Do sales feel elusive? Are your competitors’ products selling like hotcakes?
Don’t be disillusioned. Get motivated! Most, if not all, top companies have been in your exact position.
Whether you’re starting out or experiencing a sales dip, the first step is knowledge. The art of sales is always changing. Catching up on the latest sales techniques, or reacquainting yourself with timeless methods, can make all the difference.
It’s time to get out of your sales slump. Learn how to get more sales at any stage of your business.
Have a Strong Vision For Your Company
Understanding your sales problem means finding the root of the problem. Some companies track the issue all the way back to the vision itself.
All top businesses start with a vision. Nearly 75% of buyers prefer to do business with companies that have a vision. These buyers want to buy into a vision, which transcends the product itself.
It doesn’t matter how simple, just as long as the vision resonates with consumers. That’s why some companies, like Apple, connect with consumers on deeper levels, almost like a religion.
Consumers have developed brand loyalty to Apple. This loyalty is due to a number of factors, like the “Think Different” moniker and the company’s groundbreaking products. All these factors play a role in Apple’s vision.
Your company needs to inspire, so let’s start there.
Go back to the beginning, and think about what inspired your company. Is your vision being reflected in the product? Go back to the drawing board and work out the kinks.
The product itself may be fine. But you could be marketing to the wrong audience.
Perhaps, the packaging design doesn’t vibe with consumers. You may be using the wrong distribution networks.
The problem may come down to the brand. For some reason, the brand isn’t connecting with your target base. But you can’t move on with a sales strategy until you uncover the reason.
What you’re doing right now is conducting an audit. Audits take inventory of everything, like your website traffic, sales history, customer experience, and more. You can’t improve if you don’t know where you stand.
Audits are incredibly time-consuming. You can perform them yourself. But you need to review the following elements:
- Website SEO (on-page and technical)
- Customer service strategy
- Employee performance
- ROI on sales and marketing tools
- Data results from all marketing campaigns
- Employee and customer feedback
- Sales history by category
- Sales per location
- Current inventory
- Customer retention
- Customer lifetime value
- User experience (UX)
As you can tell, there’s a lot of ground to cover. This list is just a sampling too.
Performing SEO Audits
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you could probably audit these checklist items yourself with the right tools.
For example, you can use SEO tools to understand the following data:
- Site traffic (daily, monthly, etc.)
- All ranking keywords (with positions)
- Keyword and content gaps (opportunities)
- Top ranking content on your site
- Global breakdown of website traffic
- Google site ranking
- Number of backlinks per site
- Number of internal links
Once you start selling a decent amount of products, you should seek outside help for audits.
You could approach an SEO agency, but it would focus on search logistics alone. A web design firm could also audit your site for errors and opportunities.
There are even consultants who audit and clarify your vision. Petram Consulting is just one example. They audit your company for leadership problems, goal misalignment, and other issues getting in the way of your vision.
Auditing Sales and Marketing
One of the benefits of consulting is that it aligns your sales and marketing objectives.
In the last example, you learned that consultants help fix misalignment and miscommunication. These two issues frequently separate departments that should be working together to achieve goals. After all, marketing is the process of promoting a product to sell.
Before you can align, you need a complete audit of your sales and marketing strategies. You should also conduct performance audits for each department. During your audit, collect feedback from staff and management.
Create data-driven surveys that inspire participants to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences. For example, you may learn that sales agents don’t have the resources to convert enough leads. You may learn the marketing budget is leading to quality issues.
Data is so critical for this step. Extract as much information as you can. There are so many metrics; you may need to hire an analyst to help with the load.
Sales and Marketing KPIs
You learned earlier about auditing customer retention and lifetime value. These metrics are examples of KPIs, known as key performance indicators.
Remember these basic marketing KPIs:
- Conversion rates (across KPIs)
- Cost per lead
- Cross-selling and upselling rates
- Organic website traffic
- Lead generation
- Net promoter scores
- Cost per acquisition
- Average order value
- Marketing qualified leads
Some marketing KPIs overlap with sales metrics. Average order value, upselling, and cros-selling rates are just a few to know.
Other sales KPIs include:
- Lead response time
- Total sales per location
- Sales target percentages
- Average sales cycle
- Number of new leads
- New (qualified) opportunities
Once you finish your audit, you’ll have a much clearer picture of your KPIs. KPIs are crucial for keeping sales and marketing teams on the same page.
Tips For Aligning Sales and Marketing Goals
KPIs clarify both sales and marketing goals. However, you need a process that aligns department goals.
Department meetings aren’t enough. Studies also show that meetings aren’t as productive as once thought. Instead, update your process with an agile project management system.
Agile project management ensures every detail is perfect before moving on to the next step. This accuracy requires consistent monitoring and feedback at every stage. Project managers also break down projects into achievable tasks, keeping projects running on time and within budget using methodologies like earned value management.
This approach is a gamechanger for sales and marketing teams.
Sales and marketing teams communicate from start to finish. Plus, consistent feedback decreases human errors and quality issues. You don’t have to worry about missing pieces because the process is treated like a life cycle.
