Sales and revenue are the lifeblood of every business no matter what the industry. How do you increase sales and improve business performance? Is it a science or an art? In this blog, we look at 10 strategies to increase sales performance and take your B2B business to a whole new level.
Sales Team Performance
Do you have the right people in the right roles? Do they have adequate support from marketing and support functions? Is the quota achievable and is the territory the right size and in the right shape to enable them to sell? What is their tenure in the role and have they had time to establish a suitable pipeline? Are you losing some of your sales team on a regular basis and turnover is just too high to create a stable structure?
1. Compare your team against your key competitors
Have you looked at who you are selling against? If your sales team was a sports team, would you expect them to beat their opposition? Man for man, woman for woman - do they stack up? Take a look at age, experience, educational background, and more. This is one of the services that we offer and it's a real eye-opener. Fixing this will take some time - but the results can be terrific.
2. Win Loss Analysis
Have you interviewed your customers to ask them why they bought from you or bought from your competitor? Win Loss Analysis is a critical element of a high-performing sales team. Interview customers where you won and where you lost - you need to understand why someone was attracted to sign your contract and if you lost, why they chose the competitor's solution.
Our advice is to run the process across one in every three deals so that you can build up the 'average' feedback. Also, try to have an external consultant run this on your behalf as they will be able to ask the difficult questions without any baggage - and get direct and honest answers. Take a look at our Win Loss Analysis service for more details.
Website and Social Media
Is your website attracting new visitors - and more importantly, are they the people you are wanting to attract? Have you compared your performance versus your main competitors and do you know what 'keywords' they are attracting compared to you?
3. Run an SEO investigation
Work with a consultant to look at what keywords your website is attracting (keywords are critical to organic traffic and mean that your website comes up when someone enters a query in Google (or other platforms)). If you aren't appearing - you need to fix this through a piece of SEO work. You can also search your competitor's websites and find out what keywords they are appearing for. This is an area that most customers fail to cover and the results can be quite astonishing.
If this sounds complicated, don't worry, it really isn't - we can help with this under our Sales Troubleshooting service.
4. Pay Per Click investment
Are you paying to attract your customers - if not you should be. Attracting customers is vital. You might be selling £10 notes for £5 but if people don't know this, you will not sell any. Pay-per-click brings customers to your site so they know what you do. However, that's not the best play - sending them to a landing page is the most important thing you can do. Get them to take action and have your sales team follow-up with them. Also, if you are doing PPC, think about whether you need to spend more money on it. This might be a very simple answer to your leads issue.
5. Post on Social Media
Posting on social media is important to build credibility for your brand. However, don't fall into the trap of just pushing company content and forms of showboating. Show your potential customers that you have expertise in a given field. Answer their questions. Show domain knowledge.
Importantly, don't just do this as the company - get your most important team members to post themselves from their personal accounts. Try to encourage this as it extends your reach and attracts a whole new range of clients.
Most B2B companies rely upon a selection of partners to help them sell their products or services, but are those partners performing to the optimum level?
6. Partner Audit
Take a look at each of your partners and run an audit on their performance. Which ones are critical to your company and which ones are just making up the numbers? Invest in those that are investing in you. When we run the Partner Audit for our clients, we find that a number of 'partners' are partners in name only. They are failing to invest. It's better to understand this and make plans accordingly. You will likely have limited resources to maintain and drive partner relationships so let's get them focused on the right partners.
The most important department for generating pipeline that leads to increased sales - is the marketing team.
7. Disqualified Leads
Leads are expensive and time-consuming to cultivate. Do you spend enough time looking at why leads fail to become opportunities? These are what we call 'disqualified leads' - leads that the sales team has decided are not valid or worth further engagement. Looking at your disqualified leads can uncover a story that will lead to sales improvement.
What we are looking for here is to understand why the opportunities that marketing and business development are creating are not valuable to the sales team. If you can change this and improve the quality - your pipeline grows and some of these will close - result!. How do you check your disqualified leads? The best way is to take a representative sample of the opportunities and call them. If this might be useful but you don't have the time, our Disqualified Leads process is here to help you.
When we run a disqualified lead audit we almost always find a deal that has been missed - so it's a brilliant activity with a high ROI.
8. Marketing Investment
Look closely at your marketing investment and what's working and bringing leads. Be ruthless and cut spending that isn't bringing opportunities. We often speak to customers who are investing too much money at a key tradeshow - only for it to bring little opportunity and cannibalize significant parts of the overall marketing budget. It's so important to be super focused on leads - and leads that deliver wins. Remove spending from areas with poor results and consider doubling down on the winners.
9. Market Research
Here is a controversial one - are you going after the right market? Do you really know what your customers think of you? Are you investing time and energy in the wrong place? It's a simple one to answer but all too often we make an assumption. We assume that what we are doing and what we have been doing for the longest time is correct - so we keep going.
Why not commission some research - have someone contact a representative sample of your prospect list and ask them the questions. Do they know you? - this will let you know if your marketing has been working. Do they see value in what you sell? Would they consider working with you in the future? Is there a reason why they wouldn't? (which is great for objection handling in your future marketing work).
10. Pricing changes and commercial terms review
This one could be right under your nose. How much extra revenue would you bring into the business if some element of your product or service were increased in price? Or how about if you took a decision to offer 10% less discount or put a cap on discounts?
Also, have you looked at things like 'menu pricing' - think about how you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Many customers will add a syrup or change the size and make-up of their drink of choice. The same thing can work in your industry. What optional extras can you allow your customers to select? It's a great way of letting the customer decide their budget - not you.
There are so many opportunities to increase sales - as we have seen in this short article, there are ten that you can do right away, but we've only scratched the surface. Invariably the cure will depend on the patient's symptoms and therefore what works for your competitor's sales team might not work for yours.
If you have a few sales challenges and want to improve and increase sales performance this year, we run a free 30-minute Sales Troubleshooter Surgery. All you need to do is to let us have your contact information and one of the team will be in contact to arrange a suitable slot. We can then talk through your issues and suggest some approaches that might be suitable. What's more, we'll write up a short summary report with our recommendations so that you can review our suggestions with your team.