How Can You Improve A Struggling Sales Team? Making sales is an important part of any business.
Whether you’re selling a product or a service, turning potential customers into paying customers is essential for a successful business.
But it’s not easy. If it were, everyone would do it!
Even the most advanced sales teams can struggle, sometimes. With the rise of social media, the format of chasing leads changes, bringing along with it a lot more challenges in regards to marketing.
These days, picking up the phone and calling a potential customer isn’t always good enough. Have you warmed them up first? Will they take the call?
To make matters worse, it’s always a vicious circle when you have a struggling sales team. When a team struggles to make sales – due to a number of different reasons – they lose motivation. When a sales person loses motivation, sales productivity goes down the drain.
It’s a lose-lose situation.
So how can you improve a struggling sales team overall and avoid these challenges in future?
First, you should to analyse why your team is struggling to see if there’s anything you can fix internally. It’s up to you to make this happen! Look at ways you can support your team overall: from motivational management style, reducing their administrative jobs, giving them better, (cleaner data) to a better working environment. We recommend taking time to learn about sales productivity. A lot of the time, investing in some time-saving tools like Data Dive or project management processes will turn a struggling sales team around quite quickly.
If you don’t know what sales productivity is – read on, as we cover it extensively in this article and talk about why it’s so important. We also talk about how it can be improved and what tools are ideal to benefit this area of business.
First of all, let’s take a look at why poor sales performance may be an issue in the first place.
Why are your sales team struggling?
There are always going to be struggles in any team. No day is perfect. But when it’s becoming a common issue, it’s worth looking into why – and how it can be fixed.
- They may need more help –
There’s a lot of training that goes into making a strong sales team, from customer service to product knowledge. They need to become confident in the product they are selling.
- They may be spending all their time warming up the potential clients in running social media and campaigns – These are more than a full time job for anyone. Perhaps your sales people are spending time on the ‘wrong things?’
- Their targets may be too high –
By all means, it’s important to outline healthy targets – after all, you need to make money! Targets are also a great way to motivate a sales team. But it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of making them unattainable. If a sales person doesn’t feel like they can hit target time and time again, they’re unlikely to want to try.
- They may not be rewarded enough –
Some employees come to work to simply do their job and leave at the end of the day. Not everyone cares about the business in the long run, so unless they’re actively benefiting from the sales they make, they will lack motivation and sales productivity.
- It may be a toxic work environment –
Any decent boss or sales managers will do their best to try and help their staff thrive, but sometimes, people just don’t gel. If the team aren’t getting on or even if the office isn’t a nice space to work in, this can also demotivate employees and lead to poor sales performance. Be careful to keep an eye on the undercurrent of someone spreading dissatisfaction.
- Sales productivity is down –
We’ll cover this extensively in the next point, but many people are surprised to know just how relevant sales productivity is in a business.
What exactly is sales productivity?
Another important factor which can often be related to a struggling sales teams – is sales productivity. In fact, sales productivity is a huge part of any sales team.
Generally speaking, sales productivity means maximising sales results whilst reducing the resources expended. So, for example, being more productive and efficient, rather than spending hours of your day dealing with other tasks like admin or marketing.
That said – marketing goes hand in hand with sales! That’s why it’s especially important to deal separately with the marketing side of things.
Sales can be quite time consuming and tedious – especially if it’s a long lead. An employee doesn’t need to spend extra time on top of that entering long notes into a system or trying to get up to speed with previous meetings with that client.
Sales productivity is a huge part of keeping your entire team motivated and avoiding poor sales performance. In many cases, it also means outsourcing to reduce time spent elsewhere.
We’ll take a look at this in further detail below.
How can you improve a struggling sales team?
We’ve already talked about common issues that lead to poor sales performance and why sales productivity is so important. But what can you do, as a business owner, to help your team reach their sales targets and stay productive?
- Don’t be afraid of marketing
Ideally, to help with sales productivity, you should hire a person specifically for this sales process – or even an entire team! It’s a huge job, if you aren’t automating it.