Agile management works best with the latest communication tools. Choose a project management app you like, and create separate projects or groups for sales campaigns. Teams can upload work, ask for feedback, make notes, and more.
Monitoring Sales and Marketing
Monitoring is instrumental for aligning goals and managing effective sales and marketing campaigns. Sales leaders and marketing heads must monitor each department’s performance.
For example, sales managers monitor associates’ performance, like upsell rates, new account acquisition, and so forth. Marketers monitor campaign performance, like click-through rates (CTR), email bounce rates, and more metrics.
It’s easy to get lost in your own department’s operations. You can keep both departments updated on campaigns with interactive dashboards.
For example, suppose your company is running a massive back-to-school sale. Company stakeholders also want to increase store memberships during the sale.
Both the marketing and sales teams have set KPIs and aligned their goals. Next, create dashboards that track KPIs for the entire campaign.
Department leaders can monitor their own KPIs from separate dashboards and make adjustments as needed.
For example, a sales manager may learn that one store isn’t upselling store memberships enough. A marketing manager may discover a surprising uptick in Adwords conversion rates, prompting more investment in PPC.
Develop Your Sales Training
Here’s a common scenario:
Suppose you’re a sales manager. While reviewing KPIs, you discover low sales averages at a new location. Upon inspection, you learn that the sales team isn’t properly trained on sales techniques.
What do you do? Do you fire the team? Should you terminate the manager?
No! What you have is an excellent sales opportunity.
Ignoring the problem will drain resources and not boost sales. Instead, invest in a robust sales training program, complete with videos, roleplay exercises, interactive courses, and trial periods.
Training programs instill confidence and encourage trainees to take ownership in their roles. New associates are more likely to ask questions and use their critical thinking skills. Problem-solving is an asset for sales professionals.
There are many ways to approach sales training. However, there are a lot of ways to get it wrong.
Invest your money into the latest interactive sales training tools. You could also hire a company to administer the training for you.
Typically, HR departments handle sales training. If you’re a new startup, you can outsource your HR needs to an outside company.
Many companies also have executive development programs that spot and groom top talent for high-level positions. These programs also produce inspiring stories, an asset for employer marketing campaigns.
Similar to sales and marketing, you can track sales training progress with tools and KPIs. You’ll quickly identify where the training is going wrong and any talent emerging from the ranks.
How to Get More Sales With Customer Service
One mistake is treating customer service as a business process, not a strategy.
Customer service is a cornerstone of all sales and marketing strategies. You could say it’s the glue that holds them together.
Customer service is often mistaken for a few processes, like ringing up a customer or picking up the phone. On the contrary, it’s a sales secret weapon.
Buying is an emotional process. Marketing speaks to emotion and inspires customers to take action. It’s a very human process.
Why does this matter?
Human-centered customer service makes a world of difference. Surveys revealed that over 85% of consumers would happily pay more money for excellent customer service.
Great customer service can sell a decent quality product over an excellent quality product. This cause and effect are very observable in the restaurant industry.
Fantastic customer service becomes a part of a company’s brand. Customers will gladly trade in a long wait, rude attitudes, and wrong orders for that new friendly place down the street.
Tips For Tracking Customer Service Performance
There are several ways to monitor customer service strategies.
For starters, you can record phone calls to learn more about performance. Call centers regularly record calls and score each call.
Performance reviews may track the following:
- Listening skills
- Upselling and cross-selling benchmarks
- Transferring to proper channels
- Product or service knowledge
- Technical ability
- Call length
- Problem-solving skills
- Following basic protocols
- Script delivery
When you look at the list, you’ll notice a range of points.
Empathy may seem like a surprising addition, but it’s critical for closing sales. Customers want a listening ear; providing that support builds trust. Trust is instrumental in getting more sales.
Problem-solving is another essential skill for customer service agents. Agents must think quickly on their feet. Problem-solving starts with listening, giving agents time to find a solution.
Putting Customer Service to Work
For example, suppose you run an online fruit basket business. A customer calls to complain that their favorite pear basket is out of stock. They were hoping to order one for their mother for the holidays.
The customer is understandably frustrated. What do you do?
You could listen to the customer, apologize, and hang up. But that’s a waste of an opportunity. Instead, you could turn it into a sale!
Listen to the customer. Apologize, but continue the conversation. Ask how their mother is doing and inquire about other favorite fruits.
You discover that their mother loves plums, and you suggest a plum gift basket. You even throw in a discount and free lemon cookies to sweeten the deal.
The customer happily takes the offer. Before they leave, you ask the customer to leave a review on Yelp or Google, improving your digital footprint.
Do you see what you just did there?
You delivered excellent customer service. Not only did you satisfy an unhappy customer, but you also generated a sale! That’s customer service in action.
Supercharge Your Sales Strategy
Does your sales problem look more clear? The more you investigate your performance, the closer you’ll get to a winning sales strategy.
Knowledge is the foundation. Learn how to get more sales with this mega guide. Don’t forget to follow the blog to find more resources for up-in-coming businesses.