Today, we will focus on sales productivity. Therefore, we are going to talk about a tool which is almost unavoidable for salespeople: the CRM system. It is the place where companies “hoard” not only their existing customers and all the associated B2B data, but usually also those who are yet to become customers—aka. prospects and […]
Yes, it is confusing and yes, we know it’s scary for some businesses out there. Especially those who want to expand to the D-A-CH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) markets need to know about the European Data Protection Laws. In this article, we want to provide you with a comprehensive overview of what’s going on in […]
Success, growth, customer acquisition – you can only achieve all of this with a solid basis. Your list of leads plays a vital role in this process. Why? In this article, we will explain to you the reasons for a good lead list and help you create one that will make you more successful! Let’s […]
As the state of the pandemic is improving and more and more people are getting the vaccine, companies face the decision to remain remote or open up their offices again.
Despite changing circumstances, ensuring high sales performance remains a key goal for most companies. If your company took a hit due to coronavirus, boosting sales might be imperative.
A major part of making sales happen, and happen often, is setting up the right environment for remote sales teams. So, as full-time remote work transitions from the exception to a necessity to possibly an option again, is going forever-remote something that your sales team should consider?
Forever-Remote Isn’t a Walk In the Park, But It Can Provide Serious Benefits
The first thing to note is that transitioning to forever-remote work for sales teams isn’t necessarily easy. Although having no commute or office politics sounds great, building a strong remote work takes serious planning.
While some companies can build remote-first sales teams from the ground up, that’s not the case for many organizations. Transforming a company with a brick-and-mortar office culture into an organization that is 100% remote means revisiting your sales operation with fresh eyes.
Going forever-remote is not quite as simple as turning all your meetings into video calls. There are many intentional shifts that need to take place to make it work. For companies willing to take the plunge, the organizational rethink that forever-remote requires can provide long-term company-wide benefits.
Benefits for individual salespeople going forever-remote
For sales professionals, forever-remote work can bring significant benefits.
With so many salespeople nudged into remote work recently, many of them aren’t in a rush to get back to the office. In a recent survey from the U.K., nearly 70% of sales and marketing professionals said that moving to forever-remote work is a good thing.
From no more killer commutes to being able to live where they want to live, the lifestyle benefits of remote work are obvious. With smart planning, a bit of creativity, and myriad digital tools, many of the noted downsides of remote work (like loneliness) can be mitigated.
Forever-remote advantages for sales managers
Going forever-remote improves salespeople’s ability to make sales (by enhancing productivity).
A comprehensive study on remote work from Stanford University found that remote workers are, on average, 13% more productive than their office-based counterparts.
Transitioning to forever-remote also means documenting the sales processes by default. Mapping core processes turns routine operations into operational assets and allows more efficient analysis and management of sales pipelines for different salespeople.
This is also a huge benefit when it comes to team onboarding and training. With key processes well-documented, you’re saving many hours getting new team members up-to-speed.
Armed with a better understanding of how their teams achieve key sales goals, sales managers can be more effective in remote-oriented companies.
Companies can see significant gains when going forever-remote
The benefits of remote work for companies have been well-researched.
But these advantages are coming into clearer focus more recently amidst shifts during the coronavirus pandemic. Much of the conventional wisdom about the downsides of remote work have been largely disproved.
Companies have realized that going forever-remote helps them compete for talent on a bigger stage. Being able to hire people from all over the world opens the door to a new age of diversity and talent-matching. No longer limited by geographical factors, companies are free to hire the best employees no matter where they’re based.
Remote sales teams also save money. On average, companies can save up to $10,000 per remote team member a year compared to hosting them in an office. Foregoing this cost makes scaling sales teams easier by removing any physical limitations (i.e., office space requirements) on company growth.
The process-oriented nature of remote-first workplaces also allows companies to integrate automation and leverage further cost and time savings.
Digital Tools for Forever-Remote Sales Teams
Gaining maximum benefit from a forever-remote sales team depends not only on having adequate systems and sales processes in place but also using proven digital tools in the right areas.
Here are three key areas where forever-remote sales teams can gain the most benefit from smart technology.
At the center of any remote-first sales team will be an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system. Well known names like Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics allow sales teams to coordinate the countless variables of thousands of prospects and leads remotely.
