Those who own or manage businesses and call centers often find it difficult to identify exact instances where their sales teams are underperforming. The hard data can only take you so far, and plenty of sales lulls can be attributed to poor market conditions and numerous other factors. Even if you can identify an underperforming group of sales agents, providing sufficient help is another challenge in itself. You must select and implement the proper coaching techniques to pull your sales team out of its hole. Yet, this feat is much easier said than done. Let's take a look at some ways to determine if your sales staff is living up to its potential, as well as how you can improve their numbers.
1. Improper Prospecting
Many sales aficionados believe that a sales team's underperformance is the direct result of a broken process. The difficulty lies in identifying the flawed process and applying the proper fix. Oftentimes, the broken process starts with the first component of the sales process: prospecting.
If your sales team isn’t meeting monthly goals for lead generation, you might need to revamp the prospecting process you have in place. Do you have the time to give your reps the training and resources they need to capture and convert the right leads? Most salespeople are instructed to prospect through the traditional methods of cold calls, cold e-mails and web research. Yet, without an effective calling script, these approaches do not generate meaningful conversations. You should implement coaching sessions for your sales team to teach them the proper cold calling techniques, as well as provide them with a calling script that has been proven effective. If your current process isn’t working, don’t hesitate to improve it.
2. Not Enough Appointment Setting
Your sales team’s inability to secure appointments is linked to the first indicator of underperformance. Many businesses approach prospects who are simply not interested in the product or service that is offered, so reps waste their time with calls that don’t generate results. To ensure your staff can set appointments and convert leads, they need the tools to find and engage with the right prospects. Take a look at the contact database you provide to your team and evaluate what additional resources you could give them to help call the right people. For instance, you could institute a referral program to give them leads that are actually interested in the products or services they are selling.
3. The Lack of a Sales Drive
Another common problem with sales departments is the limited amount of time that is actually spent attempting to sell after leads are generated. You could have the most effective prospecting process in your industry, but that only drives revenue if your reps can close the deals. Too many salespeople forget to approach their sales efforts in a proactive manner. Some become too comfortable in the position, while others have simply lost their passion. If your sales team isn’t converting enough leads, help them develop the right techniques and attitude and implement a short coaching course on proactive selling. If necessary, supply new target quotas for each salesperson to keep them challenged and consistently striving to close deals.
Consider All of Your Options to Improve Performance
If you are unhappy with your sales team’s performance, determining where the problem stems from and implementing new processes is your best bet. As mentioned above, perhaps your reps would be more successful if they had better leads to call. Aside from a referral program, you could, for instance, let your reps focus on the heavy hitting and closing while an outsourced team focuses on cold calling and giving your teams leads that will convert. Outsourcing an outbound calling service has the potential to revolutionize your company's performance — the sales experts who staff these calling centers have a narrow focus and a hunger that many in-house salespeople have lost over the years. Plus, they know that poor performance will lead to a lost partnership and a murky future.
Although outsourcing may not be your golden ticket to success, it will give your in-house reps the time they need to close deals and increase revenue, which alleviates your underperformance issue. Whether you decide to outsource a sales team or work to coach your in-house team towards success, addressing the issue is the first step of meeting performance needs.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.