Managing Performance

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Managing Performance

Two words that can fill some people with a sense of dread…

 

And this is tragic – because managing performance should be as much, if not more, about reinforcing great performance and behaviours as it might be about improving underperformance. Over the last 20 years working with people in all kinds of industries, from Construction and Retail to Consulting and Advisory, performance of the business and the teams that drive revenue is critical.

 

Research shows that employee underperformance is one of the key causes of concern to managers. Yet so many struggle with the solution…

 

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is “to continue to do the same things in the hope that those things will miraculously achieve a different result…”

 

A Few Key Statistics

 

Let’s take a look at a few key stats about sales productivity:

 

  • 2/3 of sales reps fail to reach their annual sales quota goal (Aberdeen)
  • Most sales reps spend more than 50 full days away from core selling activities each year (Domo)
  • 80% of sales occur between the 2nd and 5th call, but only 20% of sales reps even make it to a 3rd call (Thunderhead)
  • The average sales rep needs to update over 300 CRM records per week (Implisit)
  • Sales reps receive almost 600 emails per week on average (The Brevet Group)

 

You can see that most sales teams suffer from the old adage ‘too much to do in too little time’. But have no fear – this is not an unsolvable problem!

 

7 Tips to enhance your results

 

1) Effectively Onboard & Train

Recent Aberdeen research revealed that it takes over 7 months and almost £20,000 to fully onboard and train a sales rep. That’s a tremendous resource investment, especially when considering the fact that 87% of training content is forgotten within weeks. It should be easy for your reps to learn about complex products and services quickly and to maintain a level of knowledge deep enough to make the sale. With the right onboarding tools in place, an organisation can decrease learning time by at least 30-40%.

 

It’s also important to have ongoing development and training in place to keep your team up to speed and continuous training can result in 50% higher net sales per sales rep. And those 2/3 of sales reps who perform at or below quota can be coached and guided to operate at a higher level of performance.

 

2) Measure Key Metrics

Measuring ‘sales’ is easy – revenue and invoice value are good indicators of success. Measuring ‘selling’ is the challenging part. Many organisations are not consistently improving their sales productivity because they don’t regularly track productivity gains and results. Consider metrics such as call rate, win rate, sales cycle length, pipeline conversion rates, and average number of touches until conversion. Use dashboards to visualise trends and gain valuable insights into sales rep activity. Collecting and analysing the proper data can quickly uncover opportunities for improvement.

 

3) Align Marketing and Sales

The silo mentality, where departments such as sales and marketing operate as individual units, has become a major problem in the B2B landscape. Forrester research shows that only 8% of B2B companies have tight sales and marketing alignment. The lack of communication can cause organisation-wide disconnects, missed opportunities, and lost revenues. However, alignment, with shared goals and metrics, can result in 25% increases in quota achievement, 15% increases in win rate, and 27% faster three-year profit growth, emphasising the need for collaboration.

 

4) Provide the Right Content at the Right Time

Sales reps spend 30% of their day looking for or creating content – one of the biggest consumers of a sales rep’s time. Yet 70% of marketing content never gets used by sales. Why? They can’t find relevant material. And when 95% of B2B deals are influenced by content, this is not only a waste of time but can also negatively impact opportunities. To make content productive, the sales team needs to know what content to use and when to use it.

 

5) Get Social

The power of social selling can help sales forces relate to and engage more intelligently with buyers. Sales reps can use social media in every stage of the sales process, from networking and prospecting to customer service. With insights about prospects such as demographics, preferences, what’s happening at their company, what’s going on in their industry, and where they encounter pain points, sales reps can more quickly and effectively drive an engaging and meaningful conversation. And according to Aberdeen, sales reps who leverage social media in their sales process are 79% more likely to attain their quota.

 

6) Embrace Automation

Less than 1/3 of a sales person’s time goes to core selling. Time spent on unproductive, repetitive, or non-best practice tasks is time spent not selling. Any time you can automate an activity, you will save steps and time so that sales reps can get back to core selling activities. Reduce or eliminate admin tasks, such as data entry, and automate your sales workflow as much as possible. Consider triggered events, such as follow-up emails, which will help reps respond to prospects faster. Companies that follow a defined workflow are 33% more likely to be high performers.

 

7) Invest in the Proper Tools

With the aforementioned costs of recruiting and training sales reps, there is no reason not to invest in their success and keeping them around. Give your sales team the right tools to help them do their job efficiently and effectively. Sales enablement technologies aim to align marketing processes and goals and then arm sales teams with the tools and content to improve sales execution and drive revenue. Sales enablement, by nature, empowers sales reps to work more efficiently. And remember, a more productive sales team means more revenue is being generated!

 

If you want to learn more about how to get these straightforward solutions into your business please email MarkCarrington@thegrogroup.com or call us on 01892 610060.

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