Without a doubt, sales are the lifeblood of any organisation. How well – and how often – your business makes a sale, determines its success.  It follows then, that the proper management of the sales team and the sales process is critical.

Having worked with a number of companies over the past couple of years, we have found that there are a number of common mistakes that business owners consistently make when it comes to managing sales. Sadly, these mistakes inhibit growth and long-term success. Below, we look at what many business owners are doing wrong – and how they can fix their approach to sales…

  1.  Sales Targets 

The number of companies that do not have clear sales targets in place constantly surprises me. It comes down to simply planning for success. Sales targets have to be developed to demonstrate the following:

  • The overall financial sales target for the company for the year
  • Sales targets then need to be broken down by quarter, month, week as well as daily sales targets
  • Sales volumes: it is a very good idea to break the sales target down into the number of widgets to be sold by product category as well. This way, sales teams can obtain a very clear view on what products to prioritise
  • Sales targets need to be detailed by region as well as by sales representative, so that sales management can track the actual versus plan on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
  1.  Sales Implementation Plan

Once the sales targets have been clarified, the next step in the process is to develop a very clear but simple sales implementation plan.  This should include the sales call cycle, new business opportunities and how you plan to convert those opportunities into sales – as well as reviewing the progress being made in this regard. Here, a good idea is to develop a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that would include lead as well as lag indicators to success.

  1.  Clear Sales Process & Scripts

Too many companies do not have a clearly defined sales process. The importance of this element cannot be over emphasised.  Having a clear process in place means that a sales manager can be confident that all his/her sales staff are following a common sales process.  As a result, the company can now track sales conversion rates across various stages (e.g. Lead, Suspect, Prospect, Buyer) of the sales process – and is then able to take corrective action in order to increase conversion rates.

 

  1.     Sales Pipeline Tracking

Ensure that you are using one of the many robust CRM systems available to be able to track the progress of each lead in the system.  This will ensure that you are keeping track of the very important next steps in the sales process, whilst also giving you the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with each of your prospects. 

  1.  Identify Your Leads Personality style

It is very important to identify your lead/prospects personality style as early on in the process as possible. This enables you to adapt your sales style to meet their personality style:  e.g. highly driven people do not want to be bored with all the details, and once they see the value will quickly ask what the next steps are.  Alternatively, people who have a high attention to detail will naturally ask for more information, facts and testimonials before making a purchase decision.

  1.  Selling is about empowering prospects to make a purchase decision 

There are three main parts to any sales process:

  1. Build the relationship
  2. Develop trust
  3. Allow your prospect to make a purchase decision.

This process applies to any type of product, and one needs to ensure that your marketing message and sales process takes a prospect through each of these steps if you want to ensure a good conversion rate.