How To Increase Sales With Better Sales Pipelines
Small Business May 4, 2018 JD Mckenzie
You might think to increase profit, nurture stronger customer relationships, and grow your market share, you need to push your team harder and ramp up recruitment. However, if you take a look under the hood and spend the time analyzing your pipeline, you’ll likely find that you can do a lot more with what you already have.
To increase sales you could ask your team to work harder, find new markets, and close larger deals, but that’s only going to take you so far. If you keep going this route and your growth stalls, what do you do? If your team is already at their breaking point you could attempt to increase sales by hiring new team members, but according to the founder of Centric VC, Jason Lempkin, it can take several sales cycles for a salesperson to impact revenue, let alone balance the cost of their headcount. Considering that statistics show the average tenure of a salesperson at less than 2 years, hiring your way to increased sales should be a last resort.
So, what do you do? Your sales pipeline is a wealth of information and if you leverage that data, you’ll soon be working smarter instead of harder
Here are three tips on how you can coach your sales team to work smarter so you can increase sales without hiring more people or burning out your staff.
1. Find The Bottlenecks
The first and, often, most straightforward way to identify bottlenecks is understanding what stage in the process is most frequently creating a drop off in sales. Start by looking at your sales pipeline from the buyer’s perspective – go through the customer’s journey and imagine how you would feel as a client.
Reflect on your own experiences as a consumer and ask yourself if you’re making your customer jump through unnecessary hoops. Are there sticking points or caveats that keep coming up? Does it take longer than you’d expect to transition through the process? If you’ve come back with concerns, it’s likely that many of your customers have noticed too. More importantly, the leads you’ve failed to convert certainly have.
Once you have a good sense of what a customer must experience to close a deal with your company, find out what kind of roadblocks your team is experiencing. This will aid in uncovering any subtle yet crucial bottlenecks, and it’ll allow you to identify whether or not your team is experiencing the same pain points as your customers. Remember, if both your team and your customers are encountering bottlenecks, that means that your leads are, too. For example, maybe you’ve noticed that a lot of sales drop off after the proposal stage, after investigating, you may find that the sales presentation is too complicated and your team is struggling to keep the lead’s attention.
2. Strengthen What You Have
Once you’ve identified and solved the most prominent problem areas, take a look at what you’re doing right. Find out what’s working, why it’s working, and how you can further leverage that to your advantage.
Things like the size of deal that works for your business. This can help you if, for example, you may find that your team excels at closing bigger sales. In that case, you should work on increasing the volume of those larger accounts or since big accounts tend to need white glove service, find ways to increase the quality of service you give these leads.
Another area you can look at is to see what length of sales cycles work. If short cycles are your strength, use that information to help identify when a lead has gone cold, and your sales team can move onto newer projects. Alternatively, if you have long sales cycles, an automated nurturing campaign can help you close deals with less work, freeing your team to work on the lead at the right moment.
Pipelines can even help you identify an ideal customer. Perhaps you’ve tried to appeal to everyone and you’re spreading your message thin. If that’s the case, worry less about the quantity of leads and more about the quality. Understand the kind of solutions you need to offer and update your marketing to focus on what demographics work. Leverage your website as a marketing tool by adjusting your pricing in a way that immediately showcases value. By attracting the business that works and saying no to the business that doesn’t, your team will spend fewer resources on sales presentations that aren’t helping you meet your goals and more on those that do.
3. Start Specializing
The phrase, “Always be closing” is ingrained into the mind of a salesperson and it isn’t bad advice. However, square pegs don’t fit into round holes, and sometimes a salesperson has a different skill set and uses techniques than the rest of your team. As you take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of your team, see find out who excels at the varying stages of your Opportunity Pipeline.
This information may be a teaching moment to promote shared learning, collective thinking, and leadership development. Talk to team members who are doing well and have them share their knowledge with their co-workers. This can take on the form of training seminars, mentorships, or even a promotion to a leadership role. By giving those who are successful an opportunity to grow in your company, you can create a culture where success is rewarded and your team feels empowered.
If you find that you have a mixture of team members with different levels of skills when it comes to lead generation, customer relationship management, and closing sales, you must begin leveraging these strengths to your advantage. Now could be the right time to break down your sales team into Sales Development Reps, Account Executives, or Business Development Reps. Set up your team to be as effective as possible by letting them do what they’re best at.
You don’t need to choose between stagnant sales, burned out staff, or increased overhead. Find out how easy it is to further understand your Opportunity Pipeline and increase sales with Daylite by checking out Identify Gaps in Your Sales Process. Ready to jump right in? Try Daylite free for 30 days – win more business and get more done.