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How to Develop a Solid Sales Plan

  
  
  

how to develop a solid sales planHow are your sales doing right now? If you're online googling "sales plan," you're probably looking for answers. When your sales aren't performing as you'd like them to, it's time to develop a solid sales plan that will help you to reach your goals.

To begin, start by answering the following four questions.

1. What can I do to reach my target audience?

2. How will I engage potential customers?

3. How can I stay in touch with current customers?

4. How can I prospect within my current customer base?

The answers to these questions will help you to develop a solid sales plan, which you can use to plan the strategies and schedules of your sales team. Let's look at what to do with the answers to each question.

1. What can I do to reach my target audience?

A successful sales plan helps you to find and reach the people who are looking for the solutions you have to offer. But how will you find these people? Every business is different, and what works in one industry won't necessarily work in another industry, but here are some possible tactics to consider:

  • Join professional groups or organizations that will help you to meet potential customers.
  • Personally visit a certain number of prospective clients each month.
  • Plan a free seminar that offers your unique solutions to customer needs. Offer incentives to those who attend.

2. How will I engage potential customers?

Once you've found potential customers, how will you engage them in conversations that will allow you to work through your sales process? Developing relationships of trust with new customers is an art. Use your sales plan to help you set goals to regularly engage with potential clients:

  • Post meaningful content on your social media accounts.
  • Create a blog and add helpful posts on a regular basis. Use the comments section of your blog to start conversations and answer questions.
  • Volunteer to speak to local organizations whose members would be interested in your products.

3. How can I stay in touch with current customers?

Making a sale is always great, but don't write your customers off once you've made that initial sale. Not only could they become repeat customers, but they could also be valuable contacts leading you to other repeat customers. Keeping in touch with your existing customer base is an important part of any organization's sales plan.

  • Create email newsletters filled with valuable information for your existing customers, and send out your newsletter at least once a month.
  • Develop feedback surveys as part of your sales plan. Surveys give you important feedback and help your customers to know you're concerned about their opinions.
  • Keep your website up to date. When your website or blog is full of cutting edge industry news, your customers will check in regularly to get the scoop.
  • Make it personal. Send your customers birthday cards or congratulations cards for the births of their children. Kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way.

4. How can I prospect within my current customer base?

You already have a base of people who are interested in your products and services. Don't neglect this group. Prospecting within your current customer base can be a hugely important part of your sales plan.

  • Include promotional flyers about new products with each order shipment.
  • Scan the social media profiles of existing customers to find out what their current needs and concerns are, and offer solutions for those concerns.
  • Schedule brief meetings or lunch dates with existing customers to learn about what you can do to help them further and find out if they have contacts you can work with.

By incorporating some of these to-dos into your sales plan, you can more effectively reach both your current customers and new customers. A solid sales plan will direct your sales team to higher success.

Job Search Readiness Assessment

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Tips to Selling Your Value

  
  
  

describe the imageUnless your company is looking to slash margins to nothing, selling on price is a losing game for any sales team. That's why the best salespeople specialize in selling value: establishing clearly in a prospect's mind a gap in product quality, customer service, and other traits that makes your product worth the expense. Selling value has become all the more difficult and important a skill in recent years, as the internet has ruthlessly eliminated any obfuscation of pricing--if you have a cheaper competitor, 90% of customers will know that going in. So today, we're going to discuss five tips for selling value: selling something more than 'the cheapest solution'.

Pick Your Leads

Not all prospects respond to selling value; there's a significant number of buyers in any industry who will take the cheapest option above all others, dismissing any downsides for one reason or another.

For that reason, picking leads is important if you want to focus on selling value. It takes only a little research to spot the lost causes--if a company has nothing but 'cheap' solutions in place, you can be reasonably certain that they're not going to splurge on your product.

Form a Rapport

Your ability to form a rapport with prospects will be your single most important skill when selling value over price. You have to be someone the prospect wants to buy from, not with a higher price as a cash grab--regardless of the reality of your product versus competitors'. That's why the arrogant, slimy salesperson of Hollywood isn't the kind of person you see at the very top--being unlikeable is a death sentence in sales.

