5 Sales Best Practices Your Business Should Pay Attention To
Need some guidance or fresh ideas to run your sales team? Well you're in luck. In this post, we'll point you to some stellar articles around the Web with sales best practices that can help you increase your sales. Read on for five noteworthy ideas and processes that caught our eye, compiled from some of our favorite online publications.
Sales Best Practices from Around the Web
1. Ask your customers high-value, tough questions.
Too many salespeople rely on weak questions, according to sales blog EyesOnSales.
Top performers ask the types of questions that get to the real issues and make their prospects think. We've written about sales questions on this blog as well and why you might be asking the wrong ones. Many sales reps often find themselves asking for the sake of asking, and not for the sake of making sales conversations more strategic than transactional. Of course, don't forget to listen carefully to the answers to those tough questions and be prepared with key insights. Which brings us to...
2. Sell with insight.
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the best salespeople are replacing traditional "solution selling" with "insight selling." Solution selling involves simply asking a customer what their problems are, with the expectation that you will be the solution to those problems. This approach is less effective in a time where customers are more adept at defining exactly what they need. According to HBR, a recent study of B2B buyers discovered that about 60% of a typical buying process (including research, ranking options, determining requirements and pricing, etc.) was completed before the conversation with the supplier even began. This presents a problem for salespeople. Customers already know exactly what they want, so how are you supposed to help them? The answer is insight selling––a process by which a sales rep is able to uncover or point out problems that the customer didn't know they had. Picture this simple wholesale sales example. Say a retailer knows that they want to buy more blue shirts––the shirts have been selling well, and they simply want more of them. If you, the rep, are able to let them know that while the blue shirts are indeed popular, but you've found through competitive intelligence that sell-through rates will be higher if they stock three colors instead of just one, you can effectively up-sell while providing valuable insight to your customer.
3. Climb the trust ladder.
According to this article in Forbes, it is key to quickly establish trust between you and the customer. Perhaps this isn't surprising, but climbing that ladder of trust can be done in more ways than one. For instance, can you leverage the opinions of others? Can you highlight customer testimonials? Can you reference common experiences or acquaintances? Think also about how you can better the customer experience in order to foster a sense of accountability and on your end. How quick are you to respond to their requests? Does your customer service team reach out proactively to customers? As a sales rep, are you adept at building a more strategic relationship with each buyer?
4. Track key metrics
Another important sales best practice is to track your performance. You'd be surprised at how many wholesale businesses––and other sales organizations for that matter––aren't taking advantage of metrics and data tracking. Evaluating your individual salespeople's performance can keep you in touch with how they're performing, and possible barriers that they need to overcome. Tracking the sales of particular products can help you make key production decisions down the line. Keeping track of sales numbers from trade shows can help you determine which shows are giving you the greatest return on your investment.
5. Know how to hire the right people.
Sales expert Nancy Bleeke of Sales Pro Insider has a great article on how to hire the best salespeople for your company. Rather than falling into the common hiring traps of only comparing each candidate to other applicants and taking certain shortcuts in the hiring process, Bleeke emphasizes the importance of benchmarking the position, conducting thorough, objective assessments, and also asking behavior-based interview questions. It may be a lot of work to find the right candidate, but it will pay off in the long run. Are you implementing these sales best practices? What other best practices are key to your sales team? Let us know in the comments.