Every company wants to make sales and it should come as no surprise that salespeople are a critical part of the process of helping customers make purchase decisions. Would you find it surprising that your sales force would be more effective if it had goals?
The salesperson who picks up the phone to answer a call or who greets customers that walk into the lobby to buy a product are expected to create an excellent experience for every customer and make the sale – all while dealing with customer rejection and concerns about the price of the product.
Help can come in the form of motivation, and sales goals can be an excellent source of inspiration. Goals give salespeople a target to reach for. Goals keep them focused on giving their best effort to sell the benefits of their products to every customer with which they interact.
Unfortunately, many companies do not routinely set sales goals and communicate them internally. Many times goals may have been set but not shared with those who are interfacing with your customers on a daily basis.
Those that set sales goals and broadcast them within the company will be more successful. Following are some ideas on how to make this happen.
Create goal ownership. Give salespeople ownership in creating the goals. The challenge for any company is how to set sales goals and get the sales staff committed to achieving them. Things won’t go well if management simply creates goals and then expects everyone to hop to it. Salespeople will make a half-hearted effort if they don’t have buy-in. Amazing things will happen if they do.
Understand motivation. When it comes to achieving a goal, every salesperson is motivated for different reasons and understanding what motivates them is critical. Knowing what turns them off is just as important. Public recognition for hitting a goal may work for one salesperson and backfire with another. The wrong motivation can have a negative impact on a salesperson but the right motivation can cause them to stretch and accelerate their sales performance. Sales managers must know their individual staff members well enough to figure this out.
What does it take to make a sale? The most productive use of a salesperson’s time is selling. Yet many salespeople spend endless hours doing tasks that are not generating sales. Follow a typical sale from the initial contact with your company through to the installation or completion of the sale. How many different departments are involved in the sales process? Where did the opportunity exist for the sale to get delayed or fall through a crack in the process? Is there duplication in the process? What steps could be streamlined or eliminated to improve the efficiency of the sales process? What other actions were required to complete the order before the salesperson could take the next call?
Outside sales teams can be just as prone to wasting time on non-sales activities. If the performance of the internal departments that support the process for fulfillment is lacking, the sales person may be prone to “babysitting” orders to make sure the sales were completed. Consequently, time that could have and should have been spent in the sales process was misdirected.
Provide coaching. Selling is a learned process that requires continual coaching and training. Sales managers need to be coaches for their sales team.
Coaching requires managers to play a number of roles. They must bring out the best in each and every salesperson. They must help each salesperson continually improve their skills, using recorded sales calls as a tool for learning. They must recognize people when they do a better job. Telling a salesperson he or she will be fired if their numbers don’t improve isn’t much of a motivator. Acknowledging a salesperson for the small things they are doing to improve their abilities will definitely keep them pumped up.
If you want robust sales, the simple act of setting goals and then communicating them and helping people reach them will work wonders.