It's quite important to provoke investment from the prospect as soon as possible for this reason. Make them to spend time or resources on you, and they'll take a greater liking to you. It's basic psychology that every salesperson should use to their advantage. It also serves to shorten sales cycles, so it's well worth the effort.

Know The Industry

If you can't go toe to toe with your prospects in a discussion of the industry, your word will be worth nothing and you'll find selling value nigh impossible. That means knowing the competition, knowing how the industry is evolving, and being able to explain where your company and your product exist in that industry. If an innovation has occurred in the field that you don't know about, savvy prospects are going to go elsewhere.

Know Your Product

Knowing your product means knowing the answer to any strange question the prospect might throw at you. One of the keystones of selling value is knowing the things about your product that AREN'T in the standard pitch. If a prospect raises a common complaint, you should be able to respond with an immediate workaround, the sort of thing your current customers are already doing.

On the other hand, if you're confronted with an objection you know has no solution--lying isn't the option. Your relationship with the prospect is in many ways more important than the quality of your product; value is more than the contents of your product's box.

Customer Service Matters

The forgotten value. The number of excellent products that have lost sales because word-of-mouth decried their customer service should tell you exactly how important this is when selling value, but entirely too many sales teams and marketing divisions forget about the importance people place on customer service. Think of it this way--the rapport you create with a prospect is incredibly important. Every aspect of customer service can serve to strengthen or damage that rapport permanently.

A messy sales process, shoddy support, or a rude company representative going viral can kill your work selling value. Think of negative word-of-mouth you've heard in the past...and consider how much of it was customer-service based, not product quality based.

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

How to Prevent Hiring the Wrong Sales Rep

  
  
  

how to prevent hiring the wrong sales repHiring a new sales rep is an expensive process. On top of the salary and benefits you give them you've also got expenses such as equipment, training costs, and office space to think of, not to mention the amount of valuable time it takes to bring them on board and get them running. All this means that hiring the wrong sales rep can be an incredibly expensive mistake, not only will you have spent a lot of time and money on them but you'll also suffer the opportunity cost of losing sales you would have got with a better candidate.

1. Know what you're looking for

If you don't know exactly what qualities you're looking for in a sales rep you are unlikely to find someone who is a perfect fit. If you're busy and desperate for new staff you may be tempted to hire the first person who sounds right, only to later discover they lack certain skills or personality attributes that you need them to have. Make a list of all the qualities you would need to find your perfect candidate and use that as a starting point for writing a great job description. The more you know about what you're looking for the easier it will be to spot it when you see it - and equally the easier it'll be to spot a candidate who looks good on the surface but is unlikely to be suitable in the long term. Your list should include all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that your ideal candidate would have.

2. Display your job description where top talent will see it

You'll now have a great job description for your perfect sales rep and will need to use it to attract talent and the more people that can see your job description the more likely someone who is perfect for the job will apply. The places where you put your job description will have an effect on the quality of applicants that apply, so if you're looking for the best possible sales person you need to be advertising nationally and not just locally. The internet has made this a lot easier but don't dismiss advertising in relevant newspapers, magazines, or journals since these are likely to be read by high performers.

3. Interview potential candidates effectively

An effective interview process is key to avoid hiring the wrong sales rep. Ideally each likely candidate will be interviewed by more than one person in the organization, by having more than one interviewer you can build up a more accurate picture of how the sales rep is likely to fit into your team. During the interview, you are looking to find a candidate that has the knowledge, skills and attitude that will match your job description and while it may be tempting, you shouldn't settle for someone that only has two of these. Skills and knowledge are great but without the right attitude, the sales rep will create more problems than they solve.

Start on a trial basis

Unless you are certain that your chosen sales rep is the perfect candidate it can be prudent to start on a trial basis. A two-three week trial will give you an opportunity to see how they fit into your team and respond to your training and procedures; you'll also be able to observe how they interact with other people on your team. There will likely be a few small issues you want to discuss with your chosen sales rep so a trial also gives the opportunity for a review period where you can discuss with them how they are fitting in to your team and what you'd like to them to work on and improve. If you've followed the previous three steps well your trial should be a success and both sides can continue in the working relationship.

