6 Sales Best Practices Your Team Should Be Following
Defining “best practices” for sales can be a slippery slope. On one hand, there are proven strategies that help sales teams grow and dominate their targets each quarter. On the other hand, each sales team has a unique set of strategies that can make the “best course of action” a hard concept to nail down.
But let’s go back to that first hand. There are a number of solid strategies in sales that you can apply to almost any sales team to see results. So if you’re looking to improve your team’s sales numbers and crush your sales targets each quarter, here are six best practices that can help you get started.
1. Ask for referrals
Securing a client without asking for referrals is like taking two bites of a chicken wing, and throwing it to the side. Quick disclaimer: please do not bite your clients.
Marketing teams spend a variety of resources on prospecting and sparking their interest in your company. So if you land a client, and you don’t ask for introductions, you’re potentially missing out on thousands of dollars worth of free prospecting resources.
The worst the client can do is say no…well, that’s not true. I guess the worst thing they could do is break both of your legs, but saying no is a close second. But the best thing they can do is recommend you to their friends and colleagues who are eager to hear what you have to say.
2. Stay on top of cold-calling
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take -Wayne Gretzky” -Michael Scott.
Cold-calling is a classic outbound tactic that will always have a place in the world of sales. How do you know a client isn’t interested if you don’t try and reach out? While a number of sales tactics have outclassed cold-calling in the modern era, cold-calling strategies are still a fantastic way to find new prospects.
Have a strategy meeting with your team and discuss techniques, scripts, successes, and failures for cold-calling, and see what areas you can improve upon. Just make sure they stick to their system once they start.
3. Make a plan for prospecting
While we all wish clients would just arrive at our cubicle with a pen in one hand and a contract in the other, unfortunately, this is almost never the case. If it is, call the police and have a quick pow-wow with security.
But plenty of companies ignore the power of a consistent prospecting schedule.
Set up a prospecting action plan with your team at the start of each month. This can involve schedules for cold-calling, networking, cold-emailing, or even spinning a sign outside. Having a concrete plan to keep your prospecting efforts going is crucial to a company looking to keep their growth consistent.
4. Schedule regular meetings
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You check in with one of your sales reps, and they seem like they’re on top of their sales targets. But when you check in a week later, they’re falling behind, their clients are unsatisfied, and their desk is on fire.
Only two of these three things have to apply (I won’t name which ones), but it can be easy for your team to lose track of their sales goals without the proper guidance. All it takes is a quick meeting each morning to go over progress and apply some course-correction if something’s not adding up. Then you can go about the rest of your day knowing you probably won’t need to call the fire department within the next seven hours.
5. Brainstorm possible objections
Play devil’s advocate with your company’s products and services. What can a client say that would completely throw a wrench into your selling strategy?
You probably don’t need to think that hard, some of your sales reps’ have heard these types of objections before, unless your sales team has a 100% win rate, in which case, why are you still reading this? Set up a meeting with your team to go over some common pushbacks that could keep your team from landing a sale, and plan out some strong responses.
For example, if a variety of clients are having trouble seeing your products’ ROI value, reference case studies or success stories you’ve had with your past clients.
But if you’ve managed their objections, and they’re still not looking to make a purchase, most of the time, there’s no reason to continue the sale.
6. But don’t push too hard for a sale
I’ve seen plenty of salespeople fall for the “sunk cost” fallacy. Basically, if you put a large number of resources into completing a task, it feels a lot harder to give up.
Sometimes, salespeople need to know when to cut their losses. I’m not saying that any resistance should be met with a white flag and a strongly-worded apology note. But not every client is going to find value in your products and services.
If your sales team is a bit bull-headed, don’t hire a team of minotaurs…but if your sales team is stubborn when a client says no, help them understand the resources they’re using to keep the account open.
Here’s a trick, offer prospects a chance to say no. A lot of modern buyers view salespeople as bloodthirsty abominations who will stop at nothing to secure a sale (again, blame the minotaurs). Teaching your team to show clients a “way out” goes a long way to build trust between your sales reps and your clients. Even if they say no, at least your team knows they can move on to more promising accounts.
Just make sure each strategy works for your team.
Let’s not ignore that second hand. Different sales teams require their own set of strategies and tactics in order to see success. As much as I wish there was an “all-powerful answer” to improving your sales team, I haven’t found the magic lamp to make that wish come true yet.
But if you consider these best practices, monitor your progress, and adapt when you’re not seeing results, you’ll have an all-star sales team in no time.