Guest post by Mike Schultz, RAIN Group
The pressure is on. With nearly a month left in 2017, the majority of your time is likely being spent ensuring your sales team hits their numbers. This is also when sales leaders start setting targets for the year ahead.
Not only do you need to set sales goals, but you also need to make sure your team has the resources to execute and meet those metrics.
Whether you’re looking to implement sales training or new technologies, your goal for the year ahead is clear—set your sales team up for success.
Before any planning begins, you need to answer some basic questions. What does your team do well? Can they do even better? What needs improvement?
Here are four tips, backed by data from the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research (CSR), to exceed sales performance goals in 2018.
#1) Bring Insights to Your Buyers
The #1 factor that separates sales winners from the rest is that winners are three-times more likely to bring buyers new ideas and perspectives. Buyers want your ideas. They’re looking for your insights. The sellers that do this win significantly more often.
#2) Collaborate and Listen
According to buyers, sales winners don’t just provide new ideas and perspectives. They bring much more to the table. There are a few things that sales winners do more often than second place finishers. A report on What Sales Winners Do Differently revealed:
- 73% of sales winners collaborate with buyers
- 70% of sales winners persuade buyers they will achieve results
- 75% of sales winners listen to buyers
- 73% of sales winners understand buyer needs
When it comes to bringing insights and collaborating with buyers, sales winners sell radically different than second place finishers.
While listening, understanding needs, and being persuasive are not new concepts, winners do these things much better than second-place finishers.
How is your team performing in these areas? Are they collaborating with buyers? Do they persuade them that their results will make an impact? If not, make this a focus in 2018.
#3) Focus on Growing Your Accounts
Selling to existing accounts is one of the biggest untapped opportunities for sales growth. In fact, only 38% of companies agree they are effective at growing their accounts. There’s a lot of room for improvement.
Start by evaluating your account growth strategy. Does your team focus on building relationships, increasing loyalty, and selling more to current customers? Maximizing sales, profits, and retention of existing accounts can pay off big.
#4) Sell to the Domino
Complex sales have a unique set of challenges. In addition to the long sales cycles and high dollar values, there are typically multiple decision makers. While most corporate buying decisions involve a core group of people, it’s not uncommon to have one person in the group who has significant influence over the final outcome. That person: The Domino.
While buying committees are increasing, your team needs to be aware of this dominant role. They need to be more than just aware. They need to ensure that person receives special attention.
By no means does this mean you should disregard other group members, but scheduling one-on-one time with this leader can be a game changer. In fact, 90% of the time, sellers only need to convince one person in a buying committee: the dominant influencer.
When you get that time, use it to influence them.
If you want to take your sales team to the next level in success, planning is key. You can’t continue to do things how you’ve always done them and expect different results.
Look at how your sales team is engaging with buyers. Are they collaborating, listening, and providing ideas? Do they regularly sell to existing accounts? Can they identify and connect with the Domino? If your team can focus on these four areas in 2018, they are bound to exceed their sales performance goals.
To learn other ways to crush your sales goals in 2018, check out this infographic with research and data from RAIN Group.
About the author: Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 62 countries improve sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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