Learning how to be a good sales manager means taking into account a lot of different factors. If you’re looking to save costs or spot business opportunities, it’s no longer enough to look to your business plan. Time was the business plan served as a compass that told us roughly where we’d be in x years, and gave us a snapshot of our market; the SWOT analysis was key to knowing exactly who we were, analysing the competition and knowing how to sell.
But we’re now firmly in the information era, where consumers have access to an infinite number of open doors through which they can look, choose and buy. The last few years have also seen the rise in importance of measuring. Each phase of the conversion funnel is accompanied by metrics (qualified reach, perception of brand recognition, final rating of a particular action, ROI…). We have no choice but to be flexible, adapt to the constant changes presented by the market, and heed the latest advice on how to be more effective at selling.
Here are our top 5 tips on boosting your sales efficiency:
1. Create buyer personas
To sell your product or service you first need to define who you want to sell it to. Sit down with your team and describe your ideal client. What are their needs and buying habits? What’s their typical behaviour? What motivates them? What statistics do you have for them and what are their demographic profiles? Giving a real name to each of your buyer personas makes it easier to identify them and create a personalised offering that meets their needs.
2. Listen to your customers through social networks
Communicating well doesn’t mean persuading. If you don’t want to annoy your potential customer, be transparent and show you want to work with them. It’s people who share our goals and values that move us forward, and today we can connect with consumers through web 2.0 communities. The new generation of customers expects real news, answers to their questions, and rewards for their loyalty. If you’re in the social networks you should be in, ask the right questions and you’ll get the answers you need for business success.
These communities are also the preferred platform for giving opinions on brands. Your customer service team needs to put their 5 senses to work in these conversations to make the viral effect (recommendations to friends) a positive one, and avoid a possible reputation crisis.
3. Opt for mobility-based sales management
Use the potential of tablets and smartphones to get useful information on clients who are nearest your current location. Revenues of innovative companies that use mobility as a competitive advantage grow almost 50%more than those of traditional companies yet to use geolocation.
How is ForceManager different from other solutions? We enable companies using a mobile sales force to implement the management model best suited to their sales operations. We’ve designed software based on mobility, allowing sales representatives to detect opportunities for a sales call – or actual sale – near their current location, and identify the quickest way of getting there.
4. Keep trying until you get it right
The only constant in the sales world is… change. If you don’t want the competition to get ahead, you need to keep experimenting with multiple variables until you find the formula for success. Test A versus B (e.g. landing pages, emails), study phone calls, try out new sales scripts, use influential contacts to generate sales opportunities. A well-executed, scientific approach will give you the results you’re looking for.
5. Analyse all your data in real time
Avoid being over-confident; you can’t rely on hunches and gut feeling when it comes to business. Quantitative analysis based on qualitative reflection is the only way to build a more effective sales force. And it’s essential to have access to that data wherever you are, thanks to mobile devices.
What type of sales action is most effective for selling each product? How much of the sales effort is being used to open new markets? Or to generate repeat sales – up-selling or cross-selling? How much sales time is invested in each type of customer? ForceManager answers these questions in real time. For us, total transparency of sales activity, identifying sure-fire opportunities for improvement and applying the appropriate corrective measures, are essential.