7 habits of successful salespeople that are being ignored by average sellers | bpm'online

7 habits of successful salespeople that are being ignored by average sellers

Key findings:

How well-aligned marketing and sales can dramatically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity, and business’s top-line growth

What are the fundamentals of maintaining a healthy sales pipeline that generates high conversion rates

How the right technology can empower the sales professionals to become a well-oiled revenue engine of an entire organization

Align marketing and sales metrics to get a clear overview of common goals

Despite the obvious fact that marketing and sales professionals must work together to achieve the ultimate goal of increasing revenue, too many organizations’ marketing and sales departments actually operate in silos, with misaligned metrics. According to Forrester Research, fewer than half of marketers indicate that they participate in pipeline reviews, and only about one-third say that their metrics closely align with sales’. Forwardthinking marketing and sales professionals align their metrics in terms of the number of MQLs needed to achieve revenue targets. It is vital to know this number for each segment, industry and geography. With this information in place, marketing professionals can begin to intelligently plan campaigns and budgets toward reaching revenue goals.

32%

The alignment between sales and marketing can achieve an average of 32% annual revenue growth over the previous year compared to an average 7% decline for their less well-aligned competitors.

22%

Organizations with an SLA are 3X as likely to be effective. But only 22% of respondents have a formal SLA between marketing and sales.

38%

In the top-performing companies, 38% of the sales pipeline was marketing-sourced versus only 25% for the bottom performers. In fact, top performers were more than twice as likely to contribute more than 50% of sales pipeline than their lower performing peers (33% to 13%, respectively).

49%

Among the top challenges to align sales and marketing are «communication» (49%), followed by «flawed and broken processes» (43%), and «sales and marketing measured by different metrics» (40%).

25%

Only 25% of leads can become prospects and get into the sales funnel.

TIP

When employing a single unified intelligent automation system for lead management and distribution, marketing and sales teams are able to not only stay on the same track in terms of metrics and goals, but they can gain an unprecedented level of agility to instantly alter processes if something needs to be adjusted.

Do not let an overloaded sales pipelines disrupt well-oiled sales machine

An overloaded sales pipeline might become an obstacle for a sales rep to effectively manage all the leads they get (not a bad problem to have, but one that needs to be solved). This may result in missing prospects and a potential decline in profits. A well-defined process for working with leads is another result of coordinated marketing and sales efforts. To get the best sales results, successful salespeople look more precisely at the leads that should be treated with the highest attention – sometimes to grow your pipeline, you need to cut it.

46%

Only 46% of sales reps consider their pipeline accurate.

33%

of sales-actioned leads become sales opportunities.

10%

A recent study found that a 10% increase in lead quality generates a 40% increase in sales productivity.

33% & 50%

Companies that follow a well-defined sales process are 33% more likely to be top performers and «the win rate exceeds 50% for 2/3 of companies that have a defined process in place».

50%

The win rate exceeds 50% for two-out-of-three companies that have defined sales processes in place.

17%

Having a clearly defined sales process with multiple steps can increase net sales productivity by 17%.

TIP

It is advisable to employ a modern lead management solution that allows sales rep to have a picture what leads they get. As a result, sales pipeline does not get overloaded with ‘bad’ leads while sales reps do not miss out on good opportunities. For this purpose, coordination with the marketing department allows for effective planning of lead generation activities in order to have a constant and predictable lead flow to prevent sales reps from being overwhelmed

Maintain rates a healthy pipeline to drive bottom-line growth

A deeper look at your pipeline tells you how it has changed over time, whether it is growing in line with rising revenue targets, and exactly how much revenue you can expect to produce from it. A shrinking pipeline needs to be evaluated quickly, and this can only be achieved if the net flow of opportunities in sales pipeline are carefully tracked. For this reason, top performing salespeople keep the data about their pipeline clean and accurate, ensuring the opportunity to build precise sales forecasts and make better business decisions. In addition, a more transparent view of the pipeline helps increase conversion rates and generate more revenue.

15%

Companies with effective pipeline management have 15% faster revenue growth than those with ineffective management.

46%

Only 46% of reps think their pipeline accurately reflects future business.

75%

of deals in sales pipelines never close 44% of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing the sales pipeline.

80%

of reps think they are good at qualifying opportunities.

21%

Average pipeline slippage is 21%.

51%

of forecasted deals don’t close.

TIP

Organizations need to consider leveraging CRM or SFA solutions with intelligent lead scoring capabilities which automatically sort and qualify leads based on various factors (interest on the product, previous communication history, and other historical data). Such technology enables sales reps to work with leads of much higher quality, which in turn has a drastic impact on pipeline health.

Build a Relationship Matrix to turn relationships into sales

Making the Relationship Matrix as a part of sales pros daily routine is paramount for achieving and maintaining a steady revenue stream. It is crucial for sales reps to communicate and develop relationships with representatives of the organization, especially with decision-makers as establishing fruitful cooperation ensures that the sales team leverages the full potential and does not miss opportunities. In the complex world of B2B sales, most corporate buying decisions involve not a single person but a core group of people who have influence on the final outcome. They each bring their own unique and differing expectations and decision criteria. Identifying and congregating these influencers right from the beginning heavily impact results. Obtaining a full picture of the client’s organizational structure, both formal and informal and leveraging this knowledge to understand the roles of different people within the organization fundamental for long lasting sales growth. Model and visualize your key sales contacts and relationships between them for each opportunity.

DECISION MAKING MAP

Relationship-focused sales teams grew their accounts at least 2X faster than regular transaction-focused account teams.

