Your Guide to Sales
Originally posted on https://www.nbh.co/guide-to-sales
Setting up for success with a Company Sales Plan.
We’ll touch on sales enablement shortly but a clear, well thought out sales plan is the pinnacle of setting your sales team up for success. A company sales plan is a detailed business plan for the sales department that focuses on the sales strategy and sales enablement tools required to reach your goals.
A sales plan will be your bible to increasing revenue and staying focused on the road to nailing your targets. A company sales plan will cover 10 key topics:
Mission and Background.
A brief overview of your company background and your mission.
Outline who the key players in the team are and give them a clear org chart to reference.
A salesperson who knows their target market and buyer personas can tailor their sales approach for the best chance at closing the deal. Understanding this allows them to immediately recognise which leads are more likely to follow through with the purchase.
Split-testing (also known A/B Testing) is when you run two variants of the same ad (or landing page/form/etc.), with one difference, then see which performs better. Many online ad platforms have this functionality built in, allowing you to create and run two ads to the same audience natively. Use this whenever you can to ensure your ads are optimised to be the best they can be.
Indeed some social media channels, such as Instagram and Snapchat, are basically mobile exclusive. As such, it makes sense to design your ads (and wherever they take people) with that in mind.
What are marketing doing to spread the good word about your product including content.
Lead Generation Strategy.
What is being done to generate and qualify leads? If sales don’t know where leads are coming from, they may not understand how to sell to these leads.
Set your organisations expectations of the sales team and outline the strategy and steps required to hit the goals outlined in the next section.
This should primarily be focused on sales targets but it doesn’t hurt to highlight how these goals fit in as part of the bigger pictures.
Make sure the budget is clear and how to report any costings.
Providing clear information on these 10 core areas will arm your sales team with the knowledge and tools they need to sell effectively and efficiently. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, a sales team with focus and clear direction will outperform a sales team just winging it, nines times out of ten.
If you really want to hit your business growth targets and be serious about business development, a company sales plan is your key to success. Check out our thorough sales plan guide here for more information including a free downloadable template.
Get amped, get excited and welcome your new starter to the business.
Outline what training your sales team will recieve and what they can expect.
What tech tools should they have access to? Give them their logins and how-to operate software guides.
Software & Operating Systems.
What software do they need to be aware of such as your CRM, project management software or what deal tracking software do you use?
Got a group chat full of memes and chat about friday knock-offs? Got a more professional chat such as Slack which is more for business? Add them in and explain what it’s used for. If your Slack is anything like ours, it’s equal parts business and memes chat.
This is the juicy stuff that has become a big part of culture in modern companies. HR will cover most of this stuff but if there is a benefit for working in the sales team or someone has a sweet hook up for haircuts, food deals or other sweet benefits, outline it here.
People to meet.
Outline who they need to know and who they should meet early.
100 Day High Level Goals.
After 100 days, what goals should they have hit?
Set a smaller goal that will assist them in reaching the 100 days goal outlined.
What should they achieve by the second month? How will it assist in reaching the 100 days?
This is when things really ramp up. What should they have achieved by month 3?
Feedback & Reviews.
How often should they receive feedback and when will they be reviewed?
Sales & Strategy Methodology.
Outline your sales strategy and any tips and tricks they should know about. Link directly to your company sales plan.
Required / Suggested Reading.
Anything company related that will assist them in doing their job should be added to this list. I’m not saying get them to go out, buy and read autobiograhy (unless it genuinely will help), more so the sales plan we mentioned or company org charts.
Resources for Success.
Any important extra information or guides that will set them up for success, list them here and wish them luck!
A company sales training guide will set expectations from day one and give any new starter the tools they need to hit the ground running. Even for experienced, old heads who have been in the company for years, a sales training document outlining what’s what in the world of your company can be the refresh they need to get back on track.
Learn more about writing your own sales training guide including a free downloadable template below.
Sounds like just another buzz word right? You’d think so, but if we’re both thinking about the same sales enablement, then you’d already know how important it can be. If you’re a little unsure what it’s all about, we’ll run you through it.
Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with the information, content and tools to help them sell more effectively and efficiently. It is a strategy designed to increase your team’s conversion rates while allowing them to focus on the selling rather than working out how to sell.