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SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

7 Networking Tips for Your Next Sales Conference

  
  
  

7 networking tips for your next sales conferenceWhile a good sales conference can offer visitors a wide array of events, lessons, and other activities worth showing up for, everyone knows you got to a sales conference for one reason: Networking. If you want to get the most out of your trip to a conference, you need to be making new acquaintances and you need to leave a memorable, positive impression on as many people as possible. Going with the flow might catch you a few worthwhile networking opportunities if you have a natural talent for socializing, but to really optimize your sales conference networking experience you need preparation. Today we'll help you with that preparation, by offering you seven tips, tactics, and strategies for maximizing your sales conference networking efficiency.

Do Your Research.

Know who the speakers will be, know what people will be talking about and what they are interested in. The more you can know about the events and the people who will be involved with the sales conference before you walk in, the more likely you are to have success in your networking. Research them like prospects--the only difference between this sale and others is the product: you.

Reach Out in Advance.

If you can make contact with someone you're looking to form a working relationship with BEFORE, the conference, even if it's just a quick back-and-forth on Twitter or Facebook, do so. It's something of an investment from the person--they've talked to you before, so they'll talk to you again.

Check Out the Break Room.

Don't spend all your time hitting events, you won't make any relationships with someone talking to an audience (or escaping one). If there's somewhere speakers and other important figures might congregate between events, that's where you want to be. You'll also come across better in that context than you would as part of a crowd begging for attention.

Ask for Cards.

Handing out your card is nice, but it's easier and more effective to collect cards. Asking for someone's card shows interest in them, not yourself. You want to stay away from a 'ME ME ME' mentality when you're networking at a sales conference, for the same reason you don't ramble on about your company when you're making a sale.

Once you have someone's card, you have a direct line for a follow-up; just don't blow it when the time comes to make use of that line.

Real Questions Trump Niceties.

Don't ask the same vapid questions every other person at the conference has asked. Definitely don't ask about the weather. Ask something that shows knowledge of the individual and will make them think for a moment. If you did your research and thought about what you would talk about with your networking targets, this should be easy.

Stand Out.

Don't dress like a clown, but if you can add some flair to how you present yourself all the better. Just strike a balance--you want to be memorable, but not in a way that undermines your ability to form serious working relationships. No one trusts someone that's too goofy.

Appearance is the lowest way to stand out, just below tacky overly fancy business cards. It can work, but it's too risky and not very professional. Look for a unique approach, instead. The problem being that a 'unique' approach is hard to teach--you'll have to think this up on your own.

No Pitches that Sound Like Pitches.

No one likes being sold to. Especially at a sales conference where everyone is trying to sell something. You probably shouldn't even bother with any pitches. You definitely don't want to toss one out uninvited--cornering some poor speaker in an elevator's rude AND ineffective. What you want to do is make them ask you what you have going on--then tell them. That means natural, meaningful two-way conversations.

Top 5 Traits of Successful Sales People Download

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Process is Too Slow

  
  
  

5 reasons why your sales process is too slowIt pays to take your time with some parts of your sales process--indeed, it's increasingly common for modern salespeople to rush their sales process and end up with wasted time due to sloppy lead generation and poor follow through. But 'slow and steady' isn't the end-all of sales process discussions. Chances are, you're going too slowly, too. There are places in the sales process where swift, decisive action will beat or equal shuffling your feet for days on end. In this article, we'll discuss five reasons your sales process is slower than it needs to be, and how you can trim the fat without rushing the steps that need time.

1. You're Not Focused

One of the leading causes of a slow sales cycle has nothing to do with the details of the cycle--rather, the problem is how quickly you complete tasks you can complete at your leisure. When you sit down to research prospects, or analyze metrics, or perform any other boring task that you can do 'whenever', do you get things done then and their without distraction? Do you take days going over data that should take you hours--delaying any sale associated with that data for that long?

