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How to Improve Sales Performance: 10 Strategies for Success

Being in the industry for quite some time now, I have observed that many sales teams need to meet their targets, which can cause significant concern within any organization. You might wonder, what sets apart the teams that consistently achieve and exceed their goals?

The answer lies not just in the skills of the individuals but in the strategies and processes that guide their efforts.

Let’s explore effective methods to enhance sales performance and ensure your team meets and surpasses its objectives.

10 Ways to Boost Sales Performance

Improving team performance is the key to sales success, and there are a lot of variables that contribute to successful sales performance.

Here are some sales improvement ideas and strategies that sales managers can implement to improve the sales process and achieve the 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 the key points down the road will be. In this step, you need to define the realistic team objectives, sales process, and success measurement criteria. Many businesses skip this planning phase and get right into the process, making it hard to measure and improve sales performance.

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

2. Implement a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is basically a tool to manage sales performance. As the prospects, leads, customers, and contacts move through your sales pipeline, the CRM will help your sales team track 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 CRM software to measure performance and identify points for improvement in sales. 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 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 questions or inquiries, and then pitch 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 customers’ challenges and 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 than to maintain one 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 improving sales performance. Convincing potential customers to buy your products/services is much more complex than talking your way through the old customers.

Also, loyal customers are more likely to share positive feedback 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 of any solutions. Always remember that your first friends are an invaluable resource for return business.

5. Make Use of Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing was in trend, is in trend, and will continue to be in trend. The 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.

Various tools and templates help enhance your email marketing campaigns to boost sales performance.

One significant 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 customer queries, ensuring that leads are not ignored. To make your emails more interactive, you can embed videos and provide relevant knowledge base links for the customers to look for a solution manually.

6. Use Sales Metrics

Sales metrics or analytics are the representation of data that defines the sales performance of your team. This can be a great way to boost up your sales performance. 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 identify the team members lacking in certain areas. You can train them or offer them support to get them back on track. Finally, you can identify your sales process’s strengths and weaknesses to improve and increase productivity.

Read More: The Data-Driven Advantage: 14 CRM Metrics for Business Growth

7. Schedule Regular Sales Team Meetings

Many businesses have monthly or quarterly meetings, while some have weekly meetings. However, 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 focus on each member in particular to find areas for 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 to boost up the sales performance of your team. The company’s core values should be reflected in each sales conversation. It shows how much you value your customers and are always looking for 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 to generate 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 out the best in the people around you. Help everyone understand 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.

8 Factors That Affect Sales Performance

Now that you have understood how to improve sales performance, you must also understand why your sales performance might go down. This will help you select the most effective strategy tailored to your team’s unique challenges and goals by identifying these elements.

The most common factors include:

1. 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 keep on dipping, producing bad results.

2. Poor Economy

This is undoubtedly one of the primary reasons for the drop in sales. Business owners are forced to adjust their pricing plans in such scenarios, leading to less sales revenue than in other months.

3. Inaccurate Sales Pipeline

A disorganized pipeline can reduce the speed at which leads move through the pipeline by up to 18%. 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.

4. 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.

5. Lack of Communication

The sales, marketing, and customer support/operations teams should always collaborate to produce better results. However, the lack of alignment and communication between these teams can affect the sales performance.

6. Competition

The level of competition within your market plays a crucial role. Understanding your competitors’ offerings and strategies allows you to effectively differentiate yourself and position your product.

7. Customer Needs and Wants

Aligning your sales approach and product offerings to address your target audience’s specific needs and desires is essential for sales success.

8. Technology

Technology presents both challenges and opportunities for sales teams. While it can empower lead generation and customer communication, it also allows easier competitor comparisons for customers.

The list can go on and on, as several factors 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 strategies to increase sales performance and productivity.

How to Improve Sales Performance Through CRM

In the past, our sales team faced several roadblocks hindering performance:

Limited Visibility into the Sales Pipeline: Tracking deals from start to finish was a challenge. We lacked a clear picture of where leads were in the sales cycle, making it difficult to identify and address bottlenecks.

Inefficient Sales Process: The lack of a standardized process led to inconsistencies and inefficiencies. Reps struggled to replicate success, hindering overall sales effectiveness.