These kinds of cloud-based systems make it easier for distributed workforces to manage client relationships. While choosing one can be complicated, the time you spend researching the various CRM systems out there is a worthwhile investment.
Be thoughtful and specific about your unique needs when choosing the CRM that best fits your organization as this choice will undergird the foundation of your future success in sales.
Project management software
With forever-remote organizations, much of the work is done in the clouds.
Cloud-based project management software allows sales teams to keep track of where their time goes and sales managers to see how and where the work of individual team members fits into larger projects. Applications like Asana or Trello can enable complex projects to be coordinated seamlessly regardless of whether stakeholders are co-located or in different time zones.
Project management tools can also be integrated with sales trackers and CRM systems to fit prospect behavior into longer-term sales strategies and goals.
The great thing about choosing the right project management software is that it saves a tremendous amount of time that would have been otherwise spent simply coordinating the work. With the right project management tool, the tasks are well-organized, aligned to a larger strategy, and the focus is on hitting specific benchmarks on the way to effective sales.
Remote security solutions
For companies looking at going forever-remote, cybersecurity is going to be a significant concern.
Distributed workforces create new cybersecurity endpoints due to often insecure networks that can be vulnerable to malware and phishing attacks. The burden is on forever-remote organizations to deliver training to all team members upfront so that security is the standard.
Mitigating against these kinds of threats can look like investing in lightweight distributed cybersecurity protection for employees’ devices and rolling out the use of a virtual private network (VPN) through remote sales teams.
Empower Your Forever-Remote Sales Team with the Right Tools
Forever-remote teams are having a moment.
With considerable benefits for salespeople, sales managers, and companies as a whole—it’s clear why. The organizations that invest upfront on CRM solutions, project management tools, and cybersecurity infrastructure will set their sales teams up for success.
The key to going forever-remote is remembering that it’s a fundamentally different work environment. Trying to bring over old processes and tools just won’t work and might make things worse.
From financial and productivity gains to getting a chance to turn processes into assets, forever-remote working environments present an opportunity to rejuvenate sales and help teams close more deals, more often.
If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.
According to statistics, almost 70 percent of all companies in Germany have their own website. The number increases depending on the size of the company; for small companies with less than ten employees, only about 60 percent have a website. For businesses with 50 or more employees, the figure is already more than 90 percent. […]
Even during normal times, around 57% of sales representatives miss their quota. Some common reasons for missing quota including poor lead generation, a lack of follow-up with customers, and failure to understand the full sales process from start to finish.
When the economy is in a downturn, the number of sales reps who miss quota is likely to be even higher. But there are many steps managers can take to help sales reps who missed their quota this quarter.
1. Create a performance report and compare data with past successes.
You and your rep can review past deals that went through, focusing particularly on the most recent deals. Identify commonalities among those deals. Why was the representative able to succeed? What were the most important elements of the sales process?
Use these successes to create a guidebook for a struggling sales representative. This exercise reminds them that they can succeed and provides actionable steps for reps to follow.
2. Evaluate the sales messaging they’re using when pitching to customers.
Sales representative who succeed adapt their message depending on the customer and their current situation.
During an economic downturn, sales reps should evaluate the strength of a prospect’s position before conducting outreach. It may make sense to focus on prospects who are in a relatively strong position. Even so, the sales representation should clearly understand the prospect’s current challenges and adjust their pitch accordingly.
Observe your underperforming sales reps’ cold calls and other early outreach messaging. Do they seem to be giving the same pitch to every customer? To overcome this problem, model how to successfully adapt a sales pitch. Brainstorm the best ways to reach a prospect on the sales representative’s list.
3. Strategize on getting current deals over the finish line.
Even if sales have been slower than you would prefer, your sales representatives still have deals in the pipeline. Help them strategize how these accounts can be closed by asking detailed questions about the deal’s progression.
If your sales representative suspects that poor economic conditions may be contributing to delays, create a strategy that specifically addresses the downturn and associated uncertainty. Prepare your sales representative for the possibility that the sales cycle might be extended, while still emphasizing that the deal can close with the right approach.
4. Help sales reps focus more on what they can control.
When the economy is mired in a downturn, it is all too easy for sales representatives to become despondent. They may feel as if their sales performance is largely beyond their control.
