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How to Improve Sales Performance

Getting the maximum out of your sales team is essential for business growth, and there is always room for improvement in sales. But, how to improve sales performance? We will talk about it all in this blog guide.

You can’t always be the most talented in the room, but you can be the most competitive.

Industries across the globe are more competitive than ever. In this digital era, everyone in the market wants to establish their brand and maximize their business value. The tactics and strategies that may have worked in the past may not be good enough in this ever-growing world that keeps changing every minute.

Let’s say you are into the bakery business. Your competitor recently introduced a new type of cake. Well, seeing their popularity go up, you decided to introduce some new designs and flavors in your catalog. How is your team going to make the sales?

Even if they manage to sell the cakes in the initial months, how will the consistency maintain? That’s the bitter truth about sales. Anyone can be a one-month sales expert. But, a high-performing salesperson or sales team can meet the goals for a long period of time in competitive scenarios and work under budget constraints.

In this blog, we will be talking about:

What is Sales Performance?

Sales performance is simply the effectiveness of a sales team when it comes to achieving the goals. It is usually measured with the help of sales revenue. Some other factors playing a role here are time spent per client, repeat business, and resources invested.

Any product or service that you offer can’t sell itself, right? The success of sales depends on the performance of your sales team, how well they know the product, market, and prospects. New processes, techniques, and tools also play an important role in improving sales performance.

It is generally the role of the sales team leader to make sure that all the sales representatives are trained effectively to convert leads into paying customers. The monthly or quarterly sales report of each representative is then considered to analyze the sales performance.

Factors That Affect Sales Performance

Before looking for the solutions to the problem, you must understand the factors that might be influencing your sales performance. The most common factors include:

  • Deteriorating Individual Performance: When some members of your sales team are not motivated or not trained well enough to deal with different prospects, the performance will definitely keep on dipping, producing bad results.
  • Poor Economy: It is surely one of the primary reasons behind the drop in sales. Business owners are forced to adjust their pricing plans in such scenarios, leading to fewer sales revenue than other months.
  • Inaccurate Sales Pipeline: The organization of the sales pipeline can impact sales performance. If the sales pipeline is way too long and unorganized, it will impact negatively on the sales.
  • Unrealistic Sales Forecasting: It is always good to aim for the best results. But, being realistic in the business is the key to achieving success. Planning unrealistic expectations can lead to poor sales performance.
  • Lack of Communication: The sales, marketing, and customer support/operations teams should always work in sync to produce better results. But the lack of alignment and communication between these teams can affect the sales performance.

The list can go on and on as there are several factors that affect sales performance in different organizations. In general, you simply need to understand the key pillars of sales performance, and then you can work on the strategies to increase sales productivity.

Key Pillars of Sales Performance

With a large number of factors trying to get down the sales performance, there are some key pillars that can easily build a structure to overcome the hurdles standing in the way of an efficient sales team performance. Let’s check these out!

  • Concentration: The number of distractions down the road is always increasing and seems to pull away from teams from daily goals. With an extremely short attention span, today’s generation has a lot on the table. Well, time to take such things off the table and eliminate them to keep your focus on sales. Schedule your day and give specific time to specific tasks.
  • Consistency: A well-organized sales structure is all about the consistency of your customer representatives. There may be something unique about each salesperson, but that shouldn’t change the sales process. The same process goes for everyone. Share the proven strategies with the whole team and ensure that everyone’s day is scheduled similarly.
  • Constant Innovation: Holding onto the processes, tools, and strategies that are working isn’t bad, but it restricts the doors of innovation. This prevents progress and isn’t the right way for an efficient sales process. Creating a space for ideas and innovations can actually lead to your team members pouring in some good ideas from time to time.
  • Pressure Management: The field of sales is all about adding more and more to the revenue and business. All the members are under the constant pressure of achieving their monthly or quarterly goals. But, as a sales manager, it is your duty to let your best sales professionals have an off-month. Your support can help them to achieve their targets without feeling any pressure.

Now that we know the important blocks to build the foundation for sales performance, let’s get right into the strategies to boost sales productivity.

5 Ways to Increase Your Sales Performance

Sales representatives can improve their individual performance to contribute to the betterment of their organization. Let’s discuss the strategies sales reps can use to do so.

1. Stay Positive Mentally

Your mindset with which you approach a customer while finalizing the deal can impact the outcome. If you think that you won’t be able to close the deal successfully, that will happen. It is important to stay in the right mindset while communicating with prospects and customers. It takes time and patience to become a high achiever.

