By David Wuensch.

Sales problems can include:

  • Sales results are not what they should be.
  • Our pipeline is stale; our sales opportunity funnel does not look like a funnel.
  • I don’t think I have the right salespeople.
  • My sales team is not creating new opportunities at the desired rate.
  • My team is stuck in a rut and in need of fresh ideas and outside perspective—particularly around proactively developing new business.
  • My salespeople are not using repeatable sales processes that work.

Any of this sound familiar? I come across these items on a regular basis. So, where do we start? I recommend that you work on these Five Essential Elements to Make Your Sales Team Better:

  1. Get Leadership and Culture Right.
  2. Get the Sales Strategy Right.
  3. Get the Salespeople Right.
  4. Get the Sales Processes Right.
  5. Select and Implement the Tools to Support your Processes, People and Strategy.

One may be tempted to take a short cut to fix the six issues above by hiring new salespeople and focus on improved lead generation and prospecting techniques to create new opportunities. Hiring the right salespeople and creating enough new opportunities will go a long way toward breathing new life into your sales team. However, what happens when a leadership or culture issue exists? Great salespeople don’t stay. They find a better home and you are back to square one. If you want to make your sales team better to achieve sustainable revenue growth, these five essential elements will be the keys to your success.

Get Leadership and Culture Right

This is the first and most important Essential Element. It is the one essential element that guarantees success. We discussed many items about leadership and culture in the first three issues of our newsletter which you can find here. Here are six action items to help you Get Leadership and Culture Right:

  1. Invest time with your leadership team in your Company’s Vision, Mission and Values so that your company’s shared attitudes, shared values, shared practices and way of thinking and behaving represent a healthy culture to attract the right people and right customers to build a profitable business.
  2. Ensure that your personal beliefs are in alignment with the Company’s Vision, Mission and Values so that you can provide genuine, authentic leadership in support of this healthy culture.
  3. Develop your Multiplier skills.
    • Be a Talent Magnet
    • Be a Liberator
    • Be a Challenger
    • Be a Debate Maker
    • Be an Investor

 Liz Wiseman provides a blueprint on how to be a Multiplier in her book, Multipliers, or check out her website,  (https://thewisemangroup.com/ ) and ask to take the 30-Day Multiplier Challenge.

  1. Establish regular One-on-One Coaching time with each of your salespeople weekly or at least once every two weeks.
  2. Run good sales meetings. Conduct weekly sales meetings that motivate, illustrate, and educate.
  3. Conduct ride-alongs monthly or at least quarterly with each of your salespeople. Go see what they are doing in the field (for outside salespeople), and sit alongside your inside salespeople.

Get the Sales Strategy Right

The second essential element focuses on pointing your salespeople at the right target which we discussed here in the fourth issue of our newsletter.  Here are four action items to help you get the sales strategy right.

  1. Determine your Business Results Goals. It is typically a revenue or gross margin goal in dollars, but it could be a goal in profitability, market share, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction or a combination thereof.
  2. Determine the Company Selling Objectives that support the Business Results Goals. They typically cover one or more of the following areas:
    • Customer Focus
    • Product Focus
    • Market Coverage
    • Sales Force Enablement
  3. Select Sales Activity Metrics to measure daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly progress toward the Company Selling Objectives and subsequently the Business Results Goals.
  4. One last step to make sure the Sales Strategy is aligned is to review each salesperson’s Individual Sales Plan to make sure each of them have goals that are at or above the company’s goal for them.

Get the Salespeople Right

Get the People Right may be listed sequentially as Essential Element #3, but it is the number two priority after Leadership and Culture.

Right Salesperson, Right Role

  1. Let’s start by looking for a good fit with each hire. Include traits, such as cognitive, behavior and interests; as well as character to include values, integrity, attitude, and ethics.

  1. Let’s select the appropriate sales role.

  1. Follow a process.
    1. Prepare to recruit. Define what you are looking for.
    2. Recruit and prepare for interviews. Identify interview questions and evaluation forms.
    3. Conduct interviews
    4. Conduct online assessments, background checks and reference checks
    5. Make Selection

Additionally, you will:

  • Retain top producers.
  • Coach up or coach out the rest.
  • Like prospecting, always be recruiting.

Get the Sales Processes Right

We covered the who, what and why. Now let’s look at the How. All small B2B businesses need an Opportunity Management Process and a Call Management Process that work and are repeatable. An Opportunity Management Process fuels and operates the sales funnel. The Call Management Process converts opportunities into closed won deals. Some small B2B Businesses also need an Account Management Process or a Territory Management Process. Here are six action items to help you get your sales processes right:

  1. Verify the target. Review and validate your ideal client profile and targeted lists for prospecting.
  2. Validate your sales team messaging. Makes sure your Company Sales Story identifies typical issues, pains, challenges and motivators as well your differentiators.
  3. Select three to four lead generation or prospecting activities.
  4. Practice your proactive phone call process.
  5. Practice your discovery and qualification process.
  6. Practice your presentation skills.

Select and Implement the Tools to Support Your Processes, People, and Strategy

Select and implement tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. Here are four places to start:

  1. Select and implement a CRM that helps your salespeople get more effective and more efficient. Include Sales Automation.
  2. Subscribe to tools that help your salespeople develop targeted lists.
  3. Subscribe to tools that help your salespeople work smarter and faster.
  4. Integrate your tools so that your salespeople work smarter and faster.

Implementing these five essential elements will help you make your sales team better today and tomorrow.