Nearly every business starts off the new year with a new sense of enthusiasm and a new set of business goals. And I’d be willing to bet that for 99% of those companies, those goals include increased sales targets.
It’s great to set a goal. It’s smart to plan for where you want your business to head and how big you want it to grow. But after the goal planning comes the action planning. How will you make this year different from the last? You’ve got the same team and the same number of hours in the day. You’ve got similar customers – maybe less, depending on how 2020 impacted them.
After decades of working with businesses in the warehouse and distribution industry, I can say the most common action plan for growing sales it is looking for external answers. Better sales training, new employees, more customers. But before you start spending time and money on these techniques, I’d suggest taking a look at your own business first.
A lot of the time, there is plenty of changes you can make to internal processes that can have a huge impact on sales efficiency. Making some changes now can make a huge difference to your sales result come the end of the year.
What’s stopping sales progress?
If you’re confident that you’ve got dedicated, talented people in your sales team, spending time and money on sourcing or training new talent probably won’t make much of a difference.
Across the board, there are some pretty common reasons a company could be failing to achieve the sales outcomes they desire – and they’re less to do with skills, and more to do with processes:
Too much to do, too little time
Sales teams are notoriously busy, never finding enough hours in the day to get everything done. This is often because they rely on manual processes – individually punching in the details of quotes, prospects, and sales. This often means having to prioritise tasks and potentially missing out on other sales opportunities.
Poor sales timing
It can be hard to up sales performance if sales are only made when customers approach the business. Teams that have to wait for customers to tell them what they need or want means they have no idea when they should be selling. They’re not selling – they’re just providing. Opportunities for up and cross-selling die, as do re-sell prompts.
Prioritising big sales
It’s petty common practice for sales teams to focus on following up only the larger quotes – making the most of their precious time by chasing the biggest deals. But this means missing the opportunity that smaller quotes can offer (which could be millions of dollars a year), limiting sales numbers and potential profit.
The support tools your sales team needs
Sales teams who experience big wins do so for one reason – they are set up to win. They don’t necessarily work harder or have special skills. They simply work smarter.
Setting up the sales process to be as simple and streamlined as possible allows sales teams to make the most of every opportunity. Just like removing the clutter from your emails helps you prioritise better, moving the clutter from the sales process help teams sell better.
While there are multiple things you can do to declutter sales, there are three key ones I recommend every single business should incorporate if they want to see a real difference in their sales outcomes:
Automate simple tasks
By automating some of your sales processes, you not only free up time for your team to focus on more important things, but you can set a clear sales process. This process will be what works best for your business and your buyers, ensuring the right steps are taken every time, errors and inconsistencies are minimised, and training new hires is simplified.
Use customers insights
Your sales team don’t have to be mind-readers to be able to make proactive sales. By looking at customer insights, they’ll be able to tell how best to sell to each buyer – it’s like letting your customers tell you how to sell to them! Recording quotes, queries and previous sales make it much easier to know when and what a customer might want. With the right customer insights, sales make themselves.
Adopt free-flowing communication
Free the information. Often in a business, information can get segmented and shut off. Whether that’s between sales team members (like customer communications stuck in personal emails) or between teams (like between the sales team and the warehouse team). With free-flowing communication and data sharing, sales teams are able to know what customers want and what’s available. The benefits of this even go beyond sales – it can assist you to make better decisions about stock, reducing costs.
Want big business results? Think like one.
Each of these steps are driven by effectively using business data. It’s data that Is already sitting in your business, just waiting to be put to work. And with the right ERP system on hand, collecting, interpreting, and utilising your data is quick and easy – and so are making the process changes that lead to sales outcomes.
Utilising technology to simplify tasks and empower your teams is the new norm – especially after the changing events of 2020. ERP’s are fast becoming the differentiating point between companies that are growing and companies that aren’t.
HARMONiQ is the first all-in-one solution built to support sales teams and connect them with the rest of the businesses. Customizable to specific business needs and use, it contains features key to helping sales teams to improve both performance and services, including:
- Automated quote follow-ups and reminders
- Outlook plug-in
- Workflow rules/process set up
- System integration and simple data sharing
- Buyer tracking for pipeline visibility
To determine if ERP is the right move for you, download our free ERP Automation eBook.
If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology to achieve sales outcomes and business growth, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at email@example.com.
Robert Butler is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to discuss automation and improving business processes, you can reach out via email here.