There are a few things you can do to sharpen your focus. Learn to keep a schedule, do hard tasks early in the morning (it sets the tone!), and know when you need to get away from your desk and reset your focus with a real break. Trying to focus for hours and getting distracted constantly because you need a break is far worse than taking a ten minute cool down walk every few hours!

2. You Aren't Provoking Investment

One of the easiest ways to speed up the sales process without sacrificing quality of work is provoking 'investment' from the prospect. If your prospect isn't investing time or resources from early in the sales process, you're probably working too slow. An invested prospect will pay more attention to what you have to say and be more willing to move forward at every stage of the sales process.

Investment doesn't have to be big to have a psychological effect on the prospect; just convincing someone to clear an hour in their schedule for a follow-up meeting is more than enough.

3. You Get Caught On Bad Leads

This is one of those problems that develops from going too fast in the wrong areas. Rushing through lead generation will slow your overall sales process, because you'll be caught up in go-nowhere leads. Bad leads aren't just those that will never result in a sale--a lead that takes three or four times as long to close hurts your bottom line too. It might even hurt it worse, if you could have closed multiple deals in that time.

When it comes to leads, 'slow is steady, steady is fast' should be your rule of thumb.

4. Your Tools Aren't Suitable

Using unsuitable tools can turn your sales process into a slog. Perhaps you're using software with too little information, or with too many frills for your process. Maybe your communications are delayed and you're always waiting to hear back from someone else.

Give your tool set a harsh review and cut out the time-wasters. Then figure out what problems you REALLY need solved and find precise solutions to those problems; you should be good at this, you're in sales!

5. You're Talking To The Wrong People

It's easy to waste days and weeks working your way up company hierarchy if you're not careful. Nothing slows the sales process more than having to 'close' multiple people in a row as you work your way up to an actual decision-maker. Do your research and find your shortest route to the movers and shakers. It may take a little longer than picking up a phone, but in the end you'll close more often and more quickly.

Sales Management Worksheet

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Challenges With Sales Management

  
  
  

5 challenges with sales managementSales management is not a walk in the park. Although the rewards are great, the challenges can be great as well. Fortunately, there are things you can do to overcome the challenges you routinely face in sales management. Once you know how to solve these problems, sales management becomes a much more satisfying career. Let's take a look at five challenges with sales management and how to overcome them.

Sales Coaching

Sales coaching is different than taking care of periodic performance reviews, but sometimes sales managers don't differentiate between the two. What your sales reps need is constant feedback and coaching, and performance reviews don't accomplish these tasks. Instead, performance reviews put your sales reps under pressure without providing direction and mentoring.

Sales coaching, on the other hand, helps your sales reps to tackle different challenges and work through their individual weaknesses and questions. In other words, sales coaching strengthens your sales reps by providing them with individual mentoring. By sharing your experiences and helping your sales reps to work through their own problems, you can provide valuable sales coaching.

Collecting Data for Analysis

Data-driven analysis helps your sales team with accountability and goal setting, but collecting the data can be a major sales management challenge. The solution to this challenge is to use data collection tools that help you to organize, analyze, and report to your sales team without spending a lot of time getting lost in spreadsheets and paperwork. Simplify the metrics you use for data analysis, and find tools that work well for your particular data.

Time Management

Time management is difficult for most professionals, but it can especially difficult in sales management. You may be working during both business and evening hours, and your sales reps may work at different times than you do. The fast-paced world of sales management can lead you to feel that your schedule is out of control and you never have time to sit down and reflect on where you've been and where you want to go.

To tame your time management, carve out time in your week to focus solely on managing your sales reps. For instance, you could schedule half-hour meetings with each of your reps, giving you dedicated time to work on your sales coaching and keeping your reps on track.

Motivating Sales Reps

Sales managers often fall into the trap of thinking that motivation has to be a one-size-fits-all proposition, but not all people are motivated by the same rewards. Some people are motivated to reach their goals by promises of a day off. Others want a bonus more than anything else. Feel free to offer different rewards to different sales reps. Use your one-on-one time with each sales rep to find out what is the most motivating to each person, and use that motivation to propel them toward greater achievement.