To mitigate this kind of thinking, encourage your team members to focus on factors that are still within their control. Although a sales rep cannot control larger economic conditions, they can control their prospecting, messaging, and other sales techniques. Share motivating resources with your team that prompt them to take ownership over their work, instead of focusing on what’s going on in the wider world.
One way for sales reps to focus on factors that are within their control is to pivot more towards growing their established accounts. Existing customers are oftentimes the best source of new business, and that is particularly true during a downturn. Encourage your sales representatives to check in with their existing customers. They should not go into early conversations with the goal of a sale, but should focus on learning about where the customer is right now and how your company can provide help. Invite customers to pursue your resources and participate in webinars. The sales representative should always be looking for ways to add value, even if they are not trying to sell a specific product or service.
Once the sales representative better understands the conditions the customer is facing, they can create a strategy for expanding business.
Sales representatives struggling to meet quota should also consider reaching out to customers who have churned. They should ask if they can provide help and suggest resources.
Connecting with existing and previous customers offers additional benefits for struggling sales representatives. By engaging with their customers, they can also better understand new customers they might reach out to. Salespeople should also be on the lookout for referral opportunities.
5. Consider offering quota relief in future quarters.
Most managers rightfully see quota relief as a last resort. But during a major economic downturn, it’s worth putting quota relief on the table.
If you are going to provide quota relief, you should offer the same conditions to all members of your sales team. Avoid responding to individual requests for relief. When rolling out quota relief, explain the reasoning behind it. If the relief is simply a short-term response to a crisis, make sure that everyone on your team understands that.
One benefit of quota relief is that a lower quota can lower sales representatives’ anxiety and thereby enable better performance.
You may also want to consider offering additional incentives to sales representatives who do manage to meet or exceed quota.
6. Examine how your sales rep’s work habits can be improved
Sometimes, a sales representative’s struggles may be rooted in their workflow rather than insufficient sales skills. This is particularly relevant for sales representatives who are adjusting to a new work environment, such as working from home full-time.
Invite sales representatives to track their habits while working. Are they able to set a routine and stick to it? What outside factors and distractions may be preventing them from doing their best work?
Once the sales representative has identified potential problems, suggest that they establish a new work routine. You might recommend tools to assist with organization and other work-from home challenges.
It’s also helpful to give your team members opportunities to share best work-from-home practices.
Sales is a challenging field, and economic downturns present a particularly harrowing set of challenges. By using these strategies, you can help your team to get through it.
If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.
The events of the earlier months of 2020 have significantly impacted the way companies function. The economy has taken a hard hit and most organizations have adopted remote working practices at a rapid speed to keep themselves from suffering major losses at the hands of the pandemic.
According to a report by Forrester, in the US, sales are expected to drop by $321 billion this year due to the economic downturn, that’s a 9.1% drop from 2019. To stay competitive and ahead of the race, every organization needs to figure out how to keep remote working employees engaged and focused toward their end goal at all times.
Here are powerful strategies on how you can boost the performance of your remote sales team.
1) Leverage Tools and Automation wherever possible
With so much time being spent on the administrative side, there’s a striking need for tools that can help automate some of these repetitive, unproductive tasks. This can help your reps concentrate on the more important tasks. Afterall, ameliorating sales productivity becomes more effortless when you can put things on the “auto-pilot” mode.
An efficient CRM can considerably boost your remote sales team’s performance.
Tools that provide you an overview of all sales activities at a glance help you stay on top of everything. Take note of important features such as automatically organized and embedded calls, emails, voicemails, tasks, and reminders. It allows your team to keep track of what’s going on and what they should be doing next. Every member on your team has complete access to everything that is going on in the sales process. This allows better coordination and increased productivity especially with a distributed workforce.
According to recent sales statistics, around 71% sales reps said that most of their productive time gets wasted while doing manual data entry.
Automation can greatly help your remote sales team by freeing up their additional effort and time that they would have otherwise spent feeding the data manually into the system. This, in turn, helps you scale your sales team effectively and decide upon where the effort needs to be diverted for better results.
For instance, automated phone sales software can drop prerecorded messages when appropriate, dial phone numbers, and keep track of every little detail of your company’s phone activity. Reducing manual dialing can significantly increase your reps’ productivity.