Visually analyze what you want to achieve and how will that impact your performance. This powerful exercise helps a lot in your sales career to overcome hurdles and achieve success.

2. Stay Organized

Focusing on the right task at the right time is the key to improving your individual sales performance. If you don’t manage your time and do tasks in a random manner, chances are you will mess things up. So, getting your workflow organized is important when it comes to closing deals successfully.

If you can’t do it on your own, ask your team members to walk you through their workflow so you can have some ideas to schedule your daily tasks. Spending a lot of time focusing on what tasks to do, what to prioritize, etc., can hinder your overall productivity and makes it hard to interact with customers and prospects.

3. Set Concrete Goals Beyond Expectations

Setting personal goals is always fruitful to exceed and perform beyond expectations. A lot of salespeople try to achieve more and more, but if the goals are not properly penned down, they are nothing but dreams.

Defining what you would like to achieve, your strategy to achieve it, and sharing this with your sales manager can help you keep accountable. This also motivates your team members to perform better, increasing the team’s sales performance.

4. Build Personal Development Plan

There is a lot to learn in the field of sales at every stage, and no one is perfect. The best way to boost your individual performance is by accelerating your development. To do so, create a personal development plan that clearly defines the skills you lack or want to improve. Specify the time you will need to work on your skills.

Try to pick up at least one or two skills every month and master them over time. Having a sales coach or mentor also helps in sharpening your skills as their valuable perspective can support your personal development in different areas. Also, track your personal progress weekly or monthly and document your success for self-assessment.

5. Go Creative

Problems are inevitable and there is no single path to success in sales. However, your creative thinking and a unique approach to problem-solving can help you very well in the long run. When it comes to delivering a superb customer experience, you need to think outside the box at times to impress your clients.

The traditional approaches are not always applicable in different situations and as a sales professional, it’s your duty to solve the customer’s problem efficiently. So always try to be more creative with your approach, and your customers will love it.

10 Ways to Increase Sales Performance

Improving team performance is the key to sales success and there are a lot of variables to successful sales performance. We will be discussing some crucial tactics and strategies that sales managers can implement for achieving desired results.

1. Create a Plan

The sales plan is the roadmap to success. It is the initial point that will determine how your team will progress and what will be the key points down the road. In this step, you need to define the realistic team objectives, sales process, and success measurement criteria. A lot of businesses skip this planning phase and get right into the process, which makes it hard to measure and improve sales performance.

Communicate with your team to establish a blueprint. Try to equally divide the workload according to the resources available and align your team, so they focus on the tasks as per the priorities. Define clear goals and schedule weekly meetings to ensure that sales activities are going as planned. Document all of these and review them from time to time to adapt to the changing trends.

2. Implement a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is basically a tool to manage all your prospects, leads, customers, and contacts. As they move through your sales pipeline, the CRM will help your sales team to keep track of all their activities. A good CRM will also update the contact’s social profile and remind your team members about upcoming meetings and follow-up emails to deliver a delightful customer experience.

BIGContacts CRM can be a good option here. It is perfect for small businesses. The intuitive interface provides all the necessary information and analytics to empower your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. You can also generate reports in the CRM software to measure sales performance for identifying the points of improvement. Make complete use of different features and modules offered in the CRM to deliver efficient results.

3. The 80/20 Rule

Listen first, then speak. Stick to the 80/20 rule while interacting with prospects and customers. Sales managers need to train their members about this. Listening to the customer’s pain points and understanding their needs is the first priority, which should be 80% of the conversation. The other 20% should be about your company and the benefits you offer.

Invest your time in the customer by answering their question or inquiries, and then pitch in your products or services. It leaves a good impression when you center every interaction around customer experience. A tip for customer representatives: talk with the mindset to eliminate customer’s challenges to make the job easier for them.

4. Strengthen Relationships with Loyal Customers

Do you know that it costs 16 times more to build a long-term relationship with a new customer when compared to maintaining with an existing customer? If a customer has chosen your organization over the others in the first place, they must be happy with your services. Therefore, strengthening your relationship is essential to improve sales performance. Convincing potential customers to buy your products/services is much more difficult than talking your way through the old customers.

Also, your loyal customers are more likely to share your positive feedback out there if you keep them happy with loyalty rewards, discounts, and gifts. Schedule monthly calls with them so that your sales representatives can understand their concerns and let them know any solutions if any. Always remember that your first friends are an invaluable resource of return business.

5. Make Use of Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing was in trend, is in trend, and will continue to be in trend. Email marketing module is generally included in the CRM software, and it allows your sales team to create automated email campaigns, track email engagement, and send customized emails to different categories of customers. There are various other tools and email templates that help enhance your email marketing campaigns to boost sales performance.

