Every sales rep will have the occasional bad sales day. But what happens when bad days turn into bad weeks? Or months?
Breathe. Slumps happen, but it is important to acknowledge them instead of going into denial. A key sales management responsibility is to identify the source of your reps’ slumps and start paving the road to renewed success. Read on for some tips on how to get your sales reps through a sales slump and back on-track to being a sales rock star!
Turn to the data
Without identifying the root of the problem, you will never figure out how to fix it. Turn to the data to identify weaknesses in your execution or your individual reps’ selling process.
Look at the historical conversion rates on your sales funnel to find specific weaknesses. Conversion rates between stages tell you the percentage of opportunities progressing from one stage to the next. Is your sales rep converting opportunities well at the top-of-the-funnel, only to see their conversion rates plummet at the bottom? Perhaps the bottom-of-the-funnel stages are where you should be focusing your sales coaching efforts.
Look at your lead sources. Are you constantly making calls to leads from a source that has a particularly low conversion rate? Make sure you are placing as much importance on quality of leads as you are on quantity of leads. If the data shows that conversion rates on leads from a certain campaign are weak, you should spend less time working on the leads generated from this low-quality source.
Analyze their calls
Record your reps’ calls and listen to them. Is their pitch catered to the specific customer, or does it sound canned, like reading from a script? Are they seeking pain points, answering questions and clearing up confusion effectively? Would you buy from them?
Listening in on your reps’ calls or recordings of them can help you as a sales manager figure out who needs work on the phones. This should be an easily correctable problem…once it has been identified. To identify specific weaknesses in their phone process, sales managers will have to put in the requisite time and concerted effort to not only listen to the calls, but listen actively and with an ear out for weaknesses.
Get feedback from prospects
To what degree is your reps’ performance affecting a potential customer’s buying decision? The most valuable feedback available is from your prospective customers themselves. For your reps, asking potential customers questions during a pitch or demo is already a sales best practice, so why not add another question or two about whether your reps are actually being helpful to them? Ask what you can do to improve their experience. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from them – and getting the answers to these self-critical questions will help your reps improve their sales performance on prospects going forward.
When your reps get the bad news that a potential customer does not want to purchase, encourage them not to just hang their head and cross it off as closed-lost right away – identify the reason the customer is not buying. Ask them (politely!) what influenced their decision and what they could have done to improve their experience. They will appreciate your reps’ initiative, and chances are they will answer honestly.
Getting organized is the best way to feel in control when you are in a slump. Getting organized means more than just cleaning your desk, organizing your business cards, and keeping a daily call list. In addition to these things, you should sort through your leads by statuses and qualification. Then, get rid of stale opportunities in your pipeline with a much-needed purge. Every call should have the highest potential gain: if you have leads and opportunities in your pipeline you have been nurturing for a long time with no purchase in sight, get ‘em out or send them back to marketing.
How have you helped your sales reps out of a slump in the past? Share your thoughts with us below!
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