You’ve seen it yourself as sales management: despite a great sales process that the sales force is pushed to follow, and sales analytics measuring it, there can still be quite a difference between salespeople. Some close consistently, others close intermittently. Some meet—and in some cases exceed—their quotas. Others are always lagging behind. Can this gap be closed in a positive direction?
In many quarters sales managers are managing too many sales reps to try and spend much time with the ones who aren’t doing well. To listen in on their calls, go with them to meetings, and try and figure out what it is exactly they’re doing wrong may not be considered to be the best use of time. In the end the laggards are often left to make it or not.
But there are ways to positively correct sales reps so that they can succeed, while saving yourself considerable time and resources in turnover, hiring replacements and training.
One method being used by forward-thinking companies is to make sure that the best practices of expert reps are recorded and shared. Breaking it down even further, successful methods can be recorded and shared for each step of the sales process. Since normally these are constantly evolving, new methods can be added over time so that the rest of the sales force can share them.
There are many sales managers who regularly coach their salespeople, based on generally successful sales strategies for that company. More broadly, they might also coach on sales techniques in general. If this is not being done in your company, it’s a great place to start.
If you’re going to coach, there is also the issue of who to coach. Should you coach your top performers? Or, should you concentrate on those with the lowest close rates in an effort to bring them somewhere closer to the top? It’s been recently found that much of the time spent on sales coaching can be the most productive right in the middle percentage—they’re not the experts, but they’re not the worst off, either. They generally get a job done, have room for improvement, and have a skillset that can be worked with.
Continuing Education and Sales Training
There are yet other companies that are regularly providing sales educational materials to their reps, so that reps can take what they can use and apply it daily on the job. This can even extend to off-peak-time sales seminars so that abilities can be continually improved.
Listening and Comparing
Another method that has been highly successful for some sales managers is to listen to recordings of reps needing improvement as a part of a sales training, and compare what they are doing to the top performers. This can be done by cross-checking what salespeople are doing against best practices lists. Are they actually implementing those practices? Which are they leaving out? Reps can then be coached to implement more of those practices.
Such comparison can also be done by comparing recordings of reps needing improvement against recordings of proven salespeople, and noting the differences. Once again, a list could be drawn up of what the top rep is doing that the lagging rep isn’t; the list can be used to coach the salesperson needing improvement.
Behind it All—The CRM Solution
Of course sales management is not going to be able to correct salespeople if they don’t know exactly where in the sales cycle sales reps are faltering. It’s too broad an approach to simply say someone “isn’t making quota”—unless you’re just planning on dismissing him or her. A rep can be weak on bringing a prospect through one or more particular steps of sales pipeline, and it might be a simple matter to drill down and find out what “best practice” they’re not applying in that step. For that level of detail—especially with little time to go searching for it—you need a leading-edge CRM solution.
Sales management is most successful with a stable, winning sales force. Such a sales force is forged through successfully correcting those who aren’t quite up to par and bringing them up to be winners, too.
The CRM solution you need to truly monitor your reps is Pipeliner CRM. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.