Do you feel like selling is getting harder? Is your sales team’s performance lagging? Salesforce’s fifth State of Sales reveals you’re not alone:
- 69% of salespeople report that selling is more difficult
- 82% say they’ve had to adapt quickly to new ways of selling
- Only 28% believe their sales teams will hit 100% of annual quota—and that hitting 50%-75% is more likely
- 10% believe they won’t even hit the halfway mark
Sales teams face economic headwinds, changing buyer expectations, larger buying groups, and longer sales cycles. Not to mention the need to master new tactics of virtual selling.
Sales performance is how well individual reps and sales teams as a whole are achieving sales targets. Is your team measuring up? Don’t assume your current approaches will lead to success in this new selling climate—adopt these six strategies to improve sales performance.
5 Key Sales Performance Factors
First, let’s look at five key factors that affect sales performance. While each company’s products, customers, and markets are different, these are the elements you need to consider when assessing your sales performance and how to improve it.
1. Go-To-Market Strategy
The elements of your go-to-marketing (GTM) plan, and how well they are executed, are primary factors in whether your sales team can perform well. A typical GTM strategy includes product pricing, positioning, and messaging. Each of these must align with your market, competitors, and target customer. For example, if your pricing is too high relative to perceived value, your salespeople will find it difficult to close.
2. Sales and Marketing Alignment
Collaboration between sales and marketing teams is essential to improving sales performance. While marketing works at the top of the funnel to generate awareness and leads, salespeople can supply front-line feedback about lead quality and how well messaging resonates with buyers. A lack of alignment leads to frustration, miscommunication, missed opportunities, and lower performance.
3. Sales Incentives
Sales incentives are a primary force behind your sales team’s performance. How well quotas, territories, and compensation are structured—and whether they are perceived as attainable and fair—can significantly influence sales team morale and output for better or worse.
4. Sales Skills
The experience and abilities of your salespeople are other key factors for sales performance. Each salesperson must have the industry expertise, product knowledge, and soft skills to engage prospects, build trust, and move buyers through the process. Onboarding and on-going training must match the unique skill gaps of each individual on the team.
5. Sales Staffing
The composition of your sales team can also affect sales performance. You need the right ratio of inside sales / business development reps to account executives. If you are understaffed, your salespeople will spend more time making cold calls and scheduling meetings and less time meeting customers and closing sales.
6 Strategies to Improve Sales Rep Performance
The key to good sales performance is consistency. If your team is not set up for repeatable success, it won’t be able to meet or exceed objectives when circumstances change. You’ve got to implement strategies that fit the current climate. You’ll enable your team to win, no matter the economic headwinds or competitive situations.
Here are six strategies to improve sales performance:
1. Assess Your Sales Team
Sales skills assessments can help you predict a new hire’s likelihood of success in your organization and evaluate current team members’ strengths and skills gaps. These individual assessments also reveal the motivators and behavior styles that affect how well a salesperson will perform. Assessing your entire sales team will help you understand the training needs and challenges of the team as a whole. You can use sales team insights to identify the right way to structure your sales team and build a roadmap to improve sales performance.
2. Create an Effective Sales Onboarding Program
A comprehensive onboarding program sets the stage for future sales success. Welcome each new salesperson with the foundational training they need to understand your company culture, products, procedures, and ideal customer profile.
3. Provide Sales Training
A well-designed, repeatable sales training program enables your salespeople to meet prospects and customers where they are in the buying process, build credibility, engage in meaningful dialogue that progresses the sale, improve the predictability of your sales funnel, and close more business. If you’re investing resources in a sales training initiative, give the project the best chance of success by choosing a provider that’s the right fit for your organization.
4. Find the Right Sales Incentives to Motivate Your Team
The right sales incentives can make or break your sales team’s performance. Set clear sales objectives, be transparent about sales targets and performance, and reward quota attainment with the best incentives for your team. Remember that money and spiffs aren’t always the best incentives—sometimes family time or a fun experience is more rewarding and motivating. Here are some creative sales incentive ideas.
5. Empower Sellers with One-on-One Sales Coaching
Ongoing, personalized sales coaching is a proven factor for improving sales performance. Both new and veteran salespeople can benefit from your advice, insights, and observations about how well they’re executing sales tactics and strategies. Don’t overlook the power of coaching your coaches. Empowering sales managers to be more effective has a long-term positive impact.
6. Use Sales Technology Strategically
According to McKinsey, winning B2B companies are more willing to invest in advanced sales technology stacks—leading companies are 55% more likely to introduce new sales technologies than laggards. Your team might have all the right sales skills but not be able to perform well without better technology. Ensure you’re giving your team the sales tools they need to succeed.
Invest for Success
When you’ve hired the right salespeople and your team is well trained, coached, and motivated, they will naturally perform better. Designing and implementing these six strategies to improve sales performance may be one of the more challenging things you do, but your investment of time, resources, and effort will lead to better pipeline, a higher close rate, and create a cycle of continued success.
Download The 10 Most Common Sales Management Mistakes to learn how to avoid common pitfalls and lead a high-performing sales team.
Ready to equip your team to improve sales performance? Let’s start a conversation.