Steep Learning Curve for New Hires: Onboarding new reps was time-consuming due to complex contact management procedures and the need to learn different sales tactics from various sources.

Data Silos and Limited CRM Insights: Valuable customer data was scattered across spreadsheets. This lack of centralized data made it difficult to track key metrics and gain insights for strategic decision-making.

Low Sales Rep Productivity: Reps were bogged down by repetitive tasks, limiting the time they could dedicate to high-value activities like customer engagement and closing deals.

Then we incorporated BIGContacts, which significantly contributed to our success in multiple areas. Let me explain how it has empowered our team to achieve better results. BIGContacts addressed the issues we faced with a comprehensive suite of features:

Visual Sales Pipeline Management: We created a custom pipeline reflecting our specific sales cycle. This provides real-time visibility into deal progress, allowing us to track performance, identify at-risk deals, and optimize the sales workflow.

Standardized Sales Process: BIGContacts facilitated the creation of a repeatable sales process. Reps have clear steps to follow, ensuring consistency and improving success rates. Onboarding new hires is faster and more efficient as they learn a single, proven methodology.

Intuitive Contact Management: User-friendly contact management tools allow for sorting and filtering by various criteria. This CRM has simplified tracking all interactions, including emails and meetings, and enriched our contact records with social media profiles.

Users can customize the database by adding tags and fields and grouping contacts for targeted communications. Designed with simplicity in mind, it suits small teams, offering GDPR-compliant data access anywhere. The software provides AI-driven reports for insights and performance monitoring and automates contact organizations to enhance productivity.

Actionable CRM Metrics & Reporting: BIGContacts tracks critical metrics like close rate, customer lifetime value, and acquisition cost. These insights empower data-driven decisions to improve customer satisfaction, boost revenue, and optimize sales strategies.

By implementing BIGContacts, we’ve transformed our sales management approach. The solution has provided the tools and insights needed to analyze performance, streamline workflows, improve rep productivity, and achieve significant sales growth.

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 secure the future of 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 customers’ 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is sales performance?

Sales performance refers to the efficiency and effectiveness of a sales team in meeting its targets and generating revenue. It encompasses various metrics, including sales volume, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Why does sales performance matter?

Sales performance matters because it directly impacts a company’s bottom line. Effective sales strategies drive growth, enhance market share, and ensure the long-term success of a business. It also influences investor confidence and resource allocation.

What are the key pillars of sales performance?

The key pillars of sales performance include strategy, execution, talent management, and analytics. These elements work together to create a comprehensive approach to achieving sales objectives, from planning and implementation to monitoring and optimization.

How to measure sales performance?

To measure sales performance, businesses typically focus on key metrics such as sales revenue, the number of new clients acquired, sales growth year-over-year, conversion rate, average deal size, customer lifetime value, and the sales pipeline health, including the length of the sales cycle.

These indicators provide insights into how effectively the sales team converts leads into customers and retains them over time. Additionally, comparing actual sales against forecasts and setting benchmarks for individual salespeople or teams can highlight areas for improvement. Regular analysis of these metrics allows for the adjustment of sales strategies, ensuring alignment with business goals and market demand.

How long does it take to see improvements in sales performance?

Improvements in sales performance can vary in time, often taking several months to become evident. The duration depends on the nature of the sales cycle, the strategies implemented, and the responsiveness of the sales team to training and changes.

What role does technology play in enhancing sales performance?

Technology enhances sales performance by providing tools for better customer relationship management, data analysis, and communication. It enables sales teams to access real-time information, automate tasks, and personalize customer interactions.

Is there a one-size-fits-all approach to improving sales performance?

No. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving sales performance. Strategies must be tailored to a business’s specific needs, industry, and customer base. Customization ensures that sales efforts align with each company’s unique challenges and opportunities.

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About the author

Muskan Ghai specializes in contact management, customer relationship management, workflow management, and business analytics. Her insightful writing illuminates these topics, inspiring strategic thinking. Her Zoology Honours degree from University of Delhi enhances her analytical prowess, enabling her to offer clear and impactful insights to her audience.