January 16, 2014 by
A strong sales compensation plan, smart hires and next-generation organizational tools are mission critical to every organization’s success. Sales management consultant, Ken Thoreson, has previously written a very popular post about sales compensation. We wanted to make sure the information stays current and update it for 2014. Learn about the latest in sales compensation plans as you set goals in the new year.
When it comes to paying your salespeople, there is no single sure-fire approach. Even within organizations there are often diverse products and services that are sold to range of buyers: think event sponsorship opportunities and consumer products. Not all salespeople are operating on the same playing field, some aren’t even in the same park. That is why some organizations pay commission based on sales, while others only pay on margin while others blend both with incentives and other bonus plans.
The burden falls on the management to set the course. The leadership team has the best view of the company’s overall goals and structure. With future success in mind, management is responsible for creating a compensation that attracts top talent, inspires sales and keeps the margins deep in the black.
January 15, 2014 by
We have seen it all before. Presentations permeate the business world and we’ve sat through them enough times we have run out of patience for anything less than a professionally polished approach. Sales presentations are still the norm but the expectations are so much higher.
That said, presentations are still essential for pitching products. You will always be pitching to a blend of visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners so you better arrive to your sales meetings capable of communicating ways that reach everyone in the room. A rock solid sales presentation goes a long way toward making that happen.
Following the popularity of a previous post, “How To Create the Perfect Sales Presentation,” we put together six tips for crafting an effective sales presentation.
January 14, 2014 by
1. Quote Confirmation and Clarification
Chances are you sent your quote via email. The nebulous nature of email and attachments create the perfect excuse to follow-up. When composing the initial quote email, drop in a line about your intention to ‘follow-up with a call to confirm receipt and answer any questions.’
By stating from the get-go that you will be following up, your call will be better received when you actually place it (they’re expecting it) and it primes them to prepare questions that you will be ready answer.
2. A Well-Timed Call
It’s tempting to start dialing as soon as you arrive in the office on Monday morning and stay late Friday night in hopes of closing out the week on a high note. Unfortunately, these aren’t the best times to follow-up with clients and prospects. People tend to trickle in Monday and head out early at the end of the week. As you build relationships with your clients you will develop a knack for knowing the best time to reach them. But in the beginning it is advisable to call mid-morning Tuesday through Thursday and leave your Monday morning and Friday afternoon time slots for strategizing.
January 9, 2014 by
As a sales manager, it’s important to know which of your sales reps is moving deals through the sales pipeline efficiently. Today, we’re introducing the Stage Conversion Report to help you identify sales stage conversion rates for each of your team members. It lets you compare your reps’ performance in each stage and discover their strategies. For example, you can see who is a qualifier and who is a closer.
This new report shows you the average conversion rate for the entire team, as well as each rep’s individual stage conversion. To track deal conversion rates across multiple stages, click on the stage names on the left hand side of the report.
Check out the Stage Conversion Report in action below:
The Stage Conversion Report is available free with the Professional and Enterprise plans. Current Base customers, give this report a try today to see who’s killing it and who needs additional coaching. Let us know what you think in the comments section below. If you’re not using Base yet, you can sign up for your free trial here.
The basic idea of a sales pipeline is to estimate the upcoming sales you’re aiming to close. Over time, this information becomes your sales forecast. Year after year, companies prepare spreadsheet after spreadsheet to forecast sales for every month, quarter and year – even as far as ten years into their company’s future. This type of forecasting can provide critical planning information – especially for resource allocation. Some companies compile forecasts based on gut instinct, assumptions and the best guesses of their sales personnel (some of whom won’t be around to meet their ten year forecast). Sometimes they do get lucky and hit upon accurate readings. But more often, this system of assumptions and guesses just leaves them with results that can be detrimental to their business. Not being able to predict customer metrics could leave a company overstaffed during a lull or understaffed during a boom. The business may have an overabundance of raw materials or components (and therefore a reduced cash flow), or the business could have an inadequate inventory and find themselves in short supply (and only available at a premium price). An inaccurate sales pipeline will often eventually lead to the self-destruction of a business.
January 8, 2014 by
Have you ever called a lead only to find out that they’ve already been called by one of your fellow reps? Doh!
Or worse yet, have you ever discovered you’re pitching a product to a current customer?
What about taking over an account, only to realize that you don’t have all of your predecessor’s information, and you’re clearly missing some of your client’s major needs? Annoying.
Sales are difficult enough to land without dealing with mistakes from incorrect, missing or outdate information.
Here’s where a CRM can help you and your team reduce avoidable mistakes.
January 7, 2014 by
It’s always a letdown when a prospect that you’ve been working with turns your product down. In some instances, you can console yourself that you’ve done everything possible to close, and that they made another decision in spite of your hard work. But most of the time, there is usually some point along the line where you could have focused on this client to make the deal. Sometimes, deals fall off because they stall mid-cycle (somewhere between call and appointment set or between the first and second meeting, for example). This is even more disheartening because you’ve put time and effort into this client. Well, a great CRM can help you dust off these stale deals in 3 minutes or less.
When a deal stalls out, whether it’s because the customer is busy or because there is a delay in follow-up, you’ll need a strategy to be able to implement manageable, actionable tasks that will get this deal back on track and bring you closer to closing. Once you have this data, you can make the change and get back on track, all within 3 minutes.
January 6, 2014 by
You’re driving along when all of the sudden, your gas gage flashes “E.” You have 2 choices. You can ignore it, eventually running out of gas, or you can find the nearest gas station so you don’t end up stranded on the side of the road. In this example, the gas gage telling you that you’re almost out of gas is an insight provided by data. The insight is only useful though if you resolve your looming gas problem by filling up your tank.
In sales, we’re faced with a much more complex, but similar issue: data that we don’t know how to use or act on. Data that we get from our CRM or marketing automation software, while very useful, can be overwhelming. And yet, the best way to identify where the real problems lie is to analyze hard data. As sales leaders and marketers we need to understand how to analyze data in order to make good decisions for our businesses. Otherwise, we’re operating in the dark.
To help solve this problem, we designed Base with meaningful out-of-box reports that drive actionable insights. If you haven’t taken advantage of the robust reporting functionality yet, login to your account as soon as you read this post. If you haven’t tried Base yet, you can start your free trial here.
January 3, 2014 by
A CRM application can help your team create follow-up strategies for sales, manage and enhance your sales pipeline, and turn sales data into actionable insights. But did you ever think that it can also help you manage and improve the team itself? It can help a team member with onboarding and training all the way through goal-tracking and self-assessment and improvement. It will also keep the whole team focused on the practices that lead to successful sales. Here are a few ways a CRM tracking tool can help retain stronger sales teams:
January 2, 2014 by
We all know that follow-up is a critical component in securing new business and that the easiest way to lose is a sale is to fail to follow up. After all, potential clients and sales prospects will only stay on the line for so long. Great follow-up is equally critical to maintaining current clients and obtaining repeat business. Expert salespeople are adept at follow-up and follow-through on every potential lead. Here are some techniques to polish up your follow-through.