How to boost B2B sales?
Do you want to increase your turnover radically? Whether for products, services or an idea, the foundation of a business rests on the ability to sell. When it comes to selling and closing deals, your prospects don't want to be told stories. To have qualities as a seller is to know how to listen carefully, to have a critical mind and to apply your sales techniques effectively.
As a part of leadership team and revenue generation being a top priority, you are aware of the importance of having and building a successful team that will advance the company for you and that will be able to apply your business tactics. For this, your sales force must follow these best practices:
1 - Always prospect regularly
Sellers should not run out of sales opportunities for a month and then work harder to catch up in the next month. They must remain regular in prospecting. Companies face irregular results because they tolerate lack of consistency when it comes to prospecting and bringing new opportunities into the pipeline.
Prospecting channels like cold email marketing, cold calling, social media outreach can be decided accordingly.
Tips for sales managers:
- Make prospecting activities mandatory
- Follow each week the prospecting activities made by each seller and the results they obtain
2 - Always request references and introductions
When representatives speak with prospects and clients, they should always request references and introductions! Sales growth is closely linked to the quantity of opportunities that enter the pipeline, but also to their quality.
Obviously, references and introductions generate better conversion ratios compared to all other sources of potential customers. The main reason the vendors do not get references is that they do not request them! Remind them that 80% of introductions lead to sales.
3 - Always keep a full pipeline
In connection with the first point, it is absolutely essential not to wait until the opportunity pipeline is empty for prospecting. You have to know the average duration of the sales cycle to know when an opportunity that enters the pipeline should end.
If there are enough prospects entering the pipeline, sales will follow naturally. It is important to stay constant. Sawtooth efforts will only give you results worthy of a roller coaster.
Tips for sellers :
- Make sure you add sufficient sales opportunities (number of opportunities) and with a good level of quality (value of opportunities)
- Once the opportunities have entered the pipeline, they must move towards the conclusion by following the sale process or be disqualified. Clearly, there must be a constant movement in the pipeline.
Tips for sales managers:
- Do regular pipeline reviews with each of your representatives.
- Make sure that the weighted value of the pipeline is systematically aligned with the sales targets.
- Be firm and disqualify the opportunities that seem to be abandoned if there is no next step defined by the representative.
4 - Always hold your attributable team
The role of sales managers is to keep the sales force attributable to sales growth objectives as well as to the plan that has been developed to achieve these objectives. The best way to keep a sales team accountable for the plan and the activities that everyone needs to do is to meet daily.
A 5 to 7 minute meeting each morning will keep the team dedicated to what they need to accomplish. This will quickly expose any gap between expectations and what really happened.
5 - Always monitor behaviors and activities
Monitoring activities and behaviors is the only real way to proactively manage sales. Looking at daily and weekly activities and behaviors, you remain aware of the results to come and you can put in place an action plan to correct any deviation before it is too late... which may mean before the end of the month or quarter, when quotas have to be reached.
Conversely, outcome indicators such as turnover or profitability of sales allow us to make observations. While these indicators are very important, they do not allow decisions to be made early enough to avoid significant differences between reality and forecasts.
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6 - Always follow the sales process
The sales process must be a proven recipe that is reproducible in order to achieve the sales goals. It is through the repetition of this sales process that it is possible to develop sales in a predictable way.
To increase sales revenue, you have to work constantly to optimize the sales process. It must be designed specifically for your business, market, industry, product and to help the sales force overcome the specific obstacles it will encounter during a sale.
Today, technology helps optimize sales processes thanks to data entered in CRMs.
7 - Always be firm on prices
When sellers are not firm on prices during a bid, this creates a situation in which the customer thinks they can always get a better price. Sales managers who accept this practice from their sellers lose critical margin percentages for the business and show that it is acceptable to give a discount to a potential customer in order to close the sale.
I have seen companies where sales managers spend more than 50% of their time handling price exceptions given to customers over time.
To increase sales, you have to rely more on value than on price.
8 - Always have the urgency to conclude
Please note, we must understand the concept of urgency to be concluded. It is not a question of wanting to "close" the customers at any cost during the first meeting or of putting any pressure on the customer. Also, representatives can interpret a bid request as a sign that the customer is ready to sign, when they simply want to get information from the seller.
Representatives must have the sense of urgency to conclude when all the stages of the sale process are completed and the customer must make a purchasing decision.
9 - Always coach your sales team
Coaching representatives is the number one priority of the most efficient sales managers. They spend at least 50% of their time coaching.
Often coaching is seen as a very different task from what it actually is!
Coaching can be done formally or informally, but in any case it must be done on a daily basis. To start coaching individual representatives, two activities must be favored: preparation before meeting and post-meeting debriefing.
10 - Never accept excuses
Apologizing is often part of an organization's sales culture despite the efforts of senior management. These excuses diminish the ability of the sales force to grow sales steadily.
There will never be an ideal situation in which representatives can achieve all of the goals. The sales forces must therefore deal with fluctuations in the economy, aggressiveness of competition, the company's selling prices and other factors. These are elements over which sales representatives and directors have no direct control, which is why these are the most frequently apologized for explaining the lack of performance.
Sales managers therefore have an important job to do to fight the excuses and help representatives work on the factors they control, such as their prospecting and sales activities or even respecting the sales process.