Sales are at the heart of the company’s operations, crucial in managing customer relations, gaining insight into the quality of the products and services, and maximizing revenues. Modern Day salespeople find customers more accessible due to technology adoption such as automation, big data, and customer relationship management. Despite the increased accessibility and various outreach tools on account of these advancements, sales teams have been reporting a declining conversion; they claim closures are increasingly growing harder. Having effective breakthrough sales strategy can generate new sales and increase customer retention.
For instance, a survey conducted by Salesforce showed that 85% of business prospects were dissatisfied with their sales experience, while 42% of the salespeople who reached out to these prospects admitted not having enough information before making a call. Leaving sales teams in the dark can lead to off-brand messaging, quality control issues, and distrust between marketing and sales. So how can companies effectively empower their sales teams to target prospective clients? The key to maximizing sales conversions and reducing the sales cycle can be to create an effective breakthrough sales strategy plan. The following strategies are crucial in breaking down sales barriers –
Company Culture & Management Style
High sales conversion mandates hiring the best salespeople. While most companies believe that compensation and incentives attract top sales talent into an organization, the real drivers are the company culture and effective management style. Hiring based on compensation alone can hinder the organization’s long-term prospects.
Salespeople who are primarily motivated by compensation tend to put their interests ahead of the organization, creating friction within teams. Instead, companies should hire for character & skill and create a work environment that fosters growth and rewards efforts. A culture of learning and development across the hierarchies needs to be created. Managers can look at micro-coaching or formal coaching to mentor/coach their employees to motivate and guide them.
Today, most organizations still conduct sales through a top-down lens, starting with a large addressable market and sending salespeople to convert potential customers. However, this can be an ineffective breakthrough sales strategy that can lead to low sales conversion rates and a long time to close potential sales. It is far easier to sell products or services to customers who are already interested rather than aiming to convince the uninterested. A recent study from Gartner found that buyers spent 43% of their time conducting prior research on a product or service before meeting potential suppliers. In fact, buyers spend just 17% of their time meeting with dealers and suppliers.
Salespeople should thus look to refine the sales funnel using data, advanced analytics, and other digital tools. It is advisable to exclude potential customers who have already purchased from another vendor, as they would be tougher to convince and convert until their prior Experience was unsatisfactory. Creating a list of potential clients meeting these criteria would substantially increase the conversion rate while shortening the typical sales cycle.
Next, The salesperson needs to understand and analyze the client’s purchase funnel. Often, more than two people are involved in making the purchase decision. The salesperson should understand each person’s role and influence and weigh that in, along with factoring in their viewpoint before making the sales pitch. Asking quality questions and doing a good amount of research is a must to accomplish this.
One should analyze the dormant and lost clients to see if one can revive them. Creating a list of potential clients meeting these criteria would substantially increase the conversion rate while shortening the typical sales cycle.
Create & Build Referral Networks
Referrals are crucial in making effective sales to customers. A survey shows that 92% of potential customers are likely to trust referrals from people they know, especially true for friends and family. Conversion from referred customers is four times more likely than a non-referred one.
Referrals are powerful social marketing tactics as it builds trust with prospective clients by showcasing the company’s prior products or services. Referrals are also integral in long-term organic growth, as customers referred have a 37% higher retention rate than those who are not.
Grow Existing Accounts
While companies look to aggressively find new customers for their products or service, landing a sale can be a long and hard process. A Gartner study reveals that 24% of all marketing emails are opened, and an average of 18 calls are required to establish a connection with a buyer.
Thus, it is vital for the sales team to work with existing customers, understand their needs, and grow accounts over time. Salespeople can look to upsell or cross-sell products and services.
Training & Development
The key factor that sets the top salespeople apart from the rest of their peers is Experience. Customers want to interact with those with unparalleled knowledge about their products and services. Experienced salespeople also have the edge when dealing with prospective customers.
A study from Invesp found that 60% of customers said No four times before saying yes to a salesperson. Experience plays a crucial factor here since an estimated 48% of salespeople never follow up after an initial sales pitch or the first no.
Preparing for a Meeting
To maximize the chance of success in closing a deal, salespeople must go into every meeting having prepared and anticipated all the concerns, questions, and objections that a client can potentially have. To do this, they need to do prior research about the company, have a clear agenda chalked out, and create a compelling sales experience. Salespeople should focus on conducting in-depth research into the business and industry, understand the common challenges, and note recent key events. For example, if salespeople target clients across the software industry, they must understand the functions, common jargon, and terms they use.
Setting a clear agenda before the meeting ensures they can best use everyone’s time. For instance, if it is the first meeting with a prospective client, the salesperson could focus on identifying their needs, understanding their pain points, and presenting effective solutions to help their business. Thus, by mapping out all the potential questions and concerns of the client, salespeople can focus on coming up with persuasive and valuable responses to each. Additionally, if a company already has customers in a similar industry, it can use the previous sales experience to close a deal more effectively.
Establishing realistic expectations early in a relationship helps sales representatives create more productive relationships. This includes effective communication throughout the sales process, setting priorities, and a timeline to streamline the process. Aligning solutions with the customer’s needs and understanding the deadline for deliverables can be crucial in meeting the client’s needs.
Closing a sale can seem daunting for sales teams if the information is sparse and the perceived complexity is high. It is no wonder salespeople struggle to gain traction when selling their products or services. However, creating an effective breakthrough sales strategy is crucial in improving the sales in an origination. By following these steps, salespeople can streamline their sales process, increase sales conversion, and grow existing accounts.