You know what they say about habits: it takes just 21 days, or three weeks, to make or break one. Yet for something that takes such a short time to develop, bad habits can have a massive impact on your life. And often we don’t even realize that we’re developing them until it’s too late.
This is especially true when they happen to be related to your job. That’s why we’re calling out five bad habits that you may or may not realize are stunting your sales growth, and how you can replace them with practices proven to improve your sales productivity and performance.
Diving Head-First into Lead Lists
The drive to make things happen is the mark of a good salesperson. However, this sometimes translates into an over-eagerness that ultimately causes more harm than good. Exhibit A: receiving a list of tens, hundreds or even thousands of leads, and diving in head-first. Most often, the logic is to prioritize those leads that have historically been the easiest to close – but “easiest” doesn’t necessarily translate into “most valuable.” This type of approach results in reps ignoring an average of 50% of marketing leads.
Break this bad habit by taking the time to identify the characteristics of the leads that result in the most value for your business. One way to do this is by segmenting leads by various dimensions such as lead source, industry, company size, contact title, etc. and then calculating and comparing their lead yields as shown in the example below. To learn about lead yield in more detail, download this free resource.
Focusing on Activities and Not Outcomes
Most teams have activity goals that they’re expected to meet on a regular basis: calls made, meetings set, emails sent, etc. While these metrics are great for bolstering productivity and keeping reps on pace, they can often cause reps and managers alike to lose sight of the larger goal: closing business. While hitting your call quota for the week is great, if none of these calls connected you with a decision maker or resulted in follow-up conversations, it’s hardly cause for celebration.
To avoid this type of tunnel vision, it’s important to make sure that your activity goals are based on actual conversion rates rather than gut feelings. Don’t just tell reps to send 50 emails a day because you think that should be enough to secure 3 conversations; dig into your sales data and figure out, on average, how many emails it takes for a rep to make contact, and base your target on this. In doing this exercise, you will also discover the activities that convert the best for your business. Perhaps channeling the energy it takes to send those 50 emails into making just 20 more calls would make a much larger impact.
Separating Yourself from Other Departments
As a salesperson, it can sometimes feel as though all of the pressure is on you, and it’s no secret that frustrations can sometimes arise between sales and other departments. Why is marketing claiming that they own that lead? Why did support get frustrated when you reached out to that one client for an upsell? When it comes to situations like these, it can become easy to feel as though there is a divide between you and other departments.
The truth is that at the end of the day everyone at your company should be striving toward the same goal: revenue. And making this dream a reality is much easier when everyone keeps the lines of communication open. For example, companies where sales and marketing work in harmony are 67% better at closing deals! One of the best ways to make this happen and keep everyone on the same page is by integrating your sales platform with other business tools, such as marketing automation or support systems. For more details on why and how you should make this happen, check out this blog post.
Entering Things in Your CRM Later
No sales rep likes having to interrupt his or her activity flow to enter information into a CRM. In fact, it can be quite tempting to just jot down a few thoughts or make a mental note and move right on to your next call. You can just enter all of this information at once at the end of the day, right? Procrastination aside, lack of a mobile CRM forces some field reps to return to their desks at the end of a long day to document their activities and outcomes.
Did you know that people forget 40% of what they’ve learned in just 20 minutes? As such, think of how much valuable sales data is lost each time you put off entering information into your CRM. The good news is that there is more than one way to nip this nasty habit in the bud. First of all, choose a CRM that is easy and intuitive to use. Second, leverage a solution that provides automatic data capture for activities like emailing, calling, booking meetings, etc. Finally, don’t forget to find a CRM that offers a native mobile application so that your field reps can enter and access the information they need anytime, anywhere. And for more insight into the type of sales platform your reps actually want to use, download this free white paper.
Checking Reports on a Weekly Basis
Chances are that you have a weekly all-hands sales meeting, where reps and managers alike share metrics and provide updates on where they stand against their quotas. This is great, and super important for keeping everyone in the sales org on the same page. However, if you find yourself pulling reports and crunching numbers every Tuesday to prep for your meeting on Wednesday, we have a problem.
While weekly reporting was a major undertaking and satisfactory achievement twenty years ago, today, the best sales reps and managers check their key reports multiple times a day. And thanks to the development of real-time dashboards and lightning-speed data analysis, this is totally possible with minimal effort on your part. Once you define the top 3-5 metrics for your team, build these numbers into a sales dashboard that can be kept open and refreshed with the click of a button.
Creating Healthy Sales Habits
It’s never too late to start creating healthy sales habits. By following these 5 simple tips, you can start drastically improving your sales growth in just three weeks. And to get in the habit of receiving sales tips and tricks like these, subscribe to the Base Blog!