Sales Performance Improvement

in Sale

Each year companies need to improve their performance in sales not only because of cost pressures but more importantly because they will lose between 5-20% of their customer base each year. This means that in 3 years they will be less than half the size they are now if they do nothing else!

Due largely to companies going into receivership, mergers and takeovers or exit, it is nonetheless a critical factor in the success or otherwise of any business. Just to stand still every company needs to find more business from existing customers as well as finding new ones. The need to improve sales performance is self evident.

Under these circumstances most business owners exhort their sales staff to work harder as if somehow doing more of the same thing will result in better figures when doing more of the same thing brings in more of the same results. It is important to recognise the need to work smarter and not necessarily harder.

So how can we bring about these "smarter" results?

There are a number of areas that can be considered in improving sales performance, not all of them may apply to your situation.

  • Focus

Are your sales staff focusing on the right customers with the right products? Do they assess customers and prospects potential? Or do they just rely on what they did in the past?
  • Motivation.

It is important that they understand their role in the business. Often this is not the case. If in doubt ask them! The vision you have for the company should be shared by everyone to promote involvement and motivation.

  • Objectives

Their objectives should be aligned with that vision. It is surprising how many companies do not do this. For instance, there was one case where a company needed growth but the sales team were targeted with maintaining existing customer business.

  • Cross-Sell and Up-sell

Every opportunity should be taken to cross-sell and up-sell. Cross-selling (other products) and up-selling (superior product, higher grade service) increase the take from the customer for little or no increase in costs of selling to that customer.

  • Skills

Ensure the sales force is trained in the latest sales techniques because you can be sure the buyer is trained in how to combat them! Training, development and reinforcement of the skills they learn as well as feedback on their performance is vital to ensure that you are getting the best out of the work force

  • Prospecting

Does the sales team spend time on prospecting? This is the feedstock of your sales pipeline. If they do not, you are running on empty. Do they know which markets to tackle, where and what type of customer the company needs.

  • Needs and Offer

Do your sales team identify you customers' needs or do they just sell the features of the product or service? Do they consider the whole of your offer or just the products and services? In many cases customers are persuaded not just by the product but by other items such as delivery, terms and conditions or just want to deal with you!

There are of course many other areas to be discussed in an article such as this but simply asking yourself and your team the questions posed above will put you and your business on the road to Sales Performance Improvement.

Author Box
Bob Francis has 1 articles online

Bob Francis is an experienced business consultant spending most of his time helping clients with sales and marketing issues. His expertise lies primarily in strategy, sales and marketing and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is an expert at sales performance measurement and improvement.

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Sales Performance Improvement

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This article was published on 2010/04/04