Perhaps the toughest aspect of any job is finding ways to work smarter, not just harder. The wealth of information at our fingertips and the flood of communications – from email, Twitter and instant messaging – bring both advantages and disadvantages. Top-performing sales executives often are on the leading edge of performance and technology trends. Here are some of the key tactics and principles embraced by top-performing sales teams.
- Keep and grow the business you have. New business efforts are costly in time and out-of-pocket expenses. Smart sales teams view existing customers as the best source of new business – either from their own growing business needs or via referrals to new customers. Investing time to establish and maintain good relationships with existing customers is a key factor in business growth.
- Align sales and marketing efforts relative to the financial importance of existing and potential customers. In other words, don’t spend money on potential accounts where the rewards are likely to be flimsy. It’s not always easy to prioritize opportunities and accurately assess new business prospects. That’s where sales-analysis software can give you an important edge, by allowing you to use data rather than sentiment to make better informed decisions.
- Stay tech savvy. Keep up to date on new technological solutions to help manage time-consuming office tasks and paperwork in order to give sales executives more time to devote to selling. Technology to manage “big data” used to be available only to large corporations with major computing power and data-mining capabilities. Now, small businesses have similar resources available to them. Software designed for smaller businesses can help with many different sales/marketing needs. For example, software exists to improve efficiencies by allowing different sites to share files and monitor inventory; it also can use payment analytics to find out which goods or services are most popular with new clients; or, in the case of reputation management, software can speedily identify online or social media issues (e.g. bad reviews) that need prompt attention.
- Mobile is the way to go. If you haven’t guessed from the ever-increasing number of mobile apps out there, it is crucial to be able to manage the sales cycle when you are out and about. If you are not using mobile apps to manage your schedule, monitor important communications, and stay on top of your to-do list, get an app that best fits your needs. Develop a mobile-friendly version of your website, too, if you don’t already have one in place. We live in a world where clients require fast responses and quick access to important information wherever they might be.
- Many companies say they applaud teamwork, yet their actions show that they promote and reward the individual. Whatever type of business you have, it’s imperative that you pay more than lip service to rewarding teams and collaborative efforts. Companies with the best performing sales teams help their staff connect with each other to share intelligence and insights. They find ways to recognize and reward team players, especially back office workers who support the sales team.
Although technology features prominently in sales success stories, it’s worth noting that spending time to foster good relationships with colleagues as well as clients – the personal touch – remains crucial, too.