Consistency

With all you have to do in your sales management roles, it can be very difficult to maintain consistency. It's all too easy to let goals and training sessions fall by the wayside when your day-to-day tasks become overwhelming.

Remember that your daily to-do lists will be more manageable if you keep consistent schedules, habits, and meetings in place. Your sales reps will feel more relaxed and secure when you have established orderly systems for setting goals, returning and reporting, and training for sales presentations and new clients.

These sales management challenges can set you off course, but each challenge can be overcome. By paying special attention to the challenges you face the most often, you can help your sales team to reach its goals more easily. In addition, you will find much more satisfaction in your career as you turn your sales management weaknesses into strengths.

5 Traits of a Great Sales Manager

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

How to Handle Sales Complaints

  
  
  

how to handle sales complaintsSales complaints are an inevitable part of any sales position. Understanding how to field complaints adroitly without losing potential sales (from the complainer or due to word of mouth) is an invaluable skill whether you're a front line sales agent or a manager overseeing an entire division. Anyone can be put on the spot by an unhappy customer or prospect--the best results come from having a team that can deal with that fact of life cleanly and effectively. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of handling sales complaints in a way that won't just neutralize a complaint, but win the unhappy party over.

Never Lose Your Composure

The number one thing to learn for fielding sales complaints--or during any other interaction with a customer, for that matter. Losing your composure can refer to the obvious error of losing your temper, of course. It can be tempting to get sarcastic or short with a prospect or customer who pushes the right buttons, but it reflects poorly on yourself and the company. However, getting flustered or retreating into blind apologies and excessive promises when you try to satisfy sales complaints causes just as much trouble.

The real thing to consider here is whether you've lost control of yourself and the situation. Losing your temper feels like a position of strength in the moment, but moving forward from an outburst you've given leverage to the prospect or customer. Even when sales complaints are legitimately based, you should always aim to control the discussion as you negotiate a solution.

Knowledge is Power

The more you know about the circumstances surrounding sales complaints, the easier it will be to remain composed and neutralize the complaint effectively. For example, having a strong working knowledge of the common sales complaints and solutions that other customers have used to overcome whatever problem they've encountered in the past is unmatched. More than that, a strong working knowledge of the product and the way customers use it will help you innovate and offer original solutions when necessary.

Understanding what you can about the individual customer's history with you, your company, and the product will help too. Sometimes, of course, you'll come to a dead end, but it will happen less often than if you 'wing it' on a regular basis.

When you knowledge isn't up to the task? Admit it, and promise to find a solution or direct the unsatisfied individual to someone more likely to have one. Just don't lie or deflect, that will bite twice as hard when it comes back on you.

Take Responsibility

When dealing with sales complaints, it can be difficult to tread the line between laying down and handing control over and accepting responsibility for the sales complaints, but accepting responsibility is absolutely necessary. If you don't, the customer or prospect will feel you aren't taking their sales complaints seriously and will take any solutions or conciliatory motions as empty noise. Don't be sarcastic; it isn't worth the satisfaction!

Lost Customers are Future Prospects

Never, ever burn a bridge. When all else fails, you at least want to leave the door open for an angry customer or prospect. Studies show that ex-customers are far more likely to buy from a company than a fresh prospect, though not as likely as current customers. The circumstances of their departure WILL matter when you approach them again in the future, so always keep the long view in dealing with sales complaints.

Final Thoughts...

There's a lot to keep in mind when dealing with sales complaints. Just remember that customer service matters in sales--even if you're definitely losing the customer, how you lose those matters. If a customer leaves angry, they're that much more likely to complain to their friends, coworkers, and the internet. Don't give them a reason to be upset! If you handle things right, you can get positive word of mouth from lost customers!