Both your remote sales team and customers automatically get exposed to enhanced follow-ups and communication with sales automation tools. You can get rid of wasted time spent on trial and error and make sure your customers see what they need to see when they need to see it with automation.
2) Streamline information sharing within your remote sales team
Overcommunicating is better in a remote work setting. Touch-base calls during the day, or atleast week, are important when setting up workweek priorities with your remotely working team. Nothing can match a virtual face-to-face meet or a good old fashioned phone call when it comes to setting up a week of productivity.
Scheduling regular communication at frequent intervals sets expectations and gives your remote workers tangible deadlines and goals. It also gives you a clear idea of the problems they might be facing and decide deadlines accordingly. An atmosphere of trust and check-ins through means of an employee monitoring software can boost the effectiveness of teams working remotely.
If your clients and employees are in different time zones, you might have to be creative with the meeting timings, but the results are going to be completely worth the effort you put in when it comes to staying connected.
3) Simplify your processes by making use of templates
Sales teams must present a unique sales experience before the customer that leaves them feeling appreciated and valued during every interaction. Templates make this task easier and much more scalable.
By making use of a prefabricated template, you will have saved ample valuable time for your team that can be utilized elsewhere to boost their performance. Today, you can easily create templates for absolutely any sales-related task. You can create templates for business strategies or something as easy as drafting emails. Certain templates even come with features that enable them to pop-up during video calls and other modes of client interactions for specialized sales pitching.
These templates don’t necessarily have to be fancy. They must, however, contain all the considerations that need to be taken care of by your sales team while carrying out different processes. Legal templates also include necessary terms of agreement when sealing deals with clients.
4) Let your team explore what makes them most productive while working remotely
Spending some time thinking about what your remote working employees truly need during these extremely testing times can take your business a really long way. It isn’t always a good idea to get your team working from a fixed 9a-5p EST, Monday through Friday. You can be creative with your employees’ productivity in more than one way.
Allowing flexible work hours and letting your team decide on their shift timings can be an exceptional incentive for employees who like to let their creative juices flow during uncommon hours. Allowing your employees to work when they are the most effective is one of the best productivity hacks, especially when we’re talking about remote work strategies.
Remote workplaces are in a unique position to allow employees to get work done at random hours; practicing the same for your team can have a large impact on efficiency, productivity, and overall remote workplace happiness.
5) Conduct Team-Building Activities for your Remote Sales Team
Lastly, you need to strengthen your remotely working sales team by investing in exciting and fun-filled activities. Encourage camaraderie and friendly competition. You can easily do this in a number of ways, one being using a newsletter to ask weekly questions and assign quizzes.
Also, team-wide adventures like an online storytelling workshop for remote teams, are sure-fire ways to strengthen all aspects of your sales team. Through these methods, your team will get to learn new techniques and tips for telling engaging stories that appeal to your target audience.
Sales leaderboards are one of the most efficient ways to get your sales team members aligned and keep them motivated. They encourage healthy competition and improve engagement.
Sales leaders must at all times remember that their true strength lies within their remote sales team’s overall performance. To achieve maximum productivity out of each of your team members, you constantly need to innovate and create strategies that will keep them motivated and from killing time.
The world of sales is witnessing an unprecedented transformation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With sales teams being forced to work remotely, sales managers have to keep up with the changing times in order to keep the morale high and the sales soaring. Technology and innovation need to work together to ensure that your remote sales team stay productive and keep your sales graph growing even during these challenging times.
If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.
The post Powerful Strategies to Boost your Remote Sales Team’s Performance appeared first on CloserIQ.
The past few months have prompted business leaders to make huge and mostly painful decisions as companies went full on survival mode. And while COVID is not entirely gone, businesses are gearing up for the next chapter. How do you prepare your team for what’s next and ensure that your company thrives in the new work environment?
1) Be strategic in organizing your team according to new initiatives you will be pushing
One thing that businesses have to consider when faced with a sudden economic downturn is how to keep the company afloat. This usually involves letting go of some people in the team. There’s never a good way to go about it and it takes a lot of decision making before finally deciding who gets cut. Doing a deep and one-time cut has worked for many business leaders as it gave them the opportunity to focus on other aspects of the business sooner.
