are building a machine with many moving parts. The system itself is what helps you run your sales machine effectively. Your sales system will provide your sales team step-by-step instructions on performing their tasks, removing guessing from the equation. Figure out a system that works for your team early on. Don’t be afraid to play around with different techniques to find the best fit for your company.
3. Understand your customer
Successful companies value customer input more than anything else. This goes beyond thinking like, “the customer is always right.” Talking, understand, and sharing with your customers will help you sell more. If you listen to them, they will tell you what you need to do to get more sales. You can do this by listening to their feedback on social media, the feedback you get from customer service, and the comments you receive on your blog.
Referrals are one of the most underrated parts of sales. One of the biggest misconceptions about referrals is that they just happen organically. You might get a few referrals here and there, but if you want referrals to have a massive impact on your sales, you have to be systematic about it. Building a successful sale organization requires building a successful referral system.
You can gain referrals by attending networking events, following up with customers after using your service, and offering discounts for those customers that pass along new business to your company.
Strategic partnerships are the key to increasing sales revenues, margins and profits. Partners can provide you with more qualified leads as well as word-of-mouth referrals. Partnerships can also increase your credibility. Leads and referrals through partners usually convert at higher rates. You can identify these companies by asking yourself: Do they serve similar customers? Is it a company in good standing in the business community? Are they located in the appropriate geographical location? Can you jointly develop goals and help each other grow?
Making your product or service instill a sense of urgency in your customers has a proven track record of improving sales. Finding ways to increase conversions is easy when your sales team, website or ads use urgency to psychologically win over customers. Tickers that count down the number of items left or the running 24-hour only deals can be hugely successful. Offering incentives with purchases that are set to a deadline will boost your sales.
7. Manage your sales staff
Sales management is what keeps your sales team moving together toward the same goals. It’s less about setting rules and more about motivating and leading. Some sales managers wrongly focus on trying to lift the lowest performing salespeople. Whereas great sales managers are more committed to hiring the right talent from the beginning. So pay special attention to the hiring process when building your sales team. Often, sales is not something you can teach.
8. Maximize time
Your sales staff shouldn’t be spending time on things like creating presentation slides. Focus on your goals. Test every activity for its importance and urgency. Create an ideal schedule, and test your actual time-use against it daily.
9. Make training part of your culture
A sales team without sales training is like an engine without maintenance. Your salespeople have to know your products inside and out. Even your most natural born salespeople will need to study up on your products and services as they grow and change throughout the years.
10. Reach out to different markets
If you haven’t expanded your services to reach different typess of markets, you’re missing out on sales opportunities. If your sales team is only reaching one group of people because of things like proximity or language barriers then you’re shooting yourself in the foot unnecessarily. Combat out-of-town potential customers with an online store, and remember that it’s always a good idea to hire a couple bilingual employees to help with any language barriers.
George Meszaros is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Success Harbor. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content.