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Sales Agent vs a Sales Rep

  
  
  

the pros and cons of hiring a sales agent vs a sales repIf you're just starting up in sales or are looking to expand your existing sales force, you typically have two different ways to get more individual sales people out there representing your product to potential clients. The first way is through hiring a sales rep, an employee hired to sell your own products and services from within your company. The second alternative is through hiring a sales agent, an independent salesperson to whom you give authority to sell your products and services in a particular territory. Hiring a sales agent instead of an internal salesperson has distinct advantages and disadvantages and it is important you make the decision wisely, as different companies will be more suited to one form of sales person over the other.

Advantages of Hiring a Sales Agent Instead of Hiring a Sales Rep

  • Value for money for small businesses - Some small businesses will not have enough prospects to justify hiring a full-time sales representative on staff and hiring one could initially cost more than the profits they bring in. In this scenario, a sales agent representing your products and services part-time can have the same effect and bring in the same income without straining your payroll unnecessarily.
  • No hidden costs - Hiring an employee has costs beyond just their wage - the cost of giving them office space, equipment, travel costs as well as holidays, insurance and other benefits. A cost of hiring a sales agent is clear and obvious since there are no hidden costs - the agent sells for you but is in business for himself and the cost they incur while selling your products is their responsibility.
  • Pay for performance - Sales agents are typically paid for their performance through a commission-only wage structure, which means that you only pay out money if they actually make a sale. This means that hiring a sales agent can cost next to nothing to start with and the products they must sell first will cover all the money you’ll pay them.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Sales Agent Instead of Hiring a Sales Rep

  • Lower degree of control - Although they will be selling your products, a sales agent is independent, and you cannot control them in the same way you can one of your own employees. Their sales process will be their own, as will their style and their manner, and they are unlikely to sell according to the methods in which you train your in-house sales representatives, even if you offer them training. If you are selling relatively generic products this can be fine but if your sales process is particularly enhanced by the style and manner in which your sales people act you may lose something by using an independent sales agent, and in rare cases they could even compromise your reputation.
  • May sell other products - Hiring a sales agent may result in your products being sold by someone who also represents and sells goods and services produced by other companies in your area. If these other companies are running a promotion or increase their commission you might find that your own sales suffer due to a reduced focus from your agents, something that is completely out of your control.

Hiring a sales agent instead of hiring a sales rep can be a wise choice that saves you money and reduces the amount of management work you need to do. Before hiring a sales agent, you need to understand your own sales objectives and then work out if you can achieve these through a force of sales agents or if they can only be achieved by in-house employees. Typically, the main deciding factor is whether you are willing to give up some control of the sales process in return for lower costs - the more important control is to you the less advantageous it is to hire a sales agent.

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SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

3 Apps Sales Professionals Must Have

  
  
  

3 apps sales professionals must haveMost sales professionals today come equipped with a smartphone, tablet or both and should be using them effectively to help them increase their sales. There are plenty of apps that can help but with thousands available aimed at the busy professional, it can be hard to know which ones to use. The best apps will help your salesforce be more effective by saving them time and helping them stay organized and on top of all their information. It is recommended that you choose a standard set of apps for your company and get your whole team using them. When everyone uses the same apps, you'll be able to reduce training, allow data to be shared easier between sales professionals and reduce the number of technical issues. To help you choose which apps you recommend your team uses we've collected 3 of the best apps that sales professionals need.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) App

A CRM app is the most essential tool a salesperson can have. A great salesperson needs to keep track of a lot of information about their customer beyond just their names and addresses and forgetting one bit of crucial information can be the difference between making a great impression and losing a sale and damaging a relationship. There are several different CRM systems you could consider using with two of the most popular being Salesforce and 37 Signals. Any good CRM system should come with a fully functional app that can be used on a phone or tablet and using one of these CRM apps will enable your sales professionals to have all their data to hand. By not trying to store all their information in their own memory, they'll also have the added benefit of releasing some brainpower to focus on selling more of your products.