But ultimately, the important thing is having the team that you need to move forward and to keep the business going. Be strategic in organizing your team and encourage every member to step up. Roles may be switched up and some people may have to perform duties outside of their job descriptions but these things are necessary to ensure business continuity.
2) Overcommunicate and be transparent as a leader
One of the challenges of managing a distributed team is maintaining a sense of community among employees. It’s difficult to make people feel tied to the company’s mission without having to meet in an office and just seeing faces on a computer screen.
As a leader, you have to make sure that you remain transparent with your team and keep them as involved as they possibly can – especially on matters that they’re most affected with such as adjusting employee perks and benefits. Foster an environment where employees can communicate effectively not only to other team members but to you as well. You can not overemphasize the importance of overcommunicating particularly when your team is the most distributed.
3) Carve out time for team building and culture
One thing that working remotely has forced companies to do is check how strong and deeply embedded their company culture is in every member of their team. It’s one thing to feel part of something when you constantly interact in an office environment. So you have to work on keeping your team connected even with all the distance between all of you.
Carve out time for team building activities that you can do virtually. There are a lot of fun things that you can do on a weekly basis such as team yoga, work out sessions, team lunch, coffee hour, etc. Find an activity that will work for you and your team and keep everyone involved by assigning certain teams to plan your activities for the week.
Also encourage 1:1 interactions among team members. Find a way to get that one on one interaction that they may miss in the office by matching people in the team to grab coffee or have lunch at the same time.
4) Decide if you need to stay remote for the foreseeable future
While the threat of the pandemic is still very real, companies need to consider whether they would resume office operations or remain remote for the foreseeable future. It’s important to figure out the decision-making behind that.
Are you going back to the office because you think it’s what you should be doing? Are you going back because you aren’t seeing the output from your team that you expect? Or are you going back because you work in an industry where people have to physically be back in the office?
You have to think about what is best for your company but your team’s health and safety should also be top of mind.
5) Be thoughtful about bringing furloughed employees back
If part of your preemptive actions was to furlough some of your employees, you have to create a plan for bringing them back and doing it the proper way. Don’t bring people back just because you’re seeing signs that things are picking up. Even though the economy is starting to recover, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. Bringing them back only to lay them off for furlough if things slow down again would be unfair.
6) Check on your employees and find out how you can make remote work easier for them
This is especially important for members of your team who are working parents. They’re not only adjusting to having to work from home, but they also have to create a balance between their full-time job and taking care of their kids even while working.
If you do decide to remain remote for the foreseeable future, make sure you’re checking in on your employees and ask how you can make work easier for them. Not everyone has the same situation at home. For working parents, it is extra hard to keep that balance between work and keeping the house in order. Allowing some flexibility in their work hours or providing options for remote daycare would help them a lot.
7) Be considerate and at the same time thorough about your performance reviews
Performance reviews can be a touchy subject right now as things haven’t been exactly normal in the past few months. Everyone has been adjusting to the impacts of economic unrest brought about by the pandemic. But despite the fact that you’re dealing with a totally unique situation right now, you still have to keep your team’s performance in check.
Before conducting performance reviews, check if your team has completely adjusted to the remote work environment. Don’t implement a big OKR system right away. Try to do things slowly like having a pulse check every week. Check in on the team for feedback as well. Maybe there are things you’re not doing properly in terms of managing a remote team. Make this an opportunity to help your team succeed despite the circumstances and learn from them at the same time.
These are certainly uncharted territories. No one knows what’s going to happen next and you can’t fully prepare for it. You may have to make things up as you go. But these are exciting times ahead. Think of it as an opportunity to re-examine your company culture and work on things that you can improve to help your team and your company thrive in the new normal.
If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.
The events of the past few months certainly had a huge impact on how businesses have been operating. Companies have adapted the work from home setting. And while everyone is gearing up for the new normal, some teams prefer to stay remote for the foreseeable future.
And like other teams that remain remote for the time being, sales managers have to adjust the way they implement coaching sessions for their reps. If you’re one of those who are having a hard time providing effective coaching to your remote team, here are best practices for remote sales coaching.
1. Get comfortable with the technology you will be using for virtual coaching.
Working remotely is a major adjustment for both you and your team members. To ease the transition, create opportunities to become familiar with the tech stack you will be using. Point your team members to learning resources or create your own training sessions to help them learn the basics.
