There’s no sugarcoating it: sales are hard. When your job is based on convincing people to buy something they probably don’t see as a necessary purchase, it can be very hit or miss. Some weeks will be great; you’ll be on a run where you can’t seem to miss, and the closed sales will pile up. Other weeks will be terrible, where you seem to get turned down by everyone and start to wonder if you’ll ever make another sale. This is the nature of the business. It’s the reason that in any job market, sales jobs always seem to be available. Not everyone is cut out for the often harsh sales world.
Because of the enigmatic nature of a sales career, it can sometimes be difficult to determine why your business isn’t closing deals. Is it your sales reps, or is it the sales process?
Possibility No. 1: It’s the sales reps
As mentioned above, some people just aren’t cut out for a sales job. You need to have the comfort necessary to not only talk to strangers all day, but then convince those strangers to purchase something they may not have been looking to buy. So how can you tell if your sales reps are able to get it done?
Shadow each sales rep for a day, or listen in on some of their sales calls. Generally, people hate to be micromanaged or observed while they work – it betrays a lack of trust and/or confidence. But if your sales reps aren’t meeting sales goals, they should understand why you’re insisting on following them around a bit.
But the purpose of this shadowing isn’t to criticize your sales reps; it’s to evaluate them and provide feedback. Perhaps your sales reps are doing some good things, but are just making critical mistakes at the wrong time. Focus on trying to find ways for your sales reps to improve, and coach them as much as possible. Unfortunately, you may find a sales rep that simply doesn’t have the right make-up for the job. It’s your choice what to do with that employee, but they probably shouldn’t be part of your sales team going forward.
However, if you find that sales reps are generally doing a solid job but still can’t meet their goals, then perhaps it’s not their fault.
Possibility No. 2: It’s the sales process
Even great sales reps can struggle if they’re put into bad situations. If you have a poor sales process, then it will have a major impact on your sales and revenue.
Do you have a method for cataloguing and tracking leads? You definitely should be using some kind of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which will allow you to keep track of all of your leads. Here at Rhino, we highly recommend HubSpot’s CRM system, as it is intuitive and dynamic – and currently free! Additionally, it works exceptionally well when coupled with HubSpot’s marketing automation software.
Ideally, you’re going to have many leads, so a CRM will help ensure none of them got lost in the shuffle. A CRM will also allow you to score leads, so you know which people should get the most attention.
Another critical part of a successful sales process: follow ups. It’s a basic principle of sales to always follow up, but the frequency and quality of your follow ups is also important. Make sure you’re engaging with leads at least 2-3 times a month, either with a phone call or an email. Use every medium available to follow up with them, and try to encourage a response by providing value with your follow ups. For example, if you’re a content marketer (and we hope you are), provide some additional content in your follow ups. You need to do whatever you can to provoke a response. And then, if your sales reps have proven to be qualified, they’ll use that response as the perfect opportunity to close the sale.
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