You’ve heard it before: If you keep doing what you've been doing, you’ll keep getting the same thing. Maybe you’re happy with your company’s sales efforts right now. But what if sales could be even better, perhaps significantly so?
Best practices strengthen any sales program, whether you’re just starting up, need to correct problems, or simply want to generate the most revenue in the most cost-effective way.
Create a plan.
First among best practices is developing a strategic sales and marketing plan with actionable objectives and clear tactics for achievement.
- Align sales goals with corporate goals.
- Fully integrate sales and marketing plans.
- Base both sales and compensation objectives on goal achievement.
- Identify potential problems, rank them for likelihood and develop steps to avoid or address them.
- Communicate plan details clearly throughout your sales and marketing team.
- Ensure that everyone is using the same language and evaluation criteria.
Focus on creating value.
Design sales processes that build value for customers as well as your company and salespeople.
- Eliminate activities that don’t create value.
- Document processes so that anyone can follow them consistently.
- Monitor and evaluate all processes and retain only what’s working best.
- Categorize prospects and customize your approach for each group.
- Emphasize careful lead qualification and concentrate on the strongest leads.
Gather data, and use it.
Best practices include using a CRM system to gather and share detailed information.
- Regularly solicit input from customers as well as your sales and marketing teams.
- Conduct periodic full-team reviews of sales and marketing activities and results, so you can quickly fix problems and maintain focus on the most effective actions.
- Use performance measurement metrics to assess company and compensation goal achievement.
Best practices can brighten your bottom line.
Recent studies show that even minor improvements can bring significant returns.
- 5 percent more selling time can increase revenue by 20 percent.
- 1 percent stronger pipeline value can increase revenue by 25 percent.
- Shortening your sales cycle by 15 percent can increase revenue by 30 percent.
The benefits of instituting best practices can far outweigh the consequences of a less-focused approach. Simply put, they can help keep your company competitive by ensuring sustainable sales success.