Most people learn how to use technology best by using it. If you’re implementing a new tool, start using it soon so that your team can gain hands-on learning experiences. Do not try to introduce a tool and then not use it for weeks or months.
2. Keep Zoom meetings focused and to the point.
These days, most people are overwhelmed with video conferencing meetings. To maximize the effectiveness of your team meetings, create a tight schedule and stick to it. Remember that for your team members, Zoom meetings can consume just as much bandwidth as a standard in-person meeting.
When holding a virtual meeting, it’s more important than ever to follow general best practices for team meetings. Send everyone a copy of the agenda ahead of time and steer the meeting so that you conclude on schedule. Give your team members other opportunities to virtually socialize. Make it clear that team meetings are for business so that everyone can work efficiently.
3. Formalize your remote sales coaching sessions.
During the normal course of work, you may hold one-on-one meetings with your team members on a regular basis. You should continue doing so when working remotely. Clearly communicate that your meeting will be a coaching session and treat this time seriously. Remove any distractions, including children and pets, from the room during your session. You want to communicate that you are 100 percent focused on coaching.
4. Emphasize the plan of action and next steps.
Your team members are probably feeling a little lost right now. Help them feel more secure in their work-life by emphasizing the plan of action. A concrete plan helps salespeople to claim ownership over their work even in these uncertain times.
Every coaching session should include a plan of action featuring specific steps that the salesperson needs to take. Put the plan in writing and set the expectation that you will review results during your next session.
5. Remain attentive to body language and nonverbal cues during your coaching sessions.
When you see your team members every day, you’re picking up all sorts of information about their mental states without even being consciously aware of it. Remote work makes this kind of deduction more difficult.
However, it is still possible for you to gain intelligence on how your team members are responding to their work and the pressures of the job. During your video meetings, pay extra attention to your team members’ nonverbal cues. This can be difficult to do via a laptop, so it can be helpful to review the nuances of body language interpretation. As you become accustomed to working with your salespeople remotely, take note of any nonverbal tells.
6. Ask your team members to share the challenges of virtual work and be proactive about problem-solving.
Being suddenly thrust into virtual work can be challenging, and you should acknowledge the frustrations. Problems may be anything from creating a distraction-free workspace to challenges in selling virtually. Encourage your team members to share the roadblocks they’re facing so that you can come up with a plan of action for addressing it. Communicate to your team that you’re all in this together and that you want to help.
7. Gamify the sales leaderboards or create a sales contest to keep motivation high.
Maintaining strong motivation is a definite challenge right now. You can encourage your team members to stay motivated by fostering friendly competition. Continue to track sales leaders while you work remotely.
You can also go a step further and give special prizes to sales leaders. A formal sales contest can also be a good option. If you run a contest, consider making it a team contest. This can encourage your team members to form bonds and work together even when they are physically separated. When done well, competition can add excitement to otherwise monotonous days.
8. Encourage your team members to pursue learning independently or as part of a team.
Remote work can provide people with more time to learn new skills on their own. Encourage your team members to pursue independent learning. During individual coaching sessions, discuss skills that can be developed. Point your team members to the right resources and check-in to see how their development is progressing.
Continued learning can also be a group activity. Select a book for your entire team to read (or a podcast or video). Set a time for all of you to discuss the content on your Slack. This can be an effective way for everyone to feel connected without adding the burden of another video conference.
9. Track the progress of individual deals through CRM and pipeline management tools.
It can be harder to gauge the progress of deals without being able to meet with your team members face-to-face. This means that tracking deals through the CRM and other pipeline management tools is even more important than ever.
Ask your team members specific questions about the deals you’re tracking. This lets them know that you’re still here to help them strategize.
These are challenging times for all of us. But by implementing remote sales coaching techniques, you can ensure that your team is well-equipped to navigate remote work.
If you are looking for job opportunities in tech, click here.
Operating expenses, or OPEX, is something all sales managers must optimize for. Even more so in the wake of the global pandemic. Unfortunately, many sales teams are being squeezed as demand has dried up for many industries.
