6 ways to improve sales performance when time is running out

For sales leaders, there is nothing worse than knowing your team is off-target. In high-growth companies, failing to hit a monthly or quarterly goal can have a huge impact. You could even risk missing an annual target that could make the difference between breaking even or going under.

No one wants that to happen, especially when you report to founders who report to a board. In a B2B sales environment, results are everything.

The good news is that skidding off-target is not irreversible. Bad weeks or months are costly, but unless there are serious flaws in the product/service, or how the brand fits within the market, there are always ways you can get your team back on-track. Here are six ways to quickly improve sales performance when time is running out.

#1: Concentrate team focus

Now is the time to ask some potentially tough questions:

  • Are your team focusing on the right prospects?
  • Are they spending enough time talking to viable leads?
  • Are they responding quickly enough to inbound leads?

Whether your team are field or office-based, you need to know they’re focusing on accounts and/or potential clients that are qualified. Ready to buy. With a budget. With a clear need for your product/service.

Concentrating your team’s efforts means focusing on clients first. See if they will spend more with you. Next, focus on viable prospects in the pipeline. Some will have come through inbound channels: they’re always going to be more viable than outbound prospects. Inbound leads have already done their homework. You need to make sure the team are responsive to what they need.

Screen-sharing software is one way to do this. Soon as a lead comes in, make sure one or more of your sales or marketing team can jump on an instant call/demo, and do what they can to answer questions, find out more and qualify them as a lead.

#2: Score the pipeline

Not every lead in the pipeline is viable. When the pipeline is quiet, this can be frustrating. Your team could spend time chasing leads that were never going to become paying clients. Qualifying leads is the best way to save everyone time and effort, and move viable prospects closer to completion.

Here are a few ways you can assess the pipeline:

  • Work out the potential life-time value (have they mentioned a budget, have you given them a quote)?
  • What is the profit margin (%)?
  • Have they expressed a clear need and implementation timescale?
  • What have your interactions been so-far? Have they been active, or have they made some clear commitment, an investment of time/resources in this project?
  • How close is the deal to being closed (weeks or months)?

For those that score poorly, move them down your list of priorities. Some may not stay in the pipeline. Whereas others can move higher up the list - especially if your team have been distracted by deals that look huge, but in reality, aren’t going anywhere and were never going to close. Re-focusing efforts on viable leads is a smarter approach that is more likely to generate results.

#3: Free desktop sharing software

Inbound leads want fast responses. Salespeople have a much higher chance of converting a lead into a sales prospect when they’re quick to respond. One way to do that is with free desktop sharing software. If you are using Google Chrome, you can use screen-sharing software to engage with a potential client without needing to download anything.

Immediate online sales meetings have never been easier to implement. Ensuring your team speak to those who want to know more straight away, instead of waiting hours or days for a call-back.

#4: Generate new leads

Look beyond your pipeline. Have your team spend a few hours every day or week sourcing new leads. Go through your connections and network. Adopt a hustler’s mindset: Assess whether a prospect is viable, then reach-out to them. Email then call, or call and then email. Be persistent. Calling more than once improves your chances of success.

#5: Get networking

Investing a few hours a month at networking events across your region gives you the chance to meet in-person with viable sales prospects. At the average networking event, each salesperson can meet around 5 to 10 potential new clients in a couple of hours. Expos and hosting online webinars are also great ways to meet new sales prospects.

#6: Implement social selling

And finally, alongside lead generation where you pick up the phone or send an email, social selling is proving popular with forward-thinking sales teams. Interact online with potential clients. Comment on posts. Share content. Publish articles via LinkedIn and share them in Groups where you know buyers and decision makers spend time.

With screen-sharing sales software, you can encourage those you encounter online to take part in an instant demo. Providing they have time, you get to find out whether they’re a viable lead straight away, and they can find out more. Even during difficult sales months, there are always ways you can generate more sales leads and qualify those in the pipeline.