In recent years technology has become a major player in the sales enablement world. If you use an online CRM, team communication tools such as Slack or meetings tools like Zoom, these are all examples of tools that allow your sales team to focus on selling.
Sales enablement is important as it prepares your sale team to conduct a more effective sales process which results in better sales results. A well planned and executed sales enablement strategy equips your sales team with the training, coaching and content they need to hit their sales targets each and every month.
How can you ensure you create a successful sales enablement plan?
There’s a significant difference between having a sales enablement plan and having a successful one. To ensure your plan assists your sales team to hit their goals, make sure you cover these four best practices.
- Have clear inter-departmental communication and a plan in place in the form of an SLA agreement.
- Give your sales team regular, useful sales training.
- Create clear reporting and analysis tools which highlight which areas the sales team can improve.
- Regularly review, optimise and improve your sales enablement plan. It should never be fully complete.
While providing your sales team with a high-quality sales enablement plan can set them up for success, providing the wrong tools and content can have the opposite effect. Ensure your plan is thorough and take on feedback from the sales team as they are the ones it affects.
Sales enablement is not just a nice to have in modern sales, it’s a necessity if you’re serious about your long term growth and business development.
Our Automation Hacks for your Sales Pipeline
Businesses of all sizes are always looking for ways to improve, increase that bottom line and work more efficiently, it’s what business development is all about. Automation is spoken about a lot in marketing and sales circles but on the surface that just sounds like a car making robot or the swinging bird that presses the Y button for Homer when he gets fat (Simpsons reference for those unfamiliar).
In reality, automation is as simple as sending a thank you email once a form has been submitted or using a live chatbot with pre-determined questions and responses to qualify leads that come to your website.
Automation as part of your sales enablement plan can transform your team from wooden spooners to looking like the 96’ Chicago Bulls. For those non-sport fans, 96’ Bulls are arguably the greatest NBA team ever assembled, including Michael Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, but that’s not important now. What’s important is setting your team up to succeed so at least they’ll look organised, efficient and personable through automation.
I’ve mentioned before how automation doesn’t have to be complex, it’s about arming your customers with the tools they need at every step of the buyer’s journey to proceed without you holding their hand.
Let’s say in your sales pipeline you have a stage called “Closing the deal”, this is when things start to heat up. You’ve got a potential customer drawn in, the last thing you want to do is have the workload of your sales team affect the time it takes to send a quote out. Leave it too long and people move on, lose interest or find another solution. A quick hack once a deal reaches this stage is to set up an automation to grab the deal and contact information from your CRM and auto-populate the quote. You can even have it send the quote and have them sign online. No-fuss, no salesperson delaying the deal because they were late back from lunch and you’ll have a potential customer who has been armed with the tools they need to make a purchase.
If you’re interested in learning more about automation in sales or want some quick hacks for your own pipeline, check out our article below.
How to generate Sales Leads.
If your marketing team is good at what they do, a salesperson won’t necessarily need to get out there and find sales leads. However, a sales team who are serious about hitting their targets need a few tricks up their sleeves to ensure they are getting the right leads rolling in.
Sales don’t need to get out there on a microphone spruiking a deal, you don’t need to be designing billboards or cold calling, here are two of our favourite simple ways to generate sales leads.
1. Use live chat on your website.
Nowadays, people want their information fast. They don’t have time to wait a couple of days to a week for you to reply via email because we’ve now got the attention spans of goldfish. Live chat is the answer to answering questions fast and creating a lead out of nothing.
If someone starts a chat with you they’ve probably got a specific question they need the answer to but every single live chat is an opportunity to sell. They came to ask about a specific feature on your product but after a talk with the sales team they’ve signed up for a live demo, know the pricing structure and could be ready to purchase.
Imagine the leads you’re missing out on. I implemented live chat for one of our clients the other day and within two hours of me putting a chat window on their homepage, there were four conversations with new potential leads.
2. Answer questions on Q&A services or participate in conversations online.
Your product or service should solve a problem faced by consumers. Where do people go these days to ask questions and look for solutions? The Internet of course.
