Picture this: you've just been promoted to the VP of Sales and have been charged with turning around your company's slumping sales performance. But where do you even begin? You could do what many sales VPs do, which is dig into the sales metrics and figure out who is performing and who isn't. That's one good place to start. The metrics could tell you who needs to be given more responsibility and who needs to be let go. They could also tell you that more calls need to be made.
However, you may need more innovative ideas than simply hiring new staff or demanding more sales calls.
According to Hubspot— the innovative internet marketing platform that invented the inbound marketing process— nearly two-thirds of sales professionals think thatbuying processes are changing, but sales teams aren't changing fast enough.
To keep up, you'll need to rethink your strategies. You may need to work more closely with marketing. You may even need to take drastic steps, like outsource your inside sales function.
Here are four pieces of advice to consider that you aren't likely to get from any of your colleagues:
1. Forget about the numbers.
Far too often, sales managers and VPs rely too much on the metrics. While sales metrics can be helpful, they shouldn't form the entire basis of your decision making. Why? Because you don't even know how accurate the metrics are. Salespeople are notorious for padding their metrics, primarily because they know that management will use those numbers to demand more sales calls.
Try forgetting about the numbers. Instead, focus on your quality of people.
Try to determine what skills they have and what skills they need. Also, determine whether they can learn those skills or whether they may be better suited for another role. Even if the numbers don't suggest it, you may find that you actually have good talent on your team. They may just need better leadership.
2. Think like a marketer.
As mentioned, numerous studies from Hubspot and other marketing companies show that buying habits are changing. Consumers are doing their own research— these days, more than 90 percent of buying decisions start online. Customers want to keep the buying process firmly in their control.
That doesn't mean they can't be sold to. But you do need to change your thinking about the sales process. It means that you need to meet them on their turf. Embrace inbound marketing and other strategies that can help inform the buyer's decision.
3. Establish a weekly sales and marketing meeting.
Given the change in buyer habits, sales and marketing are now more intertwined than ever. Marketing doesn't exist just to build brand awareness; it actually needs to feed leads into your funnel. Similarly, marketing needs to know how your sales team operates so they can better assist the sales process.
Schedule a weekly meeting that has both sales and marketing professionals, and use it as an information-sharing session. Salespeople can share their successes and challenges, while marketers can share the types of content that customers seem to respond to. Greater collaboration can serve both teams.
That's right. You may need to outsource your inside sales team. Why? Because inside sales is a highly difficult function. It requires a unique set of skills that external sales companies often don't have. The best internal sales teams are those who are specifically focused on that task. By working with an outsourced firm that specializes in inside sales, you can access the best in internal sales talent. Then, you just have to train them on your product or service.
The key to adjusting to today's sales environment is being open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Be open-minded and strive for innovation in sales. If you do that, you'll likely find success.
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.