One important benefit of implementing email marketing tools is that you won’t miss a single email from the customers. In most CRMs, an automated email is sent in response to incoming emails and queries from customers, ensuring that leads are not ignored. To make your emails more interactive, you can embed videos and provide some relevant knowledge base links for the customers to look for a solution manually in the meantime.

6. Use Sales Metrics

Sales metrics or analytics are the representation of data that defines the sales performance of your team. You can use this to identify the bottlenecks and focus on the right areas to improve. As a sales manager, your job is to analyze the sales metrics to help your team members improve their performance to meet the goals.

Sales metrics can help a lot in monitoring the real-time progress of your sales plan execution. You can show your team members how they are performing with respect to the designated goals. Also, this helps in identifying the team members who are lacking in certain areas. You can train them or offer them support to get them back on track. Finally, you can identify all the strengths and weaknesses of your sales process to improve and increase productivity.

7. Schedule Regular Sales Team Meetings

Many businesses have monthly or quarterly meetings, while some have weekly meetings. But the main focus of meetings should be to make them effective. Holding regular meetings and taking meeting notes helps improve sales performance by keeping the team members focused on their goals and current tasks. It also provides a platform for everyone to share their challenges and best practices.

You can schedule two meetings: weekly team meetings and individual meetings. Weekly meetings should be focused on the overall team performance to strategize the path ahead. Sales managers can provide some more information and case studies about the products/services to the team. The individual meetings should be focused on each member in particular to find areas of improvement. Teach them to overcome obstacles and get them going in the right direction.

8. Establish a set of Core Values

Company culture plays an important role in the success of the sales team. The company’s core values should reflect in each sales conversation. It shows how much you value your customers and are always looking for ways to find the right solution for every prospect and customer. These values can be anything such as respect, accountability, customer focus, trust, excellence, etc. You need to decide on these with your team members.

Once the list of core values and norms is created, it automatically gets enforced on the team level to provide the best customer experience. The core values will be at the center of every decision, interaction, and conversation each sales representative has.

9. Cultivate Customer Referrals

When you offer delightful services to your customers, they feel compelled to recommend you to other potential customers. This can happen online, in-person, or through the reviews and testimonials that your customers leave on different platforms. This can significantly impact your sales performance, and your sales team needs to cultivate more customer referrals.

The simplest way to generate high-quality leads is by asking a delighted customer to leave a review or testimonial on your website, sending follow-up emails after a sale, or asking for anyone else they know who would be interested in your product or service. Start a customer referral program as well to give your sales representatives a better chance for generating leads through customer referrals.

10. Don’t Become Complacent

You should always stay one step ahead in this sales game. Monitor the business and sales metrics regularly to avoid any surprise attacks. Don’t give your complete focus to the reps who are unable to meet their goals, and pay attention to your top-performing reps as well. Motivate them to keep improving and developing their skills. This raises the bar, and you can set bigger realistic goals, both at the team and individual level.

As a sales manager, you need to bring the best in the people around you. Help everyone in understanding their role and provide a performance-based, positive environment to your team members so they feel supported throughout the sales process. Develop your leadership skills, and that will reflect in your team’s sales performance.

Improve Your Sales Performance Right Away

To sum up, the sales game is changing day-to-day, and you can’t come on top if you don’t change your sales strategy. Stay motivated and inspire your sales representatives to increase sales performance, gain loyal customers, and build an enviable pipeline. It is as simple as that: if your sales function is operating at full efficiency and effectiveness, that will yield great results and profits along with a secure and stable future for your business.

However, you need to measure the sales performance and at the same time, make it easier for your team to manage all the prospects and customers. BIGContacts is an excellent tool for small businesses as it offers a centralized location to store and manage customer’s data. Sales managers can visualize the sales pipeline and quickly generate sales reports to get their team back on track. Get started today to transform your sales process.

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About the author

Caleb Mitchell is BIGContacts' senior product manager with a deep-rooted passion for tech and customer relationship management. He holds a Master's in Business Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania. Caleb steers the way for CRM innovation with a blend of analytic prowess and technical expertise, drawing from his extensive background in data analytics and software development. He's a fervent writer on CRM, SaaS, automation, customer relationship management, AI, and predictive analytics, with his work regularly published in TechCrunch, SaaS Mag, and Customer Think. Connect with Caleb through his LinkedIn profile for insights on CRM strategies and to engage in solution-oriented discussions.