Some sales teams have been inundated with opportunity as decision-makers are stuck inside with the time to hear a good sales pitch. There are opportunities to discuss how an innovative solution can help them achieve their goals: faster, cheaper, better.
In this article, we aim to help you achieve those same goals (faster, cheaper, better) in the performance management of your sales team. During times of crisis, a healthy balance sheet is essential.
We think it’s vital for sales leaders to use what best-selling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb deems, slow thinking. We will use an analytical approach to breaking down a few high-level line items that may be weighing down your balance sheet’s liabilities section. Additionally, we’ll provide tips for dealing with operating expenses effectively.
1) Identify Your Assets and Challenge Them
Widespread layoffs are an unfortunate byproduct of economic downturns, but in sales, the top performers will shine in any economy. Laying off your star account executives or SDRs with everyone else is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, figuratively speaking.
Instead of layoffs, consider alternative compensation structures that can limit the company’s expenses, but maintain a healthy pipeline. One strategy could be to reduce the team’s base salaries and offer a higher commission. This will incentivize your top performers to push harder while naturally eliminating the weakest links in the chain.
Your company’s goals and guidance numbers will likely need to be recalibrated for the new normal, which in the realm of sound generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is important. In the eyes of a sales manager, however, now is not the time to set expectations any lower. In fact, we advocate you set even more audacious goals.
Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion. We believe this applies to sales goals as well. Sales goals are reached according to the local maximum, not the true potential or global maximum. Sales reps that barely achieve their goals every period would also likely just barely achieve their goals if they were slightly higher. Set audacious goals for your sales team, and let them battle it out to achieve them.
2) Let Quarantine Test Your Ability to Build a Remote Sales Team
If your sales team has been able to adapt to the order to work from home, then consider this a government-mandated experiment into whether your salesforce can effectively operate remotely. It’s likely best to measure productivity instead of results to be realistic about the effectiveness of your remote salesforce during this time, as the greater economy could be impacting your team’s results.
Many sales managers will likely reconsider the need to sign off on those expensive business trips and even maintain that sprawling office space for their sales teams. Even after the quarantine period is lifted, the risk of business trips and crowded office buildings will need to be weighed.
Perhaps you re-evaluate your sales process. Try leveraging remote tools for the early conversations with new prospects, moving them down the pipeline. You can then dispatch a closer to travel and close the deal.
3) Reconsider Your Toolkit
Perhaps you adopted that fancy CRM for a killer new feature, but with it comes a ton of baggage in the form of features that go completely unused. Consider how much that annual expense for that SaaS product weighs on your balance sheet. Ask if it could be replaced by a lightweight tool that accomplishes the same end result.
Another potential strategy to reduce your expenses on bloated SaaS tools is to renegotiate your pricing model to only pay for what you use. Perhaps the company would be willing to charge you a discounted price limiting access to features your team actually uses.
Sales teams were able to thrive before any fancy software products were on the market. And even though the products certainly have a positive impact on productivity and organization, it’s good to know they could be eliminated from your balance sheet entirely if your finances are in dire straits.
4) Leverage High ROI Strategies
In times of crisis, you must leverage what works best in terms of return on investment (ROI). Often times, companies refer to these expenses as one line item, sales and marketing. In times like this, however, it’s more like sales or marketing.
Some companies overreact and start slashing their sales and marketing budget down to its bare bones. As a diligent director of the company, however, you should dig deeper into the actual results of your various sales and marketing campaigns to cherry-pick those that work.
For example, if you determine the ROI of your sales team is significantly higher than social media marketing, suspend your social media spending. Leverage your sales team’s ability to achieve higher ROI. Even in times of economic expansion, you should be reallocating your budget to be more heavily weighted in what works well.
Operating Efficiencies, Not Operating Expenses
When you analyze the balance sheet of your business, you are like a doctor taking a patient’s vitals.
You must understand how each metric is interconnected, and what can be done to boost or suppress each one. For example, if your social media marketing expenses are driving qualified leads to your sales team, cutting your expenditures from this channel would likely impact the performance of your sales team.
In fact, every decision you make should be discussed with your board, checked, and double-checked before any execution. This will ensure you are operating with the highest level of efficiency, and not simply the highest level of operating expenses.
Check out the full visual below from Embroker, they cover 16 business expenses that companies waste the most money on.
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