You’ve been adjusting to the new selling environment, but now it’s time to take your sales strategy to the next level. Don’t fall for short-term fixes. These top 9 techniques dig below the surface to improve your sales performance from the ground up. The key here is working smarter, not harder.
Whether you’re selling remotely or you’ve returned to in-person sales meetings, the world is changing faster than ever and it’s up to you to keep up. Here are 9 techniques you can implement today to smash your quota and improve sales performance, no matter where you are.
1. Build your personal social media brand
For years, you’ve been perfecting your elevator pitch and mastering the art of first impressions. But do those in-person relationship building skills carry over to your online persona? With social media use at an all-time high and remote selling as a new normal, your social selling techniques are now just as important (if not more important) than your in-person ones.
While your company’s social media profiles may help with early buyer engagement – conveying your brand message, responding to general questions from prospects, and making announcements, they rarely help foster relationships with customers further down the funnel.
Craft your online presence to convey your best self. Offer educational insights, share relevant articles, and actively engage with prospective buyers. Use your social presence to help position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field, and watch your sales skyrocket.
2. Ask better qualifying questions
Time is money! Shouldn’t you spend it on people that are actually going to buy from you? Instead of “lead” generation, focus on “demand” generation. Ask the right questions to ensure you are pursuing quality leads and drastically improve sales performance.
How do you know you’re asking the “right” questions?? Here are a few ideas: Don’t ask if you’re talking to the right decision-maker. Ask more broadly, “where do you fit into the decision-making process?”, “what does that process look like, what steps are you going through at the various stages, can you walk me through it?” Framing the discussion this way opens a conversation about who the key players will be in the decision-making process and what the procurement process entails. When you engage with a decision-maker, focus questions on relatable business challenges. When considering ‘Do they need my product/service?’ think about establishing that need with questions that lead to pain points. Instead of asking, “what is your budget?”, talk to them about value and ROI. Put a cost on their challenges – time lost, staff turnover, “do nothing” costs. Be conversational, it builds trust. Through trust, you create influence. And through influence, you can improve your sales performance considerably.
These “discovery” questions uncover what matters most, direct customer thinking down the path of your choosing, generate curiosity, and ultimately motivate them to purchase. These questions also build rapport, gain commitment, and help enable your buyers to make the business case for your product or service internally. 1
For more on asking the right questions to improve sales performance, check out Keenan’s book on Gap Selling.
3. Add microlearning to your training schedule to increase sales productivity
Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep your skills sharp and stay current on the latest products, messaging, and go-to-market strategy.. The more knowledgeable you are, the more quickly you’re able to pivot and adapt to a constantly changing business landscape. Microlearning is a training method that utilizes short, digital training modules – perfect for the busy professional. Add in quick bursts of educational content throughout your week to increase your knowledge and improve sales performance.
One-time, classroom-style training isn’t enough – and for most, it’s not even a possibility right now. Adopting a microlearning approach to sales training and on-boarding helps you ensure your remote salesforce can lead consistent and consultative sales conversations at every stage of the sales process. We dive further into the many benefits of microlearning in our webinar here.
4. Bring your whole self to work
Just be yourself! We’ve all heard that advice time and time again. But could it really have an impact on sales performance? Turns out, it does! Your authenticity and ingenuity shine through in all of your interactions, so if you’re putting on a ‘work face’ at the office, consider its impact on your buyers. The importance of customer relationships is becoming increasingly apparent. And the key to building and maintaining these relationships is trust.
Set yourself apart from competitors and improve sales performance just by being you – who knew it was that easy?!
5. Start resilience training
You’ve just heard “no” for the twentieth time this week, you’re close to another deal going south, and you’re facing unrelenting competition from both within and outside the company. But you still have to pick up the phone and keep going, especially when layoffs are happening left and right. The first half of 2020 has been the ultimate test of resilience. Stress can wear you down and negatively impact sales performance. So, what can you do?
Pick up a hobby
According to a recent study, having a creative hobby is associated with positive work-related traits including increased creativity, a better attitude on the job, higher job satisfaction, and lower likelihood of burnout.
Confide in a mentor
Sometimes we all need a little advice. You’d be surprised by the things you discover when looking at a situation from a new perspective.
Get some assistance
If you’re spending hours on tedious admin tasks and searching for the right content at the wrong time (i.e in the middle of a sales meeting), why not let machine learning do the busy work? Modern times require modern solutions. We have an entire ebook dedicated to this very thing. You can find it here.
Set smaller goals
By setting short-term goals that are regularly attainable, you’ll be far more likely to stay motivated over time, and in turn, improve sales performance.
Use that PTO
Channel your inner Ferris Bueller and refresh your mind with some well-deserved downtime. Work hard, play hard. Whatever you do, don’t let the year go by without taking some time for yourself.
6. Find your superpower
You know that perfectly crafted sales pitch you use over and over again because you always get the best reaction? Or that one presentation you keep going back to because it closes the deal every time? As a business professional, you identify your most successful assets or resources and leverage them again and again. You check in regularly to make sure they aren’t losing their luster. You evaluate and optimize them continuously to ensure they have the greatest impact.
Now, it’s time to optimize yourself. Take a look at what you’re great at and build on it. For example, if your superpower is math but writing is your kryptonite, ‘wow’ your buyers by quantifying your solution’s impact on their ROI and use data to win them over. You can even leverage an ROI or TCO calculator to help facilitate those discussions and improve sales performance.
7. Be a team player
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
Although you might be working from home, don’t write-off the benefits of teamwork. Collaborate with the rest of your sales team and cross-functionally, too. A diverse, well-aligned team is known to increase productivity, improve sales performance, and even increase revenue by up to 19%.
8. Praise your competition
Don’t speak ill of your competitors – that’s Sales 101. So, what might happen if you took this a step further and praised them?
Imagine you’re meeting with a customer who is currently using or considering a competitor’s services. You pick something specific and say why you like it. First, you’ll seem confident in your own product since you’re willing to compliment someone else’s. Second, your honesty just might rub off on the customer, who now feels open to sharing with you their true opinions. Maybe they’ll tell you: Yes, I agree that part is great. But, I am concerned about this part. Now that you’ve identified more about what they’re looking for, you can jump in with your solution benefits and close the deal.
9. Streamline your toolkit to optimize and improve sales performance
The tools that you use make a substantial difference in your success, but what’s equally important is their integration. If your platforms don’t work seamlessly together, they’re probably costing you more time than saving it. Ensure that your technology suite isn’t causing any bottlenecks and always be on the lookout for new ways to streamline your process.
Almost three-quarters of sales professionals use sales technology, and of those people, 97% believe it is an important component of their job. Sales enablement platforms top our list of technology required to improve sales performance and boost revenue. Check out this article for tips on how to select the best sales enablement platform for your business.
Interested in more ideas for enabling your sellers to improve sales performance and drive more revenue? Download our Sales Leader’s All-Inclusive Guide to Sales Enablement in 2020.
1 Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know by Shari Levitin