There’s plenty of Q&A services online where people ask questions to solve their issues. If your product can answer their question then jump in there and lend a hand. People will be able to spot a salesman a mile away so don’t go in all guns blazing with a copied and pasted generic elevator pitch, be real, be personable.
Even if the person you are responding to doesn’t end up purchasing, your response will be public for the world to see and if someone else comes along with the same question, they’ll see your response and you’ll have helped two people. Another person comes along, you’ve now helped three people and you only needed to reply to one of them.
These aren’t going to flood your inbox with leads each and every month but think about the opportunities and sales you are missing if you’re not willing to try them out. If you’re a salesperson serious about hitting your goals, have a read of our article “Ideas for Generating Sales Leads” and start implementing these simple tricks for more leads.
Lead Nurturing in sales
Lead nurturing is the process of drip-feeding potential leads information and content to keep your service front of mind while providing solutions to their problem. By feeding an interested lead content, you prove that you’re an authority on the topic, you help solve their problems and you show them that if they have questions, you have answers.
Not everyone is ready to purchase the moment they find your service so you need to be patient. By setting up some lead nurturing sequences you can ensure you’re providing value to your customer without being too in their face.
Here’s our list of tips and tricks to effective lead nurturing in sales:
- Get the timing right
- Ensure the content is relevant and answers their questions
- Offer variety in content
- Personalise it
- Your nurturing end goal is always to end up closing the deal
- Give them a way to convert in every email.
By following these tips and tricks every time you set up a sales lead nurturing sequence you’ll be giving your sales team the best opportunity to convert. By arming leads with the tools and knowledge they need to make a purchase, you’re giving yourself the best shot possible.
To dive a little deeper into setting up your own sequences, check out our article “See More Sales With a Little Lead Nurturing”.
Setting Sales Targets and Hitting Them Every Month.
A big factor in hitting your sales targets each and every month is how you set them. Too ambitious and the pain of not hitting them every month could be deflating to a team, too reachable and you’re just letting your sales team coast every month.
How do you set effective sales targets that your sales team have a chance of hitting every month? A quality sales target should have these characteristics;
- Set SMART Goals. Not sure what that is? Learn more about SMART goals here
- They are relevant to you, your team and business
- Your goals are known and understood by everyone4
- They’re monitored and tracked
- Revise them constantly
- Base your goals off real data
- Partner them up with a real reward
When setting your teams goals, ensure they are SMART goals and use our list above to ensure you’re giving your sales team every opportunity to push themselves and reach their sales targets. If you need more details on each of the characteristics above, read our article “7 Essentials to Setting Sales Targets Your Team Can Hit”.
Thankfully, the way consumers are purchasing has changed so the way you sell should be adapting. The decision to purchase has been made long before a customer reaches out to the brand so it’s now up to the businesses and salespeople to prove how they can help the customer.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few little techniques we like to use when closing the deal.
1. Give them a free trial or demo, where possible
This has become a key player in the software and IT world with seven day free trials all the rage across silicon valley. Nobody wants to part with their hard-earned dollars not knowing if a product or service is a good fit.
2. Give it a sense of urgency
A sense of urgency puts the ball in the customers’ court and allows you to focus on more deals rather than getting pushy and calling non-stop. We’re all victims to FOMO (fear of missing out) so if an opportunity is passing us by, we’re more likely to grab it with both hands.
3. Over-offer, then pull back
We’re big on ‘under-promise and over-deliver’ at Neighbourhood. Providing extra little tips and tricks to make your job easier is a favourite past time of Trav’s, just get him on the phone and you’ll leave with an abundance of extras you didn’t know about. Over-offering simply means offer the Rolls-Royce of packages with everything they need and if the price is an issue, slowly drop the price and if needed features until you find a happy middle ground.
4. Address what is preventing your customer from committing
This is our favourite of the lot. Really find the painpoint of your opportunities and address them. It may take a bit of digging to really find the issue but once you do, solve it for them and they will be more likely to purchase.
Adapt the way you sell to the way customers purchase and you’ll have much more success when closing sales. Throw out the old closing techniques of pushing your service on them and start helping them solve the issues they are coming to you to solve.
If you’re interested in learning about closing more deals for your business, have a more in-depth look at “Our Top 4 Sales Closing Techniques” or get in touch today.