Evernote

With your sales professionals constantly traveling from one meeting to the next, it is essential they take excellent notes of what they've said to each client as they are unlikely to remember everything that has been said. Evernote can't be beaten as a tool for taking notes in meetings with team or with clients, trumping any system of handwritten paper notes by keeping everything you write safe in the cloud and easily searchable - your data will never be lost and your sales professionals will never waste time searching for a note or piece of information again. Those that still like to create notes by hand can use the Penultimate add-on app for Evernote, which integrates digital handwriting functionality. Instead of typing notes can be written and diagrams drawn by hand and saved into Evernote.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn remains one of the best ways for your sales professionals to communicate within their professional network. The status updates from business people and companies you are connected to can help you keep up-to-date with your clients and give you insight into how their businesses work. While data about what people are working on and whom they're working with can help you pinpoint the real decision makers within each company to avoid wasting time pitching to the wrong person. LinkedIn can also be used to reach out to new potential clients by searching for contacts in specific industries or locations.

These 3 apps are just a few of many excellent and useful apps your sales professionals could be using to make their lives easier. No matter how many apps or how much technology they use, your sales professionals must remember that ultimately it is their ability to understand their client's needs and provide them with solutions that will govern their success as a salesperson. While the technology is useful, it is still only a tool to be used and will never be more important than building excellent working relationships with customers.

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Powerful Tools for Every Sales Manager

  
  
  

5 powerful tools every sales manager needsThe best way to turn around a sales team is to get the sales manager headed in the right direction. Sales managers are in a position to have enormous influence over their sales reps, and when this influence is positive and motivating, great things can happen to a sales team. Unfortunately, it's all too easy for a sales manager to become overwhelmed with the busyness of day-to-day worries and distractions. When this happens, sales managers neglect their own professional development, and the work of their sales reps suffers.

By using the following five tools, however, sales managers can regain control of their own careers and, in so doing, propel their sales teams to new heights.

Tool #1: Leading Instead of Managing

This can be a tough paradigm. After all, you're called a sales manager, not a sales leader. If you can concentrate on finding ways to work alongside team members and motivate those using social formats, you'll find that they're much more inspired than when you rely too much on metrics and deadlines. "Managed" sales reps don't take as much ownership of their work as those who are led by leaders. They don't feel as if they have as much control either. Inspire your sales reps with your leadership, and help them to rise to new heights.

Tool #2: Hiring Skills

As a sales manager, you will be most effective if you have dynamite sales reps working for you, and the only way to hire the best is to develop effective hiring skills. When a sales manager can distinguish between mediocre sales reps and excellent sales reps, the overall team will perform better, have better morale, and have the ability to reach team goals. To improve your hiring skills, learn how to write excellent job postings, learn what to look for in resumes, and practice your interviewing skills.

Tool #3: Setting the Team's Pace

A proactive sales manager is much more effective than a reactive sales manager. What's the difference? A reactive sales manager is always playing defense, trying to put out fires and keep up with directives, new ideas, and problems within the sales team. A proactive manager follows regular standards and schedules, staying ahead of the crises that can beset the team. Real time tracking and instantaneous feedback are the best methods a sales manager can use to set the team's pace and monitor progress.

Tool #4: Coaching

A sales manager that coaches sales reps does more than just ensure good sales for the team. Coaching helps sales reps to develop their careers and gain confidence, and everyone benefits from such improvement. Schedule regular times to meet with sales reps to discuss their concerns and accomplishments, but don't limit coaching to these regularly scheduled meeting times. As problems or new situations arise, put on your coaching hat and use these times for teaching and mentoring.

Tool #5: Looking Ahead

An effective sales manager looks for little trends among the sales team before those little trends can become big problems. For instance, you may notice a slight decrease in sales. Many sales managers would shrug off the decrease as just a difficult week, but wise sales managers will immediately try to find out what's going on and fix the problem before one bad week turns into a couple of bad months. Always be looking ahead to what you can do to make next week a little better than this week.

By using these five powerful tools, you can improve your sales team's performance over the short term and also for the rest of your sales reps' careers. Remember to celebrate successes along the way as your use of these tools helps you to meet your goals and enjoy your work.

5 Traits of a Great Sales Manager

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

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