Sticking with the ?Top 40? issue?s theme, I?ve put together a list of 40 ways you can improve sales performance.
1. Make sure you have a highly talented sales team. After all, it?s the people that make the biggest difference.
2. Align the right people with the right assignments. Not everyone is great at doing everything. The better you can match talent to task, the better the results will be.
3. Give praise. Let people know when they are doing a great job, and encourage them to repeat those behaviors more often.
4. Be specific with your feedback. In general, people want to hear about the details you noticed, both positive and negative. Providing those specifics shows them you are paying attention and you care about them.
5. Look for ways to make small improvements. You don?t always have to make a big change to make a big difference. Sometimes a series of small adjustments pays the biggest dividends.
6. Commit to building a talent bank and keeping it full.
7. Go into the field with your salespeople to observe and coach them.
8. Read business books as a sales team, and discuss them in sales meetings. Learning other points of view is important for overall growth and development.
9. Encourage failure from time to time. In order for salespeople to grow, they need to push themselves beyond where they are today. If they don?t do that, they may never fail ? but they certainly won?t ever grow.
10. Give them your undivided attention. Turn off your phone and computer during your individual focus meetings and give them all of your attention for that 30 minutes.
11. Surprise and delight your customers ? both internal and external.
12. Remember to say thank you and write thank you notes.
13. Establish the right key performance indicators. Don?t measure everything, but make sure you are measuring the right things.
14. Commit to sales training and constant improvement.
15. Raise your deserve level. Expect more from yourself, and build a plan to make sure you get there.
16. Build out individual development plans for each one of your salespeople.
17. Kill some sacred cows. Recognize what you are doing simply because that?s how it?s always been done. Then think of a better way to do it!
18. Design a compensation plan that rewards the behaviors you want.
19. Hire only the most talented salespeople.
20. Study your sales process and search for potential bottlenecks. Spend time fixing them.
21. Embrace this phrase: ?If it?s to be, it?s up to me.?
22. Install an account-list management system strategy that allows your salespeople to spend more time focusing on their best accounts and best prospects.
23. To have predictable revenue, you must have a constant lead flow. Study your lead flow and consider how many leads you need coming in each week. If you don?t have enough leads, consider that a problem to be fixed.
24. Hire talented salespeople. (Yes, it?s so important, I said it again!)
25. Improve forecasting. Not just pending business, but actual forecast accuracy. Commit to metrics like these: ?Business closed that was pending for three days or less? and ?Business closed that was pending for more than 30 days.?
26. Commit to the ?no surprise? proposal every time.
27. Work with your sales team to write better e-mails.
28. Make sure you have a valid business reason when trying to earn an appointment with a prospect or client.
29. Find a validated talent-interview instrument to help you determine the sales talents and strengths of your salespeople.
30. Keep your sales meetings relevant, and try to do some sales training in every sales meeting.
31. Make sure you?re offering quality sales coaching.
32. Teach your sellers to use social media to brand and connect with prospects.
33. Raise your expectations.
34. Focus on a few category verticals that are key to your format, and provide the sales team with quality research and insight into those categories.
35. Practice brainstorming for clients and prospects. Remember to sell the idea and the solution, not just the product.
36. Commit to building more case studies and reviewing them with the sellers on a regular basis.
37. Revisit your sales dashboard and make sure you?re looking at the best and most important information.
38. Focus on the assignment. Make sure your salespeople are going beyond the needs-analysis work and nailing down an assignment that is important to the client.
39. Doing in-field coaching already? Do more.
40. Commit to training and developing those talented salespeople you?ve hired.
Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy.
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