Closed-won opportunities involved 1.3 people from the client side on average, as compared to only 1.1 on closed-lost opportunities.

At least 5 people are involved in an average B2B buying process.

Only 65% of sales reps can access key decision makers.

TIP

Make the Relationship Matrix a part of your daily routine. Create a decision-making map to have a clear picture of everyone involved in the buying process. Store it in your CRM along with the history of all communications. Make sure you communicate with the people who have the largest influence, not only with people who are the most positive about your company and product. By applying this approach, you will never struggle to find relevant contacts and develop relationships with them if you lose your primary contact.

Don’t take each «No» as a final decision

Despite statistics, many sales people still strive to close deals with the first shot. Many studies reveal that only 2% of sales takes place when the parties meet for the first time and these 2% are the ones who have already looked into the matter and know exactly what they need. The other 98% will proceed to buy only when a certain level of trust is established.

It is highly recommended to develop the rule of «Five No’s» where sales reps maintain contact with prospects until they say «no», or «not now», or «not yet» at least five times. Great salespersons do not give up too early, as every time they are in contact, they have an opportunity to advance and build a profitable relationship.

44%

of salespeople give up after one follow-up

65%

of sales pros stop trying to sell after the second NO.

14%

drop the attempts after three «Nos».

80%

of sales require five follow-ups.

16%

Across 355 leading B2B sales teams sales development reps who make 12 contact attempts (instead of the average 8) perform 16% better.

TIP

Think twice before closing the opportunity as ‘Lost’. You have already invested a lot of your time and resources into the opportunity. If there is at least a slight chance that some additional steps could revive the sale, go ahead and take them. Statistics show that being more persistent gives you a better chance of getting the prospect back even after they have said «No».

Don’t be too obsessed with sales pipeline conversion rates

While measuring conversion rates at each stage of the pipeline is important, don’t let yourself to be misled by these metrics. Sales is not always a linear process. Don’t expect everything to go straight through the stages of the sales pipeline. 63% of people requesting information from your company today will not make a purchase for at least three months and 20% will take more than 12 months. You might be going back and forth through various stages before the deal takes place. Focusing your sales team solely on conversion rates instead of revenue is pointless when you do great with all the sales metrics except for revenue growth.

44%

of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing the sales pipeline.

65%

of a sales rep’s time is spent on activities that don’t directly generate new sales.

2.90x

At the end of the month, reps appear to be pushing deals that are not ready. There is a 2.90x increase in number of deals closed at the end of the month but an 11.43x increase in number of deals lost.

Don’t make your sales team too focused on high pipeline conversion rates. When chasing these metrics, reps may apply the wrong sales tactics pushing an opportunity through the pipeline but miss a real chance to close it. Give as much care to choosing the right sales tactics that would generate revenue as you give to increasing pipeline conversion rates. Find the balance between precise measurement of conversion rates and leaving your sales reps flexible to apply the best sales tactics to close deals. Even if some metrics decrease, revenue is what matters most.

TIP

When working with large and enterprise level opportunities, it is particularly important to be focused on the right sales tactics rather than conversion rates. Track the progress of the deal on a weekly basis – this is your straightest path to revenue. Leave pipeline conversion analysis for your monthly report.

Leverage intelligent CRM or SFA solution as your secret weapon to outsmart your competitors

In order to beat the competition and provide healthy and long-lasting customer relationships, savvy sales professionals need to constantly enhance their approaches, strategies and operations. By utilizing a best-fit technological solution, sales pros get equipped with the tools that help them leave no lead behind and ensure that sales pros get only high quality leads.

Harnessing a sophisticated CRM or SFA solution can help sales reps meet their quotas and deliver better customer experiences by storing data in a structured manner, streamlining sales processes and enabling better communication across departments.

53% of top-performing companies are investing in CRM to drive sales productivity.

A CRM can increase revenue by 41% per user.

CRM system adoption increases sales by up to 29%.

Investing in SFA increases deal closure by 30%.

SFA implementation reduces sales cycle by 18%.

Automated and enforced sales processes generate an 88% quota attainment.

32% of salespeople are spending an hour or more on data entry each and every day.

In 2018, manual data entry by salespeople for sales force automation systems will be reduced by 50% due to adoption of mobile sales productivity tools.

By 2020, 30% of all companies will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.

The use of SFA can possibly cut down sales administrative time by 14%.

TIP

The change is already taking place: digitally empowered buyers expect salespeople to know exactly what their needs are before engaging with them. Therefore, in order to keep up, businesses must equip their salespeople with the right intelligent tool to orchestrate your sales processes. Once you get your processes right, the sales team and the entire company will win. Many CRM / SFA solutions force you to follow rules set by the supplier, therefore, consider fostering a process-driven system, which enables sellers to design and optimize processes that match your business model and business needs.

Conclusion

Selling has evolved enormously in the past decades, transforming to a new level of innovative art. Savvy sales leaders know that real sales success is achieved only when the classic pillars – people, processes and technology – are in sync and aligned to reach the common goals. With today’s demanding and digitally empowered buyers, sales persons have to be innovative in applying new approaches to find the best way to achieve sales excellence and deliver exceptional and meaningful customer experience.

With an intelligent CRM technology behind them, sales pros are empowered with the tools to build perfect sales processes to achieve the most ambitious goals, build a healthy and unified lead-to-revenue pipeline, enable more intelligent prospecting, lead management, and effective sales and marketing alignment. By using a cutting-edge CRM technology sales pros can deliver personalized experiences and sell more efficiently and effectively outsmarting their competitors.

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