- Make sure you know where your good leads are! This may require a lot of work, or you may again use automation to save needing more staff.
- Make sure you hire high-quality sales managers who can identify good data to begin with
A good sales manager or sales leader will support their underperforming sales team with one-on-one coaching and sales strategy. They will be able to identify where to begin sourcing data required to begin the sales process in the first place.
- Set realistic targets
As mentioned above, poor sales performance is often due to trying to reach unachievable targets. Sit down with your sales teams and discuss sales goals that they feel they can reach (or may challenge them a little!) and realistic sales quotas. Underperforming sales reps will feel much more confident in themselves if they feel they can actually gain success over time.
- One-on-One coaching
Often, poor sales performance is due to a lack of training. Don’t be afraid to coach your sales team on different sales cultures, cold calls (if you can’t gain warm leads) or even sales management strategies. It may even be worth hiring a sales leader for this role alone to help create a strong sales team. The sales funnel, sales techniques and a different type of sale management are all things that a sales rep can learn more about for a better sales experience.
- Reward your staff
From offering them commission on sales to monthly competitions on to see who makes the most sales, rewards will always go down on a treat. If you look after your staff well, there’s no doubt they’ll offer that same support back with hard work and motivation. This will also mean loyal teams and long-term employees, which in turn, is great for building client relationships. No one has the time or money to deal with a high turnover of staff, just because they’ve not been appreciated!
- Use automation to relieve the time pressures on your team.
There are plenty of tools out there to help your team with project management, sales management techniques and even sales calls. If it helps your sales office or sales staff perform better = it’s worth investing in.
Tools to help with sales productivity
How Can You Improve A Struggling Sales Team? As we mentioned before, sales has come a long way from simply picking up the phone and making a call. Most sales teams use different tools to help with sales productivity. These tools can help them with their standard sales tasks, or even do other tasks for them, like admin or calendar management.
Don’t be afraid to bring in new technology! Even if it means paying out at first, in the long run, you’ll save money by improving productivity. Imagine taking away all those manual hours of warming the potential clients, sourcing good data, establishing who has visited your site?
One such tool is Data Dive. Data Dive is a fantastic system that goes hand in hand with improving sales productivity. Some of its features include:
- Access to over 400 million GDPR compliant data records, saving your team having to do the research
- The records help your team target the right people – avoiding long waits with gatekeepers or receptionists
- The ability to use it alongside other tools such as Email Sequence and B2B telemarketing campaigns
- A way to save hundreds of hours by no longer trawling through out-of-date contact details or trying to find old notes about clients
Think about how much time this will free up for other things! Once you’ve got used to using the tool, you could even train your sales team further. You’ll be able to invest time in teaching them better customer service practices or the beginning of online marketing. Because sales are made through online marketing, it’s always useful to teach your sales team at least the basics of how it works.
Data Dive is also a great tool to use alongside marketing campaigns, so if you’ve also got a marketing team in your business, or in fact you haven’t got anyone to cover this, it’s well worth investing in.
Another useful tool is Asana, which not only helps with project management but delegating tasks overall. This is especially helpful if your sales team has admin to do in relation to different clients. They can simply assign the task to someone else and move it off their desk. This will ensure they spend more time on making those essential sales.
There are many different factors to keep in mind when you have a struggling sales team. Although you should be wary that sometimes these things may ‘just happen’, if it’s a common reoccurring problem, you need to get to the bottom of it.
The sooner you know what the issue is, the sooner you are able to fix it! More often than not, in our experience, it’s simply down to time and not utilising the team to the maximum impact.
Of course, on some occasions, it may just be the case of the Mondays…! When the issues are something like that, usually showing your appreciation by treating your team to breakfast on a Monday morning will soon cheer them up and put them in the right headspace.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s always a great idea to invest in those automation tools that help with sales productivity. Once you’ve eliminated needless tasks, you’ll be able to check in with your sales team and give them the training and support they need. It will not only save you time and money, but keep your team motivated at the same time. After all, their sole job then becomes a simple phone call to the warmed up, potential client!
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