As the year winds down, business owners have many calendar months to look back on to determine how successfully their products or services have sold. While reviewing the numbers, think about your people, too.
To achieve success in 2022, you’ll need a strong sales team in place. However, it’s a difficult time to hire skilled salespeople. So, you don’t want to be too quick with the walking papers for anyone who’s currently struggling. Rather, take a moment to consider whether each member of your staff has the fundamentals of a solid salesperson and, if not, how you can help them build those skills.
The right personality and skill set
One point to think about is whether someone is a natural to the role or needs additional or specialized training to become better at it. People who struggle to form relationships, have no tolerance for rejection or failure, and desire a routine workday may not belong in sales. Or maybe they can grow into it.
Using a sales aptitude test both during the hiring process and as a performance management tool can help you identify those most likely to struggle. Training and coaching of employees who lack a natural aptitude for sales could help them develop into adequate or even strong performers. However, in some cases, you might need to choose between moving a salesperson into another area of the business or letting the person go.
A successful approach
There are a multitude of sales tactics — such as the hard sell, the soft sell, upselling, storytelling and problem solving. At the end of the day, customers buy from people whom they like and trust and who can deliver what they promise.
Doing the little things separates those at the top of the sales profession from everyone else. It helps them build lasting and fruitful relationships with customers. Identify the most valuable tactics of your top sellers and share those approaches with the rest of the staff through ongoing training and upskilling.
Some may say you shouldn’t judge salespeople only on their numbers, but sales metrics are nonetheless a significant factor. After all, it’s a results-oriented profession. If someone isn’t putting up the numbers, you need to decide whether that salesperson shows enough promise to bring those results up, or, once again, if you should consider changing their role or even terminating their employment.
The question and challenge for you as a business owner, and your sales managers if you have them, is how to measure results accurately and fairly — and ultimately define success. There are many sales metrics to consider. Which ones you should track and use to evaluate the performance of your salespeople depends on your strategic priorities.
For example, if you’re looking to speed up the sales cycle, you could look at average days to close. Or, if you’re concerned that your sales department just isn’t bringing in enough revenue, you could calculate average deal size.
As your business barrels ahead into 2022, make sure your sales staff is up to the challenge of fulfilling the strategic objectives you have set for yourself.